Veras

History of a Fictional Football League (1991 Postseason: Semifinals)

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I think I have Chicago's new look ready, and will upload it later tonight.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm considering doing fields for the teams as well (because why not?). I made a template that is accurate down to the inch, but I cannot figure out how to give the field a grassy texture. I've tried Googling it, but the only tutorials that I can find are all for a relatively close up overhead view. Does anyone have any advice on this?

can you add some teams in canada

There used to be a Pacific League team in Vancouver, but they folded during the Great Depression. As for the AFA, there will almost certainly eventually be a team in Toronto, and likely one in Vancouver, though not in the near future. Nothing is set in stone, but I have a vague plan to do an expansion in the 1990s that is meant to bring Canadian cities into the league, like the NBA did in 1995.

what was the 10 worst afa teams of the first 10 years

As Pava said, you can find the season results on the first page, but it depends on what you mean by bad. Note that I've already simulated the 1956 season, so technically, the stats that below are the the first 11 years.

In terms of overall rating, the 1949 and 1951 Providence Angels, the 1950 Philadelphia Railers, and the 1953 Baltimore Legion were the worst (1/10).

If you are talking about who had the worst season, the Baltimore Legion are the only team to ever have a winless season, and they did it twice in a row, in 1952 (0-12) and 1953 (0-10-2). The 1954 Chicago Butchers (1-11) and the 1956 Boston Captains (1-10-1) are the only two teams to have one-win seasons, and this happened to both following the retirement of several key veteran players.

If you're talking about the worst teams over the history of the AFA, Baltimore had the worst record (25-65-6, .292 pct), followed by the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia Railers (44-78-10, .371 pct), and Providence/Minnesota (47-80-7, .377 pct). The only team with a losing overall record that hasn't relocated or folded is Detroit (58-67-9, .466). Somewhat surprisingly, Cincinnati is 11th in winning percentage (66-64-7, .507), despite having made 4 AFA Championship games. Only three teams haven't made the playoffs: The defunct Baltimore Legion (8 seasons in the AFA), Philadelphia (11 seasons), and New Orleans (5 seasons). In fact, Baltimore and Philadelphia haven't even posted a winning season (though they have combined for 3 .500 seasons). New Orleans has been pretty good, but play in a tough division, and have been repeatedly edged out by Houston and Washington. Somewhat bizarrely, Minnesota has had just one winning season, but they made the most of it, winning the 1955 Championship.

It's probably also worth pointing out that New York has been by far the best. They have the most championship appearances (6) and wins (4), while only one other team even has two titles. They have the best winning percentage (.739), well ahead of second-place Houston's (.617). They have the most wins (100), 23 ahead of the second team (Boston, 77). They also have the sixth-fewest losses (32 in 11 years), and none of the five teams ahead of them (Washington, Houston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and San Francisco) have been in the league for more than five years. They've never even had a losing season. Their worst year, 1953, came after their superstar quarterback missed almost the entire season, and they still managed to go 6-6.

Veras, I have to tip my hat to you here.

I am a football fan and a history buff. This entire thread is like touring a museum.

The amount of work and detail that you have put into this project is commendable.

I would hope that you would someday be able to publish this in some sort of book or journal or whatnot.

I love the anticipation that you entice with your work. I can't wait to see what you come up with next!

Wow, thanks. That's pretty high praise. I'm definitely planning on making a PDF book of some sort. When I first started working on this, I had hoped to print it all out in a binder (just for myself), but it's pretty clear that doing so would be prohibitively expensive.

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I don't believe he needs to. This entire league is incredibly planned out from what it seems, and I think that just dilutes what he has. Maybe when he's done with this current he can think about rivals and/or further expansion.

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In an attempt to improve my presentation, from this point forward, I will no longer show just single logos. Instead, I will present a sheet showing a more complete brand identity for the team.

As I have already mentioned, the Chicago Butchers rebranded in 1956 in an attempt to modernize their look.

1956_chicago_butchers_visual_identity_by

They also made minor changes to their uniforms, adding the logo to the helmet, removing the white stripes from the helmet and the pants, and removing the black from the collar on the away jersey.

Previous:

1954_chicago_butchers_uniform_by_verasth

New:

1956_chicago_butchers_uniform_by_verasth

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The monogram and meat cleaver logo is nicely done and very period appropriate...I'm interested to see the late 1990's-Early 2000's product.

You are doing a great job. Keep up the good work!

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Primary mark is awesome. But ball on secondary mark reminds me bread. Some stitches would be great.

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Thanks for the compliments.

I went to add laces to the ball in the secondary logo, but it seems that I deleted it within the Illustrator file. But that's okay, because I had changed my mind about it anyway. While it was somewhat period appropriate, the point of this rebrand was to make the team look more modern, which, in the 1950s, should be a more minimalist look than I had. In fact, in my original, I tried to split the difference between the more realistic look of the cleaver and the minimalist look of the ball, which just didn't work. After having looked at it a few times over the past few days, I also decided against using the brown. The team has a very powerful look with red, black, and white, and the brown doesn't really work for that.

With that in mind, I made two more versions.

chicago_butchers_alternate_logo_by_veras

chicago_butchers_crossed_knives_alternat

I also realized that I left out a new feature for the uniforms: TV numbers. After the 1955 season, the AFA Owners' Council recommended placing numbers on the sleeves to make players more easily identifiable on television. Chicago, along with about half of the teams in the league took up this advice in 1956, and the rest of the league will follow shortly.

1956_chicago_butchers_uniform_by_verasth

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Before anything else: I have a question for anyone who might be listening. The AFA will be expanding within the next few years, going to 18 teams in 1960 and 20 teams in 1961. I have a shortlist of 8 cities, only four of which will be getting new teams. If I were to write brief mock proposals for each city, detailing population, advantages, disadvantages, and the history of professional football in the area; would anyone be interested in playing the role of members of the AFA Expansion Council to make the final selection? Basically, anyone who is interested would vote, and I would honor the result.

If nobody is interested, I'll just make the decision on my own, but I thought that it might be fun to do it this way.

Anyway, I've finalized Chicago's redesign.

1956_chicago_butchers_visual_identity_by

Additionally, as promised, several teams added TV numbers to their uniforms. In addition to Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh now have them. I'm putting it behind a spoiler due to size, and the fact that all of the changes are very minor.

Boston Captains:

1956_boston_captains_uniform_by_verasthe

Cleveland Ghosts:

1956_cleveland_ghosts_uniform_by_verasth

Houston Hurricanes:

1956_houston_hurricanes_uniform_by_veras

Los Angeles Comets:

1956_los_angeles_comets_uniform_by_veras

Minnesota Angels:

1956_minnesota_angels_by_verasthebrujah-

Philadelphia Railers:

1956_philadelphia_railers_uniform_by_ver

Pittsburgh Miners:

1956_pittsburgh_miners_uniform_by_verast

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Before anything else: I have a question for anyone who might be listening. The AFA will be expanding within the next few years, going to 18 teams in 1960 and 20 teams in 1961. I have a shortlist of 8 cities, only four of which will be getting new teams. If I were to write brief mock proposals for each city, detailing population, advantages, disadvantages, and the history of professional football in the area; would anyone be interested in playing the role of members of the AFA Expansion Council to make the final selection? Basically, anyone who is interested would vote, and I would honor the result.

If nobody is interested, I'll just make the decision on my own, but I thought that it might be fun to do it this way.

Anyway, I've finalized Chicago's redesign.

1956_chicago_butchers_visual_identity_by

Additionally, as promised, several teams added TV numbers to their uniforms. In addition to Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh now have them. I'm putting it behind a spoiler due to size, and the fact that all of the changes are very minor.

Boston Captains:

1956_boston_captains_uniform_by_verasthe

Cleveland Ghosts:

1956_cleveland_ghosts_uniform_by_verasth

Houston Hurricanes:

1956_houston_hurricanes_uniform_by_veras

Los Angeles Comets:

1956_los_angeles_comets_uniform_by_veras

Minnesota Angels:

1956_minnesota_angels_by_verasthebrujah-

Philadelphia Railers:

1956_philadelphia_railers_uniform_by_ver

Pittsburgh Miners:

1956_pittsburgh_miners_uniform_by_verast

I'd love to be part of the council

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Excellent. Five was the minimum number that I was hoping for, so you can all consider yourselves official members of the Expansion Council. If anybody else would like to participate, I would be happy to have additional members.

The decision will not be made until early in 1958, so there are a few more things that need to happen first, but I will post the proposals within the next few days. First, however, the 1955, 1956, and 1957 seasons need to play out.

1955 Season Results

1955_season_by_verasthebrujah-d81jnaa.jp

The 1955 season was full of surprises and instability. The only team to repeat as division champions from the previous season was Houston, and they were very nearly dethroned by the Washington Wasps, who finished at 8-4 in only their second season of play. Washington's surprising success was fueled by the success of second-year running back John Campbell, who became the first player to rush for more than 1500 yards in a season.

Detroit reclaimed the Northern Division title, while the surprising Minnesota Angels won the West in their first winning season since joining the AFA (they also became the fourth different team to win the Western Division in the first four years of its existence).

The story of the season, however, was in the Eastern Division. With several of Boston's key players having retired at the end of the 1954 season, there was little doubt that New York would win the division. However, the margin by which they won it was shocking, as they posted a undefeated 11-0-1 record, while none of their division rivals even managed to break .500. In six games they defeated Boston, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh by a combined score of 151 - 16; and they won 10 of their 12 games in the season by double digits.

Unsurprisingly, New York was heavily favored to win the league championship, but they stumbled in the playoffs while Minnesota caught fire. In the semifinals, New York nearly fell to Houston, surviving only after a goal line stand by their defense late in the 4th quarter. Meanwhile, the Angels pummeled Detroit, 21-3.

When the championship game began in Chicago, it at first appeared that the Imperials had returned to form as they jumped to a 10 - 0 lead in the first quarter. However, Minnesota came back behind an incredible performance by defensive lineman Norbert Langway, who forced two fumbles, both of which set up Minnesota field goals. The Angels finally got into the end zone with 6:27 remaining in the game to take a 13-10 lead, which they did not relinquish.

1956 Season Results

1956_season_by_verasthebrujah-d85gs4a.jp

1956 was a season in which many teams struggled. Even though three teams in the Northern Division finished with winning records, all three had very ugly losses, and none were considered realistic contenders in the playoffs.

The South faced serious injury problems. The three time defending divisional champion Houston Hurricanes lost 14 starters to injury for at least part of the season, including nine players on their defense (they still managed to sneak into the playoffs, becoming the first wildcard team as they replaced the 5-5-2 San Francisco Whales). Washington, the eventual division champion, once again relied heavily on running back John Campbell, as he rushed for more than 1400 yards, and the team struggled down the stretch as the number of carries he received began to take a toll. New Orleans managed to avoid serious injury problems, but, as was their custom, still finished just behind Houston, missing out on the playoffs by tiebreaker.

Only New York played particularly well during the regular season. 61 year old coach Sidney Cryer, who had led the team to four championships, began to talk openly of retirement, and people began to wonder how much longer 33 year old quarterback Charlie Kadlec would last. After the team's heartbreaking championship loss to Minnesota the previous year, the Imperials came out strong, going 11-1, and were the runaway favorites for the championship.

In the semifinals, Chicago held Washington's Campbell to just 56 rushing yards, his lowest total since joining the league, on their way to a surprise 14-10 victory. Meanwhile, New York faced a scare against Houston, but was able to secure victory with a late field goal.

To many, the championship was a foregone conclusion, despite the fact that New York only narrowly defeated Chicago when the two met in the regular season. The Butchers, however, stunned New York and the football world as they scored 20 unanswered points in the first half behind the phenomenal play of running back Ernest Kessler. New York started the third quarter with two quick touchdowns to bring the score to 20-14, but after that, Chicago's defense shut the Imperials down on the way to a 33-14 victory. Kessler rushed for 204 yards (a championship game record), and Chicago's 33 points and 18-point margin of victory were both the second highest in championship game history.

In the face of this embarrassing loss, Coach Cryer agreed to come back for one more season, unwilling to leave on such a low note.

1957 Season Results

1957_season_by_verasthebrujah-d85gvj6.jp

1957 began with sad news from an AFA legend. Wendell Ridley, winner of three consecutive AFA Player of the Year awards (1946-48) resigned as coach of the Guardians of Cincinnati after being diagnosed with skin cancer. Though he would eventually make a full recovery, and spend decades as the official broadcaster for the Guardians, his career as a coach was over.

This change was symbolic of the late 1950s, when many of the established stars and teams int he league began to decline, and a new generation took their place. New York's Charlie Kadlec and Houston's John Cedrick, easily the two best quarterbacks of the past decade, were both clearly in decline, and their teams went with them. 1957 would be the first time since Houston joined the league that at least one of thost two teams didn't make the playoffs.

The most impressive player was Washington's 27 year old running back, John Campbell, who rushed for an astounding 1602 yards (no other player had even rushed for 1500), 133.5 YPG, and 18 touchdowns, all three of which were records that would last for decades, even after the season was expanded to 14 games. He also set new records for single game rushing yards (252) and touchdowns (5) in a week 3 matchup against Houston.

Washington was the only team to repeat as division champions, securing the first seed in the playoffs with a 9-0-3 record. Minnesota, the 1955 AFA champions, won the West and second seed after having a weak season in 1956. In their first winning season as a member of the AFA, Philadelphia won the East, and secured their first playoff berth (leaving New Orleans as the only team in the league to never participate in a postseason game). The North, as was typically the case, was closely contested for most of the season, with each team looking like championship contenders for parts of the season and like pushovers for other parts, but Cleveland eventually managed to secure their first division championship since 1952.

The playoff picture was massively altered when Campbell suffered a knee injury in practice four days before they were to host Cleveland, leaving them without their only significant contributor on offense. Without their star player, the Wasps managed only to get only 162 yards on offense, and fell to Cleveland 10-6. Minnesota hosted, and defeated Philadelphia, thanks to a strong game by quarterback Johnnie Hickman.

The championship game was a wild one. Cleveland, surprisingly, jumped to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, and after a safety, managed to go up 7-15 late in the third quarter. However, Minnesota's Melvin Beeman returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown to bring the Angels to within one. The score remained 15-14 until the end of the fourth quarter, when Hickman threw a 30 yard touchdown pass on a flea flicker to go up 21-15 with 1:08 remaining.

The only design changes that will occur in this time is that Detroit, New Orleans, New York, and St. Louis will all add TV numbers (which I'm not even going to bother to post here, given that they're basically all the same), and Houston will make a minor tweak to their logo, which I will hopefully finish after work tonight.

The expansion proposals are coming to between 100 and 300 words apiece, so they're very quick and easy to write, and I expect to have them up within the next 48 hours.

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I don't know if you're giving this option to the Expansion Council, but I believe not only should they have a say in which cities get teams, but what identities and colors those teams get as well

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I'd be interested in being on the Expansion Council as well.

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