BOISE, IDAHO--Lost in the excitement of Rivalry Week and playoff-clinching victories, Dead Again manager Mike Schmidt joined a most-unfortunate club last Week 13, losing his 100th OIL matchup. Congratulations, Schmidt!
They're here! They're here! The 2019 championship jerseys arrived Thursday, January 23, 2020. The AFC's Rebel Alliance went with the home blue since it was their first championship. Likewise for the Vandals and their home black. Lucky Enuf just won their fourth championship, so their options were limited. They ultimately went with a "Salute to Service"-style jersey. You may view all 26 championship jerseys here.
SHAWNEE –– Four-time NFC champion Kevin Pyle laid claim to the Tenequer Memorial Trophy Sunday night, winning the OIL's Liberty Bowl for himself and the NFC. After coming into Week 17 down 25.7 points to the PFC's Vandals, Lucky Enuf surged ahead in the late afternoon games and clinched the victory Sunday night. Despite being down 62.1 points to the Vandals himself, Roe stormed back to finish in second place. Pyle is now eligible for another custom mini-helmet and will have his name engraved on the Tenequer Memorial Trophy.
Week 16 has come and gone, and only three teams remain: the AFC's Rebel Alliance; the NFC's Lucky Enuf; and the PFC's Vandals. Each champion will receive a custom team jersey, as is custom. But the Liberty Bowl remains, where the three conference champions' total scores over Weeks 16 and 17 determine the overall OIL champion. Out of 42, one will stand tall.
The Liberty Bowl champion will receive a custom-made team helmet and the title of overall OIL champion. The managers have until noon on Sunday to submit their lineups to the commissioner. Score will be kept in the below spreadsheet.
SHAWNEE –– They say the good ones make their own luck, and, after winning his fourth championship (and second in a row), it's safe to say Pyle is pret-tay, pret-tay, pret-tay good. It wasn't the dominance we saw in 2018, but it was enough for Pyle to secure a first-round bye and record-fourth OIL championship. Congratulations, Pyle.
After winning two out of the first three OIL Bowls, Lucky Enuf endured a six-season stretch where they averaged only six wins per year. That was followed by a three-year stretch where they averaged a whopping 10 wins per year . . . but failed to reach the OIL Bowl. But the last two seasons have each ended in a championship, bringing Pyle's career total to four. That breaks the three-way tie for most championships previously shared by Pyle, Bruesch, and Cliburn.
Bruesch did not bring home the Lawson Memorial Trophy, but he tied Cliburn with a record-fifth OIL Bowl appearance. SoonerJack is a perennial contender, and he'll be back next year.
SHAWNEE –– Four years after Championship Week heartbreak, the Rebel Alliance have claimed their first AFC title. Roe began his season with arguably the AFC's best draft class (ranked third by RateMyLeague.com) and then added breakout star TE Darren Waller in free agency. That was enough to win nine regular-season games and achieve the second-highest OPR OIL-wide. But the Rebels finished one game behind Steel Reign, dropping them to the AFC's second seed. However, given the opportunity to prove who the better team was on the field, the Rebels beat Steel Reign in the Thunder Bowl to claim their first championship.
Roe survived below-par games from QB Russell Wilson, WRs Tyreek Hill and Anthony Miller, and TE Darren Waller in large part due to Fitzgerald's team underperforming even worse.
Despite the loss, it was a great year for Fitzgerald. His Steel Reign squad won 10 regular-season games while he spent the season in Prague, Czech Republic. So, who's the real winner here?
AMARILLO –– Picked to finish second by RateMyLeague.com, the Vandals were a contender all season. But they had to defeat fifth-seeded The Xtreme, the top-seeded Nightmares, and second-seeded Team Tadlock to claim their first championship.
2019 was Lutonsky's third in the OIL. He went 9-4 his first season before suffering through a 4-9 season in 2018. But he drafted well in 2019, made the right moves in-season, and got hot at the right time. His semifinal upset of the Nightmares was one for the ages, as the Nightmares' 2019 season ranked sixth in OIL history (out of over 300 individual seasons). Congratulations to Tonk. His jersey will be ordered soon.
Tadlock seemed poised to be the one celebrating his first championship. He went 10-3 in the regular season, and, after the Vandals upset the number-one Nightmares, Team Tadlock was the clear favorite going into the Patriot Bowl. Alas, it was not meant to be. It wasn't a disaster for Tadlock, as he scored enough points to have won the AFC's Thunder Bowl. But he ran into a buzz saw in the PFC's Patriot Bowl, and can't be faulted for the Vandals' 194 points. Congratulations on a good season and best of luck next year, Tadlock.
Six teams. Four managers seeking their first championship. Three trophies. Two previous champions. Welcome to Championship Week 2019. Analysis after the jump.
And then there were 12. The AFC and PFC are guaranteed first-time champions, while the NFC has a 75% at a repeat champ. Round One lived up to the playoff hype with all but one matchup coming down to Monday Night Football. Congratulations to the semifinalists. Pour one out, however, for those championship contenders no longer with us:
War Pony, the Cocks, Dead Again, DominationStation, the Havoc, and the Xtreme
will all have to wait until 2020 to compete for a championship.