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FAN Take – Trust Falls, Anyone?

By Annalece Montgomery

FAN Take is a series that highlights trending events, issues, and decisions in the world of sports and analyzes how they may or may not factor into the Fan Controlled Football League. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think about each FAN Take!

LeBron James is finally starting to look like a Laker – photos from an official media shoot were released earlier this week. While some LA fans are rejoicing over having him on the team, some may be a little hesitant to trust that he will stick around. The only person that today’s fans can say really held their trust was Kobe Bryant – someone who has been described as able to “walk on water” by his own fans.

During training camp earlier this week, James was asked by Sports Illustrated reporter Ben Golliver, “How do you expect to earn the loyalty and respect of the LA fan base?”. His answer? “Me? Huh? I signed a four-year deal, what more do you want me to do?”

While some are saying his response is abrupt and rude, others are praising James for his candor. While playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, he didn’t sign deals beyond a couple years. The longest deal he signed was with Cleveland for three years, with an option for the last year. Even though that deal set records in the NBA, he still used that opt-out for year three to head to Los Angeles. That should show the LA fan base that he’s putting HIS trust in the team, so they can put their trust in him.

Well fans, what will it take for FCFL athletes to gain your trust? Since you’re the ones scouting them at combines and making draft decisions, will all these athletes start with a blank slate and be given implicit trust? Or are you going to make them earn it on and off the field? Should the players be asking fans what they will do to earn their trust? After all, the athletes are putting their fate in your hands. We have a hard time believing you can call the right plays and have them executed flawlessly if there isn’t any trust, so let us know where you stand on this topic!

Power To The FANS!

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Rookies Take Over

By Annalece Montgomery

Week Three of the NFL season has ended with an important message: the rookies are taking over. Three teams now have rookies starting in the quarterback position. When does that ever happen?

In Thursday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets, Tyrod Taylor left the game per NFL concussion protocol, and Baker Mayfield (Texas Tech) entered to win the game. That’s right, the Cleveland Browns won their first game in 635 days. And in so doing, they unlocked small fridges of Bud Light for the people of Cleveland! He will be starting against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Taylor is still in concussion protocol, but we imagine that Hue Jackson would have Mayfield start either way.

In the season opener, the Buffalo Bills were decimated by the Baltimore Ravens, in a 47-3 loss. Their starter, Nathan Peterman was pulled in the third quarter when they were trailing 40-0, and the No.7 pick from the 2018 draft, Josh Allen (Wyoming), was put in. We don’t think it was much of a surprise when the Bills named Allen their starting QB for next week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Monday morning the Arizona Cardinals announced Josh Rosen (UCLA) would be making his starting debut next week in their match against the Seattle Seahawks, per head coach Steve Wilks. Rosen proved himself in this week’s game, a loss to the Chicago Bears – he replaced Sam Bradford with 4 minutes and 31 seconds left in the game. Bradford will be serving as Rosen’s backup.

So, would the fans want to start a rookie, if they were coaching? They could make the case for a “forced” apprenticeship for the first year. It’s working pretty darn well for Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), who spent his rookie year on the sidelines watching veteran Alex Smith lead the team before busting out of the gate with 13 TD’s in his first three games as a starter, in his second year in the league!  And, of course, riding the bench in his first season worked out pretty well for another guy, who happens to be named Joe Montana. In his second season (1980), the GOAT took over from Steve DeBerg, and the rest is history!

All that said, we do believe our fans would probably start a rookie if his stats supported it. We think our fans are excited to have anyone on the field, as long as they’re bringing in results. They want to see strong stats and wins – so if that’s going to happen by throwing in a rookie, they’ll be all for it!

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FAN Take – Got Any Tricks Up Your Sleeve?

By Annalece Montgomery

FAN Take is a series that highlights trending events, issues, and decisions in the world of sports and analyzes how they may or may not factor into the Fan Controlled Football League. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think about each FAN Take!

Too often, football games rely on a field goal to determine the outcome of a game. But if you’re lucky, the game you’re watching is completely dependent upon a touchdown. Sure, you may see a short pass or a run to get those six points on the board, but it’s always more exciting to see a long shot Hail Mary or an unexpected trick play thrown into the mix in the last few seconds of the fourth quarter. Last Weekend, North Texas University pulled off a perfectly executed trick play against Arkansas.

North Texas had been working on this since fall camp with weeks of practice under their belt before attempting it in a game. After forcing Arkansas to punt, Keegan Brewer faked a fair catch and ran the ball back for a touchdown. Speaking to SB Nation, Brewer mentioned that Grant Morgan was right in front of him, and asked “why aren’t they blowing the whistle?” With his arms clutching the ball and standing in a slightly defensive posture, he waited for the Arkansas players to shift their attention and make a run for it.  You can watch the full play here.

While the game didn’t hinge upon the play for an ideal outcome – North Texas won 44-17 – it didn’t make the play any less impactful. We imagine the effort put into this play will inspire other teams to pull off some impressive moves of their own.

We’re looking to you, the fans, for some input here. Do you want to see trick play options when voting for play calls? Do you want the coaches you select to dedicate time in practice to working on trick plays? Or do you think with the one-hour play clock, lack of kicking, and other proposed rules, we won’t need to add trick plays to stir up some excitement? Let us know!

 Power To The FANS!

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Vontae Davis Really Retired At Half-Time

By Annalece Montgomery

Yesterday, Vontae Davis managed to dominate headlines despite the Cleveland Browns releasing Josh Gordon; Daniel Carlson and Zane Gonzalez missing game-changing kicks; and Ryan Fitzpatrick showing up to the post-game interview looking like this. During halftime of the Los Angeles Chargers – Buffalo Bills game, the veteran CB retired.

Last week, the Bills fell to the Baltimore Ravens 47-3. When the team headed into the locker room yesterday at the half, they were down 28-6. While the team did rally to end with a 31-20 loss, his presence, or lack thereof, was noticed in the second half. The internet had a field day, especially after Lorenzo Alexander (LB) was stunned in his locker room interview, chiming in with messages condemning Davis for his actions. Some were blaming it on the poor performance the Bills have showcased so far. Others were blaming it on poor character. But mostly, people were roasting him and the Buffalo Bills.

Regardless of what people may think, Davis chose to retire because of a sudden revelation – he flat out didn’t belong on the field anymore. In a statement issued, he said “This isn’t how I pictured retiring from the NFL…I’ve endured multiple surgeries and played through many different injuries throughout my career and over the last few weeks, this was the latest physical change. But today on the field, reality hit me fast and hard; I shouldn’t be out there anymore.” While he did emphasize that he did not mean to show any disrespect to his teammates or coaches, he emphasized he is at peace with the decision.

What would the fans do if they were on the Bills coaching staff? If the fans were Sean McDermott, or any other coach, we think they would have respected Davis’ decision, but asked him to stay on the sidelines for the remainder of the game. While we understand a player’s decision to hang up his helmet on his own terms – Arian Foster did in 2016 mid-season – we also think there’s something to having your teammates’ backs and showing them the support they have shown you.

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FAN Take – Face the Music

By Annalece Montgomery

FAN Take is a series that highlights trending events, issues, and decisions in the world of sports and analyzes how they may or may not factor into the Fan Controlled Football League. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think about each FAN Take!

A big part of any sporting event is the actual fan experience – everything from the food they’re eating to the music they’re listening to at pivotal moments of the game. If you’re a Green Bay Packers fan, you expect to hear “Bang On the Drum All Day” by Todd Rundgren about a million times. If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan, you wouldn’t dare miss the bottom of the 8th sing along to “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Without realizing it, music has helped define the memories and expectations fans have for a game.

Last week, Chief Gaming Officer Patrick Dees was told he could select his own entrance music for his speaking engagement at Blockchain Seattle. A no-brainer, Patrick turned this decision over to the fans, and we had suggestions come in ranging from “Getting Jiggy Wit It” by Will Smith to “Sure Shot” by Beastie Boys. After careful review, the suggestions were narrowed down to a final four: “Like A Virgin” by Madonna, the theme from Seinfeld, “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, and “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” by DMX. With a commanding 36% of the vote across Instagram and the FCFLio and FAN Token Twitter accounts, DMX was the winner.

This has us wondering fans, do you want to vote on the song your team comes out to every week? Or should they have one song you vote on for the entire season? For the team in last place, should the fans get to vote on a song they come out to? Do you want to razz them a bit with something a little more embarrassing? We want to make sure these games give you the best fan experience possible, whether you’re there in person or streaming on Twitch. We want to give you even more voting power, so let us know if this is something you want to do!

Power To The FANS!

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Don’t Call It A Comeback

With Week One of the 2018 NFL season behind us, we take a look at some of the biggest comeback moments we saw from the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, and Green Bay Packers.

The Cleveland Browns have free beer on the line for their local fans, so the pressure was already on them before the team even took the field. Once the game got started, Ben Roethlisberger threw three picks, two of them to the Browns first round pick, CB Denzel Ward. Things were looking up for the team, especially with Josh Gordon coming through to tie the game with two minutes left, until Tyrod Taylor threw a pick and the game went into overtime. One of course was not enough, and the game entered a second overtime, with the Browns missing their chance at the end to win. While the team didn’t win, they finally ended their losing streak.

Could you imagine what it would be like to face off against Tom Brady, a top contender for GOAT status? While we can only speculate, we imagine this could have been part of the reason Deshaun Watson fumbled on his first play back from his ACL tear. Luckily for the Houston Texans, Tom Brady threw a pick to Tyrann Mathieu later in the game. While it was a disappointing game for Watson, the rest of his team was able to keep the game close, even leaving them with a chance to tie it up in the last minute with a Hail Mary. The New England Patriots came out on top, but the highlight here was Watson being able to brush himself off and get back in the game, giving hope to Houston fans for the rest of the season.

Oh, Aaron Rodgers. For Green Bay Packers fans everywhere, the world felt as if it had stopped when Rodgers left the field in the first half with a knee injury. They had already faced enough of last season with a backup QB, and weren’t prepared to do it again. After a scoreless first half, Rodgers reemerged from the locker room more determined than ever to get the game back on track. Racking up 24 points in the last half, Rodgers helped lead his team to victory against one of their biggest rivals, the Chicago Bears, and left with a promise that he would be back next week to take on the Minnesota Vikings.

We wonder how the fans would react if they were on the field, or calling the shots, in these situations. Would they let the pressure rattle them? Would they play it safe and sit out the rest of the game? We think the answer for both of these situations is a resounding no. If the fans were up against Big Ben or Tom Brady after having a terrible record or an embarrassing first fumble, we think they would use that pressure to fuel them – to make them fight harder. If they were injured and knew they could get back in the game to secure the first win of the season or sit out, they would go in. Our fans have proven themselves to not be afraid of a little risk. And with big risks, comes big rewards.

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FAN Take – Can She Play?

By Annalece Montgomery

FAN Take is a series that highlights trending events, issues, and decisions in the world of sports and analyzes how they may or may not factor into the Fan Controlled Football League. We would love to hear your feedback, so let us know what you think about each FAN Take!

Last week, FOX Sports released their video “She Can Play,” centered on women’s rise in football.  It highlights four women in particular as they work to change the game of football: Tye Cervantez, K-lani Nava, Jen Welter and Odessa Jenkins. The former are creating a buzz for women in football on an amateur level, while the latter have their sights set on taking the professional world of football by storm.

Cervantez and Nava are both high school athletes that are making names for themselves on their football teams. Cervantez, a WR and Safety from Cotton Center High School, was able to secure a spot after there was difficulty filling out the roster. Nava, a Kicker from Strawn High School, played on her school’s team for three seasons and made history as the first female player to score points during a championship game – which her team ended up winning.

Jen Welter made headlines when she became the first female coach in the NFL, working for the Arizona Cardinals. Since her departure from Arizona, she has focused on increasing access and opportunities in football for women through her GRRRidiron Flag Football Camps, as well as her Camp on the Corner program that targets youth in under-served areas. Prior to making a name for herself as a coach, she had fourteen-year career in women’s professional football, including two gold medals as a member of Team USA in 2010 and 2013. But Welter wasn’t the only one to earn a medal in 2013 – her teammate Odessa Jenkins was on the podium alongside her. Jenkins is now the Co-Owner and Head Coach of Dallas Elite Women’s Football, establishing the team as a premier sports brand while helping her team maintain an undefeated status.

These four individuals have already proven themselves as contenders both on and off the field, which has us wondering if there is room for women in the FCFL, since we are changing the game from the ground up. Do you think the FCFL should open up our combines to include female football players? After all, at the end of the day we want the best talent possible on each team. And should the FCFL open up our search for coaches and other key team staff positions to women as well? We previously threw around the idea of opening up cheerleading spots to men, so why not level the playing field across the board? This is the FAN Controlled Football League, so we’re looking to YOU for some input here! Let us know what you think!

Power To The FANS!

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When A Brand Chooses Sides

By Annalece Montgomery

Flashback to August 2016 – Colin Kaepernick has caused a stir and a movement by deciding to kneel during the National Anthem in protest of racial injustice. Fans, athletes, coaches, team staff, and just about everyone else was divided and torn. While some were cheering on Kaepernick for making a statement, others were booing him for disrespecting those who have served in the armed forces. Following that season, he entered free agency and has not been signed to any NFL rosters, despite having 72 TDs, 12,271 passing yards, 2,300 rushing yards and a 88.9% passer rating in his career.

That brings us to yesterday, when Nike unveiled Kaepernick as the face of their “Just Do It” campaign, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. He has been with the brand since 2011, when he made his start in the NFL. Although terms of the new contract have not been publicly announced, it reportedly gives him his own branded line consisting of shoes, shirts, jerseys and more, and includes a contribution to his charity, Know Your Rights. It also puts him “in the top [pay] bracket of NFL players with Nike,” even though he isn’t currently playing in the league.

The announcement comes on the heels of arbitrator Stephen B. Burbank sending Kaepernick’s grievance with the NFL to trial, denying the league’s request to throw out claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests. As a reminder, Nike is the current NFL sponsor for uniforms. That’s right, not only is Nike standing for what they believe in with this campaign, but they are sending a message to their partner.

We’ve been wondering for awhile now what the fans would do if they were in charge at the NFL, but now we’re really more interested in what they would do if they were in charge at Nike. If the fans were calling the shots at Nike, not only do we think they would continue with Colin Kaepernick as the face of their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, but they would include other athletes that have faced the same criticisms. We’re talking about Eric Reid (San Francisco), Brandon Marshall (Seattle), Kenny Stills (Miami), and Seth DeValve (Cleveland), among others. While it can be more than just argued that Kaepernick has received the biggest blows as a result of his protests, we don’t think the fans would want the other athletes excluded.