The Dead Ball Foul Association was born out of the success of the OklahomIraqis and Man's Game fantasy football leagues. The OklahomIraqis League (OiL) began in 2006, and the Man's Game League was launched in 2009 to provide a similar experience for other managers. Along the way, Web sites were developed for each league, a message board was developed to serve the communication needs of each league year-round, and a weekly podcast began in June 2010 to discuss and analyze each league, as well as football in general. The Web site is currently under construction and will continue to be edited until a new logo is developed. The Web address is www.TheDBFA.com and is registered for a period of at least three (3) years.
The details of the Association are as follows:
I started playing fantasy football in 2004. I took a year off in 2005 and have played each season since 2006. I remember the old school fantasy football preview magazines that Athlon printed back in the 1990s because I accidentally bought a "rotisserie" football preview mag one year instead of the simple NFL preview mag that I had wanted. I was totally confused by the idea of fantasy football and wondered who in their right mind would keep track of all those stats. Since my conversion into full-fledged fantasy football junkie, I have asked around for an explanation of what it was like before there was Yahoo! Fantasy Football and NFL.com leagues with video and real time stat updates.Listening to the state of fantasy football in those early days always sounded like an urban legend. It was as if an old sailor was smoking his pipe and telling me stories of shipwrecks, pirates, and sea monsters: you knew it was bad, but you wondered how much the story was being exaggerated. Well, after reading the following article at BarstoolSports.com, I am convinced that those old men weren't lying. Read the following article and be grateful for the technological advancements made in our lifetime.
Editor’s Note – Since everybody loved Manzo’s last NHL 94 article here is another one that’s been sitting in the pipeline waiting for slow news morning like today.
Fantasy Football Then Vs. Now
Fantasy football in the late 90’s was like the Old West — run by outlaws and bandits, off-line leagues were dominated by a swashbuckling commissioner and his cohorts who would pillage the rosters of the weak and absent-minded while manipulating the stats of the strong and conscientious.
Rules? Forget em’. They were changed on the fly.
Stats? Good luck calculating them, because for years their source remained a secret.
Commissioner? Like I said, his dictatorial powers would make Stalin blush.
But as the new millennium came and went, things changed. The Internet was now fully operational, and not STRICTLY used for porn. And with that key technological advancement, fantasy football went from a taboo sub-culture on par with snuff films and sword collecting, to an Electronic National Pastime used primarily to supplement the gambling habits of males 18-49.
So today I’m going to compare fantasy football from the off-line, Wild West days of the late 90’s, to the online 21st century game it has become today.
“Lineups” – Yikes, we used to have to CALL IN our lineups on land-line telephones each and every Sunday by 1:00, both to the commissioner and the person we were up against. This caused confusion because inevitably people would answer the phone that weren’t in the league, nor gave a shit about football. You’d be leaving messages with dude’s moms and girlfriends — “Yeah, Amy? Tell Steve and I’m starting Ricky Dudley this week instead of Irv Smith. Thanks.” The poor girl would be taking notes for some scrub she’s never met in her life, but that’s what we did. I always imagined the conversation when Steve got home… “Any messages for me?” “Yeah, your father’s in the hospital, your sister’s getting married, and some guy named ‘Pete’ is starting Ricky Dudley instead of Irv Smith.” “Thanks!”
Now, you simply don’t have this problem anymore. Lineups are a piece of cake and provide 1/10000th of the headache they once did.
“The Draft” – There’s probably 2-3 owners who’ve been our league for 8 years now that I wouldn’t recognize if they clothes-lined me running down the bread aisle at Johnny Foodmaster. Drafts back then were LIVE and “in da face!” So you could literally laugh directly in someone’s mug for 3 straight hours after they drafted Wayne Chrebet in the 2nd round rather than mock them in some virtual online chat box. Poster boards would make an appearance too, as did “Rotisserie” football magazines printed 5 months before draft day. “Um, he’s not on the team anymore…” or, “That guy’s in jail now” were common phrases over-heard at the draft.
But everyone made a point to show up. There was none of this over-the-phone or virtual draft shit. People traveled from as far away as South Boston to attend a live draft on Comm Ave. Granted, now we have all of the stats, player rankings and injury updates at the click of a finger, but I still prefer the old school live draft.
“Stats” – As unbelievable as this sounds, we used to keep “real time” stats on Sundays by watching the bottom line “ticker” for updates and tallying everything as best we could on pen and paper. This sounds prehistoric but trust me, we had nothing else to do. Plus, it was certainly faster than my roommates’ dial-up connection whose laptop modem was held together by a psychology textbook and a bottle of Fantastik. Now, those weren’t the “official” stats. Oh no. Our commissioner did those. He claims he used the box scores from the “USA Today” Monday paper but that’s never been confirmed. We just took his word the Excel spreadsheet we got in the mail on Tuesday was correct.
The other problem was that every week, it seemed, some fluky play happened that we didn’t have a rule for. I remember Adam Vinateri running in an extra point because the other team left the field after a touchdown with no time left. Now was that 2 for Vinateri, or Pats’ special teams?? Nobody in America knew. We were just kind of “winging it”. Now, everything is pretty much accounted for on CBS Sportsline or ESPN.com, so you rarely run into these problems. Occasionally you’ll get the “mystery sack” but that’s about it. (“Mystery sack” = Team Sack credited by the league the day after the game.)
“Waiver Wire Pickups” – Most leagues nowadays run all their add/drops through a waiver wire process on whereby the team with the worst record gets first dibs on a player, 2nd worst team gets 2nd dibs, etc., etc. It’s fairly straight forward.
Well our waiver wire back in ‘98 was a first-come first-serve telephone free-for-all. It was like those bridal sales at Filene’s Basement when all the girls and their sisters stampede the store. For some reason we agreed to use the time on Comcast’s “Preview Channel” as the official clock. So as soon as it hit 8:00 on Tuesday, the entire league would be calling the commissioner’s apartment (also my apartment) all at the same time with their pickups for the week. We were running a telethon in the kitchen. We had dudes calling from pay phones leaving urgent, Jack Bauer-type messages like “Bob adds Bubby Brister. BOB ADDS BUBBY BRISTER!” It was bedlam every Tuesday night.
Now, the peaceful process of the early morning online waiver wire is much more relaxing. You rank your players the night before, hope somebody ahead of you fucks up then click a button. Be careful not to select Tony Brown instead of Troy Brown like I did earlier this year. That’s one downside of making add-drops when you’re drunk.
CBS’ blurb on Seattle WR TONY Brown: “…He has no value in fantasy football.” Thanks.
So by my count it’s 3-1 in favor of Now over Then. I think that’s about right. Let’s be honest, looking back it was fucking terrible. I can’t even believe half this shit. Sure it was loads more fun, but who cares? For $100 a year, I’d rather it be fair than fun. Cashing a check – now that’s fun.
Although we never made the OiL a keeper league for 2011 or beyond, Pyle brought up an interesting question: if you could keep two drafted players in return for giving up a draft pick equal to one round earlier than the pick used to pick said player, who would you choose to keep?
Pyle would have kept Santonio Holmes, who he chose in the seventh round in 2010, and one of his QBs, both of whom he drafted very late.
I would keep Arian Foster and Mike Wallace, who I drafted in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively.
Who would you keep? (Comment on my posts, you bastards.)
In light of our first annual Draft Position Draft, some interesting sequence of choices have left me wondering how valuable our league really believes the front end of the draft is. As such, I am instituting this poll to ascertain the value of each position. Please vote once and choose the position you would choose if you had had the first choice overall.
I stumbled across a couple of sites this week that specialize in custom fantasy football memorabilia. The cost is a little steep, but the more I think about it, the more I know I want a helmet and jersey.
The first site FantasySportsFactory.com and manufactures mini-helmets and hand-stitched jerseys for $50 and $160, respectively. On their site, they have a form that, when filled out, conveys to them exactly what you want on your jersey or helmet. Unfortunately, there is no software available yet that allows one to see what his or her selected options would look like on a jersey. Still, their mini-helmets look fantastic and feature real metal facemasks and one single shell for the helmet, as opposed to two pieces of plastic snapped together. A gallery of jerseys and helmets is available at their Facebook page.
The second site that I found is FSgear.net, which manufactures custom fantasy football jerseys only. Although there is no helmet option at FSgear, their jerseys are priced cheaper, at $115. Additionally, after you order a jersey, a representative contacts you and asks for all the design specifics. After he or she feels that he or she has an accurate description, a mockup is emailed to you for your approval. Design tweaks and suggestions are encouraged and the design is updated until you feel that it is perfect. The process can take 4-6 weeks, but there is consumer confidence that you are getting exactly what you want. I like that . . . and the less expensive price tag.
Duffy and I have been bouncing around ideas for our respective teams. Right now, I'm thinking of ripping off the 1980s-era Patriots. Their home red with the white and blue stripes on the sleeve, "Arrogant Americans" across the front and my Uncle Sam logo stitched on the sleeves beneath the stripes sounds like a winner. Does anyone else have any ideas?
We've got a lot of darkness between now and the start of the 2011 season; let's have some fun with it.
This is the first season that members had the opportunity to choose their draft positions in a draft of draft positions, so to speak. While the first few selections did not surprise me, the rest of the process certainly did. To recap:
I had the first selection and chose the 14th pick. My reasoning is that I get to see the trends of the draft as the first round plays out and adjust accordingly with my first two selections. Additionally, I get two of the first 15 selections. With the first pick, I would get the top pick, but only two of the top 28 players overall. Finally, the pressure of who to choose with the number one pick is so great, that I do not value it highly. Because you have to wait 27 picks before you make it to your second selection, you absolutely have to hit a homerun with your first pick. To that end, I am happy that I have the last pick in the first round.
It did not surprise me that Hastings chose the 13th position, although he gave some thought to the first position. His reasons for choosing 13 are much the same as mine. The allure of the number one pick almost swayed him, but two of the top 16 proved to be more valuable to him.
With the third choice, Jessen did what I thought he would when he chose the number one position. The number one position is traditionally highly valued and I'm sure Jessen was thrilled that he was able to land the top spot while only finishing in third place last season. After that, however, things became a little less predictable. Duffy chose the 12th spot in order to capitalize on seeing trends as they unfold rather than choosing the number two position and the value that the second overall pick could net. At number five, Pyle was on the clock and had to choose between 2-11. I was certain that he was going to choose number two before he surprised me with number 7. Pyle is on the record, however, as saying he never again wants the pressure of the number one pick and perhaps number two was too close for comfort. As far as why he chose number seven, I can't be sure of whether or not that would have been his first choice, but I think I can rationalize why he and subsequent members chose the middle of the round over number two.
With the back end of the draft filled up, members had their choice of the front end (minus number one) or the middle of the round. While there is generally more value given to earlier picks, six members chose picks in the middle of the round before someone decided to take the number two pick overall. While the trend was incredibly surprising, there is logic in remaining in the middle, not too far away from each end. Choosing in the number seven spot, Pyle will wait 12 and 14 selections between his picks at the front and back end of the rounds, respectively. With such consistency between picks, he can allow himself to get into a rhythm of sorts regarding his research and choices. He's not too close to the front of the draft, where he is blind to how the rest of the round will play out, potentially killing his initial draft strategy. He's also not too close to the end of the round, where there is less value to begin with. Additionally, although the 1st and 14th positions enjoy back to back selections throughout most of the draft, there are 26 players taken off the board in between each back to back selection by the member sitting on either end of the draft order. Screw up back to back selections and 54 players are off the board (including your own busts) before you gain a player of any value to your fantasy franchise.
Five members after Pyle chose to crowd Pyle in the middle of the rounds, each one seemingly terrified of the pressure of selecting number two and then waiting so long for the opportunity to draft another piece of the puzzle. Finally, with the number 11 choice, Leal jumped on the chance to choose second in the 2011 OiL Draft. The remaining three members filled out the remaining slots and the order was set. I will take the surprise of this year's draft order draft with me the rest of the offseason and into next year's draft, however. It will be interesting to see how the strategy plays out for each member and even more interesting to see if those who chose to hang out in the middle of the rounds will choose to stay there in 2012.
Good luck to everyone. Comment with any ideas or explanations for how the draft played out.
With the first choice of draft position, I chose the 14th position. Hastings, as the second-place team gets second choice and chooses 13th. Jessen chooses 1st. Duffy chooses 12th. Pyle choose number 7. Morgan has chosen the number six position.
Schmidt has chosen number five. Cobb chose the eight spot. Rogers has chosen the number four position. Finch has chosen number nine. Leal finally chose the number two spot that I thought would have been gone a long time ago.
Bruesch chose 3rd. Trovillo chose number 11, so Henderson is left number 10.
2. Norman Nobodys
4. Ammo Dogs
5. Dead Again
7. Lucky Enuf
8. The Dogs of War
10. Darc Narc
11. Dirty Hippies
12. The Hangovers
14. Arrogant Americans
It took five seasons, but your commissioner has finally broken through and won the OiL. I'd like to say that it was a banner day for ole Brick, but I was in God awful pain thanks to an abscessed tooth/jaw/mouth that ended up putting me in the hospital for a week. I got a toothache on Christmas Eve and no one was open and it got worse and worse. If anyone has ever had an abscess, you know what I'm talking about. If not, Google "Ludwig's angina" because that was my medical diagnosis. I was released today. Anyway, here's a rundown of my post-season thoughts:
1. I really liked the balanced schedule this season, as well switching to an only six team playoff field. With the balanced schedule, the six best teams per their record are usually going to be the best teams in the league.
2. I loved the live draft. We really need to work on doing that each year, but I know how hard it is to get 14 married or working (or both) men (many of whom raising children) together. I am planning on applying to law school for next Fall, so I wonder how difficult it will be for me as well, although I will do my best to continue my duties as commissioner.
3. I haven't forgotten about our league bylaws or our "BCS formula." I've just been busy and sick. I'm working three jobs now, on top of half-ass helping my fiancee plan a wedding. I'm still working for UPS as a part-time supervisor; Duffy is my boss. I go to work after that as a legal assistant for Ana Basora-Walker, and then I work as a news writer for The Lawton Constitution on the weekends, working the police beat (crime; fire; car accidents; obituaries.)
4. When I finish this post, I will get to work recalculating everyone's coaching profiles. Best and worst finishes and career winning percentages have changed.
5. Congratulations need to go out to a few men in particular. First of all, major props go to Hastings for making a return to the OiL Bowl. Only one person (Pyle) had made it to two OiL Bowls, but Hastings (and myself) is the first to make it back-to-back. Secondly, Morgan did a wonderful job of going from last place to a three seed in the playoffs. He lost steam in the playoffs, but it was a very good season for the former champion. Duffy's success deserves mention as well, as he made the playoffs for the first time. Speaking of playoffs, Pyle made the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons (including two OiL Bowls and one championship.)
6. That's all I have. I love this league and I apologize for not keeping this blog up for the final few weeks of the season, but my work schedule was killing me. Time will tell if I have the time to keep it up next season, but I will do my best. If you ever have any ideas or suggestions, let me know.