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Shaking Up the Final Four in Week Six

Posted on October 14, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

Last month, we shared the only 2019 NFL season simulation that ESPN chose to publish, which predicted the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers facing off in Super Bowl LIV. Considering the Chargers lost yesterday to the Pittsburgh Steelers and a few weeks ago to the Detroit Lions, and that the Saints are still without Drew Brees, we don’t think the simulation is all that accurate. And if we ask USA Today, they’ll agree. This morning, Steven Ruiz predicted the four ‘real contenders’ that could win the Super Bowl: New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Saints, or the San Francisco 49ers. With two of those teams remaining undefeated ahead of the start of Week 7, we can see why Ruiz included them. Three of the four teams actually made it to ESPN’s divisional weekend of playoffs with the Los Angeles Rams over the Green Bay Packers, Saints over the San Francisco 49ers, Chargers over the Tennessee Titans, and Houston Texans over New England Patriots. This led into Saints over Rams and Chargers over Texans in the conference championships. But, if we re-work the divisional results, we’re closer to what USA Today is predicting.

So where do the fans stand on this? As you know, we ran a poll on Twitter last month, asking fans to choose their favorites from each division until we had two teams left. The fans ultimately picked the Chiefs over the Rams for Super Bowl LIV – but we get the feeling they may no longer feel that way. Sure, the Rams started this season off strong, but lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, and 49ers – after almost losing to the Cleveland Browns. While we think the fans can understand when a team goes through a losing spell, we don’t think the Rams will be one of the final four teams. Let us know which of the ‘real contenders’ will end up Super Bowl champions.

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FAN Take: A New Level of Teasing the Competition

Posted on September 25, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

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!

The Dallas Cowboys seem to have the same view of the Miami Dolphins this season as the rest of us – their season is just one big dumpster fire. Why do we think that? NFL Films picked up Cowboys QB Dak Prescott in the huddle, talking about the return of Wendy’s spicy chicken nuggets instead of the game they were quite literally in the middle of playing. We can’t completely blame him – we were pretty excited when the menu item returned last month. But was he really just that excited about chicken nuggets? Or was he actively teasing the competition by paying them no attention? We’re going to go with the latter.

Will the Cowboys’ opponents choose to reference this in any upcoming games? Like maybe renaming one of their plays ‘Spicy Nugget?’ We don’t see the New Orleans Saints trying anything that brazen considering they’re without Drew Brees, but maybe the Green Bay Packers will. Is this our way of saying we want that to happen? Absolutely. Bring on the shade! One of the things fans will be allowed to do in the FCFL is submit plays to be added to their team’s playbook. This opens up the opportunity for fans to get creative with names for their plays, and we can (hand clap emoji) not (hand clap emoji) wait (hand clap emoji) to see what you come up with! Will you use this as a chance to throw digs at the opposing teams? Maybe some of the opposing players in particular? Or do you want to stick with more traditional names for plays?

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ESPN Calls It: Saints and Chargers in Super Bowl LIV

Posted on September 3, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

Well, not ‘officially.’ Prior to the start of each NFL season, ESPN simulates the outcomes of all 267 games – about 20,000 times. But in the only version they posted, the prediction shows the New Orleans Saints facing off against the Los Angeles Chargers in Super Bowl LIV – with the Saints securing their second Super Bowl win a decade after the first, 40-33. A battle between the past and present of Drew Brees would likely be a dominant theme floating around the news, should this prediction come to fruition. This is definitely not the Super Bowl match-up we were envisioning, but it also wasn’t the only surprise in this simulation. Here are a few of the biggest upsets we didn’t see coming:

  • Carolina Panthers beating the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1
  • Kansas City Chiefs losing to the Oakland Raiders in Week 2
  • Miami Dolphins winning in Week 8 over the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Houston Texans completely shutting out the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12
  • The Tennessee Titans actually making it to the playoffs over the Cleveland Browns

ESPN must have *some* faith in this simulation, if this was the one they chose to publish. So, it stands to reason that maybe some of the fans out there who haven’t done their fantasy football draft or got started on their suicide league predictions should spend some time reading what ESPN put together. Maybe they should even reference some of these storylines each week as they determine their lineup. One thing is for certain – we can absolutely imagine members of our Virtual Front Office (VFO) putting together something similar ahead of our inaugural season, after the first-ever fan-run draft has been completed!

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The Best Moment of the 2019 ESPYS

Posted on July 11, 2019

By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter

Last night we, along with millions of other people, posted up to watch the 2019 ESPYS to judge athlete’s attire, count how many times an athlete mentioned the U.S. Women’s National Team in their acceptance speech, and root for some of our favorite sports moments from the last year. While we watched Tracy Morgan bomb, even after poking fun at wrecking his brand new Bugatti, we were pleasantly surprised to see the best moment of the night come from St. Louis Blues star Ryan O’Reilly taking out his tooth while accepting an award for ‘Best Comeback’ on behalf of the entire team.

We can’t say we’re upset about the outcome, because these awards are voted on by the fans – that’s you! While some of us may feel strongly about certain award winners, at the end of the day, we just love that the fans could make their voices heard. But we have to say, we will be pretty upset if the first game of the Fan Controlled Football League is not nominated for ‘Best Game’ next year! Because with the way we’re changing the sport of football forever, there is no way we walk away without that award! But just for good measure (and maybe even some good karma), we’ve got you covered with the full list of 2019 winners below (you can thank us later):

  • Best Male Athlete: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Best Female Athlete: Alex Morgan, USWNT
  • Best Breakthrough Athlete: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
  • Best Team: U.S. Women’s National Team, soccer
  • Best International Men’s Soccer Player: Lionel Messi, Argentina
  • Best International Women’s Soccer Player: Sam Kerr, Australia
  • Best NFL Player: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Best MLB Player: Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Best NHL Player: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
  • Best Driver: Kyle Busch, NASCAR
  • Best NBA Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Best WNBA Player: Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm
  • Best Boxer: Canelo Alvarez
  • Best MMA Fighter: Daniel Cormier
  • Best Male Golfer: Brooks Koepka
  • Best Female Golfer: Brooke Henderson
  • Best Male Tennis Player: Roger Federer
  • Best Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams
  • Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Nyjah Houston, US, skateboard
  • Best Female Action Sports Athlete: Chloe Kim, US, snowboard
  • Best Jockey: Mike Smith
  • Best Male Athlete with a Disability: Mark Barr, triathlon
  • Best Female Athlete with a Disability: Alyssa Seely, triathlon
  • Best Bowler: Norm Duke
  • Best MLS Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, LA Galaxy
  • Best NWSL Player: Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars
  • Best Game: Rams defeat Chiefs 54-51 on Monday Night Football
  • Best College Athlete: Zion Williamson, Duke men’s basketball
  • Best Record-breaking Performance: Saints’ Drew Brees becomes all-time passing leader
  • Best Play: Katelyn Ohashi scores a perfect 10 in floor exercises
  • Best Viral Sports Moment: Kately Ohashi scores a perfect 10 in floor exercises
  • Best Comeback: St. Louis Blues going from worst to first to win the Stanley Cup
  • Best Upset: Boxing – Andy Ruiz Jr. defeats Anthony Joshua
  • Best Esports Moment (Finals): oLarry’s return to the NBA 2k League after the Jacksonville shooting
  • Best WWE Moment: Roman Reigns returns to WWE Raw and announces his Leukemia is in remission
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The Cowboys are on Top! Wait, Nevermind.

By Annalece Montgomery

Let’s rewind back to a few weeks ago for Thursday Night Football: The Dallas Cowboys toppled the New Orleans Saints in Dallas. Yes, you read that correctly, the team with Jason “Clapper” Garrett as a head coach managed to lead the Saints throughout the entire game, with a final score of 13-10. Pretty impressive work considering the Saints were (and frankly, still are) a top contender for the Super Bowl, not to mention QB Drew Brees is really working for that coveted MVP title. Needless to say, Dallas fans everywhere were thrilled, bombarding their co-workers, mail carrier, waiters, and anyone else who would listen with a “How ‘bout them ‘boys” cheer. For the record, the FCFL offices were not exempt from this.

So with such an impressive win under their belt, and subsequent victory over their rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, what in the heck happened this week against the Indianapolis Colts? They didn’t just lose, they were shut out 23-0. That’s right, for the first time since their 12-0 loss to the New England Patriots in 2003, the Cowboys couldn’t even muster a field goal to get points on the board. Per Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, “The shutout definitely hurts. The shutout definitely pisses you off, especially when you’re down there early in the red zone and you have opportunities to score and you don’t.” We have a feeling the fans feel the same, Dak.

We know that every team has their ups and downs, but what do the fans do when the downs hit hard and fast after the ups? Will the fans go from being in your face celebrating to retreating into silence after a loss? We have a feeling that when our fans and their respective teams are winning, they will be anything but quiet about it – they will be shouting their team chants – which are determined by the fans – from the rooftops. But we also think that when they are feeling low, they won’t stay quiet. Instead, they will be proactive and look at what calls didn’t work and mentally prepare for the next game. Sure, the players are the ones on the field, but with the fans calling the plays, it’s just as important for them to review game film as it is for the coaches.

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Is That The New England Patriots Or A High School Team?

On Sunday, Tom Brady set yet another record. As of Sunday, Brady is at the top of the list for most touchdown passes (regular-season and playoffs) with a whopping 582. While he may trail Peyton Manning (539) and Drew Brees (518) for the most regular-season, he’s also been to a LOT of playoff games and made plenty of Super Bowl appearances to rack up his overall total. Unfortunately for him, the rest of his team did not play as well as he did on Sunday.

With a mere seven seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter, the Miami Dolphins executed a 69-yard hook-and-lateral touchdown to win the game, 34-33. A lot of fans expected more from the Patriots defense that game and – wait a minute – was that Rob Gronkowski on defense? It was. In a press interview earlier this week, Bill Belichick explained that Gronk was thrown in for the last play because “it would be his ability to play the deep, long throw,” anticipating that Miami would have attempted a Hail Mary. It wasn’t the worst idea, as it wouldn’t be the first time they threw him in for a play like that. But boy, was he wrong. While we all expected the same from Miami, we would also think that an NFL coach that had been to the Super Bowl 8 times (with 5 rings to show for it) would have prepared for something else to be coming. You know, especially considering that Ryan Tannehill’s arm strength and leg injury would likely prohibit him from successfully throwing a bomb down the field. But what do we, and several sports talk radio pros, know?

We’re not sure if its more impressive that the Dolphins had actually been practicing that crazy play than it would have been if they just pulled that out of thin air. What we want to know, is if the fans would vote for their team to practice such a play, knowing that its proper execution could completely shake up the playoff standings. The short answer – yes, we think they would want to be prepared for any late game situation. Unlike the Patriots, apparently.

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How To Spend $600k In Three Days

Last week, following a work out with the team on Monday, Dez Bryant signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. Fans seemed to have mixed reactions, but for the most part were happy to bring in another receiver target for Drew Brees. Given that the regular season is already well underway, he received a pro-rated amount of $1.25M, just over the veteran minimum salary.

This was Wednesday. By the end of practice on Friday, it was reported that Bryant had a torn Achilles and his season with the Saints ended before it ever really started. Fans of the team were less than pleased, and memes immediately cropped up all over the Internet. His new teammates, including Mark Ingram (RB), Alvin Kamara (RB) and Michael Thomas (WR), all paid homage to him in Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals by throwing up the X following their respective touchdowns – Dez’s signature move in the end zone.

How would the fans react to the news of their recent pick up being out for the season? Would they immediately move on to the next best available free agent? Or would they take it as a sign to leave well enough alone, especially if their team already had a solid line up? We think the fans would go the route of the former and quickly move on from the anguish they may initially feel from news of a season-ending injury. At the end of the day, our fans want to do whatever they can to help their team win, so there isn’t much time for them to wallow or be superstitious. 

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Brees Sets New Record

By Annalece Montgomery

As expected, last night in the New Orleans Saints match up against the Washington Redskins, Drew Brees added a new record to his career stats: most all-time passing yards. His 62-yard pass to Tre’Quan Smith pushed him over the threshold, and by the end of the 43-19 game, after throwing for a total 363 yards with 3 touchdown passes, he had racked up a career 72,103 yards.

The previous record was held by Peyton Manning (71,940), followed by Brett Favre (71,838). Running out onto the field, Brees was 200 yards short of Manning’s record, and 98 of Favre’s.

It was announced on Monday morning that if Brees were to pass Manning’s record, the game would be temporarily stopped for the Pro Football Hall of Fame President, David Baker, to collect the game ball. To nobody’s surprise, during this time the Saints went crazy and were fined for excessive celebrating.

After handing off the ball to Baker, Brees quickly rushed to his family – wife Brittany, sons Baylen, Bowen, and Callen, daughter Rylen, and Gayle Benson, wife of the late Tom Benson and current owner of the Saints. But it wasn’t just his teammates on the field celebrating – congratulations were rolling in all over social media from both former teammates and current competitors, such as Reggie Bush and Vic Beasley, and other celebrities including President Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, LeBron James and James Harden. Aside from fans of the Atlanta Falcons, we think just about everyone was happy to see Brees hit a new milestone.

Now, we remember how the crowd went wild after the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles scored their first touchdown off of a fan-called play. Everyone – including Norm MacDonald – rushed the field to celebrate, and rightfully so. This was a defining moment for all the fans, both in attendance and watching online, the players, the coaching staff, and our front office team – OF COURSE we were going to celebrate! Now that we are turning our proof of concept team into an entire league, we wonder how the fans would react to their first touchdown or their first win. We’re guessing that the feeling the fans will experience next season cannot be compared to anything else, and that they will get rowdy in the stands and at home. We fully expect to see fans jumping for joy, screaming their hearts out, and befriending all their fellow fans around them!