Veras

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

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Wow! A lot to take in! I am excited to see what new directions NY and NJ will be taking. Hopefully they can get back on track soon. I am looking forward to the USFA team identities being revealed! Some great names in there. I don't imagine this league lasting very long, but it should be interesting while it is operating! I can't wait to see the 87 season!

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I'll hopefully get the 1987  season up tonight.  Everything through the postseason is basically ready to go, but I need to do some editing on the regular season post, and I've had a horrible migraine for about a week, which has made it hard to focus long enough to get that done.

 

On 10/7/2017 at 9:47 AM, CodeG said:

Lots of crazy stuff has happened this offseason. What are the Ghosts up to? Or are they just being quiet and hoping Ortuno can carry them again?

They're still hoping that they've got the right roster to make another title run.  They're good, and still young enough that the current model of feed Ortuno the ball and shut down the opposing passing attack will be in place for a few more years.  Their biggest problem is that, while they're virtually unbeatable when playing with the lead, they're not so great at playing from behind.  They need Therron Nikoloudis to do better.

 

On 10/7/2017 at 10:41 AM, Zandandido said:

I love the name Reapers, and am pretty surprised by Philly and it's new 10 year lease. Seriously awesome to see Connery retire as a Grizzly, and how are the Grizzlies doing in the off-season? 

Philadelphia was in an odd situation with their stadium.  It isn't very old - only about a decade and a half, but it was designed for seating capacity first.  It's huge, but it lacks modern amenities.  This is a particular big problem given the fact that the Railers have been something of an afterthought for quite a while now.  The team isn't very good and the stadium isn't very comfortable, so they have a hard time selling tickets.

 

Part of the reason that they struck the deal was that the league put a lot of pressure on the owner to do so.  Buffalo was their most likely destination, and they would have would up in a similar situation - a dated stadium that they couldn't sell out.  However, they would have ended up in a smaller market, and vacating Philly would have left it open for the USFA.  It's rumored the President Breyer would have done everything in his power to get the Owners' Council to veto the move, which has never happened in the AFA.

 

On 10/7/2017 at 11:53 AM, BengalSteve said:

Also, have there been any other mid season coaching changes in the AFA prior to the Wasps in 1986? And who’s the new head coach for the Imperials?

It happens from time to time.  I don't usually mention it because it's not really relevant.  The most recent example came in 1984, when the Los Angeles Comets fired Johnny Owchinko after he started the season 0-10.  Making that a particularly unusual example is the fact that it was his first year as a head coach.

 

The Imperials hired Peter Langtree.  He was defensive coordinator under Clyde Mitchell, creator of the 3-4, at Notre Dame.  When Mitchell moved up to the AFA in 1976, he accepted the DC position under WIllie Krause in Pittsburgh instead of following his mentor to the Centennials.  The team won the Victory Bowl in his first season, and in 1979 he became head coach of the St. Louis Aces.  He didn't have a lot of success there, was fired after the 1983 season, and has been Colorado's defensive coordinator ever since.  He will switch the Imperials over to an aggressive 3-4 scheme, which, the owners hope, will shore up the defense and help take pressure off of Ron Adams's offense.

 

On 10/7/2017 at 12:06 PM, flacco's mustache said:

It seems the AFA lost a lot of all-time greats this offseason. I would love to see Veras' opinion on a top 50 all-time players list. Maybe during the AFA's 50th anniversary in 1996?

 

I also love Baltimore taking a running back in the first round. Any notable Royals storylines this offseason?

 

I might look into something like that around the 50th season.  It might be kind of hard to do, though.  I changed how I tracked player ratings in 1980 (the manual method that I had used previously was too time-consuming).  As a result, comparing pre-1980 players to post-1980 players is an apples and oranges situation.  Actually, even comparing ratings across positions is kind of difficult.  Rookie overall ratings are generated the same way for every position, but progression varies by position, so players at positions that peak later in their careers end up with much higher numbers.  As an example, the top quarterbacks in the league are in the 120s, while the best wideouts are in the low 90s.

 

The Royals have been hovering just outside of Victory Bowl territory for years.  If they're going to win, they need to do it now.  The real question is with Derrill Punch.  He kind of came out of nowhere, winning the starting job after an injury to his predecessor.  For a couple years, it really looked like he had potential, but he just hasn't really gotten any better since about his sophomore season.  They need more out of him, or they need to move on.

 

On 10/7/2017 at 5:34 PM, ChicagoOakland said:

Going away from the USFA for a moment, it was fascinating to hear about the career paths for Fryer and Barker. I was actually thinking recently about how Fryer was panning out (I couldn't avoid that pun, sorry).

With Fryer gone, what's expected of the Wayne Lee/Old Barker combo? I'm still no Bobcat fan, but that dynamic is interesting and I can't root against the coach who led San Diego to the promiseland.

 

Also, any other black QBs on the horizon or is Reggie going to have to hold this flag alone for a while?

Lee and Barker aren't going to be a tandem.  There is no question - Lee is the workhorse, Barker is the insurance policy.

 

There are a few Black quarterbacks in college, but none are exactly Reggie Hart material.  USC Junior Charlie Gardner is probably the most likely to make an impact in the AFA, but he is only going to be taking over as a full-time starter this year, so it's too early to judge his abilities.  Moreover, unless he has a huge season, he isn't expected to enter the league until 1989.  The other possibility is Syracuse Fifth-Year Senior Michael Harris.  He's astonishingly agile, maybe even moreso than Hart, and has very good arm strength.  Accuracy is a problem, though, and he has a tendency to rely too much on his legs.  He certainly intends to declare for the draft this year, but it's not at all clear if he will be an AFA quarterback, play a different position, or go to Canada.

 

On 10/8/2017 at 12:57 AM, DNAsports said:

What direction did New Orleans go?

They brought in Nelson Bursey, Donny Minor's former coach from Texas.  The team will make heavy use of the shotgun and the downfield attack, doing everything that they can to let Minor make big plays with his arm while reducing the need for him to move around in the pocket.  Their first-round pick also reflects this philosophy, as Ken Graham is a phenomenal pass blocker.  The interesting question is what the line will end up looking like - Minor (who is a lefty) has had his blindside protected by All-Pro Dewey Hartwig for as long as he's been in the league, but Hartwig excels more in the run blocking game.  Hartwig and Graham are all but guaranteed to be the team's starting tackles, but it is up in the air which side they will play on.

 

20 hours ago, officerpain138 said:

Wow! A lot to take in! I am excited to see what new directions NY and NJ will be taking. Hopefully they can get back on track soon. I am looking forward to the USFA team identities being revealed! Some great names in there. I don't imagine this league lasting very long, but it should be interesting while it is operating! I can't wait to see the 87 season!

New Jersey is definitely rebuilding.  They actually shopped Dick Katz this offseason.  They wanted to send him to Colorado, but the Cents picked up Todd Mayo from Chicago instead.  The Miners were also interested, but the Sharks weren't willing to give their biggest bullies another weapon at a price that Pittsburgh was willing to pay.

 

The Imperials are a bit of a mystery.  Most analysts think that their championship window is basically closed, but the organization strongly believes that they can compete as long as they have Ron Adams.

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1987 Regular Season

 

1987_season_by_verasthebrujah-dbq2xym.jp

 

For the second consecutive season, the Guardians of Cincinnati dominated the league, finishing 14-2 and clinching the top playoff seed in early December.  However, despite having an identical record, they look far more vulnerable than they did a year ago.  Age is clearly catching up with the offensive line, which has been the league’s best for most of the decade (this is the first time since 1979 that the Cincy o-line will not be represented in the All-Star Bowl), and a nagging ankle injury slowed down RB Jim Hill for most of the season.  If not for the heroic efforts of QB Reggie Hart, who won his second consecutive league MVP, then Cleveland or Detroit would likely have dethroned the Guardians in the North.

 

Despite failing to win the division title, both the Ghosts (11-4-1, 3rd seed) and the Gladiators (11-5, 7th seed) will play in January as wildcard teams, and both are worth watching.  The Ghosts, as usual, are one Jose Ortuno hot streak from bringing home another title, while Detroit can play with anybody, as is proven by the fact that they are responsible for both of Cincinnati’s losses this year.

 

The Southeastern Division also produced three teams with double-digit win totals for the second year running.  The Baltimore Royals (11-5) and Tampa Bay Bobcats (10-6) each repeated their 1986 performances, while a resurgent Atlanta Rebels team improved from 6-10 to 11-5 and the injury-ravaged Miami Suns fell from 11-5 to 4-12.  Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they missed the postseason on tiebreakers for the second year in a row.  The Rebels and Royals will see postseason action, however, claiming the 6th and 7th seeds.  Both squads boast dominant defenses, but will need the offenses to step up if they are to win it all.  The Rebels running game is one of the league’s worst, and Baltimore QB Derrill Punch has been a liability, throwing a league-worst 28 interceptions.

 

The New York Imperials entered the season being derided as over the hill by most pundits, with many believing that they had wasted Ron Adams’s prime.  The team responded with a 11-5 campaign, beating out the defending champion Miners for the Northeastern Division title.  The Boston Captains, who were the preseason favorites to win the division, missed the postseason thanks to an inability to win games on the road, going 7-1 in Boston, but 2-5-1 away from the friendly confines of Kenmore Stadium.  Even with these struggles, they still had a shot at the postseason, just needing a win in the season finale against the 4-11 Sharks in New Jersey.  With 10 minutes to play, they held a 20-7 lead, but gave up 17 unanswered points, to fall 24-20.  Adding insult to injury – that playoff spot instead went to the 10-6 Miners, who edged out Kansas City and Tampa Bay on tiebreakers.

 

The race for the Western Division title was the league’s tightest, but nevertheless, least interesting.  The division was so bad that it almost seemed as though nobody even wanted to win it.  Their performance against non-Western opponents was laughable, with the five teams posting a combined record of 10-30.  The almost impressively bad Grizzlies went 1-15, but the four remaining teams were still in the race for the division title until at least mid-December.  Going into week 17, California and Portland were the only two teams still standing.  The Dragons were in first at 8-7, but the 7-8 Whales held the tiebreaker, having won both head-to-head matchups between the teams.  California needed a win and a Portland loss, and they got both, as they were able to take care of business against the Grizzlies and watched the Dragons fall to the Comets in Los Angeles.

 

The remaining two divisions were never really close.  Thanks to a 4-0 December, the Kansas City Crows managed to finish two games behind the Minnesota Angels in the Central, but their hot streak was too little, too late, and they never made a serious challenge for the division title.  Colorado was surprisingly silent in the race, thanks to a banged up defense and a young quarterback.

 

Houston’s dominance of the South was even more complete, as they clinched the division title on December 4th.  QB Tom Hudson made huge strides, finishing only 3 votes behind Reggie Hart in MVP voting.  Moreover, the rest of the team is finally playing well enough to support him.  Though this squad was widely considered a joke just a few years ago, there are now a serious sleeper pick to win it all, and they appear to have a bright future ahead of them.

 

1987_postseason_by_verasthebrujah-dbq2y5

 

AFA Magazine Wildcard Previews

 

Baltimore Royals vs Detroit Gladiators

 

Detroit is the better team.  Both teams boast a few stars on defense, but while the Royals cannot win unless LB Adrian Doom and DE Joe Oldham have big games, the Gladiators are quite well-rounded.  Even more significant to their probability of success is that Detroit boasts a powerful attack, led by QB John Lewis and RB Johnny Hewitt, who are both a class above anyone who will be wearing purple on Sunday.  Baltimore’s greatest hope is in the fact that the Gladiators have not played well on the road, especially in poor weather, and the forecast is for wind chill in the low 20s and rain or snow.  Regardless of the weather, this game is too important for the Gladiators to slip.  Detroit wins big, 27-13.

 

Cleveland Ghosts vs Pittsburgh Miners

 

This has the potential to produce some phenomenal highlights.  Both teams are loaded with playmakers on both sides of the ball.  There will be some epic collisions between Jose Ortuno and the Pittsburgh linebackers, and Jeff Johnston and the Cleveland secondary.  The teams are incredibly evenly matched, but the Ghosts probably have the slight edge.  Given the quality of both rushing attacks, the defenses are likely to throw everything at shutting down the run, and daring the opposing quarterback to beat them.  Pittsburgh’s offense is run by rookie George Gilbert, while Cleveland has the benefit of a veteran in Therron Nikoloudis.  Moreover, Cleveland has a superior secondary that will be capable of shutting down the Pittsburgh receiving corps even if they are focused on playing the run.  Cleveland wins it, 17-14.

 

42nd_victory_bowl_logo_by_verasthebrujah-dbq2yn4.png

 

 

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So close, yet so far. Vessey at quarterback looks like it really improved things. Still, there's next year and a division that is still pretty wide open. Also, thinking that this year might end up Hurricanes-Imperials. Just my hunch.

 

Miners beat Ghosts

Gladiators beat Royals

 

Anyway, I did notice that three teams had a tie game and Boston had a tie within it's division, but no one else had a tie game.

 

EDIT: Had Detroit instead of Boston

 

EDIT 2: Appears that they tied with the Railers. Thanks!

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24 minutes ago, Red Comet said:

Anyway, I did notice that three teams had a tie game and Boston had a tie within it's division, but no one else had a tie game.

 

I also noticed this and I'm holding out the somewhat irrational hope that that tie was supposed to be a win and the Caps made the playoffs.

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Wow, the west division was awful. Comets fans keep hoping next year. Next year, maybe we'll make the playoffs!

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41 minutes ago, Zandandido said:

Holy hell, what happened to the Grizzlies?

Injuries, and instability at quarterback.  Rick Ivery was terrible under center, and FS Sam Barber was the only guy on defense to start all 16 games.  In all honestly, they probably over-performed last year and under-performed this year.  I'd say that they're probably the most difficult team to project for next year.

 

They'd definitely like to replace Ivery in the draft, but this could be the worst quarterback class in history.  The top-rated prospect, Brian Olson, has already announced that he will return to Michigan State for his senior year.  Jeff Showalter (North Carolina) is probably the best QB available.  He has an absolute cannon for an arm, but he lacks the awareness to move through his progressions quickly, and has a tendency to either decide where he is throwing the ball before the snap, or hold onto it for far too long.  There are some extremely talented defensive prospects, so they might pick one of those guys in an effort to get younger on that side of the ball.  Alternately, if they're lucky they may be able to get a good price for the top pick, possibly by moving into next year's draft, which is more promising.

 

25 minutes ago, Red Comet said:

So close, yet so far. Vessey at quarterback looks like it really improved things. Still, there's next year and a division that is still pretty wide open. Also, thinking that this year might end up Hurricanes-Imperials. Just my hunch.

 

Miners beat Ghosts

Gladiators beat Royals

 

Anyway, I did notice that three teams had a tie game and Detroit had a tie within it's division, but no one else had a tie game.

The division will be tough for a few more years, but Colorado is fading.  Minnesota is another story.  The team that won two Victory Bowls is mostly gone, but Tim Kewley has deveoped into a top-5 quarterback, and as long as he is around, they're probably going to win a lot of games.

 

Thanks for pointing out the error the record.  Sorry, @ItDoesntMatter, it was supposed to be a tie with Philly.  I'm not sure how it ended up being wrong.  I don't do anything for the simulations by hand anymore.  Excel does it all automatically, and it's the same formula for every team and game.  Both teams rolled a 16.02.  For Boston, it was correctly counted as a tie, while Philadelphia recorded it as an overtime loss somehow.  The only thing that I can think of is that Philly's roll must have a value that isn't rounded to the nearest hundredth, but that shouldn't be possible.  The rolling function and the overall ratings always get rounded, and even if it didn't, and the Railers actually had a 16.019, then the Captains should have been credited with a win.

 

I guess I'll just have to keep an eye on it.

 

1 minute ago, CheeseBurger22 said:

Wow, the west division was awful. Comets fans keep hoping next year. Next year, maybe we'll make the playoffs!

The division was so bad that it's entirely conceivable that any of the five teams could win it next year.  The Comets have been bad for a really long time.  They have a few solid players, but they need QB Andy Stough, who just completed a disappointing sophomore season, to take a step forward if they're going to become relevant.

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Again, Cincinnati finish a high seed, Minnesota and Pittsburgh make playoffs again. California just got lucky to sneak into the playoffs on the basis of a weak division. 

My predictions for the wild card round:

Pittsburgh to defeat Cleveland

Baltimore to defeat Detroit

Can't wait what the 1987 season playoffs will pan out - it sucks that the Butchers continue to prop up the Northern Division, but can't wait to see who takes home the Victory Bowl!

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The Krewe continue to miss the playoffs.... :(. I guess the coaching change didn't help Minor as much as people thought it would, given that we were worse this year. 

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Wow Arizona looks much improved. How is their young QB fairing and how much longer do they have to wait before they're contenders again?

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Wow! I didn't expect NY to make the postseason let alone win the division! Nice job boys!

 

That Victory Bowl logo is by far the best one you have made! Excellent job!

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Interesting results!  Looks like the Gladiators could be a nice dark horse candidate this year!  Meanwhile, at 8-8, the California Whales look like the worst team by far, which naturally means they'll make the semifinals at least!  

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1 hour ago, Stickman said:

Interesting results!  Looks like the Gladiators could be a nice dark horse candidate this year!  Meanwhile, at 8-8, the California Whales look like the worst team by far, which naturally means they'll make the semifinals at least!  

Then the Garglers of Chokecinnati return - though at least they have a Victory Bowl next to their name now.

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hahaha jesus christ seattle

 

Also, based on the description, shouldn't the Sharks be 6-10?

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Well, I really do think now is the time to put the horse down. This core seems to be done. Any franchise QB's in this draft the Cents can start to move assets around for?

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almost every year now Cleveland does so good but is stuck playing in the wildcard game, its like a tradition now

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On 10/9/2017 at 8:07 PM, Veras said:

1987 Regular Season

 

1987_season_by_verasthebrujah-dbq2xym.jp

 

For the second consecutive season, the Guardians of Cincinnati dominated the league, finishing 14-2 and clinching the top playoff seed in early December.  However, despite having an identical record, they look far more vulnerable than they did a year ago.  Age is clearly catching up with the offensive line, which has been the league’s best for most of the decade (this is the first time since 1979 that the Cincy o-line will not be represented in the All-Star Bowl), and a nagging ankle injury slowed down RB Jim Hill for most of the season.  If not for the heroic efforts of QB Reggie Hart, who won his second consecutive league MVP, then Cleveland or Detroit would likely have dethroned the Guardians in the North.

 

Despite failing to win the division title, both the Ghosts (11-5, 3rd seed) and the Gladiators (11-4-1, 7th seed) will play in January as wildcard teams, and both are worth watching.  The Ghosts, as usual, are one Jose Ortuno hot streak from bringing home another title, while Detroit can play with anybody, as is proven by the fact that they are responsible for both of Cincinnati’s losses this year.

 

The Southeastern Division also produced three teams with double-digit win totals for the second year running.  The Baltimore Royals (11-5) and Tampa Bay Bobcats (10-6) each repeated their 1986 performances, while a resurgent Atlanta Rebels team improved from 6-10 to 11-5 and the injury-ravaged Miami Suns fell from 11-5 to 4-12.  Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they missed the postseason on tiebreakers for the second year in a row.  The Rebels and Royals will see postseason action, however, claiming the 5th and 6th seeds.  Both squads boast dominant defenses, but will need the offenses to step up if they are to win it all.  The Rebels running game is one of the league’s worst, and Baltimore QB Derrill Punch has been a liability, throwing a league-worst 28 interceptions.

 

The New York Imperials entered the season being derided as over the hill by most pundits, with many believing that they had wasted Ron Adams’s prime.  The team responded with a 11-5 campaign, beating out the defending champion Miners for the Northeastern Division title.  The Boston Captains, who were the preseason favorites to win the division, missed the postseason thanks to an inability to win games on the road, going 7-1 in Boston, but 2-5-1 away from the friendly confines of Kenmore Stadium.  Even with these struggles, they still had a shot at the postseason, just needing a win in the season finale against the 4-11 Sharks in New Jersey.  With 10 minutes to play, they held a 20-7 lead, but gave up 17 unanswered points, to fall 24-20.  Adding insult to injury – that playoff spot instead went to the 10-6 Miners, who edged out Kansas City and Tampa Bay on tiebreakers.

 

The race for the Western Division title was the league’s tightest, but nevertheless, least interesting.  The division was so bad that it almost seemed as though nobody even wanted to win it.  Their performance against non-Western opponents was laughable, with the five teams posting a combined record of 10-30.  The almost impressively bad Grizzlies went 1-15, but the four remaining teams were still in the race for the division title until at least mid-December.  Going into week 17, California and Portland were the only two teams still standing.  The Dragons were in first at 8-7, but the 7-8 Whales held the tiebreaker, having won both head-to-head matchups between the teams.  California needed a win and a Portland loss, and they got both, as they were able to take care of business against the Grizzlies and watched the Dragons fall to the Comets in Los Angeles.

 

The remaining two divisions were never really close.  Thanks to a 4-0 December, the Kansas City Crows managed to finish two games behind the Minnesota Angels in the Central, but their hot streak was too little, too late, and they never made a serious challenge for the division title.  Colorado was surprisingly silent in the race, thanks to a banged up defense and a young quarterback.

 

Houston’s dominance of the South was even more complete, as they clinched the division title on December 4th.  QB Tom Hudson made huge strides, finishing only 3 votes behind Reggie Hart in MVP voting.  Moreover, the rest of the team is finally playing well enough to support him.  Though this squad was widely considered a joke just a few years ago, there are now a serious sleeper pick to win it all, and they appear to have a bright future ahead of them.

 

1987_postseason_by_verasthebrujah-dbq2y5

 

AFA Magazine Wildcard Previews

 

Baltimore Royals vs Detroit Gladiators

 

Detroit is the better team.  Both teams boast a few stars on defense, but while the Royals cannot win unless LB Adrian Doom and DE Joe Oldham have big games, the Gladiators are quite well-rounded.  Even more significant to their probability of success is that Detroit boasts a powerful attack, led by QB John Lewis and RB Johnny Hewitt, who are both a class above anyone who will be wearing purple on Sunday.  Baltimore’s greatest hope is in the fact that the Gladiators have not played well on the road, especially in poor weather, and the forecast is for wind chill in the low 20s and rain or snow.  Regardless of the weather, this game is too important for the Gladiators to slip.  Detroit wins big, 27-13.

 

Cleveland Ghosts vs Pittsburgh Miners

 

This has the potential to produce some phenomenal highlights.  Both teams are loaded with playmakers on both sides of the ball.  There will be some epic collisions between Jose Ortuno and the Pittsburgh linebackers, and Jeff Johnston and the Cleveland secondary.  The teams are incredibly evenly matched, but the Ghosts probably have the slight edge.  Given the quality of both rushing attacks, the defenses are likely to throw everything at shutting down the run, and daring the opposing quarterback to beat them.  Pittsburgh’s offense is run by rookie George Gilbert, while Cleveland has the benefit of a veteran in Therron Nikoloudis.  Moreover, Cleveland has a superior secondary that will be capable of shutting down the Pittsburgh receiving corps even if they are focused on playing the run.  Cleveland wins it, 17-14.

 

42nd_victory_bowl_logo_by_verasthebrujah-dbq2yn4.png

 

 

CORRECTION #1: Despite failing to win the division title, both the Ghosts (11-4-1, 3rd seed) and the Gladiators (11-5, 8th seed) will play in January as wildcard teams, and both are worth watching.

 

CORRECTION #2: The Rebels and Royals will see postseason action, however, claiming the 6th and 7th seeds.

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Alright Destroyers, time to blow it all up.

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