Veras

History of a Fictional Football League (The USFA - Indiana Warriors)

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It's aiive, be patient.

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I just haven't been feeling well lately.  My head has been in a negative place, which has made it pretty much impossible for me to write, or really do much of anything creative.  I've been up to doing the quantitative stuff, but not much else.  All of the USFA designs are done, as is the offseason writeup, the USFA season, and the AFA simulation.  I just need to find the will to actually present everything, which includes writing up the background for the USFA teams and creating the graphics to present their season.  I'm hoping to be able to get back to it this weekend.

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We've got your back, man. Just know that all you do here is and always will be appreciated.

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On 11/3/2017 at 4:57 PM, Veras said:

I just haven't been feeling well lately.  My head has been in a negative place, which has made it pretty much impossible for me to write, or really do much of anything creative.  I've been up to doing the quantitative stuff, but not much else.  All of the USFA designs are done, as is the offseason writeup, the USFA season, and the AFA simulation.  I just need to find the will to actually present everything, which includes writing up the background for the USFA teams and creating the graphics to present their season.  I'm hoping to be able to get back to it this weekend.

I hope you feel better soon. Take all the time you need.

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Okay, I've been able to write a bit, so I'll start posting again either today or tomorrow, depending on how much time I have.

 

On 10/21/2017 at 10:28 AM, RedfieldNick said:

How are the Chicago Butchers panning out?

They're entering full rebuild mode.  They're actually involved in a blockbuster trade this offseason.

 

On 10/22/2017 at 12:51 PM, stratonascar said:

Or What about the AFA's Version of John Madden Football? or AFA Gameday? or AFA Blitz?

On 10/23/2017 at 2:44 AM, KittSmith_95 said:

John Madden Football in the AFA would be Blake Mitchard Football given how long he's been under the mic for the AFA, I assume. 

On 10/23/2017 at 7:17 AM, MR. 3G said:

I don't think he would be. If you're following the same method as Madden that would more likely apply to Stanley McKay. McKay does color commentary just like Madden did. And Veras seems to imply that McKay's quirky personality makes him extremely popular.  And who's to say it has to work out that way? Maybe a highly popular retired player is put in that spot, or maybe the AFA licenses their name out (albeit early).

 

I've actually been thinking about that.  Blake Mitchard or Stanley McKay would be the obvious parallel, but neither name has the same... power... as Madden.  The name that I've considered as an alternative is Payne.  There have been two superstar players with that name, Doc Payne was a pre-war OL/DL with the Philadelphia Continentals who played two years in the AFA, retiring when the team relocated to St. Louis.  He was also a coach for a while, having a lot of success as an offensive coordinator and absolutely none as a head coach.  That name would be perfect, but he's 78, so probably too old to associate with a video game.  The other is Cincinnati C K.C. Payne, who is likely to retire this offseason, so he's probably too young.

 

EDIT: We could, of course, go with former QB C.J. Random. Random Football 1990…

 

On 10/22/2017 at 1:20 PM, MR. 3G said:

Any further news on the Atlanta image controversy?

Yes, it heated up considerably this year, and it could have the potential to actually hurt the team on the field moving forward.  Full details will come in the offseason post.

 

On 10/23/2017 at 2:20 AM, FDW said:

I'd rather the AFA not go with an exclusive contract. The Sports game monopolies have led to mediocre gaming and shameless cash grabbing. 

I agree with you completely on this.  Part of the reason I started simulating football seasons (an activity which would grow into this project) is that Madden has been such garbage for such a long time.  The AFA probably won't go exclusive license.

 

On 10/24/2017 at 1:41 AM, mkg74 said:

 Veras, are you making sigs for the USFA teams? Wouldnt mind a Utah Pioneers one if so.....

I hadn't planned on it, because I don't intend to spend a lot of time on the USFA, but I can do simple ones.

Edited by Veras

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If we're not going exclusive with video games, there should be plenty of options. I remember having a John Elway football on the NES (hot garbage), and Joe Montana football on the Genesis (better, but still not good). So there should be a few games out there with signature players. Maybe instead of John Madden, EA in this universe has Willie Krause Football?

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7 hours ago, Veras said:

 

 

I agree with you completely on this.  Part of the reason I started simulating football seasons (an activity which would grow into this project) is that Madden has been such garbage for such a long time.  The AFA probably won't go exclusive license.

 

Are you going to stick entirely to OTL consoles? Or would you be interested in opening a rip in the butterfly net you have around the football world? The next decade of the video game industry is probably is probably the most interesting of all. Nintendo first sees their monopoly eroded by SEGA and NEC, and finally broken by Sony. SEGA has their rise, and then fall caused by Sony. Atari steadily declines throughout this period, before being put out of it's misery by Sony. And then there was also the interesting run by NEC and EA during this period, which was brought to a halt by Sony's entrance into the market. The only failure that wasn't a result of Sony was the Phillips CD-i, which was just a bad :censored:ing idea. The irony is that if the CD-i had actually been designed to be a decent console, SEGA would still be around today.

 

But I'm probably getting off topic here…

 

5 hours ago, Dan O'Mac said:

If we're not going exclusive with video games, there should be plenty of options. I remember having a John Elway football on the NES (hot garbage), and Joe Montana football on the Genesis (better, but still not good). So there should be a few games out there with signature players. Maybe instead of John Madden, EA in this universe has Willie Krause Football?

 

There was also a "TV Sports Football" for the NEC Turbografx-16 (PC Engine).

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I am glad to see you doing better bro! With all the little hints you have dropped about the off season, I think this could be the most excited I have been for the off season! I am really curious to see what my Imperials and Sharks are planning.

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1 hour ago, officerpain138 said:

I am glad to see you doing better bro! With all the little hints you have dropped about the off season, I think this could be the most excited I have been for the off season! I am really curious to see what my Imperials and Sharks are planning.

 

I'm glad to see Veras back too. I can't wait to see how the Dragons will steal the Teddies Pik-A-Nik basket this year. (And the rest of the rest of the west, the FakeFish, the Whores, and the other team)

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1988 Offseason

 

USFA Lawsuits

The USFA was scheduled to take the field for the first time in March of 1988, which led to a tumultuous few months in the world of professional football.  The USFA drew players from a number of sources, with most coming from the Canadian Football Federation, the NCAA, or the AFA.  The latter source led to a number of lawsuits, which were ultimately consolidated into two cases, both of which went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

 

The first case, AFA v Parker, involved players who were still under contract with the AFA.  The lead plaintiff was California Whales QB Steve Parker, who had been benched in favor of Greg Benham early in the 1987 season.  Knowing that his prospects for playing time were slim, and though he still had a year left on his contract with the Whales, he filed for retirement from the AFA and signed with the USFA’s Birmingham Hammers.  His lawyers argued that the USFA did not compete directly with the AFA, which meant that signing with Birmingham did not violate the terms of his contract with the Whales.  The court strongly rejected this, deciding 7-2 in the AFA’s favor.

 

The second case, Detrich v Cumberland, was over players whose AFA contracts had expired, but were prevented from signing with another team by the league’s reserve rule.  This rule restricted free agency by requiring teams signing a player who had previously played for another franchise to pay a substantial cash penalty to the player’s former team.  Dozens of former AFA players, most of whom were backups, signed with USFA franchises.  USFA teams refused to pay the penalty, and several AFA franchises sued.  In this case, the court voted 6-3 in favor Florid Swamp Monsters owner Brian Cumberland,  ruling that the AFA’s attempt to block players no longer under contract from signing with the new league constituted an unlawful restraint of trade.  This case is significant both because it will allow a large pool of talent to flow to the USFA, and because it seems to lays the groundwork for the AFAPC to challenge the AFA’s restrictions on free agency (an issue that is particularly important now, as the AFA CBA expires in the middle of the 1989 season).

 

Coaching Changes

Five head coaches were fired following the 1987 season.  The Los Angeles Comets, Miami Suns, Milwaukee Wolves, and Seattle Grizzlies all let go of coaches who had been around for only a few years, and hadn’t found much success (the five combined for 11 years of experience, a total record of 65-111, and a single playoff appearance).  The Texas Stallions, on the other hand, fired Neal Fabbro, who had been in place for 11 years, boasted an 89-92 record, and had led the team to 6 playoff appearances and two trips to the Victory Bowl.  Unfortunately for Stallions fans, the team had come close to a title, but always failed to clinch it, and had declined considerably in recent years, not reaching the postseason since 1981.

 

Fabbro, 53, was considered the league’s hottest candidate to be a head coach, but he declined all interviews, saying that while he wants to return to the sideline someday, he wants to take a year or two off so that he can spend weekends with his two very young grandchildren.  With Fabbro out of the picture, and a dozen USFA teams gobbling up coaching talent, many of the new hires were considered somewhat lackluster.  Miami went with a great deal of experience, bringing in a staff with three former AFA head coaches, while most other looked to the college ranks.

 

The lone exception was the Milwaukee Wolves, who made history when they promoted DC Jim Handler to the top job, making him the league’s first African-American head coach.  The move was controversial, though not for the reasons that one might expect – Handler is incredibly popular in Milwaukee, thanks to his community involvement, his time as a player with the Wolves in the 1960s and 70s, and the fact that his defense has been very good over the past two years.  However, the team’s offense has been so atrocious that the team posted records of 5-11 and 3-13 in spite of having a top-10 defense.  In light of this, most fans would have preferred to bring in an offensively-oriented coach to right the ship.

 

Stadium News

 The Miami Suns will kick off their season in the brand-new 70,020-seat Ryder Stadium, located in Hollywood, FL.  Additionally, the Hurricanes have struck a deal for a new stadium in downtown Houston, which will be ready by the 1990 season.  Over the next few years, many cities will be forced to begin construction on new stadiums, or risk losing their franchise.  A whopping 18 teams will see their leases expire by 1999, with most coming in the next half decade.  This includes some extremely dated and/or small stadiums, especially in Detroit (lease expires in 1990), Portland (1990), Cincinnati (1992), Atlanta (1992), and Colorado (1995).

 

 

Retirements and Player Movement

 The offseason’s biggest blockbuster trade involved the Chicago Butchers All-Star MLB Stan Outwood.  Outwood, the first overall pick in the 1979 draft, had never been the postseason in his 9 year career, and with the Butchers going into full rebuilding mode as he turned 31, realized that he would probably never get to play in January if he stayed with the team.  He requested a trade, and the front office agreed that the move would benefit everyone involved.  Several teams pursued him, including his hometown St. Louis Aces, but it was the Boston Captains who were able to strike a deal.  The Captains get strong veteran leadership at the center of their defense, while the Butchers will get a pair of early draft picks, including Boston’s first-rounder this year (the St. Louis front office believing that the team is a running back away from title contention, refused to part with the #14 pick, and were openly trying to move up in the first round at the time).

 

One of the greatest pass-rushers in league history retired, as Colorado Centennials ROLB Bob Jonas ended his career after 14 years in the league.  His success in Colorado’s 3-4 defense helped to popularize the scheme, making it the most common defensive gameplan in the league today.  He was also impressive for his longevity, playing at a high level well into his 30s, before a neck injury derailed his 1987 campaign (when he was 36 years old).  The Cents also lost CB Mel Spencer, who was a huge contributor to their recent title runs.  Also noteworthy was the retirement of two members of the Cincinnati Guardians offensive line, C K.C. Payne and RT Carl Yates.  Both are borderline hall of famers whose presence helped to make the Cincinnati offense so unstoppable over the past half-decade.

 

Most players who moved to the USFA were not widely known.  First of all, players who had completed their season in December or January were not generally willing to begin playing a new season in March.  As a result, most of the guys who jumped ship were backups or role-players in the AFA, hoping to make a name for themselves in the new league.  However, there were a handful of high-profile players to sign with the USFA, most notably members of the Texas Stallions.

 

Stallions owner Gus Detrich, who has long been one of the most hated owners in the league, took full advantage of the AFA’s restrictive free agency rules, and offered unusually small contracts to his players.  30 year old FS Stephen Curran (the player who was at the center of the Detrich v Cumberland case) signed a much larger contract to play for the Florida Swamp Monsters, and three other starters followed suit, including the team’s first overall pick in 1986, RB Jeff Warner, who signed with the Tennessee Commandos.

 

Collegiate Draft

The 1988 draft class was incredibly uneven.  There were a handful of extremely highly-rated prospects, but talent dropped off sharply after the first 10-15 players. Moreover, talent was not evenly distributed, but instead was concentrated in a few positions.  21 of the 28 players taken in the first round were either running backs (7), cornerbacks (7), or offensive linemen (7); and for the first time since 1951, no quarterbacks were taken in round 1.

 

In the days leading up to the draft, there were a lot of rumors about teams wanting to trade up into the top 5.  The Grizzlies (pick 1) and Wolves (pick 3) were interested in collecting extra picks next year, which is expected to have a stronger quarterback class, while several teams were interested in top-rated prospects this year, with St. Louis desperately wanting RB Ken Yarbarough (Maryland) and Chicago hoping to replace Stan Outwood with Gregory Bates (MLB – Boston College).  In the end, nothing could be worked out, and the teams stayed put.

 

The Grizzlies looked to bulk up their secondary with all-around shutdown corner Michael Holmes (Alabama).  The Stallions took Bates to serve as the field general in their new zone blitz scheme.  The Wolves, despite desperately needing help on the offensive side of the ball, could not pass up the opportunity to take physical freak Jeff Marenghi (DT – Texas A&M), who convinced the team to draft him by pushing the team bus across the parking lot after his pro day.

 

One of the more surprising moves was made by the Cleveland Ghosts, who selected RB James McCoy (Vanderbilt) with the 25th overall pick despite having a future hall of famer at the position in RB Jose Ortuno.  Fans were so angry that they actually booed McCoy following his first carry of the preseason, but over the following month it became clear that the decision was a good one.  Not only will the rookie be able to relieve the legend of his workload, but their skillsets complement one another very well.  Ortuno is a burly power back and an excellent pass blocker, while McCoy is incredibly agile, good at making something out of nothing, and is a dangerous weapon out of the backfield.  Cleveland will employ some two RB sets this year that will cause nightmares for defensive coordinators.

 

The USFA also conducted a collegiate draft, but no player who was taken in the top two rounds by an AFA team chose to play in the spring league.

 

 

Atlanta Rebels Name Controversey

Players from around the league have been publicly complaining about Atlanta’s name for the past few years, with Baltimore LB Adrian Doom and Cincinnati QB Reggie Hart getting the most attention.  However, over the summer of 1988, pressure began ramping up from outside of the league.   With the city in contention to host the 1996 Summer Olympics, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games issued an open letter to team owner Sy Jackson, in which they asked him to change the name in an effort to show the progress of racial harmony in the city.  Shortly thereafter, the Atlanta City Council issued a resolution calling for a name change, which was endorsed by Mayor Andrew Young.

 

Jackson, who had a contentious relationship with Young, was unaffected.  “My father started this team two decades ago,” he said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  “He chose the name to honor our Southern heritage, and I have no intention of making any changes, whether it be the name and logo or the popcorn vendor.”

 

However, less than two weeks later four Black Rebels players, led by All-Star CB Rick Roudebush, announced that they would not return to the team, and would instead sign USFA contracts.  Roudebush appeared on 60 Minutes to explain his reasoning, “I played 10 years in Atlanta.  I love this city, but I hate the team.  The uniforms are supposed to make us look like Southern soldiers.  Think about how sick that it.  This rich white boy is playing dress up.  Making Black men dress like people that fought to keep our ancestors in chains.  That’s sick, man.”

 

The USFA season was more than halfway over at this time, so rather than join a team immediately, Roudebush and the others intend to sit out the 1988 AFA season and join the fledgling league in 1989.

 

USFA Rosters

With so many players who are untested at the professional level, it is difficult to predict which teams will have the advantage in the USFA’s inaugural season.  Other than Birmingham’s Steve Parker, who will be eligible to join the team in 1989, the Oklahoma Reapers signed perhaps the most established QB in James Rhodes, who has started in Miami, Arizona, and Pittsburgh.  The Florida Swamp Monsters also focused heavily on attracting AFA talent, though it is unclear if their relatively old roster, which includes QB Will Douglass and RB Gary Fryer, will be able to hold up.

 

Perhaps the biggest name to sign with the league was former Stampeders/Sharks WR Frank Veenhuizen, who retired from the AFA after the 1986 season.  After securing permission from Sharks owner Sean Cooper, Veenhuizen came out of retirement to play for the Buffalo Wings.  Though the Oklahoma native was also pursued by the Reapers, he was unable to pass up the opportunity to bring pro football back to Buffalo.  He will likely play for only a year or two, and is eventually expected to take an administrative, coaching, or scouting position with the team.

 

Interestingly, three Black quarterbacks will be on USFA rosters on opening day, more than any single point in AFA history.  Veteran Will Douglass will start for Florida.  Syracuse’s Michael Harris was drafted in both the AFA and USFA drafts, and ultimately chose to compete for a starting job with the Brooklyn Privateers instead of fighting for a roster spot with the Kansas City Crows.  Finally, 21-year old Russell Montague, Jr., (Louisiana Tech) was drafted by the Indiana Warriors.  Montague, whose father is a hall of fame wideout who spent his career with the Grizzlies and Krewe, has not been out of high school long enough to be eligible for the AFA draft.  Moreover, it was widely expected that he would be forced to convert to receiver to go pro, given his pedigree.  All three are likely to start at some point this season, if not on opening day.

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interesting move by Cleveland, while I wish we would've chosen a position we needed more it looks like the Orutno/McCoy connection will help us not rely on one player as much. 

 

Also, while not surprising about the Atlanta controversy, I wonder if it will be like the Redskins where they still havent changed their name or if it'll be like the Bullets where change is immediate or the Braves where they slightly start moving away from the more racist themes for more "honorable" themes, which in itself is controversial since Georgia and natives is not a good historical point. 

 

Are you going to post the USFA season and uniforms? or just mention it

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Ooh, the Russell Montague, Jr. story is going to be interesting.

 

Good for Roudebush and the other black Rebels too...walking away like that is a bold decision, but arguably the right decision.

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2 hours ago, CodeG said:

interesting move by Cleveland, while I wish we would've chosen a position we needed more it looks like the Orutno/McCoy connection will help us not rely on one player as much. 

 

Also, while not surprising about the Atlanta controversy, I wonder if it will be like the Redskins where they still havent changed their name or if it'll be like the Bullets where change is immediate or the Braves where they slightly start moving away from the more racist themes for more "honorable" themes, which in itself is controversial since Georgia and natives is not a good historical point. 

 

Are you going to post the USFA season and uniforms? or just mention it

There are serious concerns about Ortuno’s longevity. He’s stayed pretty healthy, but they give him the ball way too much. They need to lighten the load both so that he doesn’t burn out, and so that he’s fresh in January.

 

The USFA will get a short write up each season. Season and postseason will be shorter than the AFA regular season. I’ll also post primary logos and uniforms, but it won’t be as detailed as the AFA.

 

1 hour ago, ChicagoOakland said:

Ooh, the Russell Montague, Jr. story is going to be interesting.

 

Good for Roudebush and the other black Rebels too...walking away like that is a bold decision, but arguably the right decision.

Montague may be overplaying his hand. He’s really young and inexperienced. He’s also small, and at risk of injury. He’s seen as a high-risk, high-reward prospect.

 

Roudebush, on the other hand, is in a good position. He’s nearing the end of his career, and doesn’t really need the money. In other words, he is more valuable to Atlanta than the AFA is to him.

 

38 minutes ago, Cardsblues02 said:

Hoping we get to see some USFA uniforms. Excited for the season to start, even though the new league already has issues. Ill be rooting for Utah. 

Good news! Utah is the first team that will be unveiled. They’re ready to go, and will likely be posted tonight. 

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Im rooting for Utah as well. go Pioneers!

colorado_centennials_forum_signature_by_verasthebrujah-d90sndh.png

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The USFA sounds like it isn’t trying to topple the AFA but it certainly isn’t going to balk at spiriting away a lot of their players. Barring a pants-on-head stupid decision to change the schedule, I’m looking forward to this new addition to the story.

 

As for the Rebels name, maybe a redesign could satisfy both parties by changing what “Rebels” represents. But, it sounds like the ship has long sailed on that and no matter how much “Southern Pride” the owner has, turning off over half of the players from your team due to the mascot will inevitably force his hand. If the Wolves are going to play them this year, it’s going to be a media circus, that’s for sure.

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I can't decide if my USFA team is going to be the Spiders or Atoms...

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Before I present the Pioneers, I need to give a quick explanation surrounding the uniform rules for the USFA.

 

The teams were encouraged to be relatively attention-getting in their designs.  The average USFA team will be more over the top than the average AFA team.  Part of this is that the USFA does not follow the tradition that home teams wear color and visitors wear white.  Instead, the colors of their uniforms function more like soccer.  Every team has a primary and a secondary (clash) uniform.  Due to the fact that the USFA season will extend into July, teams are also allowed a third jersey, which must be white, and is called the summer alternate.  Jersey number rules are also slightly more lenient.  Wide receivers may wear numbers between 10-19; quarterbacks, kickers, and punters may wear 0; and defensive linemen and linebackers may wear 00.

 

Owner:  William Porter “W.P.” Rockwell (61) is a former executive of the ZCMI department store who went on to become a tremendously successful venture capitalist.  He headed bids for AFA teams in both the 1975 and 1980 expansion councils, neither of which made it to the final round of voting, and has made attempts to purchase ownership in several AFA teams.  In the summer of 1986, his offer for the Portland Dragons franchise was accepted, but AFA president Warren Breyer intervened to keep the team in Oregon.  An enraged Rockwell responded by acting as the primary founder of the USFA.

 

Stadium:  The Beehive – A domed stadium with an air-supported fiberglass roof.  It was built in 1978 with the hopes of luring an AFA franchise to the city.  It seats 60,055 and has an Autoturf field.

 

Notable Players:  The Pioneers made an effort to attract AFA Players with a track record of success.  As a result, they have an experienced team, but many of their players are considered over the hill, including their running back tandem of former Wasp Kirk Oswego and former Sun Greg Wolfe.  They also brought in several big names from Utah and BYU, including head coach LaDell Throckmorton (who had a short, largely unsuccessful career as an AFA quarterback after being taken at the end of the first round by the Texas Stallions in the 1980 draft).

 

Logo and Colors:  The green and orange are meant to represent Utah’s natural beauty.  The orange matches the rock formation at Bridges National Park, while the green represents the life brought by the Colorado River.  The primary logo is a compass, and they also use Delicate Arch in their identity.

 

utah_pioneers_logo__1988__by_verasthebru

 

Uniforms:  The Pioneers are probably among the more conservative teams in the USFA.  The only unique feature on their uniform is the Delicate Arch alternate logo worked into the sleeve stripe.  The Orange jersey will be designated as their home uniform, green their secondary, and white their hot-weather alternate.

 

utah_pioneers_uniform__1988__by_verasthe

 

A sig has already been requested, so I created a simple one.

 

utahpioneerssig_by_verasthebrujah-dbt662

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