Happy new year, brothers. Now that the season is over, we're not wasting time determining the 2015 draft order. The champion of each conference gets first choice of draft position. Then the second-place team, third-place team, etc. Here is where we stand on the draft order just before the end of 2014:
Coaching rankings for both the AFC managers and NFC managers have been updated. The rankings are by winning percentage and factor in regular season and playoff matchups (but not consolation playoff matchups).
Congratulations to the men of B Btry 1-158 FIRES for making it home safely from Afghanistan. Somewhere in this video, Michael Rogers and Lance Zerger are sitting in the bleachers wondering what their AMMODOGS and Redlegs could have done differently this season.
*Rob Gronkowski was inactive
Welcome to the first Liberty Bowl. It pits the champions of the OklahomIraqis League's AFC (Jimmy Venable's War Pony) against the champions of the NFC (Christopher Trovillo's Dirty Hippies). The champion receives the Tenequer Memorial Trophy.
Because the Dirty Hippies scored more points in the regular season (and in their championship game), they will be the home team and wear their home, tie-dyed jerseys. War Pony will wear his white-on-white away uniforms for the first time during the 2014 playoffs (as he was the higher seed in every previous matchup). The managers of these two teams have until Saturday at 2000 CST to email their Liberty Bowl lineup to Cliburn. Each manager may tweak their lineup via email or text any time before 1200 CST Sunday.
Here is how each team got here, beginning with the AFC champions:
After eight long years, the Dirty Hippies have finally won an OIL Bowl championship. Hippies manager Christopher Trovillo defeated Justin Finch's Hard Targets to win the Harrington Trophy for the first time. In doing so, he became eligible for a championship jersey. He has chosen to commemorate the 2014 title with his tie-dyed home jersey in number 14. His full uniforms:
Here is the proof of his championship jersey:
It was a close matchup that came down to Monday Night Football. No one was surprised as these two teams were the top contenders all season. Yahoo! projected the Hard Targets to finish 5-8 and the Dirty Hippies to finish 4-9, but that was before the games began. Once the season started, it was clear these two were elite teams that would go far in the playoffs.
Trovillo left Sunday Night Football with a lead of .2 points with Giovani Bernard to play on Monday Night Football. With such a slim lead, he could not afford to bench Bernard to ensure he received no negative points from the Bengals RB. Two-tenths of a point is well within the stat-correction range. Odell Beckham, Jr. was a real difference-maker for the Hippies, scoring 34.8 points after putting up 43.8 points last week. But, ultimately, Giovani Bernard was the nail in the coffin, scoring 19.1 points on MNF. Meanwhile, Finch was let down by Greg Olsen, Jeremy Maclin, Josh Gordon, and Jamaal Charles.
Plus, Finch started the Buffalo defense expecting a big day. The Bills had shut down Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers in consecutive weeks and were facing the hapless Raiders in week 16. But anything can happen in the NFL. The Raiders beat the Bills with Buffalo's defense only scoring a single point for the Hard Targets. After a dominant season, it was surprising to see the Targets lose. But, if they were going to lose, we knew it would be against Trovillo.
So, congratulations to Trovillo and the Dirty Hippies. They had a good draft (even though Yahoo! graded it a 'C') and made smart waiver wire additions (most notably picking up Odell Beckham, Jr. off of waivers). Beckham finished the season as the second-highest scoring WR on a per-game basis. And Trovillo negotiated favorable trades. In one sequence of trades, he traded away Calvin Johnson (who ended up finishing as WR19) and Kyle Rudolph (TE37) for Jarvis Landry (WR17) and Rob Gronkowski (TE1). Bravo, Trovillo. Bravo. He also turned Devin Hester into Doug Baldwin, who was the 26th-best WR over the last four weeks of the season.
The Hippies will be rewarded by having their name engraved on the Harrington and a jersey to keep forever.
War Pony has defeated Hillier FF in the 2014 Thunder Bowl. That makes Jimmy Venable the AFC's first champion and make him eligible for a championship jersey. His uniforms:
What his championship jersey will look like:
Venable will have his name engraved into the Killman Memorial Trophy, and AFC Commissioner Nick Reed will ensure the trophy is shipped to Venable ASAP. Next, Venable will play the winner of the NFC's OIL Bowl. Whoever wins week 17's Liberty Bowl will have his name engraved on the Tenequer Memorial Trophy. Congratulations to Venable for winning the Killman and earning a championship jersey. His number 14 (for 2014) jersey is being ordered soon, and photos of it will be posted as soon as it arrives.
Jimmy Venable needs no introduction. 26 of the 28 members of the OIL were on the SECFOR mission that started this league. The 27th was in the 158 as well. The only manager who doesn't personally know Venable is Christopher Trovillo, whose Dirty Hippies won the NFC's OIL Bowl (Trovillo was an active-duty soldier).
He lost Danny Woodhead for the season right out of the gate and later lost Ryan Mathews for a large chunk of the season. But he chose late-round gems in Antonio Gates, Doug Baldwin, Steve Smith, Sr., and Brandon LaFell. And Peyton Manning did his part, too
Because this was the first season of the AFC, league relationships haven't matured to the point of strong trade relations. Even though these men all served together for a year in Iraq, a lot of them haven't been in touch in a while. As a result, Venable didn't finalize any trades this season, so there aren't any to analyze.
We plan on a "tournament" in the offseason to determine which franchise in our league has the best "brand." In order to properly seed the teams, I'm asking those who are interested to rank the franchises based on:
- Name (including story behind name, if any)
This page has every franchise's logo, and you can click on the logo to view the team's uniforms and backstory.
I very much appreciate any and all responses we get. Once the season is over, we'll start our tournament to help pass the time until next season.
The votes are in, and "Liberty Bowl" is the winner. Beginning this season, the champions of the AFC and NFC will face each other in week 17 in the Liberty Bowl. The winner will get the Tenequer Memorial Trophy and have his name engraved on it. He will keep it until a new champion is crowned.
Once all the dues are collected, I'll order the trophy. I'm in the process of getting a logo designed for the game as well.
There are ups and downs in the first season of any fantasy football league. Usually, one or two managers will drop out at some point in the season. And, with no real league relationships established, trades are usually pretty rare in first-year leagues. And the OIL's AFC was no different. One manager started out 2-1 before dropping out en route to a 2-11 finish. No trades were finalized either. But the first season of the AFC has still been largely successful. All 14 teams (including 2015 addition Don Roe) have professional logos and uniforms. The competition was fierce, and the playoffs have been entertaining. It all culminates in the AFC championship game: the Thunder Bowl.
Like the NFC, the AFC championship game will pit the top two seeds against each other.
Regular Season Result: Week 11
The OIL plays a balanced, 13-week schedule, so these two teams played each other in the regular season. Hillier won that matchup, even while getting zero points from his TE and being a 24-point underdog.
And Hillier only received two points from Ladarius Green and one point from Terrance West. Fortunately for him, Mike Evans scored 39 points and Venable got a combined 2.5 points from Bobby Rainey and Brent Celek. It's unlikely we see a similar-type matchup this time around.
War Pony's Semifinal Result
War Pony, owned by Venable, was dominant most of the season . . . but not this week. Fortunately for him, all four semifinal teams underachieved, and his underachieved less than the others.
Lynn's Brewmasters rode a rags-to-riches arc all the way to the semifinals, but that's as far as they got. The Brew Crew got a combined 18 points from its three WRs, including zero from Donte Moncrief (who had a touchdown catch called back due to a holding penalty). Every-week studs Calvin Johnson and T.Y. Hilton both disappointed, and neither caught a touchdown. Then late-season star Isaiah Crowell earned Lynn a mere four points.
For its part, Venable's War Pony overcame an early injury to Peyton Manning to beat the Brewmasters and advance to the first Thunder Bowl thanks to big games from Matt Asiata, Antonio Brown, and Antonio Gates.
Hillier's Semifinal Result
But Hillier overcame the spread to reach the Thunder Bowl . . . even with a mere two points from Andrew Hawkins, eight points from Shane Vereen, and one point from Anthony Fasano. The Doughboys' Jamaal Charles, Matthew Stafford, and Emmanuel Sanders all disappointed for Green, as did Jordy Nelson. Additionally, Hillier benefitted from big games by Matt Ryan, Eric Decker, and Kelvin Benjamin. And he outscored Green at kicker and defense by 12 points.
It wasn't pretty, but each victor this week overcame disappointing performances from their studs in order to reach the inaugural Thunder Bowl. And one of them will take home the Killman Memorial Trophy.