Justin Finch's Hard Targets logo is the only OIL logo to be modeled after an actual 1-158 FA soldier. Can you guess who it is?
Of course, his team wasn't always so safe for work. That first season, he went by a NSFW 'Team America: World Police' reference. Following that, he went by the less-offensive-but-still-NSFW f***wads. He later dabbled with Fourth Down Syndrome and Stafford Infection before settling on the name of our dumbass platoon nickname back in '05/'06. This was about the same time he became a father and responsible adult, so kids aren't all bad, I guess.
Finch spent the first half of his OIL career at the bottom of the standings. But he's been one of the better managers the last several years, averaging 9.5 wins per regular season from 2013-2016. His best season was 2014, when he made it to the OIL Bowl before losing to the Dirty Hippies.
Head on over to the record book to view your all-time head-to-head record against any current NFC manager. This is current through the 2014 season and includes playoff matchups. Fun fact: Finch is 1-7-1 all-time versus Morgan. After this season, I'll update the NFC records and compile a table for the AFC and PFC.
GUTHRIE, OKLA. — The NFC's Hard Targets traded away QB Peyton Manning today, likely ending Manning's 10-year reign over the OIL. Sure, Cobb could still start him. But the days of Peyton leading teams to the playoffs are over. He's done. He'll never be what he was, in the NFL or the OIL (Peyton is currently a backup in the AFC and in danger of losing his job in the PFC as well). He finishes his OIL career with a record four championships (three NFC; one AFC). The Dogs of War won a championship with Manning in 2013, so they must be hoping to regain some of that mojo. But Cobb traded away Alshon Jeffery (who, although he missed four straight games, went off for 28 points today) for the aged QB. Does Cobb know something we don't? Not likely. When reached for comment, all Finch could say was:
Peyton Through the Years
All season, two teams stood head and shoulders above the rest of the NFC: the Dirty Hippies and Hard Targets. They were rewarded with the top two seeds and a first-round bye in the playoffs. After beating the AMMODOGS and Arrogant Americans, respectively, the Hangovers and DARC NARCS took a swing at the Hippies and Targets . . . and missed.
Regular Season Result: Week Four
Because the OIL plays a balanced schedule, these teams played each other in the regular season. Finch won that matchup by 14.
The teams are largely unchanged since that week four matchup. Since then, Finch lost Stevan Ridley to IR and added Josh Gordon via trade with Duffy. Meanwhile, Trovillo traded away T.Y. Hilton and Devin Hester, promoted Jarvis Landry to WR2, and added Giovani Bernard and Odell Beckham, Jr. Here's how the current Dirty Hippies lineup fared in its week 15 semifinal matchup.
Dirty Hippies Semifinal Result
In one semifinal, the Hangovers' Cinderella season ended when they ran into a buzzsaw otherwise known as the Dirty Hippies. After falling to 2-5, Duffy pulled off some risky trades to shake things up (including trading for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers), and it worked. They won five of their last six regular season games (including a Rivalry Week rout of the Arrogant Americans) and then knocked out the AMMODOGS in the first round of the playoffs.
In the week 15 semifinal, Duffy got 24 points from Demariyus Thomas, 18 points from Eddie Lacy, 28 points from late-season pick-up Jeremy Hill, and 23 points from Devin Hester. It should have been enough to seriously challenge the Hippies. But Aaron Rodgers let Duffy down for the first time this season in a shocking loss to the Buffalo Bills (scoring 7.95 points). And Rodgers's and Davante Adams's (1.6 points) disappointing performances doomed the Hangovers in spite of the great outputs by the remainder of the roster.
The Hippies, for their part, overcame a disappointing TNF performance from Tre Mason (1.3 points). They got 43 points from Odell Beckham, 20 points from fellow LSU rookie WR Jarvis Landry, 18 points from Roddy White, 28 points from Le'Veon Bell, and 18 points from Rob Gronkowski. The Hippies QB points are not included in their 164-point total, as Jay Cutler plays Monday night. But the Hangovers players are all done. In turn, although they put up a very respectable 147 points, the Hangovers were sent home by a dominant Dirty Hippies team heading to its first OIL Bowl.
Hard Targets Semifinal Result
In the other semifinal, Henderson's even more improbable run ended as his DARC NARCS lost to the number one seed one week after posting his highest score of the season. In the first round of the playoffs, the NARCS upset the Arrogant Americans behind 43 points from Cam Newton, 42 points from Julio Jones, and 30 points from Joique Bell.
But that kind of luck is hard to keep going. Two days after leading the NARCS to victory, Cam Newton got into a car accident and was ruled out for the semifinals. Then Julio Jones was ruled out for week 15 after suffering an injury late in the fourth quarter of his game in week 14. And Joique Bell put up a pedestrian 10 points. It wasn't enough.
Henderson also turned to Kendall Wright to pick up the slack for Julio Jones. But Wright, who missed week 14, was again ruled out and Henderson got zero points from a pivotal position. The zero from Wright was matched by Jermaine Gresham, who was an unexpected inactive himself. It wouldn't have mattered though. Not even Henderson's optimal lineup would have won this matchup as Jordan Matthews (who had been hot as of late) scored zero points himself on Sunday Night Football.
On top of all that, Henderson replaced Cam Newton with Ryan Fitzpatrick . . . who broke his leg in the first half of Sunday's game. So, all in all, this week was a cavalcade of horrors for the NARCS. With all of their players done with for week 15, they trail the Targets by 40 points with Mark Ingram and Alshon Jeffery yet to play for Finch. A team like Finch's Hard Targets doesn't need any help to beat a team like Henderson's . . . but it got it anyway en route to an easy victory and their first OIL Bowl berth.
So, it wasn't how we expected to come to it, but we now have the OIL Bowl we've expected all season. Enjoy.
Compiled and edited by Justin C. Cliburn
This is the first installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read later chapters here.
To understand the OklahomIraqis League ("the OIL"), one must know who its members are and what brought them together. The league began at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq in 2006. It was resurrected in 2007 and kept alive each successive season. It's the way they keep in touch and share news with the men they served with in Iraq. Sometimes it's the only way because, although the men of the OIL are incredible friends, they may have never known each other without the Army National Guard. They came from different backgrounds and followed different career paths, but they served together as soldiers. Their bond would never be what it is without the experiences they shared one year in Iraq.
Their story is important, even if only to them, because when historians chronicle the Iraq War, they will focus on the usual fare: the battles; the successes and the failures; the bombings and the civil war . . . and the presidents and generals who managed them.
But it will be up to the everyday Joes, the boots on the ground, to tell their stories . . . because no one else will. Who were these men? Why did they join the military? What did they do over there? How are they now? And what has kept them close since they first went to war together? These questions may be important only to those who already know the answers, but they need to be shared just the same.
What follows is an oral history of the OIL, as told by the men who lived it, beginning with the combat mission that inspired it. It is by no means an exhaustive history of that combat mission in 2005-2006; such a history would fill a book of its own. But it is a decent overview of the year that preceded the formation of the OIL: where they were; what they'd experienced; how they felt. 152 Oklahoma soldiers served on that mission, but just a fraction of them are represented here. Each soldier below speaks for himself as an individual. Collectively, their memories form a history best expressed through the oral tradition of storytelling through conversation.
Soldiers are traditionally a guarded bunch, reluctant to show emotion or share their feelings, so the following is a rare look into the collective memory of one group of soldiers in Iraq almost a decade ago.
Finch's Hard Targets are the favorite to win the OIL Bowl at this point in the season. Since that means he'll need to get a jersey ordered, Finch went ahead and had one designed.
OKLAHOMA CITY — The OIL's Arrogant Americans released RB Ray Rice today after gossip site TMZ released footage of the player punching his then-fiancée in a casino hotel elevator. Rice was suspended in February for two games for the altercation, and Arrogant Americans manager Justin C. Cliburn took a chance by drafting Rice in the sixth round of the 2014 OIL draft.
"At the time of the draft, all I knew was Rice was missing two games," Cliburn said. "At a sixth-round price tag, our organization felt he was worth the risk. Today, it blew up in our faces. We regret the pick."
But before cutting Rice, Cliburn attempted to trade the embattled RB to OIL manager Mike Schmidt. The Arrogant Americans and Schmidt's Dead Again franchise agreed to trade Rice and Roy Helu for Bishop Sankey and Kenny Stills.
"I saw the video of Rice punching his fiancée," Cliburn said. "And I knew two things: 1. Rice would be suspended for longer than his original two-game sentence; and 2. I no longer wanted him on my roster."
But shortly after the trade sending Rice to Dead Again, the NFL's Baltimore Ravens terminated his contract and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the Super Bowl-winning RB indefinitely. League reaction to the trade, coupled with the indefinite suspension, was swift and fierce.
DominationStation manager Zachary Jessen said, if the trade was not vetoed, the league's recent move to third-party trade review would have been a mistake. Fourth Down Syndrome manager Justin Finch was even more outspoken:
"Typical [C]lyburn [sic] bullshit. I've come to expect some trade-raping on a weekly basis [from him]. I don't know why anyone ever thinks they are getting a good deal from him," Finch said. "[Yo]u should be ashamed," he added.
Cliburn was undeterred by the criticism. "As soon as we realized Rice would be cut, we contacted Schmidt and let him know we'd be ensuring the league commissioners vetoed the trade," Cliburn said. "I would lose all credibility in the OIL if I went through with this trade."
The Arrogant Americans and Dead Again trade was vetoed by the league office at 2:34 p.m. CST. It is unclear if another NFL or OIL team will take a chance on Rice at some point in the 2014 season, but Rice would have to apply for reinstatement to the NFL in order to play again in the NFL or the OIL. In Rice's place, the Americans will start the recently-acquired Zac Stacy at RB2. Andrew Hawkins will assume the W/R flex position as the Americans move to a five-WR offense.
Cliburn's Americans nudged into first place (by 1.25 points . . . for the season) with a 183.15 point showing against Jessen's DominationStation. If the Steelers hadn't wet the bed Sunday night, it could have been worse for the Station, but the 183 points were enough for tops in the league week eight.
Finch's squad gave a big FUCK YOU to competition, dignity, football, the OklahomIraqis League, and pride with a pitiful 78.8 point "effort" against Morgan's Whackers, who we can safely say will not be picking first in next year's draft.
Bruesch's SoonerJack squad was the first to reach the 200 point barrier this season, a feat that is much more impressive in 2010 due to the lowered points settings for return yards and defense. Scoring 204.5 points while getting 3.8, 2.9, and 1.7 points from three of his skill position players makes it that much more impressive. Of course, when you get 41, 36 and 31 points from three others, things have a way of evening out. Congratulations are in order for 2008's OiL champion, as he sets out in pursuit of his second championship.
On the other hand, Finch's Fuckwads failed to break the 100 point barrier with a pitiful performance against Jessen's DominationStation. Seven of 11 starters failed to hit double-digits for the 'wads, dooming the squad as Chris Johnson tried to do it all by himself. 24.5 points from CJ helps, but it can't overcome ineptitude on the level of the rest of the 'wads.
The 2010 schedules have been saved to the Yahoo! page. Each member will play every other member once each. Cobb finally registered his team, so I did the scheduling this afternoon.
Finch finally sent in a photo for his page, as well. Life outside of the Guard hasn't been good for him.