Legion of Defense – In August of 2015, 12 warriors gathered on the battlefield of the fantasy season to wage in unrelenting combat and to deliver pain and punishment upon each other as the 5th season of the Legion of Defense got underway. It was the first season of the LoD’s new tiered division structure and commenced with only 4 returning teams. Battering Rams and the Mighty Pats were slated to be a part of the innaugural season of the Premier Division based on their 2014 finish, but the other 2 top 4 finishers from the ’14 season did not return, so the league gave battlefield promotions to Sacks Fifth Avenue and the Chinese Bandits, moving them up from the Pro Division into the Premier.
Eight new franchises took the challenge and stepped into the battle, filling the Pro and Reserve Divisions. Heres how the 2015 divisional alignment looked at the start of 2015:
As Week 1 began, the Premier and Reserve Divisions scrimaged in their inter-division portion of the schedule, while the Pro Division began the season by fighting amongst each other. It was immediately a slug fest. By Week 2, only 4 teams remained undefeated – Chinese Bandits, Public Enemy, Insane Clowney Posse, and jlm loves defense. The Enemies and the Clowns had already emerged as the elite of the Pro Division and would face each other in Week 3, an important match won by the Insane Clowns 60-32. Meanwhile, jlm demolished the Bandits 78-37, establishing their dominance with a third consecutive victory over a Premier Division team.
In Week 4, the Premier Division moved into inter-division play, and both jlm and the Insane Clowns continued their dominance in the lower divisions, each moving to 4-0 as the Pro and Reserve Divisions began their cross-division matches. Public Enemy proved that their Week 3 loss was just a minor setback as they eeked out a 3 point win over the Cheifs to advance to 3-1. In the Premier Division, the Chinese Bandits dropped another match to stumble to a .500 record as Sacks Fifth Avenue, at 3-1, began to emerge as the Division standard bearer. At this point of the season, Sacks led the league in IDP sacks with 11.5, just a half-sack ahead of Public Enemy and Insane Clown Posse who were tied at 11 apiece.
In Week 5, the league was stunned as a 1-3 Panther on the Prowl team came out of nowhere to defeat the Insane Clowns 47-43 leaving jlm as the last undefeated team. Public Enemy defeated the Cheifs in a rematch, this time by a slightly larger margin, and in the Premier, the Bandits lost again, continueing their slide into obscurity. The Battering Rams, however, made their presence felt as they defeated Sacks Fifth Avenue 48-44 to tie with them for the division at 3-1 each. That would change in Week 6 as the Chinese Bandits snapped their 3 game losing streak with a Defense of the Week victory over rival Battering Rams; Sacks defeated the Mighty Pats to once again take control of the Premier Division with a 4-2 record.
The game everyone in the league was anticipating in Weeek 6, however was the one featuring jlm loves defense (5-0) vs Insane Clowney Posse (4-1), two of the best 3 teams in the league at this point. The Clowns won that match, narrowly, leaving the pair with a tied record at 5-1, but Public Enemy also won in Week 6, getting past the 49ers by a 4 point margin to establish themselves at 5-1 as well.
By Week 7. the Premier Division was starting to get interesting as the Chinese Bandits knocked off the division leader Sacks by just a 1.5 point margin of victory, leaving the two with a tied record of 4-3, but the Battering Rams also secured a win, and with it, their own 4-3 record. The Division was now a tangled mess, as the Bandits had beaten Sacks, Sacks had beaten the Rams, and the Rams had beaten the Bandits; although, with all tiebreakers considered, Sacks Fifth Avenue still had the edge and were ranked 4th overall at this point of the season. Elsewhere in the league, though, other heavyweights were begining to really establish themselves.
Public Enemy put their past few weeks of narrow wins behind them as they picked up Defense of the Week honors with a monster 87-20 victory over Htown, to stay atop the standings in first overall. Not to be outdone, jlm of the Reserve Division came close to matching that high score with their own 76-38 dismantling of the 49ers, keeping them in 2nd overall. Insane Clowney Posse stumbled against the Gates of Delirium and fell to 5-2, one game back from jlm and the Enemy, but still managed to hold onto 3rd place in the league. Panther on the Prowl beat the Cheifs to extend their quiet winning streak to 3 in a row, and, with a 4-2 record, were now ranked 5th overall.
Week 8 saw Public Enemy dominate again, taking the Defense of the Week Award for the second consecutive week with another big win, this time a 73-34 match against Gates of Delirium. Their division rival, Insane Clowney Posse, won as well, defeating Htown 52-21 to remain just a game back however. In the Premier Division, Sacks Fifth Avenue took out the Battering Rams 48-36 to solidify their hold on the division, and in the Pro Division, Panther on the Prowl pulled off another upset win. After taking down the Clowns in Week 5, they now extended their win streak to 4 in a row as they took down the mighty jlm 40-30.
Week 9 may have been one of the most exciting weeks of the year in the LoD, closing in on the post season, it featured a marquee game between #1 ranked Public enemy and #3 ranked Insane Clowney Posse in a rematch of their Week 3 game. the Clowns won the first time around by a wide margin, but this time it came down to the wire as they beat the Enemies once again, this time by just A SINGLE HALF POINT 36.00-35.50. The win left each team with a 7-2 record and ranked #1 and #2 overall in the league.
Also in Week 9, in another close game, jlm loves defense suffered a 1 point loss to the Cheifs which dropped them all the way down to 5th overall, while Panther on the Prowl extended their win streak to 5 games, demolishing the 49ers, taking Defense of the Week honors, and landing in control of the Reserve Division ahead of jlm for the first time all season. In the Premier Division, the Chinese Bandits and the Battering Rams battled to a 44-44 tie – the only tie of the season, and Sacks pulled ahead into the League #3 spot with a 6-3 record after beating the Mighty Pats.
Week 10 marked the point of just three weeks left of regular season play and the contenders were begining to seperate themselves. Sacks was in full control of the Premier Division, securing the #1 seed in the Championship Tournament with their 58-44 victory over the now 4-5-1 Chinese Bandits, while the Battering Rams were begining to struggle, and the Pats were quickly becoming irrelevent. Public Enemy shook off their second loss (both of them at the hands of the Clowns) and continued to keep the firepower rolling as they decimated Htown 76-44 for a league best 8-2-0 record. Panther on the Prowl expanded their win streak to 6 games, but jlm proved they shouldn’t be counted out, being named Defense of the Week rolling over the 49ers. The Cheifs, 49ers, and Htown were now all eliminated from post-season contention.
In a show of force and superior firepower, Public Enemy came out in Week 11 to post one of the highest scores of the season in a lopsided 101-25 win over Gates of Delirium. Now with a 9-2-0 record, and uncatchable in the Pro Division, the victory secured for the Enemies the #2 seed in the Championship Tournament. In the race for the Reserve Division slot to the CT – the #3 seed, it looked like jlm loves defense had the edge. They were neck and neck with Panther on the Prowl going into Week 11 and faced them head-to-head, winning the match 55-36 to put themselves a game ahead. The Battering Rams couldn’t seem to seperate from the Chinese Bandits in their race for the Premier Division Wild Card slot, despite the Week 11 upset victory over Sacks they pulled off. The Bandits won as well, keeping the two teams locked in a tie, and meaning that the spot wouldn’t be filled till the pair faced each other in the Week 12 season finale.
The At-Large Wild Card slot was coming down to a two-way race. If jlm could secure the #3 seed with a win over the Cheifs in Week 12, AND if the Panthers won as well, and the Clowns lost, the Panthers would get the #5 seed. But If jlm were to lose, AND Panthers win AND outscore jlm by more than 4 points, Panthers would secure the #3 seed and jlm would take the Wild Card. The Insane Clowns, at this point, were left with a very narrow path into the tournament. If they were to win in Week 12, and see both Panther and jlm lose, the spot was theirs, otherwise, they would have to win AND outscore Panther on the Prowl by 57 or more points.