ASSOCIATED FANTASY – The 2017 season brought another year of thrilling victories and agonizing defeats, and the renewal of old rivalries and intense competition. In the Association’s 9 leagues, 1 team in each distinguished themselves in the way that matters most, by beating their peers, the odds, injuries, the schedule monster, and the fantasy gods to become League Champions. Associated Fantasy would like to extend our very best congratulations to all of our 2017 Season Champions, and a particular note of congratulations goes out to AF Registered Coach meigzoh who’s teams have captured the League Championships in both Fantasy Addicts and League 28 (as well as a Division Championship in the Super 16) becoming the first ever Association Coach to win two titles in a single season. (Click on the links in any of the recaps below to read the full story)
Kizzy’s Krackbacks – Fantasy Addicts
Joining a very small group of teams who have won the Fantasy Addicts Championship, 2017 league rookie, Kizzy’s Krackbacks have shown just how much they like winning, sheering Black Sheep 586-529 and rounding off a dominating rookie season. It’s the first time ever that a league rookie has won the League Championship, but meigzoh’s Krackbacks have been building towards it since their Week 1 debut, and accomplish it in high style, beating a past Champion to get there. The 2017 Championship also happened to be one of the more competitive Championships in League history. After a string of blow out final match-ups, you’d have to go all the way back to the 2013 and 2012 League Finals to find one with a closer final score. The Krackbacks actually led by just 12 points after the first half of the two-week match, before winning with the 57 point margin they took in Week 17 to put it away. The Championship is a fitting cherry on top of the season that Kizzy’s Krackbacks had, losing just 2 games through the enitrety of 2017 for an 11-2-0 (2-0) record. They were chosen as the second overall (tied) starter for the 2017-18 Pro Bowl Tournament by their peers and go into next year’s Addicts season with an active 10 game win-streak.
Arizona Firebirds – Super 16
After the closest Super Bowl in Super 16 history the Arizona Firebirds beat the Birds of Prey, 215.00 – 213.50, in overtime to become the 2017 S16 Champions. In a game that was separated by just a half-point margin at the end of play on Christmas night, the Firebirds prevailed through the Fantasy Overtime of stat corrections to come out on top and win their first ever Super 16 League Championship over BoP in the first ever Association Championship decided in overtime. Super Bowl VI was a rematch of Super Bowl II between these two perennial powerhouses of the S16, both teams finishing the 2017 regular season with 10-3-0 records with their Division Championships, and both are headed to the 2018 Pro Bowl Tournament. The two of them are also among just a handful of Association Gold Star franchises and the only two of them in the Super 16, each with more than 50 all-time wins. With an 84 point advantage in total season scoring, Coach Crash’s Firebirds were the #1 seed in the post season, and after defeating the Who Dat Saints 242-207 in the semifinals, advanced to the Championship round for just the second time ever, set to face the very same opponent. As the #2 seed, Roger Tripp’s Birds of Prey beat the Steel Curtain franchise, 211-159 to advance to the big game for an unbelievable 5th time in 6 seasons, including the 2014 4-way Super Bowl. When play was done at the conclusion of the Week 16 Championship, Birds of Prey had the victory, 215.50-215.00 on the strength of an interception made in the final 56 seconds of Monday Night Football, but by the time stat corrections had gone through the final score had changed, giving the Firebirds their first ever Super 16 League Championship, 215-213.
Mighty Pats – Legion of Defense
Like it was just one more win in a season full of them, Mighty Pats was business as usual in Legion Bowl V, winning the Legion of Defense Championship, 66-43 over Sacks Fifth Avenue. Capping off a season in which they were ranked at or near the top almost every week, Mighty Pats posted a ten-win regular season to win the Premier Division Title and now can add a Golden Skull Trophy to the awards they walk away from 2017 with. Legion Bowl V was the second trip to the Championship for each of these franchises – two of the oldest in the Legion. Mighty Pats lost Legion Bowl II in 2014, and Sacks Fifth Avenue lost the following season in Legion Bowl III. It was a long, grinding game for both teams, with neither squad turning in any big, break out performances. After a slow start and five lead changes through the early games, Mighty Pats extended their lead at the start of the later games and never gave it up again. Altogether, on the day, the Pats accounted for 28 IDP tackles and 13 assists, including 5 tackles for loss. They only logged 1 and a half IDP sacks in the game, but also had 6 QB hits and forced 3 IDP fumbles, managing to recover 2 of them plus another with their team defense who also blocked a kick, in route to becoming the 2017 Legion of Defense Champions.
Scandinavian Stars – World League
After falling short in last season’s championship, the Scandinavian Stars are now World Champions after defeating the Buenos Aires Blue Dogs 92-83 in World Bowl 6. It was the lowest scoring World League Championship since World Bowl 2, and was the Blue Dogs’ first visit to the big game. Holding their spring training camp in Denmark, Buenos Aires has a sizable fanbase right next door to the Stars’ home turf, and their hearts are breaking wide open with this loss, but for Scandinavia, it’s a win they’ve been preparing for since losing World Bowl 5 to Dacusville in Los Angeles last year. Making the victory and Championship even sweeter, is that the victory marks the Stars’ 50th all time win, earning them the Association’s Gold Star Award to go with the League’s Atlas Trophy. The Stars lost their franchise quarterback, Aaron Rodgers in Week 6, but were lucky enough to have Carson Wentz as their back-up, waiting in the wings. When Wentz went down to injury, as well, Scandinavia was lucky enough to have Rodgers return for a single game – the Conference Championship vs rival Old England Patriots. After winning that one, they lost Rodgers again, and would have to rely on their third string Nick Foles, in the World Bowl. But as it played out, the Stars did not even need their quarterback for this one, as they carried their lead into MNF where Foles played from the victory formation for his meager four and a half points, and the Scandinavian Stars completed their win #50 and World Bowl 6 victory, 92-83 to be named 2017 World Champions.
Austin Bulls – The Dixie League
The Austin Bulls, the farm club for the IFFL’s Chicago Red Stars, managed by Dan “the Polish Rifle” Mayhoff entered The Dixie League as a rookie team for the 2017 season. Aligned into the Western League, the Bulls started the season quietly, with generally midling play, and filtered down to the bottom of the standings board in almost all categories. After the 7th week stretch the Bulls had compiled an uninspiring 6-5-3 record in double header play. But begining in Week 8, Austin began to get hot, putting together a 6-1-1 run to finish the regular season. Austin went from second to last in the Western League, to second overall. In dramatic fashion, Austin clinched their spot in the Western League Championship Series with a monster, 19 run performance in the final weekend of the regular season. After eliminating the Andalusia Arrows in the WLCS and hoisting the Western League trophy, Austin headed into the Dixie League Championship Series with the knowledge that no Western ball club had ever won the League Championship. They would face the Eastern League Champion Lakeland Raiders who had sewn up the ELCS in just two games and were the #2 scoring team of the 2017 season. Austin took Game 1, 14-5, but Lakeland came back to even the series with a 10-4 Game 2 win. And so it all came down to the final game in week 17, and a 7-3 Bulls win to to break the Western League curse and win the Dixie Cup as the first ever Western team to do so.
Leather Helmets – League 28
As a rookie franchise in League 28, meigzoh’s Leather Helmets opened the season with a narrow, 272-278 loss to fellow league rookie, Nate. Fast-forward 7 weeks and the two ball clubs met each other for the second time, both of them now sporting 5-2-0 records and ranked #1 and #2. Leather Helmets won the rematch, just as narrowly, 279-276. As the regular season ended with the Helmets at 10-4-0 and Nate at 9-5-0, they found themselves still ranked #1 and #2 and headed to the best of three League Championship. It would no longer be close, as Leather Helmets rolled over Nate in Week 15, 274-249 and then again in Week 16, 236-203 to sweep the series in two games. Leather Helmets obliterated the previous season points record of 3847 points by posting an amazing 4330 points of their own on their way to the 2017 League 28 Championship.
Perth Panthers – IFFL
Champions of the IFFL’s new Pacific Division, Coach C’s Perth Panthers tore a 7-4-0 trail through the regular season before beating the expansion Hawaiian Beach Bums, 388-342 for the Division title in the league’s first ever Divisional Playoff Round. Perth went on to face the Europa Division Champions, the Scottish Claymores, who they beat, 439-389, in the Final Four. Advancing to the league’s 2017 International Exposition and Championship in Tokyo, they faced off against the 7-4-0 Venice Killerwhales, the 2017 Points Wild Card and a league past champion in the two-week cumulative points match. The Panthers took a 71 point lead into the half after their Week 16 performance, and held on through an attempted Venice comeback in the Week 17 second half to to hoist the League’s Crystal Globe Trophy after winning with a final score of 369-318. After finishing with a 4-9-0 record in last place in their 2015 inaugural season, the Perth Panthers have since won two Division Championships along with the League Championship, and have strung together a 19-9-0 record including playoff matches over the last two years, and will head into 2018 looking to extend a 9 game win-streak.
King George Bluto’s – AF’s Fantasy Circus
Going from the top to the bottom to the longshot that barely had a chance but did it anyway to win it all, Tmande’s King George Bluto’s was the little engine that could in the Fantasy Circus’s 2017 season. King George came through Round 1 with a 4-2-1 record, ranked 1st in group and 2nd overall to advance to Round 2. Picking up a pair of unexpectedly hot QBs in Jarred Goff and Alex Smith from the eliminated squads, they also augmented their run game with pick-ups of Mark Ingram and Chris Thompson to head into the second round. They only managed a 3-4-0 record in Round 2, however, and that tied them with two other teams on the cusp of either advancing or being eliminated, and they skated into Round 3 on the slightest of points advantages. A highlight of their second round however, was a 121-39 Week 11 win over the Windsor Tuskers which would wind up being the league’s high score of the year. Curiously, they dropped Ingram during Round 2 only to reacquire him in the Round 3 purge, and also upgraded QBs to Roethlisberger just as he was getting hot. Going 1-1 to start the Championship Round, it all came down to a season finale rematch with Windsor in a Week 17 full of replacement players, where they ground it out to win 20-12 to be named 2017 Ringmaster.
Finkle Is Einhorn – Suicide Squad
Finkle is Einhorn – run by the Association’s very own Stats Director, Coach mattoaks (AF Registered, but not yet in the system) the AF#8 Finkle is the inaugural season Champion of the Suicide Squad Racing Society’s Points Race League with 3228 points. They led the field, remaining in 1st place through 11 of 17 weeks and had the #1 score of the week for a league high 6 of 17 weeks on their way to the checkered flag. The second and third place teams in the league made things competitive at times, but by all measures, Finkle was thoroughly dominant through all of 2017, and have been voted into the 2017-18 AF Pro Bowl Tournament.