Veras

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

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11 hours ago, eick74 said:

I feel like the Dragons are the most likely team to go with Midnight Green as their main color like the Eagles did.

 

Triple green would look very, very good on them.

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Props for making both the imperials and captains have very classic updates. Two of the better identities. I'm just waiting for Pittsburghs Classic update, unless they go out of the box in the 90's

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That update for the Captains is pretty good! Looking forward to the 1985 offseason, as well as any other potential uniform updates. 

 

Also, I apologize if this has been brought up already, but have there been any African American head coaches in the AFA yet? I know Jim Handler was an assistant on the Wolves' coaching staff at some point, but if he's still there, is there a chance he could be promoted to the head man in Milwaukee, assuming they let Greg Motta go?

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The rest of the uniform updates are coming up in the next post.  They're all fairly minor changes, so I'm going to cram them all together, but first I wanted to respond to the last few posts, and ask you guys for two things.

 

First, I'm hopefully preparing to move away from DeviantArt for hosting my images.  They've made it more difficult to move images around, which really messes with my organizational system.  I'm hoping that I can use Google Drive, but I'm not sure yet.  I think I have everything set up so that anyone can access the images, even without a google account, but I want to verify that.  The following links should lead to every team's logo history, every team's uniform history, and documents containing the narrative from 1969 onward (I haven't gone through all of them for accuracy, completeness, or proofreading, so bear that in mind as you look at them).  If anybody has any problems, could you let me know?

 

Second, I realized that I've been neglecting retired numbers since the early 1950s (as I was looking over Boston's roster, I realized that a player had been assigned Greg Motta's #21).  So I want to compile a list of retired numbers for each team.  Before I start digging through the rosters to figure out who should get it I'd like to ask you, the readers, which players have been your favorite through the series, and who you think deserves the honor.

On 7/25/2017 at 8:09 PM, Raymie said:
On 7/25/2017 at 9:04 AM, eick74 said:

I feel like the Dragons are the most likely team to go with Midnight Green as their main color like the Eagles did.

Triple green would look very, very good on them.

I hadn't thought of that, but it's definitely an interesting idea.

 

On 7/25/2017 at 8:16 PM, BellaSpurs said:

Props for making both the imperials and captains have very classic updates. Two of the better identities. I'm just waiting for Pittsburghs Classic update, unless they go out of the box in the 90's

If you look at their full uniform history, it would be kind of difficult for Pittsburgh to do either.  They definitely won't go with a 90s look.  The team colors are black and gray - not silver - gray.  If you want to start a fight in a Pittsburgh bar, say that the Miners wear silver.  The team closely ties its identity to coal country.  They way that they (and their fan base) see it is that coal mining is a dirty job, and a team named for coal miners doesn't need any fancy colors.  That attitude, not to mention that color scheme, just doesn't lend itself well to a 90s look.

 

As for a classic update - they've pretty much always worn the same thing.  They wore uniforms that were basically argyle sweaters with numbers from before the AFA was founded through 1948, but when they moved to Pittsburgh from Wheeling in 1949, they adopted a simple stripe pattern on the sleeve, and they look has undergone very few changes since.  They brought back the argyle pattern on the socks and sleeves for preseason games from 1972-77, and adopted the argyle socks full-time in 1978, but other than that the only differences between what they wear now and what they wore 35 years ago are a lighter shade of gray and updated equipment.

 

15 hours ago, BengalSteve said:

That update for the Captains is pretty good! Looking forward to the 1985 offseason, as well as any other potential uniform updates. 

 

Also, I apologize if this has been brought up already, but have there been any African American head coaches in the AFA yet? I know Jim Handler was an assistant on the Wolves' coaching staff at some point, but if he's still there, is there a chance he could be promoted to the head man in Milwaukee, assuming they let Greg Motta go?

Actually, I'm glad you brought it up.  I did mention that Handler was on the Wolves coaching staff?  I was going to have them bring him on as defensive coordinator this year, and realized that I already had him in my coach database.  I don't remember doing that, I can't find any mention of it by searching the narrative or googling the thread, and my notes are inconsistent.  I thought that I had mistakenly put him into the database.  Am I wrong about that?

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Three teams made minor changes to their uniforms in 1985.  For all three, the primary goal was to switch from a crew neck to a v-neck jersey, though two of the teams made some minor changes to their look while they were at it.

 

First, is the Chicago Butchers.  In addition to changing the collar, they switched from black to white shoes (which puts them in line with virtually the entire league), made the player names larger, and made slight changes to the size and placement of the numbers on the back of the jersey.  They also added player numbers to the helmets - but I'm not going to bother mentioning that anymore.  Every team should have started doing that by 1978, but I forgot to add it to the template.  At the same time, it's such a small difference that I don't want to go through and add it to every team, then repost.  I'll just retroactively update it whenever a team's uniform is being modified anyway.

 

Old Uniform

1978_chicago_butchers_uniform_by_verasth

 

New Uniform:

1985_chicago_butchers_uniform_by_verasth

 

The most dramatic changes belong to the Milwaukee Wolves, who changed the numbers and names on their home jersey from gold to white, and then added a gold outline to the text on both the home and away uniforms.  They also added a strip to the pants.  As has been the case in the past, there was serious discussion of completely overhauling the team's look, including a new color scheme, but nobody could bring themselves to pull the trigger on dumping the Wisconsin Autumn look.

 

Old Uniform: (I can't embed it right now for some reason)

 

New Uniform:

1985_milwaukee_wolves_uniform_by_verasth

 

The Texas Stallions also adopted v-neck jerseys.  The uniform is otherwise completely identical, so I'm not linking the old one.

1985_texas_stallions_by_verasthebrujah-d

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1 hour ago, Veras said:

 

If you look at their full uniform history, it would be kind of difficult for Pittsburgh to do either.  They definitely won't go with a 90s look.  The team colors are black and gray - not silver - gray.  If you want to start a fight in a Pittsburgh bar, say that the Miners wear silver.  The team closely ties its identity to coal country.  They way that they (and their fan base) see it is that coal mining is a dirty job, and a team named for coal miners doesn't need any fancy colors.  That attitude, not to mention that color scheme, just doesn't lend itself well to a 90s look.

 

As for a classic update - they've pretty much always worn the same thing.  They wore uniforms that were basically argyle sweaters with numbers from before the AFA was founded through 1948, but when they moved to Pittsburgh from Wheeling in 1949, they adopted a simple stripe pattern on the sleeve, and they look has undergone very few changes since.  They brought back the argyle pattern on the socks and sleeves for preseason games from 1972-77, and adopted the argyle socks full-time in 1978, but other than that the only differences between what they wear now and what they wore 35 years ago are a lighter shade of gray and updated equipment.

 

Good point, guess I overlooked that fact. But will the ever get a classic logo update like Boston or New York? There's more to work with there. Or is there current logo set in stone.

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2 hours ago, Veras said:

If you look at their full uniform history, it would be kind of difficult for Pittsburgh to do either.  They definitely won't go with a 90s look.

Maybe they make that regrettable move, like the Detroit Pistons, and go with '90s colors. Or maybe they add teal, then wipe it out by 2000 and pretend like it never happened. 

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On 7/26/2017 at 6:05 PM, Veras said:

The rest of the uniform updates are coming up in the next post.  They're all fairly minor changes, so I'm going to cram them all together, but first I wanted to respond to the last few posts, and ask you guys for two things.

 

First, I'm hopefully preparing to move away from DeviantArt for hosting my images.  They've made it more difficult to move images around, which really messes with my organizational system.  I'm hoping that I can use Google Drive, but I'm not sure yet.  I think I have everything set up so that anyone can access the images, even without a google account, but I want to verify that.  The following links should lead to every team's logo history, every team's uniform history, and documents containing the narrative from 1969 onward (I haven't gone through all of them for accuracy, completeness, or proofreading, so bear that in mind as you look at them).  If anybody has any problems, could you let me know?

 

I hadn't thought of that, but it's definitely an interesting idea.

 

 

 

Uhh, I don't want to sound too mean here. But I just, don't, like the Eagle's midnight green look at all. It hasn't looked remotely appealing to me in any of the forms it's been presented in. To me, The Dragons are a team that should look very flamboyant, outrageous. Their current look is too close what The Whales and Grizzlies have, which is why I was never a fan of it.

 

Still, I'm at least glad things seem to be finally turning around for the team itself. I'm eager for the 1985 season.

 

Also, the Google Drive site seems to be working on my end.

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All the uniform updates look good. The update for the Wolves looks good. Not a dramatic change, just enough. I would really like to see them get a new logo in the future. Maybe a wolfs head. The color scheme I would leave alone, it is unlike any other team in the league.

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4 hours ago, officerpain138 said:

All the uniform updates look good. The update for the Wolves looks good. Not a dramatic change, just enough. I would really like to see them get a new logo in the future. Maybe a wolfs head. The color scheme I would leave alone, it is unlike any other team in the league.

I feel like the Wolves may end up being one of those teams that goes BFBS for some reason.

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I've been following this incredible series from afar for some time now but felt I needed to wait until it progressed until the mid-80s before commenting.  Actually, it just turned out that way because I was lazy.  In any case, the recent uniform updates are splendid, especially that Milwaukee set.  That is one unique looking uniform, while retaining some traditional elements the way I feel a team from Milwaukee should. 

 

A few random questions if you'll indulge me:

 

I saw a few people ask recently who would be the AFA universe's counterparts to the Cowboys and Steelers, national teams with huge followings.  What about the flip side?  Who's the least talked about team(s) on a year-to-year basis?  My vote would be for Atlanta.

 

Are any divisional realignments possible in the near term?  I only ask because as an Imperials sympathizer, it would be nice for a 10-6 record to at least get you third place!  It seems like that division is always stacked.

 

Do you happen to have a cumulative records to date database -regular season and playoffs- available for each franchise? 

 

Lastly, any logo updates planned for my twenty-third favorite team, Baltimore?

 

Oh, and those Google Drive links are working perfectly...thanks again for your ongoing efforts!

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Ownership Changes

Following the old cliché that deaths come in sets of three, the AFA lost a trio of owners in just over 6 months between 1984 and 1985.  In October of 1984 Tampa Bay Bobcats owner William Trotter died of heart failure at the age of 76.  Just two months later, Philadelphia Railers owner Robert Simon, Jr. was killed after being thrown off a horse at the Philadelphia-area Foxcatcher Ranch of his friend, billionaire John E. du Pont.  Then, in April of 1985, Portland Dragons owner Zachary Devin passed away after a long battle with cancer.

 

Trotter, who founded both the Bobcats and the Milwaukee Wolves, was by far the most widely-respected of the three.  Simon was generally regarded as a subpar owner, whose meddling was seen as a large part of the reason why the team has only enjoyed 3 winning seasons in his 17-year tenure (though he did earn a Victory Bowl title in 1973).  Devin, on the other hand, was seen as being quite capable, but had a reputation for cruelty and viciousness that led to him being arguably the most hated person in the league.

 

The situation in Tampa is stable, but these changes could affect the future of the franchises in both Philadelphia and Portland.  Control of the Railers will pass to James Simon, the younger brother of Robert.  The team is in the middle of negotiating the construction of a new stadium.  The current lease ends in just three years, and Robert Simon had unequivocally stated that the team would not extend their lease again.  It remains to be seen if James will hold the same line.

 

Zachary Devin’s son, Thomas, inherited the Dragons, and almost immediately began looking to sell the team.  It could take some time to find a buyer, but he has made it clear that he will sell to the highest bidder, and that keeping the team in Portland is not a priority.

 

Coaching Changes

After a relatively quiet offseason in 1984, a whopping 9 head coaches were sent to the chopping block in 1985.  Arizona, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Portland, and Tampa Bay all chose to go in a new direction, and San Diego’s Jim Capron chose not to re-sign with the Destroyers.

 

Of the 10, Capron was by far the most high-profile, having led the Destroyers to a title in 1980, as well as being the architect of the Minnesota defense that has won two titles since 1979.  He ultimately chose to sign with the Tampa Bay Bobcats, where he will have total control over personnel decisions.  Interestingly, the man he replaced, George Coffin, also leaded a new head coaching gig, moving 200 miles southeast to take over in Miami.

 

Other notable hires include Cincinnati offensive coordinator Roosevelt Brown, who signed with Houston after refusing to even take interviews the year before; and new Philadelphia Railers coach James Hendricks, who won two titles with the New Orleans Krewe in the 1970s, and has spent the past five years at USC.

 

Stadium News

The Milwaukee Wolves will kick off the 1985 season at the newly-constructed Miller Field in downtown Milwaukee.  With a capacity of 68,874, it is somewhat smaller than the average AFA stadium, but it will boast several state-of-the-art amenities, most notably a large number of luxury boxes.  It will be an enormous improvement over the old Milwaukee Municipal Stadium, which was arguably the worst in the league.

 

The debate over a stadium in Baltimore took a dramatic turn when the city’s baseball team, the Baltimore Bishops, relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, in January, dramatically leaving Baltimore in the dead of night in a fleet of Swift Transportation trucks.  State and local officials had previously believed that they would be able to keep both the Royals and the Bishops in the city without constructing a new stadium.  The shock of the Bishops’ departure jolted public opinion in favor of a new stadium, and negotiations began to make real progress for the first time.  Still, nothing is set in stone, and the Royals lease expires at the end of the 1986 season.

 

Roster Changes

The biggest news of the offseason came when Colorado sent a 3rd round draft pick to Cleveland in exchange for QB Frankie Farragut.  Farragut was a long-term starter for the Ghosts, but lost the job to rookie Therron Nikoloudis in 1984.  He did, however, play a role in the team’s title run, coming off the bench for two playoff games, including a 259 yard, 2 TD performance against the Cents in the Quarterfinals, which convinced the Colorado brass to give him a shot.  Incumbent starter John Vessey was cut, and ended up signing with Kansas City, where he will back up Greg Benham.

 

The 1985 offseason also saw the retirement of two of the best defensive players in history.

 

Milwaukee cut 38-year old CB Knight Roberts, who had been with the team for 14 seasons.  Not wanting to retire without a Victory Bowl ring, he pursued a contract with several contenders, including Colorado, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh, but was unable to garner any interest.

 

Seattle DT Julien Guggenheim also decided to retire after a 17-year career with the Angels and Grizzlies.  He initially intended to return for one more year, going so far as to report to training camp, but he walked away two days later.  “I just don’t have enough gas left in the tank,” he explained, “I think I can still play at a high level, and it would be nice to walk away as a champion, but I just don’t know if we can do that this year, and I can’t imagine going through a whole season just to come up short.”

 

Incredibly, neither of these two men have ever won a Victory Bowl.  Roberts appeared in two (1974 and 1978) and Guggenheim in one (1973), but their teams came up short.  Nevertheless, both are certain first-ballot Hall of Famers.  Roberts revolutionized the cornerback position with his physical style of play, while Guggenheim was the last defensive player to win the MVP award (1973).  Guggenheim’s retirement marks a milestone for another reason – he was born on September 21, 1946 – the same day as the first game in AFA history.  Now, all active AFA players are younger than the league.  In fact, no active player was born until after the 2nd Victory Bowl.

 

Aside from Roberts and Guggenheim, the most notable retirement was MLB Gerry Leigh, who was the heart of the Imperial defense for more than a decade.  He may join the others in Richmond someday, though in his case, the lack of a ring may keep him out.

 

1985 AFA Draft

The draft began with a trade, as Los Angeles sent the top pick to Boston in exchange for the Captains’ top two picks this year, and their first selection in 1986.  Moving up was a rare move for the conservative Captains, but they used the pick on Russell Fraizer (RB – Baylor), whose thundering, Jose Ortuno-like style may be the final piece that truly makes the team contenders.  LA, meanwhile, will hope that the extra first-round pick will be more useful next year, in what is likely to be a stronger class.  Like the Captains, the Pittsburgh Miners also moved up (to number 4) to select a RB, Memphis’s Jeff Johnston, a speedster who they hope will provide a new weapon that can put the aging team over the top before Rob Connery retires.

 

Other than that, the early part of the first round was dominated by defensive prospects.  Five of the first seven picks were spent on defenders, all of whom are expected to make an immediate impact.  The Miami Suns surprisingly took Glenn Searles (C – Notre Dame) at number 7, which started a run on offense, including the St. Louis Aces taking Danny Buckingham (QB – Texas A&M) with the 10th overall pick.  Buckingham is a raw, cannon-armed passer who is seen as a bit of a reach, but it’s hard to imagine that he could be any worse than the parade of players that the Aces have had under center for the past few years.

 

The Suns also selected TE John Tang (Houston) with the 20th overall pick (which they acquired from Kansas City last year), making him the first player of Asian descent to be chosen in the first round.

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I see an expansion in possibly in the near future. Indianapolis and New Mexico, perhaps? 

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Looks like the Butchers are focusing on their line for support. Best thing I can hope for is that they tank to get the next Rob Connery, but their mediocrity is in the way. Also like the sneaky Colts moving away in the middle of the night reference with the Baltimore team.

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Interesting things are happening now. Captains making big moves..Portland maybe on the way out?

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Welp, Portland is screwed.

 

Who's the new man in charge in San Diego?

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Dunno if New Mexico could get a team during the next expansion. If the Southern division were to get another team, it'd probably be somewhere like Memphis, Oklahoma City, or San Antonio. I highly recommend Indianapolis getting a team, though it will be hard to come up with a non-Speedway name. Also, will Charlotte ever be a potential market for the league?

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