Fourteen years have passed since we first sat at Snow Hall and learned that the 1st Battalion of the 158th Field Artillery regiment was being called up for service in Iraq. A lot has changed during that time, so let's take some time to catch up, this time with Whackers manager Lyndal Morgan.
Are you still in the 158? If, not when did you get out?
MORGAN: No, I got out in 2010.
What did you do post-deployment?
MORGAN: I went to nursing school at OU, followed by nurse practitioner school at Texas Tech.
Where are your from and how did you make it into the 158?
MORGAN: I am from Duncan and joined the 158 because their Bravo Battery was in my hometown.
Where do you live now?
MORGAN: Marlow, just a few miles from Duncan.
What are your hobbies outside of FF?
MORGAN: I enjoy fishing, hunting, and riding ATVs. I also fly drones watch my Red Sox win the World Series.
What is your fantasy background? How long have you played FF? How many different leagues?
MORGAN: I only play in the OIL. I've tried playing in other leagues, but none were are competitive or fun as the OIL.
How many championships have you won?
MORGAN: I've won one championship (2007) and finished second twice.
What is your general strategy in FF?
MORGAN: I'm not giving you my strategy, Brick. Nice try.
How much preparation do you do before each season?
MORGAN: The week before the draft, I look at last year's results, this year's rankings, and develop a plan for when to target my sleepers.
Do you find you draft better at the cabin with the guys or at home online?
MORGAN: I draft way better at the cabin. Duffy needs to come down next year. [Editor's Note: I'm not sure if that's a burn or not.]
Will you be at the draft cabin next year?
What is the best move you've made in FF?
MORGAN: I feel I had a solid draft this year. But I’m losing my mind, so I can’t remember anything better than not making a move or trade the year I won the championship.
What is your favorite FF memory? What is the pinnacle of your FF career?
MORGAN: This year was by far my best season, even though we didn't bring home the championship.
SHAWNEE — What a way to finish off a championship season. After a star-studded season that included a 10-3 record, Kevin Pyle and Lucky Enuf rode rookie QB Sam Darnold and free-agent signing C.J. Anderson to a championship Sunday, beating the Whackers 163.95-154.30 for their third championship in 13 seasons. The matchup was a re-match of the very first OIL Bowl in 2006.
After winning the inaugural OIL Bowl in 2006, Pyle had to wait until 2012 before learning he'd been recognized as a co-champion for 2008. Lucky Enuf and SoonerJack famously tied in the 2008 OIL Bowl, but the passing yards tiebreaker gave the title to Bruesch. Four years later, a re-count using fractional scoring showed Pyle would have won. In the years since, Pyle has been cursed by that asterisk: ridiculed by fellow managers and snakebitten in the playoffs. But, as he put it on Twitter, he finally has that monkey off his back.
Lucky Enuf had seemed a cruel moniker in recent seasons, as this season marked the fourth in a row that he lost players to season-ending injuries during the playoffs. This year, Pyle lost QB Carson Wentz and RB Todd Gurley to injury and WR Josh Gordon to imminent suspension. But Pyle shrewdly started rookie QB Sam Darnold in relief of Wentz and off-the-street free-agent RB C.J. Anderson in place of Gurley. Lucky Enuf was rewarded with 35.45 points from Darnold and 23.30 points from Anderson. Rookie WR Robert Foster started in place of Gordon and posted a respectable 9.20 points.
The win brings Pyle's career record against Morgan to 9-5. He ends 2018 at 12-3, lifting his 13-year OIL record to 107-76, with three championships. But Pyle isn't forgetting the heartbreak of the past. "I'm genuinely about to jump out of my skin with excitement, but the previous three or four seasons are keeping me humble," he said.
We'll see how humble he feels when he sees his name engraved on the Lawson Memorial Trophy again.
Morgan, the 2007 champion, was in the title game for the third time. He has now lost the OIL Bowl to Pyle twice. The Whackers were led by 27.60 points from fill-in RB Jamaal Williams and 26.50 points from first-round RB Alvin Kamara.
When reached for comment, Morgan was not bitter. "I thought I had it, but that's why they play the games," he said. The Whackers end the season at 10-5, dropping their 13-year OIL record to 85-96-1 with one championship and two runner-up finishes.
Whackers manager Lyndal Morgan holds the record for least transactions in a season (while playing the entire season). In 2007, Morgan did not make a single add/drop. Regardless, he somehow went 12-4 and won the OIL Bowl (one year after losing the inaugural OIL Bowl against Lucky Enuf). Morgan has a history of making few moves, as evidenced in the below spreadsheet:
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.
2007 champion Lyndal Morgan received a custom mini-helmet to commemorate his 2007 OIL Bowl championship. His Whackers beat his arch-rival (Leal's Norman Nobodies) to conclude the second season of the OIL.
The 2014 champion Dirty Hippies helmet is still a work-in-progress because it is more complicated. We're starting with the 2014 champion and then going back to the beginning of the OIL to work our way back to 2013.
2006 champion Kevin Pyle now has a custom Lucky Enuf mini-helmet to go along with his custom championship jersey. The league is working on getting 2007 champion Lyndal Morgan a Whackers mini-helmet next.
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.
Championship jerseys have been ordered for all OIL1 champions still in the league. The manufacturer says they will be shipped the second week of December. Those receiving jerseys are: Lucky Enuf (navy blue home jersey for 2006 championship); Whackers (red home jersey; 2007); SoonerJack (crimson home jersey for 2008; white away jersey for 2011); and Dogs of War (white away jersey for 2013). Arrogant Americans already received a home and away jersey for their 2010 and 2012 championships.
Just weeks after unveiling a new logo, Morgan's 2007 champion Whackers unveiled a new uniform set today, as did Jessen's DominationStation and Pyle's 2006 champion (and 2008 runner-up*) Lucky Enuf. Full-size images are available on each team's manager page.
Matthew Leal and Lyndal Morgan have been in the OIL since its beginning in Iraq in 2006. They were roommates that year and have been rivals ever since. This week, each manager released a new logo for his team:
Each design is now part of the league store, where managers can purchase team-branded mugs, shirts, hoodies, blankets, and more. Morgan's logo will grace the championship jersey he'll receive for winning the 2007 OIL Bowl.