This is the eighth installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read previous chapters here.
A lot happened in 2013. One OILer lost his house in the Moore tornado that gained worldwide attention. Two brothers-in-arms died. Four managers had children born. There were trips to Lambeau Field and Cowboys Stadium. A new champion was crowned. And one of the OIL's own became "Top."
In May, two-time OIL champion Jack Bruesch lost his house in the Moore tornado. Fortunately, he and his family were uninjured, and OIL members and more came together to help in any way we could.
CLIBURN: On a lighter note, it's a good thing I won the OIL and DBFA trophies back from Bruesch in 2012. Otherwise, those trophies would have been lost in the tornado rubble.
BRUESCH: I guess that's one silver lining of the whole thing.
CLIBURN: We can joke about it now, but I was really worried about Bruesch on the day of the tornadoes. I couldn't get ahold of him, and I knew his house was in the path. Thankfully no one in his family was seriously injured though.
Losing One of Our Own
On a more somber note, 2013 was also the year the OIL buried friends and brothers-in-arms. 1LT Brandon Landrum died in May from an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Members of the OIL knew him as SPC Landrum.
CLIBURN: Landrum was a medic and spent 2008 in Iraq with the 158. He went to the same high school and college as me, although we were in different classes. He had transferred to active duty as a commissioned officer when he died.
DUFFY: He trained with me at a "war fighter" exercise when he was still with the 158.
CLIBURN: I just remember how much he made us laugh at Camp Gruber. He'll be missed.
Making a Pilgrimage
DUFFY: After living in Lawton-Fort Sill for 20+ years, I'd moved to my family's hometown in Wisconsin. The Commish and Mrs. Commish visited us in Wisconsin in July.
CLIBURN: And that meant an obligatory pilgrimage to Lambeau Field. I went with Duffy, Duffy's father and his brothers to tour Lambeau Field and watch the Packers practice.
DUFFY: It was the first time Cliburn went to an NFL training camp.
CLIBURN: It also marked the first time I had to wear a hoodie in July. Not cool, Wisconsin.
DUFFY: I like to think of this as very aggressive homework for our fantasy teams too. You were here the following July and you know that was not normal for July . . . this is God's country.
Growing the OIL Family
The OIL family grew when three league members had a baby in 2013. Commissioner isn't that great at baby gifts, so he welcomed them to the league with custom onesies featuring the logo of their fathers' respective teams.
CLIBURN: And one member had a son born just before 2013 began. While his birth did not technically happen in 2013, it did occur between the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
BALDWIN: Colt Baldwin was born in December 2012 and lives with us in Stratford.
CLIBURN: Jessen's daughter was born in Duncan and was quickly sporting her favorite outfit: her DominationStation onesie (it's unclear if Mrs. Jessen shares the love for fantasy football-themed infant clothing). Cali's quickly becoming Jessen's biggest fan.
JESSEN: It's too bad I didn't have my updated logo when she was born.
CLIBURN: Meanwhile, the other additions to the OIL family were born far away from Oklahoma. Adam Duffy's daughter, Olive, was born in Packer Country, but her favorite team is the Hangovers.
DUFFY: That was a special onesie. Cliburn, my best bud (except for week 13), purchased that for me from his cell phone while we were at Lambeau Field watching the Packers practice.
CLIBURN: Well, we were in Wisconsin because Deanne wanted to be at Leslie's baby shower, and I realized I hadn't brought anything. So I walked back into the Duffy house after Lambeau and proudly told Leslie she could expect a Hangovers onesie in the mail for little Olive.
DUFFY: It was perfect, even if Leslie didn't necessarily agree.
CLIBURN: And Christopher Trovillo had his first child in 2013, a son. Robert Trovillo was born in Volunteer territory, but he's a born Dirty Hippie.
TROVILLO: That was awesome! I loved getting that in the mail. Thanks, commish.
After Cliburn's move to Norman and Duffy's move to Wisconsin, two fewer managers lived in Lawton. It just didn't make sense to hold the draft party there anymore. So the men met up at Buffalo Wild Wings in Moore for the 2013 OIL draft.
CLIBURN: After seeing what he did in 2012, I couldn't let Adrian Peterson get away in 2013. I chose to have the first overall pick and selected AP months before the draft began.
JESSEN: Meanwhile, my first-round pick was a bust.
CLIBURN: There were two busts in the first round that year. Your pick of Doug Martin and Duffy's selection of Trent Richardson.
DUFFY: I, like many, was duped by Trent Richardson. That wasn't a good way to start the season.
COBB: And my first-round pick (Arian Foster) was plagued by injuries all season.
HENDERSON: Plus, my second-round pick was a bust, but it wasn't his fault. David Wilson had neck and spine issues that caused him to retire early.
CLIBURN: He could have been my problem. I kept trying to trade your for him because I could put him on my bench until he was cleared medically. It cracked me up when you replied with this:
NOTE: The Hard Targets franchise competed as Fourth Down Syndrome in 2013 before rebranding in 2014.
Cobb's Dogs of War got off to a hot start thanks to Peyton Manning's week one performance.
CLIBURN: This was when Peyton Manning became known simply as PFM (Peyton Fucking Manning). In that week one matchup against Baltimore, PFM threw for 462 yards and seven touchdowns. Even in my 2012 championship season with Manning at the helm, he never sniffed 65 points.
COBB: I'm no dummy. I saw what he did for your 2012 team and knew he was one more year removed from the neck surgery.
CLIBURN: Just before the season began, I gave my team a makeover in a trade with Schmidt.
CLIBURN: The thinking here was that I wanted Tom Brady over Eli Manning, and I wanted Adrian Peterson's handcuff (Gerhart was still in MIN). I gave Schmidt what we thought would be a PPR monster RB in Shane Vereen in exchange for Le'Veon Bell, who was going to miss a few games to start the season. And I gave up rookie DeAndre Hopkins for his teammate Keshawn Martin, who I thought would be a monster in the return game.
DUFFY: After a disastrous 2012, I was happy to begin 2013 with a huge win over Schmidt's Dead Again.
JESSEN: I started out 2-0 one year removed from my second-straight OIL Bowl loss.
CLIBURN: And you got there by beating me in week two, but I couldn't be too upset with that loss since I'd beaten you the previous season in the OIL Bowl.
Weeks 3-4's Trades
After two weeks of the 2013 season, the trades were fast and furious.
CLIBURN: Peyton Manning started the season absolutely on fire . . . and Cobb loved to rub it in our faces.
One year after losing a semifinal game to the Arrogant Americans by .3, the Dogs of War got their revenge in week four. Cobb's team beat Cliburn by half a point: 203.75 - 203.25.
CLIBURN: I beat Cobb in the 2012 semifinals by .3, so he loved beating me by .5 in week four.
COBB: Damn right I did. But I wasn't going to be satisfied until I knocked you out of the playoffs.
Weeks 5-6's Trades
CLIBURN: This trade isn't as bad as it looks. Remember, Clyde Gates had a good run for a few weeks in 2013, and he provided return yards. Still, it took a lot of convincing back and forth through text messages:
HENDERSON: Ha! I'd forgotten about that.
CLIBURN: I regretted this trade almost as soon as I hit accept.
JESSEN: It was one of the few times I felt you got screwed in a trade.
CLIBURN: I was intent on getting Green, and it gave me tunnel vision. That trade put me in a hole I had to trade my way out of later.
CLIBURN: What was going on here? In week three, you two essentially traded Dez Bryant for Darren Sproles. Then, three weeks later, you trade each other back?
DUFFY: Who knows? I made so many trades that year.
TROVILLO: I probably thought Richardson was bound to get out of his slump after the Colts traded for him . . . I was wrong though.
CLIBURN: I felt pretty good about 2013 until my 84-point outing in week five. Leal's Nobodies just about doubled me up, too.
LEAL: You can't win 'em all, Brick.
BRUESCH: After a .500 first four weeks, it was good to win two in a row to get to 4-2.
Weeks 7-8's Trades
Danny Woodhead and the Hard Targets beat the 2012 champion Arrogant Americans to start week seven.
CLIBURN: Then Schmidt rained on Bruesch's parade by beating him by a mere three points.
BRUESCH: But then we slaughtered the 'Mericans the following week.
CLIBURN: That loss dropped me to 3-5. Then Yahoo! helpfully reminded me that three of those losses came against my opponents' best weeks.
PYLE: That sounds like some Lucky Enuf luck right there.
Taking a Roadtrip
In November, Yancy Baldwin, Justin Finch, Aaron Cobb, and Justin Cliburn went to the Cowboys-Vikings game together. It was the second straight year for an NFL trip among the guys, and they had a great time. Even sitting in the "nosebleed" section, the experience was fantastic. There really are no bad seats at "Jerry World."
Weeks 9-10's Trades
All trades had to be finalized by November 1, so week nine was characterized by a flurry of last minute trades.
CLIBURN: I knew I'd made a mistake when I traded Antonio Brown away. So, as the trade deadline approached, I did all I could to get him back.
BALDWIN: It ended up being Eddie Lacy, Marques Colston, Riley Cooper, and Eddie Lacy for A.J. Green. I felt like that was fair. Plus, I needed more WR depth.
CLIBURN: I know this trade looks ridiculous, but Brady was horrible for a large stretch of that season. Jake Locker and Terrelle Pryor were outscoring him, so I traded him away at the deadline for Cole Beasley, who at least was scoring double-digit points most weeks.
PYLE: Brick text me and asked if I was willing to take a gamble on Brady. I was, but the league thought something untoward was going on and vetoed it.
CLIBURN: At 3-5 heading into week nine, I needed to turn it around to make the playoffs.
MORGAN: I couldn't believe I lost by a point to Schmidt. He's never a threat to win it all, but he always wins games he shouldn't.
SCHMIDT: That's pretty much my signature. You can never sleep on Dead Again.
TROVILLO: That T-Rich trade killed me that year. I never recovered.
The two weeks prior to Rivalry Week were intense. The matchups were tight as teams scrambled for playoff positions.
CLIBURN: I beat poor Baldwin by a mere half a point in week 11. I'd forgotten about that.
DUFFY: This was my best team so far. This is when the cream rose to the top. I knew I would have a good season but clinching the top seed was starting to look pretty real.
Week 13: Rivalry Week
CLIBURN: After 2013's Rivalry Week, I was more sold on the idea than ever. I grew up a huge college football fan, and I loved the end-of-season rivalries every year.
DUFFY: I felt like there was more banter. The idea was becoming real and some of the hate week stuff was just gas on the fire. It was a huge success.
LEAL: It definitely was. I looked forward to beating Morgan all season.
DUFFY: And I always kept my Rivalry Week matchup with Cliburn in the back of my head. Every move I made that season was done with beating Cliburn in mind.
CLIBURN: I'd won the 2012 matchup, so I went into Rivalry Week wearing the home reds.
DUFFY: And I got week 13 bragging rights with a solid 22-point victory. 2014's Rivalry Week would be held on the Hangovers' turf.
LEAL: I also avenged a 2012 Rivalry Week loss and stomped the Whackers. No matter what else happened, I had bragging rights for another year.
HENDERSON: Even though I had a disappointing season, at least I won my second straight Rivalry Week against the Hippies.
TROVILLO: And, if there's anything Hippies hate, it's losing to NARCS.
BALDWIN: Although it was a low-scoring affair, at least I beat Finch.
PYLE: I missed the playoffs again this season, but at least I beat my old archrival.
JESSEN: It took 162 points, but I was able to beat Rogers for the second year in a row.
COBB: And I broke out the alternate uniforms for the first time. It worked, because I beat SoonerJack for the second straight season to guarantee a playoff spot.
For the first time, Duffy's Hangovers secured the number one seed while the two-seed (Finch's Hard Targets) made the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Competing for the chance to knock off one of the top two seeds in the semis were Cliburn's Arrogant Americans; Bruesch's SoonerJack; Cobb's Dogs of War; and Leal's Norman Nobodies.
The first playoff matchup of 2013 featured a pair of two-time champions in Cliburn's Arrogant Americans and Bruesch's SoonerJack.
BRUESCH: The dream of a third championship died for me in the first round of the playoffs.
CLIBURN: While my dreams of a third championship were still alive for at least one more week.
The second quarterfinal matchup featured a pair of squads hoping for their first championship in Cobb's Dogs of War and Leal's Norman Nobodies.
COBB: For the second straight season, the Dogs of War were going to the semifinals. And, this time, we weren't going to lose by .3.
The first semifinal matchup pitted two archrivals against each other: Cliburn's Arrogant Americans versus Duffy and the top-seeded Hangovers
CLIBURN: After losing to the Hangovers in Rivalry Week, I loved getting revenge in the playoffs. But I knew Duff wouldn't take it well since one of his starters netted him less than two points during the most important matchup of the season.
DUFFY: That was so frustrating, but I couldn't be too angry at my team because we scored 175 points. Well, I couldn't be mad at anyone except for Jacob Tamme, who scored 1.9 points.
CLIBURN: And he was angry with Tamme. The next morning, I had this email from Duffy.
DUFFY: I just remember saying to myself "Jacob Tamme is a bitch" and then the ghost of Fort Lewis finished the thought for me: "Toby Keith is his father."
CLIBURN: I can usually tell how angry Duff is by how few words he says about the matchup the morning after. At two sentences long, this was one of his more frustrated morning-afters.
DUFFY: The Toby Keith reference was a nod to the detainee ops training we did at Fort Lewis as we trained for the 2006 Iraq mission. From the first chapter of this oral history project:
DUFFY: The reason I started Tamme was Julius Thomas was injured, and all the experts predicted Tamme to have a huge game. Then he goes out and scores 1.9 points? It sucked. When you're in the playoffs, you're there to win (you play to win the game!) and to play your rival just adds to that pressure. Then a guy goes out there and tallies such a pathetic score. . . ugh. I wish I could call him and say, "Really!? I could have done better than that."
CLIBURN: The funny part is, if you had Peyton Manning throwing you passes, you actually might have done better.
DUFFY: Maybe. Of course, I'd need over 20 points from him to have won. Scoring 174 points and losing by 20 may be the most frustrating playoff loss I've had.
CLIBURN: Meanwhile, Cobb faced Finch in the other semifinal. The outcome of that matchup guaranteed that I'd face a first-time participant in the OIL Bowl as neither the Dogs of War nor the Hard Targets had ever played in week 16's championship.