LEGION OF DEFENSE – Welcome everyone, to the 2017 season wrap-up of everyone’s favorite league, the toughest league in the Association the Legion Of Defense (LoD), an all defensive, redraft league, playing in their final season of a tiered-division format. We had a wild ride last year, from teams missing the playoffs due to half point losses, to 2016’s runner up getting sweet revenge, and an exciting new crop of rookies.
Three rookies and an LoD legend walk into a division… exactly what you think would happen, happened. Even though it took Sacks Fifth Avenue until the end of the season to lock up the divison, buy the end, he was points ahead of the rest, rookie teams BIGDOGINTEX, Gotta Big D efense, and Roxteady. A rough 2016 season landed Sacks in the third tier Reserve Division, but they came back strong to win their division this year. The least dramatic division in the Legion this season, in terms of the playoff race, but we saw the members get stronger throughout the year and keep fighting, never rolling over on a lost season.
The Legion’s second tier division ended up being a 2 horse race down the stretch between Gates of Delirium and Chinese Bandits. with the Bandits suffering 2 losses to Gates with a margin of less than 1 point each of them, opening the door for Gates of Delirium to steal the divison championship. Battering Rams, had subpar 2016, and followed that up by another subpar run in 2017 when compared to their dominance of the 2014-2015 seasons, while The Cavalry – the third musketeer of the miraculous rookie class of 2016 – put up a solid second season but not enough to make a name for themselves.
In 2016, rookie sensation Suspension Freaks managed to distance themselves from rival Sleeper Agent in the divison race, and despite losing to Insane Clowney Posse twice throughout the regular season, it did not stop the Freaks from beating the Clowns in 2016’s Legion Bowl IV for the League Championship. As, Champions, all eyes were on them going into 2017, and early in the season they grabbed hold of the Premier Division, but this time, couldn’t shake Sleeper Agents, making it look like it was going to be a 2 horse race. Then the Clowns, with last years’ Legion Bowl loss on their mind, not only ended the Freaks’ unbeaten start in Week 4, but went on to sweep them on the season, producing victories in Weeks 7 and 10. Sleeper Agent, meanwhile, after a 3-0 start, dropped 7 in a row while leading the league in scoring, but unfortunately also leading the league in scores against. as the schedule monster proved to be their toughest foe. Legion veteran Mighty Pats dropped their first two in cross division play, and lost once each to both the Freaks and the Clowns, but also managed to put up 8 solid wins.
To illustrate just how close the Premier Division race was last year, in the last week of the regular season, all 4 teams’ post seasons were still in play. The Clowns were the only team that were guaranteed the playoffs, with the other 3 teams competing for 1 or possibly 2 spots in the Legion’s complex playoff structure. In that final week, the Mighty Pats’ situation was the knife’s edge of win, and you win the division, or lose and miss both wildcard spots; the Clowns needed a win and a Mighty Pats loss to win the division outright, with the worst case of securing the Premier Wild Card due to owning the tiebreaker over Freaks. Sleeper Agent’s only chance of making the post season was to shoot for the Points Wildcard, and for that, they needed a win, a win from their rival Freaks over the Pats, and to outscore the Pats and also Chinese Bandits who were all trying to get that Points Wild Card spot. In the end, a Pats win iced the Sleeper Agent’s nightmare of a season and secured the Premier Division Championship for Mighty Pats, while the Wild Card Game set up to be a Freaks-Clowns rematch of Legion Bowl V.
Wild Card Weekend: Freaks Vs Clowns
For the 4th time in 2017, Insane Clown Posse faced off against Suspension Freaks, with the stakes the highest they had been since the two met in the prior year’s Championship. The Clowns held a 7-1 all-time record over the Freaks going into the game, but that single Freak victory was, of course, for the 2016 Championship. The Defending Legion Champion Freaks came in as the Points Wild Card Team, and were far and away the league scoring leader through the regular season, and they jumped ahead right out of the gate in this one, forcing ICP to play from behind all day through the Sunday games. The Clowns only managed to post 10 points, and things looked bleak, with Shane Rocks’ Bouncing Bengals taking a 17 point lead, but the Clowns played to the whistle, and racked up 28 points on Sunday Night Football to take control of the game. The Freaks had a chance for comeback, with their team captain, linebacker Vontaze Burfict playing under the lights on MNF, but they still trailed by 10 when he exited the game with a concussion late in the 4th, and Insane Clowney Posse took the victory they’d been waiting a year for, with a final score of 41.50-30.50
The 2017 Championship Tournament featured Premier Division Champ Mighty Pats, Pro Division Champ Gates of Delirium, Reserve Division Champ Sacks Fifth Avenue, and Wild Card winner Insane Clowney Posse. Win the three week round robin finished, the top two teams emerged each with a pair of wins and a tie with each other.
Legion Bowl V -The Battle Of Legends
The Mighty Pats and Sacks Fifth Avenue, two of the oldest and most decorated franchises in Legion history, both reached Legion Bowl V undefeated in the round robin portion of the playoffs- first time ever that has happened. In week 2 of the Championship Tournament, the pair had tied each other at 45 points apiece. Being that the matchup between these two was a tie, there was no telling who was going to come away with the Championship, as that tie game was the only time the two had faced each other all season, and actually had not faced each other since 2015. Sacks won three meetings between them that season, while Mighty Pats had won all meetings the year before in 2014. Legion Bowl V was the second trip to the Championship for each of these franchises; 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. Mighty Pats’ Jaguar defense did the most damage on the day, holding Tennessee to just 15 points and posting 3 sacks, a fumble, and a defensive touchdown for a 22 point total. 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. After the Season was all said and done. The Mighty Pats not only fought through the toughest division in the Legion, but also slayed the round robins and Legion Bowl without suffering a loss. The Mighty Pats definitely deserved the Golden Skull of 2017!
Sleeper Agents, rebounded from their regular season trials, and destroyed all comers in the play-in bracket, and went on to beat the Clowns in the last ever Premier Bowl, outscoring opponents 246.5 – 123.0 in those 4 games.
Year End Awards and Records:
In the Legion, 4 stats are tracked yearly – IDP Interceptions, IDP Fumbles Forced/Recovered, Defensive Scoring, and IDP Sacks.
2017 was a record year for IDP sacks, with the Suspension Freaks having a year to remember in the category, recording 51.5, but falling just one short of Public Enemy’s overall #1 record. Sleeper Agent, however, survivng through the Play-In Bracket longer than their rival Freaks, went on to produce a record shattering 65 sacks to take over the new #1 league record, and be awarded the Legion’s Deacon Jones Award. They also enter their mark at #2 and #3 for single game IDP sacks (8.5 and 8).
The fumble category in the record book also had its top 4 spots changing after this last season, with the 2 Legion Bowl finalists hitting #3
and #4 in the record books – Mighty Pats with a FF/FR total of 17/7 (24), and Sacks Fifth Ave with 17/5 (22) – while Chinese Bandits and the Insane Clowns, are now at #5
and #7, respectively, in the record books after their 2017 seasons.
2017 was a down year for interceptions, with no team in the leagion touching the record book for interceptions. This is illustrated by Mighty Pats leading the league with a just 9 IDP interceptions on the season.
The Legion tracks defensive scoring, defined as all safeties and touchdowns scored by both IDP players an team defenses. Sack Fifth Ave led the league in 2017 with 49 points, a mark good enough to put them tied for the top 5 in the record books, not even close to the 2015 record of 72 points held by Public Enemy in the category.
Defense Of The Year:
For the 2017 season, the Legion of Defense honors Sleeper Agent with the Legionaire’s Cross as the consensus Defense of the Year. The standings, or the Legion Bowl outcome might not reflect this, but Sleeper Agent was the most dangerous team in the league last year, throughout the season. They were second in the league for 2017 in regular season points scored, and first overall by almost a hundred points in scoring when the post season is taken into account. They won the Deacon Jones Award for finishing first in IDP sacks with an unbelievable 3.8/game average and new season record of 65, as well as taking over #2 and #3 on the single game sack record, and also made it into the record books for their 17 IDP FF/FR record. After a strong start followed by a 7 game slide, they finished with an overall 9-7-0 record behind a final 6 game win streak, averaging almost 70 points per game and culminating as the winner of the Premier Bowl, Sleeper Agent put up a strong 2017 despite having to constantly jump hurdles, which ended up being too much for them to make it into the Championship Tournament. Any other team dealing with the luck the Sleeper Agent had last year would have been bottom of the league, rather than almost securing a playoff berth like the Agents managed to do.