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Nov 2 2017, 09:22 AM
In Defense of the Indefensible

“VI. Other
- No multis. If caught the multi will be deleted and the player will be subject to discipline”

But why though?

This is my first sim league and my lack of experience is something I acknowledge from the jump. All else equal, I should, and will, defer to those who have been around longer than me. This is not my first-time crafting policies however, and it certainly isn’t my first time analyzing policies that have already been established. It is that experience that I lean on from here on out.

In constitutional law, there is a common test called rational basis. The premise being that, for any law to withstand a challenge, at the very least it must be rationally related to a legitimate, well-found government interest. A salary cap? Regression? Waiver rules? All three, and nearly every other rule in the rulebook, seem to serve a legitimate interest for the league. The one exception? Rule VI, Bullet point 1: No Multis. There are rules and regulations that are arbitrary to be sure, but while perhaps indicative of a lack of experience, this is the only rule that doesn’t have an apparent rational basis. To the uninitiated, the rule smacks of dogma. There are few more dangerous sentences in the English language than “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” and, even in conversations with more experienced sim leaguers than I, that appears to be the sole justification. I have no doubt that there will be response from those in the HO among others with rationalizations for the rule, but, on a fundamental level, I believe the community would survive without it. After all, I’m not quite sure the harm that would befall the NSFL if someone was so inclined as to be active on two accounts (the obvious exception being avoiding punishment for abusive behavior).

But I didn’t sit down today with the intention of changing a rule, my goals are bigger than that. At the end of the day, it seems to me that the driving force for the league, its raison d'être, is to maximize the enjoyment of all the participants. I am concerned that yesterday’s front office ruling does not achieve that goal. First and foremost, there is evidence that user dustyatters is not a Noble multi account. Although there’s no way of knowing one way or another, given the uncertainty, I think it best to err on the side of caution. The drawbacks of banning a user, especially one with an apparent league interest, are concrete and significant, preventing someone from experiencing the genuine fun of sim leagues. The benefits? Markedly less clear.

Additionally, this does seem to be a rather classic case of piling on. As has been mentioned, RainDelay and I share an IP address when we’re at school, as do three other users. Setting a standard in which the black sheep is slaughtered for sharing an IP but model members aren’t given a second thought is concerning to me. The fact that RainDelay and I are in good standing while Noble is not, is a result of our respective actions. Noble obviously has a much spottier record than either of us. But the fact remains that the same basic set of evidence – multiple accounts emanating from one IP address – should produce the same investigation and, in most cases, the same result. While there is other circumstantial evidence in the case of Noble’s account, it appears that the decision was made long before that evidence was taken into account.

Finally, and I suppose this runs counter to the prior themes of precedent and fair governance. Noble has a track record of really contributing to the league. We can all speak to the many hats he wore in the early stages of getting this all off the ground and the amount of work he put in, even if the S2 Top-50 was bullshit. But beyond that, speaking as an individual, Noble made a big difference for me early on in the league. Outside of RD, Noble may have been the most important person in navigating me through this process. His work has added a level of depth to the league that may not have otherwise existed. Obviously, there is no room for special treatment, but when what amounts to the sim league “death penalty” is on the table, mitigating factors ought to be taken into account.

I will be the first to admit that Noble has made mistakes. He has without question violated the trust of this community. Based solely on his actions on these boards, he’s something of a narcissistic prick, popularity in Saskatoon be damned. But every decision should satisfy the basic condition that, on balance, it helps achieve an organization or group’s central goal. And if we agree that the goal of the league is maximize the enjoyment of the members, in the case of banning Noble, a troubled but incredibly participatory member, and a potentially innocent user such as dustyatters, I don’t believe we’re achieving the goal.

Aug 30 2017, 09:46 PM
The NSFL playoffs feature the best and brightest our league has to offer. From high-flying offenses with gun-slinging quarterbacks to buzz-saw defenses studded with all-pros, the playoffs have something to suit even the most discerning fan’s fancy. Despite that diversity, both the NSFC and ASFC championships feature the same “most exciting” aspect: the linebackers!

Let’s go to the ASFC first, where the Arizona Outlaws face off against the Orange County Otters in a rematch of last season’s championship. The Otters are no slouch defensively, as they’ve posted 66 sacks, good for 2nd in the league, to go along with the league’s high-water mark for safeties. The team has defense talent across the board, but the heart of the squad is their unique linebackers: Ian Bavitz and Franklin Harris. The two are fast, not fast relative to other linebackers, but fast relative to Olympic sprinters. Bavitz ran a 4.32s 40-yard dash at the NSFL combine, bested only by his partner-in-crime, who ran a 4.27. And their straight-line speed has translated to NSFL success, as the two combined for 202 tackles on the year. It’s remarkable then that the Otters duo isn’t even the best linebacking group in their matchup, to say nothing of the other matchup. The Arizona Outlaws group of linebackers isn’t just the best at their position, it may just be the best positional group in the entire NSFL period. Luke Luechly, Jaylon Lee and Harrif Ernston are all shoe-ins to make the Pro Bowl, and the latter two will probably pick up some Most Outstanding Player ballots en route to twin appearances on the Top 50 list. There’s not much to say about this group that hasn’t already been said, but to put their dominance in perspective, those three players combined for 34 sacks – the entire Liberty team had 42. While both squads have talent outside of their linebackers, it’s no question that the men in the middle of the defense will be the stars of the show in the ASFC championship game.

Up north, or east as the case may be, the Baltimore Hawks are defending their home-turf against the Yellowknife Wraiths. All the ink has been spilled about the Wraiths offense (seriously though, they have seven pro-bowlers) and the Hawks dynamic rookie rusher. But, for my money, just like in the ASFC championship, the most interesting aspect of the game will be the linebackers. For the Wraiths, their group is zigging while the rest of the league is zagging. Rather than aiming to be the fastest or strongest, with the pairing of AC Hackett and Kevin Cushing, the Wraiths are aiming to be the smartest. With Brice Boggs adding some force in the middle, the group is more than capable of stealing a little spotlight from the Wraiths’ offense. On the other side, the Baltimore linebacker crew has turned heads this season, helping the team grab the NSFCs top spot. The duo of Erasmo Broadway and Stephen Harrison is as well-rounded as it as talented. Rather than specializing in intelligence vs speed or pass rushing over coverage, the Hawks backers have taken an all-of-the-above approach. Broadway is the only player in league history to post double-digit sacks and passes defended, a fact that speaks for itself.

While there are many exciting elements in this season’s playoffs, for this writer, there is no area more intriguing than the linebacking corps.

Aug 30 2017, 07:28 PM

With the Outlaws defeating the Hawks in the Season 2 Ultimus Cup earlier tonight, the offseason has officially begun. I have been in contact with the management of the Wraiths organization and at this time I would like to formally reach out to the league’s remaining general managers. I would like to make this process as efficient as possible, so below I’ve briefly outlined the factors I will be taking into consideration in order of importance:

This is fairly straightforward, the more money you offer, the higher the likelihood I will sign with your team. There is a reason this is the first factor, do not mess up the initial offer. The ideal contract structure would be a two-year deal featuring a full no-trade clause and a player option in the second year. That structure is negotiable but the closer a team comes to it, the more likely I am to sign.

This factor is dependent on a team’s personnel and will become clearer in conversations with general managers. I recognize that my role on teams like the Outlaws or Hawks with already strong linebacking corps would be different than my role on a team with a comparatively weaker one. I pride myself on versatility and know I fill a role on every team in the league. That said, I would like to make one thing abundantly clear. I am a coverage player, not a pass rusher. Obviously a GM makes the decisions, not me, but how I’d be used within a defense influences my likelihood to sign.

3.Team Quality
I am not opposed to going to a rebuilding team, there’s a reason this factor is near the bottom, but a currently non-contending team would need a more competitive offer in the other aspects in order to have a legitimate shot. I also am fond of the idea of playing with an elite linebacking corps, this is a tertiary concern but still one worth mentioning.

4.Proximity to home
I was born in Baltimore. There’s no city in the world like her. Playing there would be a dream come true. While this factor will not decide where I go next season, much like total points, it makes for a useful tiebreaker.

On the field, I believe my body of work speaks for itself. I’m fourth all-time in career tackles with coverage skills to boot. Off the field, while I do tend to keep to myself, I believe I’m a positive influence on a locker room, a fact my past teammates can hopefully vouch for.

I look forward to being in contact with the appropriate parties

AC "Agent 17" Hackett


Aug 29 2017, 06:40 PM
Nothing is off limits and the floor is open for questions

How are negotiations going with the Wraiths?

Negotiations are going swimmingly. Spike Crown is a class act and we’ve been in contact throughout the season and into our unfortunately premature offseason.

Are there any other teams you are watching closely?

I’ll be releasing a statement tomorrow that will address this question a little more closely, but I’m keeping an eye on every team in the NSFL. Outside of the SaberCats – that reunion would be a bit awkward -- I haven’t crossed a single team off of my list. Even the teams that have 2 or 3 elite level linebackers might be even more devastating in a 3-4 or using me as a moneybacker.

How do you feel about the Wraiths potential in Season Three?

Like the Outlaws defense, the Wraiths offense is just stupid. We have last season’s best QB, RB, WR and K in addition to the GOAT tight end and another Top 5 receiver in Bailey Cook. Even if the defense consisted of eleven traffic cones, that offense would probably be enough to get them into the playoffs. Fortunately, though, the defense isn’t composed of traffic cones. Even though Dermot took a small step back this season, he has all the talent in the world and I fully expect him to regain his form as the best corner in the league. Obviously, outside of Bork, the defensive-line isn’t particularly good, but with some shrewd moves then that hole can be taken care of. I think the Wraiths can be the best team in the league next year if everything breaks right.

Do you feel you are a good fit on the Wraiths D?

Without a doubt, I’m a big proponent of team’s doubling down on their strengths and, to me, that’s what I represent for the Wraiths. The team with the most vocal coverage linebacker in the league in Kevin Cushing added the league’s best coverage linebacker in myself. With Brice manning the middle, the two of us are free to sniff out outside rushes and shutdown tight ends. I’ll also add though, I don’t think there’s a defense in the league where I’m not a good fit. I can pretty naturally play any linebacker spot and strong safety, and, depending on system, I’m fast and agile enough to slide over to nickel corner.

How has your time been in Yellowknife?

It’s been fantastic. Obviously, my frame of reference is pretty limited but I’ve never been around a more active group of guys. And that’s not a knock on my old team. Everybody has ideas on gameplanning and additions to the team. Even though we only have one GM, the way some of the guys talk you’d think we have 4 or 5.

Will you be testing free agency, or re-signing with the Wraiths
I am absolutely hitting the open market and I hope to be in contact with every team in the league. That doesn’t preclude me from coming back though, as I said earlier, I’ve had a tremendous time here in Yellowknife and I’ve had the privilege of lining up with an absolutely amazing group of people. If you were placing bets, the Wraiths would be the favorites compared to any one team. But if the bet was Wraiths against the field … well you should never bet against the field.

What are your expectations for yourself for S3?

I have a couple statistical targets that I’d like to reach: 120 tackles, 12 passes defended, 7 TFLs and 5 interceptions. Sack totals are nice, but I think I’m much more beneficial to a team when I’m dropping back in coverage rather than rushing the passer. In terms of individual accolades, the Pro Bowl of course. It’d obviously be cool to be named Top Linebacker but both from a skill-set and potential scheme perspective, I don’t think I’m likely to put up the tackle or sack totals that the voters are looking for.

Who do you think will win the Ultimus game tomorrow?

If you asked me which team I wanted to win, I’d say Baltimore. Despite my love for Jaylon Lee and Harriff Ernston, hometown pride runs deep. That said, the Outlaws are pretty clearly the better team. Even though their offense outside of Reg Mackworthy is just okay, they have 7 or 8 guys on defense that could get pro-bowl nods. That’s just insane. Star-studded offenses may be enough to make the playoffs, but star-studded defenses win championships.

Looking back on S2, how do you feel about your play?

I was pretty solid, playing MIKE in San Jose made it harder to record some of the secondary stats that I would have liked but, by that same token playing outside on the Wraiths meant my tackle and pass defended numbers took a bit of a hit. I wasn’t particularly happy with my tackling efficiency even though it got quite a bit better as the season went on.

Which S3 draft prospects stand out to you the most?

Brice Boggs is just a monster, the way he held down the middle really allowed Kevin and I to flourish in roles most suited to our skillsets. It doesn’t look like the Wraiths will have a chance to bring him back in the draft so I wish him the best of luck wherever he lands. Erlich Burnsman is going to stick around in this league as well, but, and I think this is pretty clear, I’m not all that familiar with the draft prospects. Trey Willie has made a little name for himself even though he plays a really deep position. I’m sure I’m missing some guys, which I’ll probably get shit for in the locker room, but that’s what I got. *chuckles*

How do you think the addition of a whole new feeder league (the DSFL) will affect the scheme of the site community?

I’m not quite sure to be completely honest. I think having a developmental league will certainly help newer players acclimate themselves to the league, especially as the veteran players continue to improve. Probably also serves to encourage activity from the players who would otherwise be backups on the main squads. At quarterback especially, it can be pretty hard to commit to training if you know you’re never going to see a snap. All in all, it’s pretty clear that the impact will be positive, but there are probably unintended consequences that I’m not considering as well.

On which attributes are you going to be focusing your training efforts on this offseason?

Primarily I want to focus on getting faster and more agile. I’m solid in both categories already but as I begin to specialize a little bit more, I’ll need to continue improving on those aspects of my game.

Where are those mangoes imported from?

I’m not sure, but I’ve been made aware that country of origin is the biggest factor in mango evaluation.

Is John Maniego out there somewhere, typing away at his keyboard?

Nope, he’s in an excel spreadsheet finagling his way into an intramural rotation.

What is your favorite LB role to line up at (ILB, Weak side LB, Strong side)?

That depends on a lot of things. If the other team has an elite TE then I like lining up on the strong side so I can shadow them, if not my natural inclination is to play the weakside. Of course, I pride myself on being able to play almost anywhere in the back 7, so I’m not opposed to playing ILB either. It really depends on the personnel around me and the people in front of me

Would you rather win MVP/DPoY or a championship?

Right now, the answer is championship. This was my first year being in the playoffs and we obviously got knocked in our first game. But once I brought home an Ultimus, I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t be looking to try and pick up some individual hardware. I don’t want to go down in history as a ringless superstar a la Charles Barkley, but I don’t want to be a Robert Horry either.

If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and trapped in a blender, how would you get out?

Unless it’s a particularly tall blender or I’m a particularly short pencil, I’d imagine getting out is the same process as just hopping a fence from a stand. Pull yourself up and swing your legs over.

What do you expect your offseason training plan to be?

I alluded to this earlier, but primarily it’ll be agility and speed work. I’d like to spend a little time on the JUGS machine and in the film room as well, but first and foremost I have to get some of those tangibles up.

Who is your favorite offensive player in the league to match up against?

My favorite player to cover, aside from Mr. Ricky Maddox himself, has to be George Wright Jr. When you’re playing the Otters you know he’s going to be targeted so the challenge really falls on you to stop him. I also like playing Logan Noble and Josh Bercovici just because they both love to stare down receivers, which puts me in position to make plays on the ball.

What is your favorite movie?

I’m something of a film buff so it’s going to be hard to narrow this list to just one. I’d have to start my list with The Way He Looks. The story is a familiar one, but I think the angle the producer’s take is fresh and the movie comes together absolutely beautifully. I grew up listening to the soundtrack to Rent and I’ve watched it every Christmas 4 or 5 years running, so that’s up there. I’ve only watched each once, but Whiplash and Training Day feature incredible acting jobs from JK Simmons and Denzel Washington, respectively.

Can you confirm the rumors that you left San Jose to escape a stalker ex-girlfriend?

*ear-splitting laughter* Haha man there were a couple of reasons I left San Jose, I can confirm that a stalker ex-girlfriend isn’t one of them.

Does ketchup belong on a hotdog?

Ummm… I didn’t realize this was a thing. I’ve always put ketchup and diced onions on my hot dogs. So … yes?

Are there any teams you do NOT want to play for?

Nope. Team quality is one of the factors I'm considering in free agency, but it's not the only one. And whether it's Vegas or Arizona the money spends the same. The Legion would obviously have to offer a little bit more than some other teams, but I'm not swearing anybody off until I hear their pitch.

If you couldn't play in the NSFL, what would you be doing?

I'm the smoothest talker this side of the Mississippi, a statement true on either side of the river. So I'd probably be running campaigns or something of the sort.

If you could only eat one of the following for the rest of your life, what would it be? T-Bone Steak, Ham Steak, Lamb Chop or None, because you don't eat meat?

Probably lamb chops, although I'm not much of a steak person at all.

Where do you place yourself amongst all LBs?

It's hard comparing all the linebackers in the league because of how varied the roles are, but I think considering my versatility and ability to excel all over the field, I'm one of the best.

What do you think the Wraiths can do to fix their D?

Well, keeping yours truly would be a hell of a start. Shoring up the defensive line would also make a pretty drastic difference. Allowing linebackers to stay in coverage rather than rush the passer shores up the short pass coverage and generating some pressure on the QB means that corners don't have to chase these speedy receivers around for so long.

Aug 29 2017, 02:01 PM
Just a Kid from Somewhere: Erasmo Broadway

Going into their Week 8 matchup against the defending champion Arizona Outlaws, the Baltimore Hawks were the NSFLs feel-good story. After an inaugural season marred by futility, the Hawks had already matched their win total from a season ago with a grit and grind play-style that everyone could root for. But as much sports fans like to elevate heroes, they love to tear them down even more. We grin and say teams have moxie, that they’re blue-collar and play the right way, all the while not affording an ounce of genuine respect. Week 8 was when those upstart Hawks would be cut down to size.

On the Outlaws’ opening drive, the Baltimore defense managed to force a three-and-out. The naysayers were unconcerned, “let’s see if they can do it for four quarters,” they whispered to themselves. On the ensuing possession, after a two-yard rush by back Darlane Farlane, quarterback Scrub Kyubee stepped up in the pocket and let loose a bullet in the direction of star receiver Cooper Christmas.

The ball never got there. Outlaws safety Ryan Flock, like he’d done so many times before, jumped the route and picked the ball off. Despite not having done a damn thing, you could have cut the naysayers’ smugness with a knife. It mattered little that the game was only in its opening minutes, they’d already written the Hawks off.

“It was bound to happen”
“They have spunk, but they just don’t have the talent”
“Better luck next time.”

In their world, blue-blood beats blue-collar every day and twice on Simday.

Erasmo Broadway isn’t living in their world. With the Outlaws in enemy territory and looking to score, the game’s pendulum hung in the balance. At least for a few minutes anyway.

Reg Mackworthy turns the corner, tackled by Erasmo Broadway

Pass complete to Mayran Jackson, brought down by Broadway

Complete to Tkachuk, tackled by Broadway

Reg Markworthy up the middle, stuffed by Broadway for a short gain.

In a display that makes the stuff of linebacking legend, Erasmo Broadway racked up four tackles in six plays, forcing a Cristiano Ronaldo punt and snatching momentum back from the Outlaws.

The Hawks would go on to win 16 to 13 and, while ostensibly decided by a field goal, the game was really won on Baltimore’s 34-yard line, when the least heralded linebacker in a star-studded affair decided his team would not lose. On one cool night in Baltimore, our hero put the league on notice. But the city seven-hundred miles west, well they’ve been on notice for decades.

Erasmo Broadway was born on February 22nd, 1995 to a shell-shocked Chicago. Two years prior, the city’s golden boy, His Airness, had abandoned the hardwood to chase his father’s ghost on the baseball diamond. The silver lining? Without that momentary respite from basketball-mania, the league’s breakout star might never have picked up a football. While MJ returned to the game less than a month later, Broadway’s father had learned the beautiful game’s capacity for heartbreak. In his house, there would be Bears, not Bulls, fans.

The second of seven children, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think that the senior Broadway was committed to filling Soldier Field entirely with his own progeny. A household of nine has the potential to be a bit chaotic, and Erasmo’s family was no exception. The house was whirlwind of papers and arguments and growing up too fast, but, as was his character, the future NSFL star was the eye of the storm. On any given night, Erasmo could be found in the corner of his family’s subdued Graystone, methodically assembling and disassembling the same Lego sets. To this day, in the back of a locker organized with military precision is a small set of 4x4 bricks, an homage to the pieces of plastic that were a pillar of his childhood.

Brick by brick. Piece by piece. Player by player. Erasmo’s childhood habits blossomed into the way he approached his chosen sport: football. While an imposing 6’2”, Broadway had the foresight to recognize that his bread wouldn’t be buttered by his athleticism or measurables. He’d have to find another way to stand out. Unlucky for the rest of the league, he found it.

In a cross-town rivalry game imbued with meaning beyond anything the boys knew, his Spartans had just kicked a field goal to grab hold of a two-point lead with 3 seconds left. All they had to do was bring down the returner and the game would be theirs. On any other night against any other team, they’d have been all but assured of a victory. But that night, the player they were kicking off to was less “returner” and more “offensive weapon.” All-State in the 100m, 200m and 400m, the Spartans had already ceded Brent Douglass one touchdown, they couldn’t afford to let him get another. As the ball sailed through the air and the coverage team sprinted downfield, only two people saw the hole opening up: Brent and Broadway. Erasmo grew up in a whirlwind. This? This was nothing. He dashed right while maintaining his stance, cut off the ball-carrier and, in an instant, damn near took Brent’s head off his shoulders. In that moment, Erasmo learned what it meant to have the game slow down, and it’s been slowed down ever since.

If it happened today, Broadway’s hit would be the stuff of Vine legend. But it still was enough to gain some notoriety, and with it, the attention of scouts. Although he wanted to follow in the footsteps of area legend Rosevelt Colvin, a full scholarship from Notre Dame was too much to turn down. In the blink of an eye, the big-city boy became a small-town man.

Despite his upbringing, Broadway was never much of a city slicker. And with his fondness for the slower-paced, methodical country life, the residents of South Bend, Indiana embraced him as one of their own. Erasmo was a good, not great, college edge rusher, certainly not of the caliber that would predict the level of success he’s now attained. If anything, his time with the Fighting Irish was more notable for the personal changes it begat. Gone were deep-dish pizza and mild sauce, in were corn nuts, corn flakes, corn liquor – you get the point. Despite being as far from Indiana as a person can be, corn nuts are still a staple snack for Broadway, with small packages off the stuff adorning the bottom of his locker.

With the blessings of those around him, including his high-school sweetheart who followed him down south, Erasmo declared for the inaugural NSFL draft, viewing it as the best opportunity to provide for his now growing family. Selected by the Baltimore Hawks, the Chicago native would have the chance to ply his wares in city starkly similar to his home.

Despite his intelligence, Broadway misjudged just how difficult of a task that would be. He struggled mightily his rookie season playing defensive end, but if he learned nothing else from both South Bend and Chi-Town, he learned the value of perseverance. Going into the offseason, he shifted positions and, as they say in theatre, it was a wrap. Erasmo put together a season for the ages in his second year, cementing himself as a leader at one of the league’s most competitive positions. The success hasn’t gone to his head however, when asked about his prospects for making the top-50 list or winning top linebacker, Broadway demurred, instead praising talents Harrif Ernston and Jonathon Saint.

Humility be damned, the hopeful Hawks-lifer will be suiting up tomorrow to play in the Ultimus Cup. Broadway knows what it’s like to be bet against, it didn’t faze him then and it won’t faze him now. Regardless of outcome, Erasmo has made a name for himself in this league.

Not bad for a kid from Chicago.

Wordcount: 1319 Words
A huge thanks to evryday for letting me write this profile piece. I intend for this to be a series, if you'd like to be profiled, please shoot me a message

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