Super-16 – The League Offices at the S-16 have released this season’s match-ups and draft order. Although just a formality, since both the draft order and the scheduled match-ups each follow a set formula that can be determined before their official release, it’s still always exciting to start getting into that football mindset now that kickoff is just about a month away. And nothing does that better than strategizing your battle plan for the draft and salivating over the teams you will face.
The Super 16 draft follows the NFL’s same draft parameters, with the 6 playoff teams at the back of the bus with picks 11-16, arranged by a combination of original seeding and by how far into the post season they get. This leaves the 2015 Super Bowl Champion Birds of Prey with the last pick overall, although that hasn’t seemed to put a damper on their success in prior seasons. The remaining picks, 1-10, are arranged in inverse order of regular season finish, meaning the draft will begin with back to back picks out of the Lone Star State with the 2-win BIGDOGINTEX and the 3-win H-Town Foster Kids in slots 1 and 2. The two of them, as well as the BEARMINATORS at pick #3 were all plagued by a steady procession of injuries last season, so they’ll certainly want to avoid any risky players as they lead off the 2016 selection process. The unluckiest slot in this season’s draft may belong to new franchise Steel Curtain, who, because they assume Ice Cold Bruschi‘s draft position will be picking just before the Birds, all the way down at #15 overall.
Like the draft following a set formula, the scheduled match-ups each season in the S16 also follow a scripted set of guidelines, so that even before the match-ups are released each year, a team can figure out who they are playing. Each team plays all of their division rivals twice in every season. Additionally, all teams in a division will play all of the teams in another, common, division, and these pairings are on a rotating schedule. For the 2016 season the pairings are North Division vs East Division, and South vs West (2017 will be North vs South and East vs West). All of those match-ups make up a total of 10 games on a team’s schedule. Two more games are added by matching teams with one team each from the other divisions based on their division finish in the prior season. So, for example a team in the West Division will play the other teams in the West – twice; all of the teams in the South (this season); and the team in both the East and North Divisions that finished 2015 with the same In-Division ranking. The 13th match-up of the regular season is a mystery to all teams until the actual schedule is released, but is generally always an out-of-division match-up and every effort is made to make it either a rivalry or SimulPlay game.
The schedule for 2016 is even more anticipated than the release of the match-ups and draft order, and this is mainly because of the distribution of the SimulPlay matches. SimulPlay games are a Super 16 exclusive scheduling feature in which several of the match-ups each year take place simultaneously with real world NFL games between the same two teams. This is possible in the S-16, of course because of the special nature of the format, in which league teams represent actual NFL teams with their base of keeper personel. Teams in the S16 that happen to be in the same division with pairs of teams that are in the same NFL division, the Falcons and Saints franchises for example, are particularly blessed – or cursed as the case may be – in that they generally have two SimulPlay match-ups when the arrangement of other games permits it. This means that it may be a tough road for the newcommer Who Dat Saints who share their division with the league’s winningest franchise, Birds of Prey. It’s Steel Curtain, however that gets the toughest draw, again, because they assume the Bruschi’s slot, they must face both the Birds, and the 2015 West Division Champion Arizona Firebirds this year.