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Mar 19 2018, 09:25 PM
The Connor Tanner Chronicles

Edition II: A Pair of Aces


CODE
2576 words


Previously on the Connor Tanner Chronicles: a mass retirement from a bottom-dwelling team and the unraveling of a massive conspiracy...

After being caught on their back foot, the head office of the National Simulation Football League came out firing.

“I’m just glad that Connor Tanner returned to the public sphere to actually retire instead of hiding from me like a little child,” head office member Avon Blocksdale told a gaggle of reporters outside his vacation home. “He spent weeks ignoring all our attempts to get in contact with him. I am on my way to meet with the rest of the head office and will have more to say after I’ve had a chance to talk to everyone and get to the bottom of this. Let me just say that reports of the league falling apart are categorically false. Let me be clear: we are better off without Tanner. Thank you.”

As he ducked into the car fellow head office member Benson Bayley, who had been vacationing with Blocksdale, was overheard saying, “I thought Connor Tanner was better than this.” To which Blocksdale reportedly replied, “I’ve always known he was a garbage person, this just confirmed it.”

A few hours later after multiple whirlwind meetings and knowing they had to take decisive action to calm the worries about the league’s health the NSFL released an official statement:

“We are not folding the team but we are assuming control of it. Geoff Biscuit is hereby relieved of his ownership role and the head office will handle the day-to-day management until we find a new owner. We’ve already had numerous groups reach out to us with interest in taking over. We will update you all periodically but the league is still fundamentally strong and growing. Any rumors to the contrary are simply untrue. Thank you.”

The NSFL’s response was an effort to calm the agitated waters but instead handed more ammunition to Poward.

“Wow, the NSFL has assumed control of the franchise! What a big surprise that is! I wonder who could possibly have seen that coming,” he started sarcastically after reading the NSFL statement on air. “This has been their plan all along. Biscuit was never an owner that they could control so they’ve been searching for a reason to force him out and here it is. What did they expect the reaction to be? Did they really expect us to thank them for taking over this maligned franchise? Yeah, they’ve done such a good job running the league what could possibly go wrong here.

You won’t believe this but I just received a text from an impeccably trustworthy source that says during the discussions over what to do with the franchise Dan Miller - that’s the head office member that just stepped down, or at least we were told he stepped down… - said, and I quote: ‘terrorism is better than Connor Tanner.’ Terrorism is better than Connor Tanner. I’m physically disgusted right now. These are the people running this league? These are the people making the decisions? Cut to commercial, I need a minute to calm down.”

--


As the Legion retirees spoke to the media that day and explained their reasonings, public opinion began to shift against the head office. Some began to call Tanner a scapegoat the NSFL desperately needed. These murmurs needed to be quelled.

Dan Miller dismissed that idea, “Dude encourages a mass retirement but we found a scapegoat? I just don’t see the entire team unanimously retiring. He called for the team to mass retire. HE hosted the press conference so HE orchestrated it. If 6 people talk about robbing a bank and then one of them shows up with guns and a van and tells the other 5 to get in who orchestrated it?”

--


“Who orchestrated it? Who orchestrated it?!”

As the end of Poward’s time slot was beginning to close in he got himself riled up for one last tirade in an effort to keep the outrage going long after he signed off.

“I’ll tell you who orchestrated it. Dan Miller did. And so did Avon Blocksdale. And Benson Bayley. And totally not Charlie Law somebody with a totally different name than that. And all of the head office. That much we know. But as I’ve sat here the last few hours reporting on this massive story one thing didn’t make any sense. Why?

Yeah, sure. The league wanted to get rid of an noncompliant owner, replace him with someone that will toe the line. Big deal. He was on the outs anyway. I mean, we’re talking about the retirement of 6 players who played for a garbage franchise that was barely able to pay its employees! Why does that require such a drastic head office response? Who cares!

Well I’ll tell you why. It’s the only explanation that neatly ties together all of the weird developments in this story. The head office is covering up a CTE scandal. Yeah. The retiring Legion players are suffering symptoms of CTE and retired before their brains turned to actual mush. The head office obviously couldn’t allow this to get out because the liability they’d be on the hook for would be insaaaane. So they covered it up. They paint Connor Tanner as the villain. The conniving antagonist hell bent on destroying the league. But that doesn’t make sense. Not to anyone capable of thinking critically. Why would he care about the health of the league after retiring? It doesn’t make any sense and yet that’s the story they’re feeding us to distract us from the CTE epidemic embroiling the league. That’s why they seized control of the team. That’s why they’re so determined to make everyone believe Tanner is the bad guy. That’s why they called Tanner worse than a terrorist.

But that’s not all.

Remembahh - wow this feels so long ago but it was just a couple hours - remember Wallace Stone announcing that he wasn’t retiring? Why was he on the list then? Why did Tanner think he was retiring? Because he was going to, he has crippling CTE too and was trying to make a graceful exit from the game he gave so much to but the head office knew that couldn’t happen. And that’s why - I just learned this - that’s why the head office, as de facto owner of the franchise, is paying for Stone to change positions! He got beat up behind that Las Vegas offensive line, suffered more than a few concussions and now they’re paying him off and promising that he won’t have to suffer that fate any longer. Unbelievable. Did they really expect nobody to put this together? Come on, they couldn’t be more obvious about this if they were doing it below a giant flashing neon sign. And they think they’ll get away with it because they think nobody cares. Well guess what. I care and I’m pretty sure all of you out there care. We want a healthy league and former players who can be graceful ambassadors of the game rather than hidden away in nursing homes by 50 because they can’t hold a cup anymore.”

--


Watching all of this drama, all of this toxic negativity unfold was Blackford Oakes, the player that Connor Tanner had traded specifically to acquire, the man that Tanner was grooming to be his right-hand man. He shut the television off. He couldn’t handle any more of this charade. He already shut his phone down because it wouldn’t stop ringing and he knew it was only a matter of time before the press figured out he was at his vacation home in Telluride.

He stopped pacing and rubbed his face. This was not how he envisioned the offseason going. He was just named Defensive Rookie of the Year and the Legion had assembled a talented young core that would give them a good chance to compete in the near future. He was excited to compete side by side with his teammates, some of whom just announced their retirement. Suddenly his vision of the next few seasons was crumbling around him.

Staring out his window into the snow covered landscape, Oakes thought back to the last conversation he had with Tanner. It was contentious and got pretty heated but he never expected something like this.

It started earlier in the week when he was back in Las Vegas. As he was tying up all the loose ends in preparation for his vacation he received a mysterious text: “I need to speak with you, your ticket is waiting for you at the airport. When you arrive I’ll pick you up. -CT”

Oakes knew many people with those initials but was hopeful it was Tanner, he hadn’t heard from his friend in weeks. Not entirely sure what he was getting himself into, he picked up the tickets and headed for his gate - he was Philadelphia-bound.

“Philadelphia?” he thought. “Gross. Couldn’t he have picked a less objectionable city?”

Nonetheless, he persisted. Debarking the plane a few hours later, Oakes loitered around baggage claim studying every face that passed by looking for Tanner. It was a long wait when he was tapped on the shoulder.

“Come with me.”

Oakes turned around but the figure was already fighting through the crowd toward a waiting vehicle. The man was too short and too slender to be Tanner but Oakes followed - perhaps more subterfuge?

“What on Earth is going on?” Oakes wondered as he slid into the large SUV. Its tinted windows blocked out almost all of the little light that is allowed to shine in Philadelphia and suddenly he was in a scene straight out of a mob movie.

“Thank you for joining us,” the man said as he gestured to another figure sitting in the back as he lowered the scarf he had wrapped tightly around his face.

Oakes didn’t recognize either of the men and was starting to panic.

“Don’t worry, you’re not in any danger. Much the opposite in fact,” he continued with a small laugh. “We work for- well I can’t tell you much but we’ve learned that you are in grave danger. I know you have no reason to trust me but when you arrive at your vacation home there will be a man there waiting. Your friend Connor. But he’s not your friend, not anymore. He is going to try everything in his power to convince you to retire - you cannot agree to this. Here, take this ring and be sure you’re wearing it before you face him.”

Oakes was taken aback, “I- Wha- Huh?”

“I know it’s a lot to take in. You have no reason to trust us but you must. You’ll see we’re right when you get to your chalet. And you must be wearing the ring.”

“Bu- But.. why?”

The two mysterious men exchanged glances, the man in the back seemed to give the one talking a silent approval.

“Connor Tanner has gotten himself caught up in a massive conspiracy by joining the NSFL management team. They’ve entrusted him with a gold chain, a necklace he now wears around his neck - you’ve never seen him wear jewelry before, have you?”

“Err. No… no I don’t think so. I didn’t really pay attention.”

“This necklace gives him heightened persuasional powers. He is still learning how to wield its power effectively but you should proceed with the assumption that anything he tells anyone to do will be obeyed to the letter and without regard for one’s personal ambitions, desires, or even safety. That ring will protect you from his power.”

Oakes sank back into his chair. It was indeed a lot to take in.

“But… So why would he want me to retire? That doesn’t make any sense. We had big plans for the future of the Legion…”

“We aren’t entirely certain of his motivation but our best investigators are looking into it. All we know is that convincing you to retire is critical to the head office’s plan and we cannot afford for that to happen. The man you knew as Connor Tanner is dead and has been replaced by a mere husk of his former self, a husk that is doing the bidding of some of the most dastardly people in the world.”

“Look. None of this makes any sense. You can’t seriously expect me to trust you over one of my best friends, you’re just some creepy dudes handing out trinkets.”

For the first time Oakes saw the man in the back move. He leaned forward, bringing his old, sagging face a few inches from Oakes’ before speaking.

“Look here you whiny little shit, we honestly have way more important things to do than hold your hand as you slowly come to the realization that the league you love, the league you grew up idolizing is fucked up - more than fucked up actually. It’s a black hole of greed leaving behind nothing but misery and broken bodies. I’m sure this is very uncomfortable for you but we really don’t have time to sit here and let you talk out your feelings. The time for talking is over, it’s time to act. Either do what we’ve told you or don’t. We’re way smarter and more organized than you so we’ll figure out something either way but your complete lack of any gratitude toward us for doing nothing short of saving your measly, inconsequential life is grating on me.”

Oakes could do nothing in response but sit with jaw agape.

“Quit gawking and get the fuck out of my car,” the man punctuated as he leaned back and resumed his former statuesque pose.

Still not quite sure what just happened he turned back to the man he had been conversing with hoping for answers but receiving nothing more than a barely-interested shrug as he took his phone out and began earnestly tapping on it.

Oakes slowly climbed out and the mysterious men disappeared into the flow of traffic. He looked down into his hand where he was rolling the ring around on his palm. It was a gaudy ring, something he’d expect a bored, upper-middle class trophy wife to wear to a charity gala or something. It was made of gold with a webbed design flanking either side of the bezel, which had some sort of engraving involving symbols he didn’t recognize. Not exactly something he’d like to be spotted wearing but if what the men said was true…

It couldn’t be, though; their story made no sense. They said Connor was working for the head office but he had just watched the head office thoroughly rip Connor apart - they definitely weren’t working together.

On the other hand, what purpose would they have to lie to him and give him this weird ring? There was no upside that he could see. And what’s the worst thing that could happen if he did what they said? All they wanted him to do was wear the ring and not retire. There’s not a lot of downside there.

As he was trying to puzzle through by far the weirdest day of his life he felt his phone buzz and he pulled it out to check his text.

“Go catch your plane you dope, Tanner is expecting you and we don’t want him to know we’re on to him. Don’t be late.”

Oakes quickly headed back inside, completely unaware how much crazier this day would get.
Mar 13 2018, 01:26 PM
The Connor Tanner Chronicles

Edition I: Bad Beats


CODE
2517 words


It was a day that will live in infamy. As news broke and rippled through the league, reactions ranged from shock to fury to sadness. Talking heads had a new topic to yell at each other about, fans debated what the causes could’ve been, and the Head Office cracked down - hard. But no matter our disparate opinions and reflexive responses one thing binds us all together: we all remember where we were when the Las Vegas Legion mass retired.

Newer NSFL members may not remember the Legion but they were part of the first NSFL expansion, along with the Philadelphia Liberty, and led by RFFO. The two expansion teams took very different approaches - as the Liberty wheeled and dealed to load up on draft picks and build for the long haul, the Legion sought a riskier approach in an attempt to win immediately. In their first entry draft, the Liberty selected nine times before Las Vegas had their first selection at the top of the 6th round and four more times before their second pick. In addition to swapping picks for roster players, they made a huge splash in free agency, signing Josh Bercovici to a 5-year, $33 million contract and touting him as their franchise quarterback - that contract violated the guidelines in the CBA, though, so it was amended to a 3-year, $21 million deal.

When the dust settled, Las Vegas had traded away - as best as I can tell:
S2 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th.
S3 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th (from YKW), 7th, and 8th.
S4 1st and 3rd.
Arby Krimlaw, Romeo DeVitt, Josh Cameron, Isaiah Rashad, and D’Brickshaw Ferguson.

In exchange for receiving:
S2 6th (YKW) and 7th (ARI).
S3 3rd (SJS) and 3rd (ARI).
Tim Tebow, Stormblessed, Brady Stropko, Isaiah Rashad, Jonathan Shaloiko, Saggitaruitt Jefferspin, Jordan Weal, Vinny Cox, Jack Stats, Gabriel Tenzini, RFFO Mademe, Vick Bowers Jr., Ardie Savea, D’Brickshaw Ferguson, Sinjin Flimjollywop, Alexander LeClaire, Mark Ramrio, and Matthew Peterson.

With all their offseason moves, which included flipping multiple players, the Legion surged into the season hoping to make some noise. In their first ever regular season game they hosted the Baltimore Hawks and squeaked out a 16-10 victory. The Hawks had finished last in Season 1 but looked much improved so this was taken as a good sign. Meanwhile, the Liberty were beaten soundly 31-16 in San Jose.

In the end, though, the Legion struggled mightily. They didn’t win another home game and finished the season 3-11, good for last place in the league. The Liberty, who had started so slowly, rebounding from their 0-4 record to finish 5-9 and ahead of both Las Vegas and San Jose. Season 3 did not bode any better for the Legion as they slipped to 2-12 as they watched the Liberty make the playoffs. Las Vegas had gone all-in but came up not just short but woefully short. Changes were needed.

In the Season 4 entry draft the Las Vegas Legion made their first ever 1st round pick - Blackford Oakes. They then followed this up with Trey Lonzac, Andreas Waiters, and Shawn Ariel as they owned half of the first round. Unfortunately, the team could not catch a break as their timing couldn’t have been any worse. With the introduction of the NSFL’s developmental league, the DSFL, the Season 4 class will go down as the worst draft class in NSFL history both by volume and by impact. The team finished 3-11 again that season.

Throughout Season 4 and heading into the offseason with the Legion seemingly on a more sustainable path morale was at an all-time high as the discord was extremely active and friendly with teammates playing games together and chatting at all hours of the day. One man couldn’t abide that.

--


Connor Tanner entered the league ahead of Season 3 and despite thinking he would go in one of the first two rounds, fell all the way to the 6th where the Legion used their second selection to pick him up. He was a fast, strong tight end and in his 4-game DSFL career he racked up 179 yards and a touchdown before getting the call up to the big club. He continued his strong performance there and posted 315 yards and 5 touchdowns in 10 games and was selected to the ASFC Pro Bowl team, one of just 5 Legion players to make the cut.

He soon joined the management team and played an instrumental role in many of the trades made ahead of Season 4, including the one to acquire Blackford Oakes, as well as having a large role in the day-to-day operations of the team. Mere weeks after the Season 4 draft, he was promoted to oversee the NSFL’s football operations and work closely with the Head Office. That is when disaster struck.

As Season 5 approached, Connor Tanner was nowhere to be found. The NSFL Head Office made a very public and very vocal search for him as they revamped the football operations division to avoid being left in a lurch like this again. He had gone dark, nobody had heard from him in weeks. What was he doing? Why did he go MIA? The NSFL universe had many questions but no answers. On the 7th of December rumors started being bandied about. Las Vegas was going make an announcement concerning Tanner the following day. Was he returning to management? Would he reprise his role in football operations? The talking heads speculated endlessly but the NSFL insiders couldn’t get a scoop - everything was being played very close to the vest. The world would have to wait for noon to get their answers.

It was unseasonably cold in Las Vegas on the 8th of December. Despite average temperatures in the high 50s to 60s, it was near freezing as seemingly everyone who was anyone in sports media descended on the Las Vegas Legion executive offices where a makeshift podium had been set up. The reporters shivered and speculated as they waited… and waited for the announcement.

30 minutes passed.

Then an hour.

The crowd grew restless. They were cold and ornery. Had they been baited? Was this some sort of practical joke? They had come here for what would likely be the story of the season but now some of them began to pack up and go home. It was too cold, too windy, too unbearable to put up with this disrespect - even if it meant losing a chance at being there live for… whatever this was going to be.

90 minutes passed.

Finally there was some life. Just beyond the pair of sliding glass doors that served as gate for the Legion’s offices there was movement. The reporters stirred to life and television programmers across the country went live. For minutes that seemed like hours, all anyone saw was a group of people, about a half dozen in number, in suits huddled together talking. Their faces couldn’t be made out but that didn’t stop the assembled media from speculating.

“Is that Ardie Savea? I think I see… Dermot Lavelle? No way, that doesn’t make any sense.”
“I’m really good with faces. That’s 100% Wallace Stone addressing the group now. What are they talking about?”
“The Cox brothers have been spotted but it’s unknown who they are talking to.”

Finally, the group of six emerged from the building to a cacophony of camera shutters and reporter exclamations. Leading the way was none other than Connor Tanner, making his first public appearance in weeks. Following him were Wyatt Fulton, Philippe Carter, Jimmy Cox, Vinny Cox, and Jon Ross. As they made their way to the podium and assembled behind Tanner their faces laid expressionless. Tanner tapped the mic a couple times softly and leaned down, his hulking body towered over the small podium.

“Uh, hello. Is this thing on? Great. On behalf of the Las Vegas Legion I am thrilled to make a major roster announcement here today…”

--


Across the world, blissfully unaware of anything football-related, Geoff Biscuit was laying on a Brazilian beach - clothes optional, of course - with a pink drink in one hand. It had been a very trying few seasons for the Legion owner as his team had won just 8 games in 3 seasons and even worse he was hemorrhaging money. It seemed like every decision he made for the team failed. The 50 year TV contract with CMN was supposed to bring stability and a regular audience to the team but due to ambiguous wording CMN was able to finesse 90% of all ad revenue from Legion content. The 10 year deal with Golden Nugget Casino to advertise on stadium tarps was supposed to be a crafty way of creating revenue while covering up - literally and figuratively - the attendance problem the Legion had, instead they became the subject of countless late night TV punchlines.

Resolved to avoid being taken advantage of in the future, Biscuit accepted bids from several dozen construction companies to work on the stadium’s parking lot renovations and chose the cheapest bid - a savvy business decision - from El Vaquero, LLC. He was so impressed by their bid that he went a step further and gave them exclusive rights to all future stadium renovations. The next day the Las Vegas Review-Journal broke the story that El Vaquero had one just full time employee. Once again Biscuit and the Legion were a laughingstock.

With all the attendance issues and as it became clear that the parking lot renovations were never going to progress, Biscuit sold 69% of the lot space to Super Clean Energy, Inc. as part of an effort to make the Las Vegas Legion more environmentally-friendly. After a major media blitz and advertising regiment, which included a brief dalliance with changing the Legion to a predominantly green color scheme, Super Clean Energy built a large trash-burning energy plant on the land, covering the stadium in a foul stench.

Increasingly desperate for money to renovate the stadium, Biscuit symbolically sold 49% of the Legion’s ownership shares to the city of Las Vegas for $1 in hopes of securing city funding to cover the renovations. Needless to say, no public funding came.

After misstep after misstep, Biscuit decided to take a long European vacation to unwind and decide where to go from there but first he needed to go somewhere warm and beachy, hence Brazil. There had been rumblings in the Nevada state senate about seizing the team under eminent domain and before he left there had been an urgent message from payroll in his inbox. Enough was enough, it was draining being the owner of a professional franchise.

As he lounged on the beach eyeing the passing mademoiselles his phone started vibrating. Ignore. It started buzzing again a few minutes later. Ignore. It was nearly time for dinner and whoever it was surely didn’t have anything important to say. What could possibly be important during the offseason? Again his phone went off. Biscuit angrily threw it into the ocean and gathered his things. He would have his disconnected vacation and everyone else would just have to suck it up.

--


“Without further adieu, I’m pleased to announce that Wyatt Fulton, Philippe Carter, Wallace Stone, Connor Tanner, Jimmy Cox, Vinny Cox, and Jon Ross will be retiring following Season 5!”

As the stunned press looked on, the players behind Tanner stepped to the microphones one by one and said simply “I retire” before stepping aside to let someone else come forward.

Fans of the league, fans of sports in general, and simply fans of drama were glued to their television sets to watch this spectacle. No one could remember so many members of the same team retiring in tandem like this - and not just retiring in tandem but retiring in tandem a full season in advance.

We didn’t know this at the time but 80% of the Legion’s front office staff quit that day. They were tired of being part of a laughingstock franchise yes, they were concerned about the future of the team yes, but above all else they were tired of getting paid late, if at all. Payroll had been in shambles for nearly the entire duration of the Legion franchise and those at the top had stuck their head in the sand. Empowered by the players’ symbolism, the team’s staff was gutted.

The feeding frenzy commenced. For a solid hour it seemed nothing else was discussed in the country. Above all all the din, though, one question could not be answered: why?

--


“Hello, thank you for coming. I have an urgent announcement to make.”

For the second time that day, the media that had descended upon Las Vegas were summoned to a surprise statement.

“It has come to my attention that my name was included in the recent retiring of Las Vegas Legion players. That is not true, I have no intention of retiring. I love this team and cannot stress enough that I am not retiring.”

The words were spoken by the Legion’s quarterback of the future, Wallace Stone, who had been mentioned at Tanner’s announcement earlier but was not in attendance. This was a wild twist in an already bizarre story and of course conspiracy theories reigned supreme.

--


Polin Poward was in his Boston studio preparing to go on air for his 3 to 7pm time slot when he saw Stone’s announcement and more importantly, saw an opportunity. Poward is and was a particularly ignorant radio personality but had carefully cultivated an incredibly loyal fan base who saw him as a breath of fresh air in a media landscape that was carefully controlled and manipulated by the NSFL head office. Most right thinking football fans disregarded what he had to say out of hand but this day would be different.

“Hello and welcome to another great episode of ‘What's the Word? With Polin Poward’ and boy do we have a juicy show today. As I’m sure all of you have, I’ve been following this Las Vegas Legion story and I have to tell ya, the more I dig the more bizahh,” the carefully placed Boston accent was crucial to his persona, “it becomes. And this latest revelation that Stone isn’t retiring after all. Whoa what a bombshell that was. The Legion would’ve been dead in the water without their young quarterback… mighty convenient isn’t it?”

And with that he was off. Diving into specious and incredibly thin evidence that the head office had bribed, blackmailed, and otherwise cajoled Stone into unretiring in order to make the team more attractive because their plan all along was to force Biscuit to sell the Legion, and they wouldn’t be able to command the same fee for a quarterbackless and hapless franchise. Tens of thousands of football fans across the country listened intently and were swayed by Poward. What had the NSFL promised Stone? Was the integrity of the league damaged now?

They would soon have their answer.
Mar 8 2018, 10:45 AM
So in the course of my work as member of the very prestigious NSFL Historian Committee I've had the opportunity to caress very intimately some league data and after a quick search it doesn't look like this has been written about so I'll post something I found interesting here for a quick buck.

As we all know, all field goals are not created equal so raw Field Goal Percentage is shit. Two players could have 23/27 seasons but depending on the distances of those kicks, their performances should be viewed differently. To that end, I found the all-time league field goal rates for the different distance brackets (0-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, and 50+). Ideally we'd break it down by yard but I'm lazy so hard pass.

The expected field goal percentage for each bracket is:
0-19: 100% (53/53)
20-29: 95.22% (239/251)
30-39: 84.91% (270/318)
40-49: 78.79% (260/330)
50+: 63.38% (45/71)

I applied those numbers to each kicker-season's attempts to get an expected field goal spread - that is, what a historically league average kicker would do - and subtracting that from the number of field goals the kicker actually made. I feel like that was a terribly worded sentence so here's an example:
S4 Bojo Kicksit:
0-19: (2/2)
20-29: (4/4)
30-39: (11/12)
40-49: (9/10)
50+: (3/3)
Total: (29/31)

That ends up being a very respectable 93.5%, good for 8th best season in NSFL history (S1-5). But because he was so good/lucky at long range it's the 2nd best season by what I'm provisionally calling Field Goals Above Average (since it's FGM-xFGM just going with a simple dFG might be better, I use dFG and FGAA interchangeably throughout this post in order to sow maximum confusion).

He was expected to make:
both of his <20 yard kicks and did for 0 FGAA,
3.81 of his 4 20-29 yard kicks and made 4 for 0.19 FGAA,
10.19 of his 12 30-39 yard kicks and made 11 for 0.81 FGAA,
7.88 of his 10 40-49 yard kicks and made 9 for 1.12 FGAA, and
1.90 of his 3 50+ yard kicks and made all 3 for 1.10 FGAA.

Summed up that's 3.22 FGAA, 2nd highest in league history.

Now there are clear sample size issues here since most kickers only attempt 25 or so field goals in any given season so I'm not presenting this as the new gold standard, be-all-end-all kicker statistic but I do think it's an improvement over raw FG%.

Here are the career numbers:


Stephen Harris of Philadelphia leads the way in career FGAA with Turk Turkleton of Baltimore not far behind.

We can also break down players by FGAA in a given bracket (though noted here as dFG):


Nobody has missed a field goal from the 1 or 2 yard line yet so there's no FGAA to be added there but after that we can see that Turkleton's value comes on 30-39 yard field goals while he's below average from 40-49 while Harris is exactly the opposite. Since they're both well above average from 50+ I'd guess that most of this is statistical noise but hey that's the way things go. Remember that even the career numbers are extremely fluid with this few events. The major difference in their numbers come from 20-29 yards where Harris is 29/29 while Turkleton is 34/35 and if Harris were to miss his next 29 yard field goal he would drop below Turkleton in career FGAA.

Here are the numbers to this point in S6 which is an even smaller sample size than normal (ex: Turkleton missing a 65 (!!) yard field goal Week 5 against San Jose cost him about 0.63 FGAA compared to if he didn't attempt that kick at all - which isn't exactly fair but it is what it is) so take these with mild hypertension:


Stop here if you're looking for the tl;dr


Long story short, this is a somewhat interesting and probably not very useful or reliable statistic but I'm super excited to see who will be the first kicker to miss a <20 yard field goal in NSFL history. If you have any ideas on how to improve this I'm all ears.




PS: if there are any statistics easily found through simple manipulation of stats available in the index like FGAA/dFG that you would like to see, let me know and I'll add them to our file and once we noble Historians finish our project you'll be able to browse them as you would any other statistic (hopefully). So far I have:

1. Field Goals Above Average: FGM - xFGM

2. Adjusted Yards per Attempt: (Pass Yds + (20*TD) - (45*INT))/Att
(*note: no NY/A or ANY/A because it's effort to find sack yardage, I recall some talk of a similar statistic that's something along the lines of (Pass Yds + Rush Yds + (20*TD) - (45*INT) - (c*Fumbles))/(Att+Rush)) which would be easy to add, I can't find the formula after a quick google though so hit me up)

3. Total Blocks: Punt Blocks + XP Blocks + FG Blocks
(*note: shoutout to Z. SBot of the Las Vegas Legion for having the only Extra Point block in NSFL history in Week 9 of Season 2 against Yellowknife and 0s in every single other statistic in his career. Talk about a specialist.)
Feb 18 2018, 12:15 PM
CODE
1000 words


This will be the first in a series of media articles reflecting on what will surely go down as a historic draft. We're currently only 2 seasons removed but already we've seen some separation among the draftees and it will be fun to track their progression going forward.

Obviously, this is in jest because Season 4 was a truly horrible draft. I believe that this was because it was the first offseason that we had a DSFL draft, which led to the prospect pool being diluted. In any case, this shit's bad.

1st Overall - http://i.imgur.com/hdESSXu.png Noah Goodson, LB
TPE: 356
Status: ACTIVE
Current Team: http://imgur.com/Gc5BmXW.png

The coverage linebacker out of NC State had a solid rookie season, recording 94 tackles, 9 sacks, 9 passes defended, and forcing a fumble on his way to a championship*. He settled into his more natural coverage role last season, seeing his tackles and sacks drop to 76 and 3, respectively, while recording 2 interceptions and 4 passes defended.

After the season, the Outlaws sent him to Baltimore with a S7 2nd round pick in exchange for 14th overall and a S7 3rd round pick, as well as Kevin Shattenkirk-level conditions.

2nd Overall - http://i.imgur.com/ZgnysP3.png Blackford Oakes, FS
TPE: 375
Status: ACTIVE
Current Team: https://imgur.com/ez5u8bq.png

In a draft that saw the Las Vegas Legion pick 5 times in the first round, 2 of those came from trading their S5 1st round pick and $2 million cap space for #2 and #5. While probably not worthwhile in the long run, the Legion got their man Blackford Oakes and watched him take home Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after a season in which he made 72 tackles, forced 2 fumbles, recorded a sack (eek), defended 5 passes, and intercepted 4 more passes - including 1 that was returned for a touchdown.

He's basically a bum now, as his sophomore season saw no statistical improvement: 61 tackles, 4 passes defended, 4 interceptions, and 0s across the rest of the board which is reflected in his recent contract extension. Still, despite missing activity checks and fucking up his updates regularly he's managed to be the top TPE earner from this class somehow.

3rd Overall - http://i.imgur.com/aVlKvow.png Haruki Ishigawa, LB
TPE: 340
Status: ACTIVE
Current Team: http://i.imgur.com/aVlKvow.png

Another coverage linebacker, Ishigawa joined Oakes and Goodson as rookie standouts in Season 4 as he recorded 99 tackles, forced and recovered a fumble, sacked the quarterback 4 times, and defended 3 passes. Unlike the other two, though, Ishigawa followed it up with a strong sophomore campaign as he had 83 tackles - including 2 for loss, forced a fumble, recorded 7 sacks, and defended 13 (!) passes.

4th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/ZgnysP3.png Steven O'Sullivan, TE
TPE: 220
Status: ON A ROSTER
Current Team: http://imgur.com/LWhJhPh.png

Season 4's Offensive Rookie of the Year was also the first offensive player off the board in the draft. O'Sullivan never played a snap for the Legion and recorded 80 receptions for 520 yards and 4 touchdowns in Orange County. He is currently inactive but managed to keep a roster spot and a role in the Otters' impressive offense as he had 85 catches for 699 yards and 3 touchdowns last season.

5th Overall - http://imgur.com/LWhJhPh.png William Sean, WR
TPE: 104
Status: DSFL
Current Team: http://i.imgur.com/gjTM85g.png

Initially looking like a promising prospect, Sean hasn't been able to break into the NSFL. He's technically not inactive as he logged in 3 days ago but his last post was in October.

Sean has put together a decent DSFL career, however. Amassing 126 catches for 1680 yards and 9 touchdowns. If he can return to activity he could very well wind up the best offensive player of this draft.

Fun fact, this was the only pick in the 1st round that wasn't traded at least once.

6th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/ZgnysP3.png Trey Lonzac, CB
TPE: 106
Status: Free Agent
Current Team: http://www.planetsmilies.com/smilies/character/character0051.gif

As far as I can tell has never played a game in the DSFL or NSFL.

7th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/ZgnysP3.png Andres Waiters, DE
TPE: 273
Status: ACTIVE
Current Team: http://i.imgur.com/hdESSXu.png

The 5th and final player from this draft that is currently on an NSFL roster, Waiters finished last season near the top of the leaderboard in tackles for loss with 11. He also had 47 tackles, a fumble forced and recovered, and 8 sacks. It was his first NSFL season after posting back to back 18 sack seasons in the DSFL.

Waiters was traded to Arizona with Wyatt Fulton in exchange for a S5 4th, S6 1st, and S6 3rd.

8th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/ZgnysP3.png Shawn Ariel, RB
TPE: 63
Status: DSFL
Current Team: http://i.imgur.com/aVlKvow.png / https://i.imgur.com/ajPIy7x.png

Ariel was sent to the Yeti in the trade that brought Isaac Brown (RIP) to the Legion and looked like a promising running back after posting 982 yards on 223 attempts, smashing the DSFL in YPC in his draft year. After the draft he was assigned to Norfolk's practice squad in Season 4 and then went undrafted in the dispersal draft. He's currently in Portland as a Colorado send-down.

9th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/5sMCmtf.png Forfeited (cheater mccheaterboys)
10th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/aVlKvow.png Tommy Brown, WR (50 TPE, Free Agent, Inactive)
11th Overall - https://i.imgur.com/lZGDADN.png JR Vance, TE (50 TPE, https://i.imgur.com/ajPIy7x.png , Inactive)
12th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/ZgnysP3.png Den Bavis, LB (55 TPE, http://i.imgur.com/f7UBKic.png , Inactive)
13th Overall - http://imgur.com/LWhJhPh.png Zach Muntez, RB (57 TPE, http://i.imgur.com/f7UBKic.png , Inactive)
14th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/lgKJrna.png Rakim Uchiha, WR (57 TPE, https://i.imgur.com/ajPIy7x.png , Inactive)
15th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/ZgnysP3.png - Pass
16th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/5sMCmtf.png Mitchell Stars, QB (57 TPE, https://i.imgur.com/ajPIy7x.png , Inactive)
17th Overall - https://i.imgur.com/lZGDADN.png Callum Gray, QB (52 TPE, RETIRED)
18th Overall - http://i.imgur.com/ZgnysP3.png Brent Lane, K/P (50 TPE, https://i.imgur.com/ajPIy7x.png , Inactive)

I see you collecting S4 inactives, Portland.

Has there ever been a lighter punishment than forcing Yellowknife to give up this 9th overall pick?

If any of these dudes come back from inactivity it's not a far climb for them to enter Steal of the Draft territory.

So for those of you keeping score at home we've got
300+ TPE: 3 players
200+ TPE: 5 players
100+ TPE: 7 players
Played 1 NSFL game: 5 players
Not currently inactive: 5 players
Didn't update once: 3 players

A depressing exercise would be comparing those numbers to the S5 draftees, who are a season behind. Perhaps even S6.

The end.
Jan 4 2018, 12:03 PM
CODE
1306 words


So I caught the tail end of an interesting discussion in discord. Why is the NSFL media payout system the way that it is? It started when DeathOnReddit was frustrated that posting his 1200 word article as two 600 word articles would get him more money and flowed naturally from there.

There's no doubt that 600 words is the optimal article length under the current format as you can see here:


You can think about it like this:
You are a very wordsy and verbose NSFL player and have 60,000 words of media bottled up inside of you that you want to unleash upon the league. You're also a min-maxer and want to post those words in the most efficient way possible. You have many options:
1. Post 1 article that's 60,000 words long - $62 million
2. Post 2 articles that are 30,000 words long - $64 million
3. Post 3 articles that are 20,000 words long - $66 million
4. Post 6 articles that are 10,000 words long - $72 million
5. Post 12 articles that are 5,000 words long - $84 million
6. Post 15 articles that are 4,000 words long - $86.25 million
7. Post 20 articles that are 3,000 words long - $90 million
8. Post 30 articles that are 2,000 words long - $84 million
9. Post 60 articles that are 1,000 words long - $96 million
10. Post 100 articles that are 600 words long - $100 million

Among articles that don't go past the maximum bonus tier (5,000 words) the least efficient article tiers are 2,000 and 5,000 words and 600 words is by far the most efficient - you would earn 19% more money for posting in 600 word increments than 2,000.

If that's what the league wants, that's fine. I'm sure nobody logs onto the NSFL hoping to open up the media section and find a 6,000 word novel - but I'm not sure that 600 words is where we should be optimizing either. As it says in the Payout Structure topic (emphasis mine):
QUOTE
This would mean a 600 word article gets their $600k base and the $400k bonus for a total of $1mil.  However if someone writes two 300 word articles, they would only get $600k.  This is to encourage longer articles and hopefully not so many people just writing the basic article to hit the word count.


These incentives do matter. I took a look at the 10 most recent topics in the Graded Articles forum that had their word count easily displayed and just two of them eclipsed 2,000 words. Four were fewer than 1,000 and the remaining four were between 1,000 and 2,000. The average of those 10 was just over 1,200 words.

Comparing this to other sim leagues, the last 5 SHL and the last 5 SMJHL articles averaged 2,000 words in a system where you get a flat $100k for every 100 words you write (though good articles are usually subject to a 1.5-2x multiplier for quality). In the PBE, the last 10 articles averaged about 1,600 in a system very similar to the NSFL but without the weird "never write a 2,000 word article" twist as their 2,000 word bonus is $1m instead of $800k.

Again, if we as a league want short articles then mission accomplished. This isn't a criticism, per se, but we should be aware of what we're incentivizing. So, taking all that into consideration I crafted some alternate pay structures to encourage different article lengths in case we want to do that:

600 words
Examples:
Week 6 power rankings - 770 words
Portland Pythons Week 5 and 6 Review - 653 words
Portland Pythons Week 3 and 4 Review - 608 words

Structure:
Keep as is.

1,000 Words
Examples:
Yeti New Co-GM - 1,031 words
D-Line Standouts: Week 6 - 1,156 words

Structure:
600 words - $350k (down from $400k) - $1583/word
1,000 words - $700k (up from $600k) - $1650/word
2,000 words - $1m (up from $800k) - $1600/word
$200k increase in bonus for each tier thereafter.

1,200 Words
Examples:
Cornerbacks : An Ongoing Analysis (1/14) - 1,218 words

Structure:
600 words - $300k (down from $400k) - $1500/word
1,000 words - $600k (same) - $1600/word
1,200 words - $800k (new tier) - $1667/word
2,000 words - $1.2m (up from $800k) - $1600/word
$200k increase in bonus for each tier thereafter.

1,500 Words
Examples:
Cornerbacks : An Ongoing Analysis (2/14) - 1,637 words

Structure:
600 words - $300k (down from $400k) - $1500/word
1,000 words - $600k (same) - $1600/word
1,500 words - $1m (new tier) - $1667/word
2,000 words - $1.2m (up from $800k) - $1600/word
$200k increase in bonus for each tier thereafter.

2,000 Words
Examples:
DSFL Positional Power Ratings (Offense) - 2,330 words
The Specialist: Issue 2 (DSFL, Vol. 1) - 2,202 words

Structure:
600 words - $300k (down from $400k) - $1500/word
1,000 words - $600k (same) - $1600/word
2,000 words - $1.4m (up from $800k) - $1700/word
$200k increase in bonus for each tier thereafter.

Bimodal
This isn't a mutually exclusive situation. If you think that both 600 word articles and 2,000 word articles (for example) have a place in the NSFL then we could craft a system for that, too.

Structure:
600 words - $400k (same) - $1667/word
1,000 words - $600k (same) - $1600/word
1,500 words - $900k (new tier) - $1600/word
2,000 words - $1.3m (up from $800k) - $1650/word
$200k increase in bonus for each tier thereafter.

You could do this for whatever lengths we as a league would prefer.

Suggestions
These are based on my own personal preferences and are premised on amending the current system separate from changing to a structure posed above:
1. Add another bonus tier between 1,000 and 2,000 words and if you want to keep the number of tiers low and manageable kill off the 5,000 word tier. I think 1,200 or 1,500 words make the most sense for this threshold.
2. Add another bonus tier at 2,500 words and if you want to keep the number of tiers low and manageable kill off the 4,000 word tier. I imagine the vast majority of articles never hit 3,000 words and almost none hit 4 or 5k since there's no incentive to which means those tiers are better served in the relevant range.
3. Flatten the $/word disparity between tiers. Set word counts that you want to incentivize at $1650-1700/word, the tiers around them around at $1600/word, word counts that you want to disincentivize at $1500/word, and have the rest somewhere in between. This is the basic pattern I followed in crafting the structures above. The whiplash of going from $1600 to $1400 to $1500 in successive tiers sets up weird incentives.
4. Alternatively, scrap the ax+b (where a is the base $1000/word, x is the word count, and b is the tiered bonus) payout system altogether and go to a simple a*x system where the $/word payout changes depending on your word count. Example:
Tier 1: 0-599 words - $1000/word
Tier 2: 600-999 words - $1600/word
Tier 3: 1000-1499 words - $1625/word
Tier 4: 1500-1999 words - $1650/word
Tier 5: 2000-2499 words - $1675/word
Tier 6: 2500+ words - $1700/word
This would get rid of the weird mechanic where typing past a word count threshold feels like wasted effort since each successive word is making you less and less efficient (which is exactly what it's doing to me right now) but, naturally, would incentivize really long articles so I would also suggest bringing the top tier down a bit to prevent novels. Unless you're into that sort of thing.

What say you, dear reader? When you open an article how big does the word count have to be to make you think "ugh" and back out rather than brave the wall of text? What word counts are so small it makes you wonder "why would they even bother posting this?"

Fuck I should've posted this as 2 articles to get that extra $200k.


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