AF PRO BOWL – In the first-ever edition of the Associated Fantasy Pro Bowl Tournament, the Birds of Prey, representing the Super 16, have won against a field of the best teams of 2015 in near landslide fashion. Finishing with a Pro Bowl record of 38-13, the Birds of Prey moved into first place after Week 3, and were never caught for the remainder of the season, all the way through week 17. Run by AF Registered Coach Roger Tripp, the Birds of Prey completely outclassed the rest of the field, finishing 10 wins and a hundred points ahead of second place en route to being named 2016 Pro Bowl Champions.
Designed to be the Everest of fantasy football tournaments, the AF Pro Bowl rules and format were drawn up to create the most difficult and challenging fantasy skills test ever, and the competition curated to be the most elite in the Association. It included a three-part draft, complete with keepers from participating teams’ 2015 rosters in their respective Association Leagues; stiff transaction limits; a concurrant Pick’-em contest; bonus points built in to coaches’ weekly line-up decisions; and other twists and turns. The competitors were the best of the best of fantasy managers in the Association from the 2015 season, with 15 teams from AF Leagues selected as Pro Bowl Nominees, and then 6 teams receiving invitations based on an Association-wide vote by their fantasy peers. The 6 teams voted on and selected as Pro Bowl Starters by the Association’s league teams were: Birds of Prey – Super 16; Public Enemy – Legion of Defense; monkeys on ecstasy – Fantasy Addicts; On The Rox – Fantasy Addicts; jagger – Fantasy Circus; and New Orleans Black Hats – Dixie League.
Of those starters, Birds of Prey, On The Rox, and the Black Hats accepted the challenge, and The Great Khalil of the Fantasy Addicts accepted an invitation as an alternate – the best of the best to accept the challenge. The tournament’s rules were modified to move forward with the inaugural AF Pro Bowl with only 4 teams, including a switch from head-to-head play to a weekly all vs all format. The three-part draft stretched out over more than two weeks, and in the third leg of that draft the teams were blind-sided by the The Great Lock-Out of 2016, but the veteran Pro Bowlers forged ahead, actually drafting in real time by message board post.
On The Rox got out to an early lead in the tournament, going 3-0 in each of the first two weeks of play, but by the conclusion of week 3, the Birds had tied them and both teams were 7-2. In week 4, the Birds went 3-0, while Rox was right behind them with a 2-1 weekend. That put the pair at 10-2 and 9-3, respectively. In week 5, Birds of Prey went 2-1, but On The Rox stumbled and was out played by the rest of the field to post an 0-3 result. That meant the teams were now 12-3 and 9-6. Birds of Prey never relinquished the lead from that point on. On The Rox was eventually overtaken by the Dixie League’s Black Hats, and for a stretch, deep into the season, it looked like the Black hats had a chance to catch the Birds. In the end, they could not.
Concurrent with the awarding of the 2016 Pro Bowl Championship has come Associated Fantasy‘s announcement that the Pro Bowl Tournament will not run in the 2017 season. This explains why Pro Bowl watchers have noticed that balloting for the 2017 season did not go out this year. The AF Tournament Division has made the decision to put the program on a one year hiatus, in which the entire tournament will be retooled including a new, improved weighted ballot system and a streamlining of the rules and competition process. AF Tournaments have stressed, however, that they are committed to returning the tournament to the 2018 line-up, so Association teams can look forward to the debut of the new format along with nominees and Pro Bowl voting around Week 10 of the 2017 season. Until then, the Super 16’s Birds of Prey will reign as the 2017 Pro Bowl Champs.