LEGION of DEFENSE – After 17 weeks of open combat, Suspension Freaks have emerged as champions of the Legion of Defense after defeating Insane Clowney Posse 77-58 in Legion Bowl IV. Racking up 9 sacks (6 IDP), the most they totaled in a single game this season, in this defensive shoot-out, Suspension Freaks also posted an incredible 11 QB hits and 33 tackles, 8 of them TFL’s. With three passes defensed, and 2 interceptions, one of them returned for a TD, the Clowns simply did not have the firepower to keep up. The Legion Bowl was a rematch of the Week 16 meeting between these two teams in the Championship Tournament (CT), a game the Freaks lost 52-63 after sweeping two wins through the first two rounds of the CT. The Rookie Division expansion squad Suspension Freaks also lost their very first game in the Legion to the veteran Clowns in Week 1, by a close 54-60, but on the big stage of the Legion Bowl, the third time was the charm.
Suspension Freaks tied, by record, with Rookie Division Champion Sleeper Agent, but lost the division championship on the second tiebreaker, finishing second place in an unexpectedly blood-thirsty Rookie Division. They entered the Legion Playoffs as the League Wild Card team on the strength of their 662 regular season points total – by far, the highest scoring team in the league – and rode into the Wild Card Game on a 4 game win-streak. They easily beat the Battering Rams, 68-34, handing the Rams their second straight Wild Card loss, and entered the CT as the #4 seed, beating, first, Sleeper Agent, and then Pro Division Champ Mighty Pats, before losing to the Clowns in the match that set up the Legion Bowl rematch.
Suspension Freaks lost only 5 matches this season through 17 games, and 3 of those losses were to Premier Division teams. Going into the Legion Bowl, they were ranked 9th overall in the Association on the most recent AF Top 25, and with the Championship win, their VsL% will rise to .700, which will likely bump them up at least a couple of slots. They were named Defense of the Week twice in the regular season and won the Interception Award three times among other weekly awards, and while end of year awards are not yet in, they are certainly in the running for the Season Awards in both of those categories. End of season stats for the Legion have not been released yet either,but a quick tabulation of Suspension Freak’s totals in IDP sacks and IDP interceptions shows 37.5 IDP sacks and 16 IDP interceptions on the season, which, before the rest of the Legion’s 2016 stats are taken into account, would put them in the record books at 4th and 2nd in league history in those categories.
The Legion Bowl victory gives Suspension Freaks the 2016 Golden Skull Trophy as Legion Champion, but they remain behind, 1 game to 2 in the series with the Insane Clowneys; the two will have plenty of opportunities to settle that score next season, with both teams as the core of the 2017 Premier Division. The 2016 Rookie Division Champion Sleeper Agent will join them in the Premier group. The Pro Division Champ, Mighty Pats, after finishing last in the Championship Tournament faced of in Week 17 with Gates of Delirium in the Premier Bowl, with the winner bound for the 2017 Premier Division. the Gates were the Play-In Bracket Champs, after defeating Chinese Bandits, receiving a bye by forfeit, and then defeating rival Battering Rams in the final. In the Premier Bowl, however, it wasn’t even close, with the Mighty Pats tearing down the gates, 95-54 to take their place as the final team in the 2017 Premier Division.