by Justin C. Cliburn
Note: This post now has a permanent home on the OIL Web site that is continually updated.
The other day I rambled about Super Bowl stories that interest me (few do other than the game itself). Somehow I ended up discussing what the chances were that Oklahoma City could one day land an NFL franchise, what the name should be, where they might play, and more.
For the record, I ended up settling on Roughnecks for the team mascot. But all that was buried in a post about the Super Bowl, so it was easily overlooked. So let's consider Oklahoma City's NFL chances in a post all its own.
I generally laugh at suggestions that Oklahoma City could be granted an NFL franchise, but I used to scoff at the prospects of a successful NBA team here too. Plus, a couple recent lists of potential NFL cities included OKC. It made me strongly consider what the authors of the lists saw and make the case for OKC. It's actually not a hard case to make. Sure, there are plenty of markets that are as deserving or more, but that's always the case. The slam dunks already have NFL teams (well, except for one), so why not OKC? After all, the OKC media market is larger than four current NFL cities. Well, here's the case for OKC:
Cover32 lists 10 possible NFL cities on page two of its article discussing which NFL teams should relocate. EliteDaily just listed 10 potential NFL cities back in November. And both lists include Oklahoma City.
The OIL is made up primarily of Oklahomans, so we know how much OKC has grown. An NFL team would be fantastic from a personal standpoint. Plus, it's not a stretch to think that it would attract season ticket holders from:
That's a pool of over 3.5 million people to sell tickets. And when you tally the populations of Oklahoma as a state, Fort Smith/Van Buren, and the Amarillo, Wichita, and Wichita Falls metros, the number comes to over 4.9 million potential ticket-buyers. Are you telling me savvy marketers in charge of an NFL franchise couldn't sell 50,000 tickets in a market that large?
There are tons of Super Bowl stories making the media rounds, but I couldn't care less for most of them. We've spent an entire season discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each team.
Instead, I like to read stories that delve into a little NFL history or discuss issues that the talking heads are not covering. I found a few of those stories, focusing mostly on Seattle and wanted to share them.
Apparently, the original Seattle NFL expansion bid was to be named the "Kings." Over at SportsLogos.net, there is a great story about that ill-fated expansion bid. It also takes a stab at guessing what the Kings logo would have evolved into after rebranding in the 1980s and 2000s.
And, even after being awarded a franchise after all, Seattle almost lost that franchise in the 1990s. The Seattle Times wrote a lengthy article on that issue back in October. It is also worth checking out.
I hope SportsLogos.net or some other site publishes an extensive history of the 1993 expansion that gave us the Panthers and Jaguars. Baltimore, Memphis, and St. Louis were the other candidates that year. While looking up information about that expansion era, I found a great site for archiving NFL expansion candidates for each state.
I highly recommend checking out that site and following SportsLogos.net if you're into the history and evolution of sports uniforms and logos.
This Monday each year is the most exciting and depressing Monday of the season. Today starts Super Bowl week. But we also know that it is the final Monday of the 2013-14 NFL season.
My grandfather used to greet the end of summer by proclaiming that "the drought is almost over." Well, conversely, the drought is almost here. Seven months without a meaningful NFL game just seems cruel. But we persevere every other offseason and we will this year too.
Of course, OIL blog updates will slow during the offseason. Expect a few scattered updates here and there but nothing major.
The main priority this offseason will be organizing and finalizing the OIL2. There are still a few spots open in the OIL2, so tell your old 158 or SECFOR buddies about it. We also need to order the OIL2 trophy: the Killman Memorial Trophy.
And we hope to come to a consensus over the summer on a draft date and location. It would be great to see some of the guys who haven't been able to attend our draft recently.
Until then, enjoy the Super Bowl and head on over to Fantasy Football Calculator to get those mock drafts started.
The bottom of each page on okiraqi.org has a new look. The new footer is clean, simple, and professional. I take pride in this site, and I want you to as well. Contact the commissioner if you have suggestions for the web site.
There is now a donation page on the site and donation buttons spread throughout the site as well. The reasons for this are simple.
The OIL has grown a lot in eight years. We have traveling trophies, a Web site, and multiple domain names (the original OklahomIraqis.com, TheOIL.org, and okiraqi.org).
The trophies cost money to produce and ship. It costs money to engrave the champion's name each year. And it costs money to transport the trophy to the new champion.
Our Web site is hosted by Weebly. The administrative fees for hosting a site like ours cost about $50 each year.
Plus, our domain names have to be renewed each year and their prices vary.
And there are incidental fees, which include professional logo design for teams and random purchases for the league (e.g. league banner for draft day [coming in 2014] and league-branded beer coozies).
These are things I do because I love our league and being the best commissioner I can be truly is my hobby. I know that nothing I do is required of me, so I don't expect to be compensated for each and every expense. But if you're interested in helping out, there's a way to do that now.
This will always be a free league. We play for pride, and we play for trophies. But consider donating to the league every so often so that it continues to be the best fantasy football experience around.
You may also donate to the league by purchasing OIL merchandise from our league store. We have a little bit of everything for the league and individual teams. Check out some examples:
Expect to receive OIL-branded beer coozies in the near future. Thanks to imprint.com for the quick turnaround.
Finch asked about small OIL stickers. Those are in production. It was $33 for 100 4" x 2" stickers including shipping.
Should anyone want to pitch in for the coozies, stickers, or web site fees, PayPal the funds to the commissioner using the donate page.
Remember that our CafePress store has hundreds of items you can customize with your league or team logo. If there's a product you want in the store that is not already included, let the commissioner or co-commissioner know and we'll add it.
The OIL members who were on the 2006 mission that started the OklahomIraqis League know that no fantasy football league is large enough to include every good guy on that mission. That problem was magnified in the wake of the death of one of our own. Before, during and after the funeral service, the commissioner was asked about the OIL. And a handful of guys had already asked about joining the league before that.
After lots of consideration, the commissioner and co-commissioner have decided to start a second OklahomIraqis League. www.okiraqi.org will soon be home to the OklahomIraqis Leagues, as the new league will be incorporated into the existing site.
The new league will mirror the original one. It will have the same league settings and will also consist of 14 teams and a 13-week schedule. It will share the same logo as the OIL as well. As of now, it will be referred to as the "OIL 2" or the "OIL 2.0." Which trophy it will award is to be determined.
We also don't yet know if the OIL 2.0 will be a member of the DBFA, but the commissioner hopes that it is. For now, these are the confirmed members:
The remaining members are to be determined. Please help recruit potential members. The ideal candidate is one who was in the 158 and was in Iraq with the 158 during either the 2006 or 2008 mission. It would be helpful for each candidate to have a ready-made "rival" as week 13 in the OIL is Rivalry Week.
In the meantime, please contact the commissioner with your candidates for membership.
OklahomIraqi Jack Bruesch was Cliburn's squad leader in Iraq in 2006. He's now First Sergeant Jack Bruesch.
Congratulations to the two-time OIL champion, good guy, and great NCO.
It is hard to believe that we just finished the eighth season of OklahomIraqis football, but it's true. 2013 was a big year for the OIL in both positive and negative ways. Here is a sampling of the 2013 OIL year in review:
In 2013, we updated our web site, road-tripped to an NFL game together, crowned a new champion, helped a league member regroup after losing his house to a tornado, gave up the DBFA trophy earned in 2012, had children, moved out-of-state, toured Lambeau Field, got a new license plate, established our 2014 draft order, saw one of our own get promoted to First Sergeant, and lost two friends and brothers-in-arms: Brandon Landrum and Joseph Killman.
Congratulations to Aaron Cobb, whose "Dogs of War" won their first OIL championship. The Harrington Trophy now resides in Fort Smith with Cobb, who was in Baghdad with the original OIL members in 2006 and joined the league in 2007. He defeated Cliburn, who tried and failed to be the first back-to-back champion in the OIL.
Unfortunately, Cobb could not win the World War, so the OIL lost the DBFA's Trophy of Versailles. But the team Cobb had in week 17 wasn't the same one that dominated much of the season, though. By that time, Cobb was without Arian Foster, Wes Welker, Jermichael Finley, and Steve Smith. Still, he is happy just winning the OIL.
Co-commissioner Adam Duffy claimed the number one seed but fell flat in the semifinals. And then Justin Finch beat him in the third-place game. Tough break.
In May, two-time OIL champion Jack Bruesch lost his house in the Moore tornado that gained worldwide attention. Fortunately, he and his family were uninjured. OIL members and more came together to help in any way we could. He now lives in Norman and is grateful that his family is okay.
On a lighter note, it is a good thing that Cliburn won the OIL and DBFA trophies back from Bruesch in 2012. Otherwise, those trophies would have been lost in the tornado rubble.
The OIL site sold "Oklahoma Original" hats for tornado relief after the storms and raised money for the American Red Cross. The hats were modeled after the original Oklahoma state flag. Some hats are still available for purchase.
In November, Yancy Baldwin, Justin Finch, Aaron Cobb, and Justin Cliburn went to the Cowboys-Vikings game together. It was the second straight year for an NFL trip among the guys, and they had a great time. Even sitting in the "nosebleed" section, the experience was fantastic. There really are no bad seats at "JerryWorld."
Start thinking now about which game we should attend for our next NFL excursion. The Cowboys play the usual NFC East opponents at home next season, plus Arizona, San Francisco, Houston, Indianapolis, and New Orleans. Perhaps in future seasons we can expand our footprint and go to a different stadium, but Dallas is closest to most of the league.
And the OIL family grew when 28.5% of the league had a baby in the last 53 weeks. Three league members' new babies were born in 2013 and one member had a son born just before 2013 began. Colt James Baldwin was born on Dec. 22, 2012. While his birth did not technically happen in 2013, it did occur between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Colt just turned one and lives in Stratford with Yancy and his family.
Jessen's daughter (left) was born in Duncan and has been sporting her favorite outfit since day one: her DominationStation onesie (it's unclear if Mrs. Jessen shares the love for fantasy football-themed infant clothing). Cali's quickly becoming Jessen's biggest fan.
The other new additions to the OIL family were born far away from Oklahoma [insert your own opinion as to whether that is a good thing or a bad thing here].
2013 was the first season Duffy spent in his new home. After living in Lawton-Fort Sill for 20+ years, Duff moved to his family's hometown in Wisconsin. The Commish and Mrs. Commish visited the Duffies' new home in July.
The Commish, Duffy, and Duffy's father and brothers toured Lambeau Field and watched the Packers practice. It was the first time the Commish went to an NFL training camp. It also marked the first time that he had to wear a hoodie in July. Not cool, Wisconsin.
On a more somber note, 2013 was also the year that we buried friends and brothers-in-arms. 1LT Brandon Landrum died in May from an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Members of the OIL knew him as SPC Landrum.
He was a medic and spent 2008 in Iraq with the 158. He went to the same high school and college as the commissioner and was active duty when he died. He trained with co-commissioner Adam Duffy at a "war fighter" exercise. He made us laugh at Camp Gruber. He'll be missed.
Joseph Killman died in December. He was in the 158 with all of us. He was in Jack Bruesch's and Cliburn's squad during the tour that gave birth to the OIL. He was funny, tough, and reliable. His death reminded us all how much we care about and miss each other.
Even in death, Killman brought us together. At least 50 members of the 158, both past and present, attended his funeral. It was great seeing everyone that day, but the circumstances were awful. We shared stories about him and laughed and smiled. LT (now CPT) Ponder created a Facebook group for guys on that 1-158 SECFOR mission. Hopefully, we keep that group going and see each other again without someone dying.
It's a shame we don't see each other more often. This league is how most of us keep in touch with each other. I hope that going forward we can organize more NFL game trips together and get more managers at our draft parties. We owe it to ourselves and to each other to stay in touch. Let's do that.
Just before the new year, OklahomIraqi Jack Bruesch was promoted to First Sergeant. He was Cliburn's squad leader in Iraq in 2006.
Congratulations to the two-time OIL champion, good guy, and great NCO. We're proud of him.
In the last year, we also added names to our membership's waiting list. Adam Schuster remains at the top of that list. If someone should leave the league, he is next in line for OIL membership. He was in Iraq with the 158 during the 2006 season, and he spent 2008 in Iraq with the 158 as well.
Next in line is Stephen Brosh, who was Cliburn's roommate in Baghdad and who was also in Bruesch's squad that year. Nick Reed has thrown his hat in the ring as well. He was also on the 2006 mission with the original 10. They are all deserving candidates, but they'll have to wait their turn. As of right now, they're "on deck."
After eight seasons, our league settings are pretty well-settled. But there is always room for improvement. Beginning in 2014, the OIL will re-seed its playoff teams after the first round. Our league has always said that we reward success. In that vein, the number one seed should play the lowest-seeded team in the semifinals no matter what. The number one seed in our league receives a first-round bye and now will also be guaranteed a matchup with the lowest-seeded team in the semifinals, giving that team the easiest road to the championship.
Our league is special. I know that every fantasy football player thinks his or her league is the best, but ours really is different. You know why.
Our league was born in Baghdad. It represents more than fake football. All 14 members of our league were in the Army. All but one served in the 1st Bn. 158 FA. Twelve of us were in Iraq together in 2006.
The two that were not on that mission with us have been valuable members of the OIL. Few realize that Trovillo was responsible for creating the first OIL web site via the Weebly platform. That platform is still in use and has evolved to the site you see today. He was instrumental behind the scenes turning the OIL into a true community, and he has a great team name and logo too. Rogers is always involved, has one of the best team names and logos in the league, and maintains a fierce rivalry with Jessen. We have a website, a Twitter (@okiraqi), a Facebook group, a traveling trophy, a rivalry week, a league store, and a bond bigger than football.
I enjoy serving as your commissioner, and I look forward to 2014. Happy new year, guys. Hopefully this year won't be nearly as eventful.
Our league rewards success, and that is reflected in our draft order policy. The champion will have first choice of draft slot. The number two team will go next, and so on. The last place team will be stuck with whatever is left. So, here is the draft slot order for 2014 (draft selection in parenthesis):