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?
Stephen Brosh drafted QB Patrick Mahomes in the 10th round and complemented him with a strong ground game, led by Adrian Peterson and Dalvin Cook, and deep WR corps. His Vultures upset the defending champions and second-seeded Cocks before defeating the now three-time runner-up Doughboys in the Thunder Bowl. In the Liberty Bowl, he faced two teams with higher OPRs, but he slayed them as well. The Vultures manager will now receive a bevy of prizes: the Killman Memorial Trophy; a custom team jersey; the Tenequer Memorial Trophy; and a custom team mini-helmet. Congratulations, Brosh.
The Vultures finished with a record of 12-4. They scored 143.28 points per game and an OPR of 1.034 (16th). Over the season, they made 19 transactions, ended the season with 10 drafted players remaining on their roster, and finished on a 10-game winning streak (including the Liberty Bowl).
The defending champion Redlegs start 2017 atop the AFC standings once again, while the NFC champion Dirty Hippies failed to break triple-digits in their 2017 debut. The PFC champion Dirty Dogs, however, managed to start their title defense with a victory.
The injuries of David Johnson and Allen Robinson have reverberated across the league. Their owners already face adversity in the young season.
By OIL Commissioner Justin C. Cliburn
Congratulations to Christopher Trovillo, whose Dirty Hippies won the 2016 Liberty Bowl. He will hold the Tenequer Memorial Trophy in trust until a new champion is crowned. He also earned a custom mini-helmet with the win, and the Commissioner awaits his instructions regarding said helmet.
As far as Lance Zerger goes, his Redlegs fell short in their quest to win their first week 17 championship. But the season was a monstrous success regardless. The Redlegs set a record for most points in single season, won 12 games, and won the AFC's Thunder Bowl. He will have his name engraved on the Killman Memorial Trophy and his custom jersey has been ordered.
Well, that's it for the 2016 OIL season. Congratulations to the three conference champions: Buehre, Trovillo, and Zerger. The 2017 draft order will be posted soon, and I'll get started on the 2016 edition of the Book of OIL. Be prepared for lots of emails soliciting your feedback on the 2016 draft party, trades, rivalry week, season, and playoffs.
Zerger has plans to coordinate an OIL March Madness pool, and we'll be finding ways to raise money for the 2017 draft weekend, which will again occur at the Roberts Retreat Lodge north of Ada. Our deposit has been paid, and we need to pay $3,100 by August to keep the rental (and not lose the $780 deposit). Anyone who was at the 2016 draft can vouch for how amazing the venue is: 5,000 square-foot cabin; private lake; ATV trails; shooting range; ping pong table; big screen TVs; huge wrap-around porch; and the company of your SECFOR brothers.
If you'd like to make your donation now, the link is here. You can view photos, videos, and audio clips of the 2016 draft weekend here. If you encounter a password prompt, the password is oklahoma*** with the *** being the number of our military unit.
Happy New Year, brothers. Something tells me we'll keep in touch all offseason using the GroupMe chat (thanks to Zerger for suggesting that). For all of those who didn't win a championship in 2016 (including me), the new year provides new hope. In the meantime, check out the championship banners hung at the top of each champion's manager page:
Only 12 teams remain in contention in the OIL playoffs after Nye, Roe, Cliburn, Jessen, Baldwin, and Cordes were knocked out in round one. Half of the semifinals field had a bye last week, so this is their first test since Rivalry Week. Good luck, guys. As always, game-by-game analysis after the jump.
By Redlegs Manager Lance Zerger
Welcome to Love/Hate Week, also known as Rivalry Week. Unfortunately for some teams, they have to beat their rivals to secure a place in the playoffs, Some teams have an outside shot at getting the second place bye in the playoffs. The rest is playing for pride. This week is really going to have a good story line for a lot of teams.
Game of the Week: