Veras

History of a Fictional Football League (1990 New Jersey Sharks)

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This has been bothering me, but why is the Suns' logo white when placed on a yellow background?

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I looked at having it in blue, or white with a blue outline, and hated both marginally more than the white on yellow. Basically, I'm operating under the assumption that the logo will virtually never be featured on a gold background. 

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I expected NY to have a "Victory Bowl Hangover" season, but this is tough. This is just like the 08 Patriots who went 11-5 after losing to the G-Men in the Super Bowl, and still didnt make the playoffs. 10-6 is a great season and normally would lock up a playoff berth. I have the luck to have it happen to both my teams! Oh well what can you do... Time to cheer on whoever can pick off Pittsburgh...

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84r2g1pitvstex_by_verasthebrujah-dbfdi7u

Weather would play a big factor in this matchup, with snow and gusting wind led to poor visibility.  The heavily-favored Miners started strong, scoring on a 7-yard touchdown run by RB John Coffee.  They threatened to score again early in the second after LOLB Don Evans strip sacked Mikey McGowan, but the ensuing drive ended at the Texas 17 when Coffee also lost a fumble.

 

The teams traded punts, and then the Stallions shockingly stole momentum, tying the game at 7 on a 3 yard run by RB Kelvin Barker.  They forced a punt, and then took a 14-7 lead when Pittsburgh CB Nate Ryan bit on a playaction, and then slipped on the icy turf as he tried to get back into position.  McGowan hit WR Brian Kujawa in stride for an 83-yard touchdown.

 

The Stallions recovered another John Coffee fumble shortly after the two-minute warning.  Ultimately, they advanced all the way to the Pittsburgh 14.  With time running out, they sent out the field goal unit, but K Kevin Leonardi slipped and the attempt failed.

 

The Pittsburgh offense looked terrible in the third, failing to pick up a single first down, which resulted in the Stallions repeatedly starting with good field position.  Texas was able to take advantage this twice, as Kelvin Barker scored from 3 yards out midway through the quarter, and then Leonardi connected from 20 in the waning seconds.

 

Pittsburgh’s luck didn’t improve much once the fourth quarter began.  The finally managed to build some momentum, crossing into Texas territory for the first time of the half, but the drive ended when Rob Connery overthrew WR Michael Goldberg and FS Stephen Curran picked it off.  Texas put together a 70 yard drive that ended with Kelvin Barker’s third touchdown run of the day.  By the time the Miners got the ball back, they trailed 31-7 with 5:15 to play.

 

They tried to make a game of it, as Connery led a quick drive resulting in a 7 yard touchdown pass to TE Mike Howell that ran less than a minute off the clock.  FB Curtis Franz made it a 31-15 game with the two point conversion, but it would make no difference.  After a failed onside kick attempt, the Stallions managed to run down the clock past the two minute warning before punting.  The Miners hopes came to an end when Mike Henry sacked Connery on 4th down with 1:03 on the clock.

 

The Stallions had completed arguably the biggest upset in AFA history, and will head to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year.

 

84r2g2minvscal_by_verasthebrujah-dbfdi7y

Both offenses got off to a slow start on a frigid, windy day.  Even when Minnesota CB John Hastings picked off a pass at the California 41, the offense took the field, lost a total of three yards and were forced to punt.  In fact, it wasn’t until the first play of the second quarter that either team got on the board, when Angels RB Tommy Howard danced his way into the end zone to give Minnesota a 7-0 lead.

 

The Minnesota advantage was extended to 10 on a 25-yard field goal 6 minutes later, but the Whales answered with a 27-yarder of their own the final minute of the half.  Late in the third, California tied it back up at 10 on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Steve Parker to WR Gary MacKey.

 

The Angels threatened to score early in the fourth, advancing into the red zone with 11 minutes to play.  All day, Tim Kewley had steadfastly refused to throw in the direction of California’s shutdown corner, Lewis Cashmore, but on 2nd and 7 from the 18, he gave into temptation.  Cashmore was intentionally playing slightly off of WR Cedric Harrison, inviting the throw, and as soon as Kewley began his motion, Cashmore moved into position for the interception. He picked it off at the 10, and sprinted back downfield, failing to get a pick 6 only because he somewhat carelessly stepped out of bounds at the 34 after dodging an attempted tackle by Tommy Howard.  Cashmore’s mistake would prove costly, as the offense failed to advance, and the team was forced to punt.

 

The 10-10 tie would hold until California took their first lead of the day on a 23-yard field goal with 2:25 to play.  After the kickoff, the Whales came out in a conservative scheme, and Minnesota QB Tim Kewley responded by repeatedly dumping the ball to Howard underneath the coverage.  The Angels pushed down the field, first advancing into field goal range, and then into the red zone.  With less than a minute to play, the Angels faced a 3rd and 9 from the 13 yard line.  Knowing that a field goal would tie the game, while a touchdown would almost certainly send the team to the semifinals, Kewley took the snap and threw to TE Dave Compton at the goal line.  LB Tim King arrived at the same time as the ball.  Compton and King wrestled for control momentarily, and then the linebacker wrenched it away, then took off toward the far end zone.  Kewley and WR Darnell Holly both missed tackles as they tried to knock the ball free, allowing King to go 99 yards for the first touchdown of his AFA career.

 

The extra point made it 20-10 California with 33 seconds remaining.  After three decades of futility, the Whales have finally won their first postseason game, and now stand one win away from the Victory Bowl.

 

84r2g3cinvsbal_by_verasthebrujah-dbfdi81

After having watched the top two seeded teams fall the day before, the Guardians entered this game refusing to take a win for granted.  Their determination showed as they manhandled the Royals in the game’s opening minutes.

 

After a decent drive to open the game, the Royals managed to pin Cincinnati at their own 7 with a punt.  On first down, the Guardians came out in two-tight end set, and Baltimore loaded the box, expecting the run.  Reggie Hart faked the handoff to Jim Hill, and then dropped the ball perfectly into the arms of WR Avery Gonzalez, who was 15 yards beyond the deepest Royal defender, for a 93-yard touchdown pass.  They extended the lead to 14 on their next possession, when TE Vic Meredith managed to get a step ahead of LB Adrian Doom on a post route.  Meredith made the catch in the end zone, and held onto the ball despite absorbing a big hit from FS Steve Baranowski.

 

The demoralized Baltimore offense struggled to move the ball, and with just over 3 minutes remaining in the first, Cincinnati looked to put a stranglehold on the game, as they advanced to the Baltimore 12.  On 2nd and 3, Hart took the snap, rolled to his right, and looked for Meredith in the end zone.  This time, however, Doom won the battle, snatching the ball from the air in front of Meredith.  Without breaking stride, he brought ball out of the end zone.  Big blocks by CB Doug Fonda and LB Frank Allhusen meant that Doom only had to beat Hart, and the linebacker simply bowled right over the undersized QB.  Nobody would be able to catch him, and his 103-yard interception return made it 14-7.

 

The swing in momentum breathed life back into the Baltimore offense, and they put up 14 points in the second quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Derrill Punch to Audwin Lee and a 1-yard run by Jim Ingles, allowing them to go into the half with a surprising 21-14 lead.

 

Cincinnati started the second half hot, putting together a long drive that advanced all the way to the Baltimore 1.  They were forced to settle for a field goal after a holding penalty backed them up, but would retake the lead 5 minutes later when RB Jim Hill broke a 17 yard touchdown run (his longest score of the year).

 

The Royals jumped back in front less than a minute into the fourth when WR Larry Frost made a sensational 23-yard touchdown reception on a badly underthrown pass, and then extended their lead to 7 with a 26-yard field goal midway through the quarter.

 

Cincinnati’s best chance to tie it up came shortly after the two-minute warning.  They had advanced into Baltimore territory when the Royals unexpectedly came with a heavy blitz, leaving Adrian Doom in single coverage on Vic Meredith.  Meredith streaked toward the end zone.  Hart scrambled for extra time, and then fired a shot downfield to his tight end.  Doom and Meredith both got their hands on the ball, and fell to the ground at the 12, still struggling for control.  After a few seconds, Doom was able to roll over and tear the ball from Meredith’s grasp.

 

Boos rained down from the stands, as the fans believed that Meredith had made the reception (and indeed, that probably should have been the call), but no amount of jeering could stop the Royal offense from taking the field.  They were able to run out the clock and complete the upset, earning their second straight trip to the semifinals, while the Guardians had suffered a stunning first-round exit for the second year in a row.

 

84r2g4clevscol_by_verasthebrujah-dbfdi86

The game began with a great deal of fanfare as both teams had reason to be optimistic.  Cleveland won the toss and elected to receive.  Three plays later, on 1st and 10 from their own 28, Therron Nikoloudis dropped back to pass.  The Cents came with the blitz, and under heavy pressure, Nikoloudis attempted to dump the ball off to RB Jose Ortuno, but LOLB Paulie May’s helmet hit him in the elbow.  The pass went off target and landed in the hands of LB Brian Specker, who made it to the 8 yard line before being taken down from behind.

 

They ended up kicking a field goal, and when the Cleveland offense took the field, Nikoloudis wasn’t with them.  He had suffered a bruised elbow on the hit by Paulie May, and couldn’t grip the ball well enough to throw it.  Instead, veteran Frankie Farragut would be under center, taking his first snap since mid-November.  He would have a career day.

 

It took two possessions for the Ghosts to score, but Farragut shook off the rust quickly, finding WR Steve Mast, Jr. in the end zone from 9 yards out with 7 minutes remaining in the first.  After the defense forced a punt, Farragut led another touchdown drive, this one ending when Jose Ortuno blasted into the end zone from the one yard line.

 

The Cleveland defense was phenomenal throughout the remainder of the first half.  Midway through the second quarter, the Cents were backed up inside their own 10.  MLB Mario Barreto brilliantly anticipated the snap count and shot into the backfield before the offensive line was all the way out of their stances.  He laid a huge hit on QB John Vessey, who fumbled at the 4.  The ball bounced toward the end zone as both teams tried to control it.  When the pile was cleared, Cleveland DT Keith Barry had possession in the end zone, putting the score at 21-3, Ghosts.

 

The Colorado offense showed signs of life near the end of the half.  They were nearing midfield when the two minute warning came, but they were unable to come away with anything on the drive.  John Vessey tossed a short pass to RB Tom Blitz at the 45.  Blitz caught the ball and turned upfield only to receive a crushing helmet to helmet hit from All-Star SS John Bow.  The ball came loose, and Cleveland recovered (and there was a moment of panic on each sideline as both star players were slow to get up, though neither would miss any time).

 

The Cleveland two minute offense did their job, and added another touchdown as Ortuno hauled in a 2 yard reception, sending the game to the half at 28-3.  The teams traded touchdowns in the third, as both team’s star running backs found the end zone.  Ortuno’s score came first, 5 minutes into the quarter.  It took Colorado over 8 minutes to answer, and even when they did, Tom Blitz’s 4 yard touchdown put the score at 35-10 with just over 16 minutes to play, leaving little hope for a comeback.

 

Indeed, the Ghosts pulled their starters midway through the fourth, and the only points of the quarter came when Cleveland’s number 2 RB, David Kendall slipped through the defense for a 2 yard touchdown run.  Trailing by 32 with under 5 minutes to play, the Cents followed suit, and allowed their backups to get some time on the field.

 

The final score:  Cleveland 42, Colorado 10.  The defending champs were eliminated, and Cleveland will move on to the semifinals, where they will be the only one of the four surviving teams to have ever won a Victory Bowl.

 

1984_0_by_verasthebrujah-dbevs2m.jpg

 

AFA Magazine Semifinals Previews

 

Baltimore Royals vs California Whales

 

Neither of these teams were supposed to be here.  They’re both too young and unpolished.  Sportswriters have explained Baltimore’s presence in the postseason as the result of a weak division and California’s as dumb luck.  But they’re both alive, one win from the Victory Bowl, and they both clearly beat superior opponents to get here.  This is actually a pretty good matchup – the Whales are perhaps slightly better-rounded, but the Royals’ superstars are better.  The deciding factor today will be emotion – the Royals were in the semifinals last year, and took the eventual champion Colorado Centennials to overtime before losing on a big touchdown run by Tom Blitz.  The team has referred back to that loss throughout the season, looking to avenge their disappointment, and they will do so today in an extremely close game.  Baltimore wins it in overtime, 23-20.

 

Cleveland Ghosts vs Texas Stallions

 

The injury to Therron Nikoloudis makes this game difficult to predict.  Will he play?  If so, how effective will he be?  If Frankie Farragut gets the start, can he match the level of effectiveness that he displayed against Colorado?  In all honesty, these questions won’t make much difference.  Texas’s undersized front 7 doesn’t match up well against the thundering RB Jose Ortuno, and Cleveland’s opportunistic defense will prey on the turnover-prone Stallions.  Texas always seems to improve their play in January (as can be seen in the fact that they’ve taken down the top seeded team in each of the last two years), but the talent gap between these two teams is just too wide.  Cleveland steamrolls their way into the Victory Bowl 35-17.

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595ef6cf53f95_tumblr_oprug0Hkox1vp1zvko1_5001.gif.31aac7cc5b1b7ddbfba2c1ad87eba0ed.gif

 

No, wait, I've got it: every team in white won.

 

Seriously, though, these quarterfinals couldn't have made me a whole lot happier. Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Colorado all losing over the span of two days? You've outdone yourself, Veras.

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What. The. Hell.

Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Cincy ALL lost???

I'm imagining a riot in Vegas from all the people who lost their money over the weekend.

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Huh. Well that happened. 

 

As for California, it seems almost like there was a curse placed on that team when Los Angeles lobbied for them over the San Diego Destroyers to come into the AFA. 

 

Screw it, I think Texas might win. Seems like this kind of year. 

 

EDIT: Colorado got mauled. I can't imagine that they'd ever want to wear blue again after that kind of performance. 

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Wait......what just happened? The 1, 2, and 3 seeds all lost within the same weekend? I might have to go and lay down and try to comprehend what happened. I don't think we've had something like that since the 8 seed Wasps won. If I had to predict to Victory Bowl, it would be Cleveland and Baltimore with Cleveland will get the win and end its drought. Because of the Texas upset, would the wildcard-flexing be considered by the Owner's Council?

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Well that's a shocker. Cincinnati's starting to earn the nickname the Chokers, I bet...

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Literal reaction as I read the post: Wow. Oh Wow. OH WOW. Incredible playoff series already. I guess Cleveland has the best chance but seems like literally anyone could take it. Rooting for Texas here.

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Whales VS Stallions VB. Calling it. Just a pure gut feeling. 

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I'm picking Baltimore and Cleveland. Can't go against the Ghosts right now, and Baltimore because I can't pick the team that just eliminated my Angels.

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The Guardians lost again? Geez, at this rate, they could easily give the Marvin Lewis-era Bengals a run for their money in terms of playoff failures. 

 

Oh well, here's hoping the Whales win it all.

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As a blanket response to everyone who expressed surprise at the outcomes:  @ItDoesntMatter, @ChicagoOakland, @Red Comet, @Mercy_King, @Raymie, @Steelman

 

Yeah, I was pretty surprised, too.  Actually, in terms of the outcomes of the simulations matching the teams' ratings, this might be the weirdest season that the AFA has ever had.  I don't normally like to talk about the AFA in these terms, but some of these outcomes are surprising enough that I'm going to do it anyway.  Only two of the 6 division title winners were the highest rated team in their division (and one of those held that distinction by .05), and in two divisions, the top-rated team finished second to last.  As for this round of the postseason, using a sample size of 5000 simulations, it looks like Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Cincinnati had about an 80%, 67%, and 78% probability of victory, respectively.  Don't get me wrong, there was always a good chance for an upset somewhere (Minnesota in particular was more vulnerable than their regular-season results, and therefore the narrative, would suggest), but I was surprised to see it happen on all three.

 

13 hours ago, ChicagoOakland said:

What. The. Hell.

Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and Cincy ALL lost???

I'm imagining a riot in Vegas from all the people who lost their money over the weekend.

I would imagine that there would be some pretty happy gamblers as well, if anyone took the long odds on the Miners-Stallions game especially.

 

13 hours ago, Red Comet said:

Huh. Well that happened. 

 

As for California, it seems almost like there was a curse placed on that team when Los Angeles lobbied for them over the San Diego Destroyers to come into the AFA. 

 

Screw it, I think Texas might win. Seems like this kind of year. 

 

EDIT: Colorado got mauled. I can't imagine that they'd ever want to wear blue again after that kind of performance. 

Interesting notion of the curse.  Actually, the Comets haven't done very well, either.  They won it all in 1952, their first year after coming over, but have only been to the postseason 5 times since, and they're 0-5 in those games.

 

To put that another way:  the Destroyers have the same 1-0 Victory Bowl record as the Comets and Whales combined, despite the fact that this is only San Diego's 9th year in the league, while the other two have combined for 62 seasons in the league (accounting for the Whales 2-year hiatus).  And it's worth noting that the 1970s comets were very, very talented.

 

13 hours ago, Mercy_King said:

Wait......what just happened? The 1, 2, and 3 seeds all lost within the same weekend? I might have to go and lay down and try to comprehend what happened. I don't think we've had something like that since the 8 seed Wasps won. If I had to predict to Victory Bowl, it would be Cleveland and Baltimore with Cleveland will get the win and end its drought. Because of the Texas upset, would the wildcard-flexing be considered by the Owner's Council?

It's hard to say how the wildcard flexing idea might be impacted.  This is the second time that a non-winning team has made the postseason and knocked off the number one seed.  The argument in favor of flexing is that weak division champions can't compete, but quarterfinals wins by the 1979 Gladiators and 1984 Stallions show that this expectation doesn't exactly mesh with reality.

 

12 hours ago, Raymie said:

Well that's a shocker. Cincinnati's starting to earn the nickname the Chokers, I bet...

Yes, and Reggie Hart is getting the worst of it.  He now has to deal with the narrative that he can't win on the big stage, which is exactly what people said about him coming into the league (this is despite the fact that he owns an NCAA title and a couple of rings from the NFA).

 

43 minutes ago, BengalSteve said:

The Guardians lost again? Geez, at this rate, they could easily give the Marvin Lewis-era Bengals a run for their money in terms of playoff failures. 

 

Oh well, here's hoping the Whales win it all.

I'd say that's a fair observation, though in some ways they blow Lewis's Bengals out of the water.  I mean, the Bengals last won a playoff game in 1990, right?  For the Guardians, you have to go back to 1954, and that is the only postseason win in team history.

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Finally! The Whales have won a playoff game!

 

Hoping for a miracle run here. 

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I know that feel, Miners fans... 

 

This postseason is definitely the weirdest i've seen in the AFA's history, but it's also one to tell your grandkids about. 

 

Cents Reminded how much a good QB takes a team. Ken Hughes is probably wishing he could lace'em up again...

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18 hours ago, Raymie said:

Well that's a shocker. Cincinnati's starting to earn the nickname the Chokers, I bet...

I prefer "The Garglers of Cincinnati".

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