Welcome to the final post for the 2019 season of The Football Club: Eighteenth Year International Edition. This was our second year back after taking a five-year break and it was a good season for some players, while perhaps being a frustrating season for others. Despite the challenges of making solid picks week after week, it was great to reunite for our friendly competition for the 17 weeks of the regular season. I personally really appreciated the good sportsmanship on display throughout the season by all club members. As announced last week, we will be returning for the 2020 & 2021 seasons (assuming world conditions permit). These two seasons will be the 19th and 20th seasons of The Football Club. Next season will be called The Football Club 2020: Nineteenth Year Trophy Edition II. And the following season will be called The Football Club 2021: Twentieth Season Anniversary Edition. But focusing in on next season, note that we are having another Trophy Edition here in the club. The previous Trophy Edition was done four seasons ago in the club (during the 2011 season). At that time, trophies were given out to the Club Champion of that particular season (which was Captain Jack Sparrow) as well as to all previous Club Champions who requested trophies. We also had a season-ending party for all club members who could make it which was a big success. So we will be returning to that format once again, and that also means that the Club Champions for 2019, 2018, and 2012 will finally be receiving their trophies. (Double-Double & Hoosier Daddy please send me your current mailing address and your trophies will be shipped out to you.) And the winner of the 2020 season will also receive a trophy. So with that brief glimpse of what’s to come, let’s get to a player-by-player recap of the 2019 season.
(#1) Fearless Tuna is our 2019 Club Champion as I finished the season with 371 Points, 2 MVP Awards, and 2 Weeks at #1. My season did not get off to a good start. In Week 1, I debuted in 13th Place and during all of the time from Weeks 2 through 7, I was either in 16th or 17th Place. At the end of Week 7, I was 28 Points behind 1st Place player Halibut J-Bird. I definitely felt that it was a lost season but I just kept trying my best, knowing that even when you are struggling in the Points standings, you can still end up doing well in Head to Head and Pro Bowl team play. Week 8 was when everything changed. On Friday of that week, I had major surgery to remove cancer from one of my kidneys. I was released from the hospital on Saturday and came home to make my picks for the week. The picks went well as I ended up tying The Rickster that week for the Highest Score of the Year with 41 Points, while falling just 1 game shy of having a Perfect Week. It was a small positive after going through the worst experience of my life. In the weeks that followed, I managed to climb the standings from 17th to 16th to 10th to 9th to 2nd Place. My next breakthrough came in Week 15, when I managed to finally get into 1st Place for the first time. Coming down to the final week, I was 1 of 5 club members with a realistic shot at winning the club title. In past seasons, this was usually the point where I folded under pressure and made really bad picks. But this time, things were different. I managed to score 27 Points which was enough to win the Club
Championship by a margin of 5 Points. In looking back at my picks, there turned out to be 3 key games that I had to get right to win – Baltimore, Chicago, and Tennessee. If any of those three teams had lost, someone else would have ended up winning the title. In conclusion, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about winning the club title myself. After all, this is my own contest which I came up with back when I was in high school. But after having such a rough year, it feels nice to have something positive and to win 1 time out of the 18 years the club has been in existence. I was also happy to see my Pro Bowl team The Supernovas win the Pro Bowl team title. And I ended up winning the Division One title in Head to Head Weekly with a record of 6-3-1. (#2) Just For the Halibut J-Bird! returned to the club for the first time since the 2010 season. With it having been 9 long years since Halibut J-Bird had made football picks, nobody knew how well he would be able to do. He decisively answered that question as he logged the most weeks in 1st Place of anybody all season with 5 Weeks at #1. Going into the final week, Halibut J-Bird had a lot of momentum. He was perched in 1st Place and coming off a 34 Point MVP score in Week 16. In fact, if Chicago had not converted a 4th down and 9 with 2 minutes left in their game against Minnesota and then went on to score a game winning field goal, Halibut J-Bird would have been the champion. That’s how close he came to winning it all during his return season. In view of his great success in returning to the club, Halibut J-Bird was named the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year. He also won the Pro Bowl championship with his team The Supernovas. (#3) Drummer Boy had a tremendous season in so many different ways. To start with, he began the season with back-to-back MVP Award Runner-Ups, which led to him enjoying 2 Weeks at #1 during weeks 2 and 3. He was then named the September Player of the Month. After dipping down for a while, he came back stronger than ever toward the end of the season. He won 2 MVP Awards during weeks 13 and 15, which put him solidly in the Top Five and within striking distance of winning the club title. In fact, if Pittsburgh had defeated Baltimore (which they were favored to do since Baltimore was resting so many good players), Drummer Boy would have become the Club Champion. Drummer Boy got the Most Games of the Week correct this season with 23 out of 35 picked correctly. In addition to finishing in 3rd Place, Drummer Boy also had great success in both Head to Head and Pro Bowl team play this season. He had an unforgettable run in the Super Bowl Tournament all the way from the First Round to the Super Bowl final while knocking off the #1, #2, and #6 seeds, before eventually losing by 1 single Point. Drummer Boy also made the Pro Bowl Tournament final along with Daddy & His Boys. (#4) Double-Double came very close to successfully defending his 2018 Club Championship, finishing in 4th Place only 11 Points behind the winner. It was yet another strong season for Double-Double with 2 MVP Awards and 1 Week at #1. Double-Double would have won the club title if Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Minnesota had all won their games. One of Double-Double’s biggest highlights this season was being the best player in Head to Head Weekly. He finished with a record of 8-1-1 and won Division Two to become the #1 seed in the Super Bowl Tournament where he made it to the Conference Round (or Final Four). He was only the fourth player in club history to finish a Head to Head Weekly regular season with only 1 loss. (#5) Captain Insano and Hoosier Daddy. 5th Place ended with a tie between two outstanding players. Captain Insano is one of the most consistent players we have ever had, as he just finished in 5th Place for the fourth consecutive season. Captain Insano debuted this season in 17th Place but then quickly rebounded by jumping up into 2nd Place after winning the Week 2 MVP Award. He then spent the next 12 weeks outside of the Top Five but got solidly back on track during the final 3 weeks of the season. In weeks 15, 16 & 17 he jumped back into 5th Place which is where he finished. Captain Insano was named our December Player of the Month for averaging 25.5 Points per week during the final 4 weeks of the season. He also won the Pro Bowl championship with his team The Supernovas. Hoosier Daddy had another career year in The Football Club. Being a two-time past Club Champion (2012 & 2009), his great success this season was not a surprise. But when week 11 wrapped up and Hoosier Daddy was stuck down in 13th Place, it looked like he had no shot of finishing in the Top Five. However, he gained some momentum and finished things up by winning the Week 17 MVP Award with 29 Points, which gave him just enough Points to end in a tie for 5th Place. Hoosier Daddy was our best Triple Jeopardy player this season, finishing with a 12-4 record (a ratio of 75% correct) which ended up netting him 17 extra Points during the season. That’s really hard to do. Hoosier Daddy’s biggest moment this season came when he won the Super Bowl Tournament and became the champion of Head to Head play. He had an outstanding run through the tournament, knocking off the #1, #4, and #6 seeds in route to the final, where he (begrudgingly) defeated his teammate Drummer Boy 22-21 to secure the title. This was Hoosier Daddy’s first-ever Super Bowl Championship and it was well deserved. Hoosier Daddy also made the Pro Bowl Tournament final along with Daddy & His Boys.
(#7) Mr. T had his strongest season in years and spent many weeks in the Top Five. At the end of Week 13, Mr. T was only 3 Points out of 1st Place, before he struggled a bit and fell back into the pack. November was his best month, as he kept climbing the standings every single week and claimed the Player of the Month Award for doing so. Mr. T also tied for the Most Sunday Night / 6 Point games correct this season with 11 out of 17. (#8) Nighthawk played consistently well all season. He spent 4 weeks in the Top Five and reached a peak position of #4. He also tied for the Most Triple Crowns correct this season with 8 out of 17. Nighthawk was named our 2019 Sportsmanship Award winner for showing great courtesy and consideration to club members. (#9) Bob Swerski had another solid year. He played really strong during the first half of the season, enjoying 6 weeks in the Top Five and reaching a peak position of #3. Bob Swerski was no doubt dismayed that he was not able to successfully defend his Super Bowl Head to Head title, but he still did well in reaching the Divisional Round before losing to eventual new champion Hoosier Daddy by a mere field goal. (#10) MJD Hogg and The Rickster. 10th Place ended with a tie between two long-time club veterans. MJD Hogg started off the season really well when he scored 34 Points to win the Week 1 MVP Award and debut in 1st Place. You can’t start things off any better than that. He then spent the next 3 weeks in the Top Five before dropping down a bit. MJD Hogg ended with the Most Double Stakes of anyone this season with 7 out of 17. MJD Hogg also made the Pro Bowl Tournament final along with Daddy & His Boys. The Rickster once again accomplished the (nearly) impossible by having another Perfect Week. This was only the 3rd time this has happened in club history, which spans 18 years of club members making picks. In Week 8, he picked 15/15 games correct to score 41/41 Points. It is a very impressive feat that still leaves me stunned that he was able to do this for the second time in his storied career. The Rickster finished with 4 weeks spent in the Top Five and a respectable Top Ten finish for the year. He was also named the October Player of the Month. And he won the Division Three title in Head to Head Weekly with a record of 5-3-2.
(#12) freespirit had an excellent season which was her best ever in the club. Although she barely missed finishing in the Top Ten (by a mere 2 Points), she logged the second-most weeks at #1 of anybody in the club. freespirt spent 4 Weeks at #1 (weeks 5, 6, 10, and 11) and 9 total weeks in the Top Five. She also held the largest lead in 1st Place over other players as twice she held an 8 Point lead. freespirit moved from Santa Rosa to Reno in the middle of the season and that’s what seemed to disrupt her from making solid picks and perhaps winning it all. (#13) The Cat and Slick Chick. 13th Place ended in a tie between two friendly rivals playing across the globe from each other. The Cat was dealing with constant civil unrest in Ecuador (even as of a few days ago when he was fearing for his life and considering leaving the country to flee to safety.) But he still managed to make really good picks for most of the season and even reached 1st Place in Week 13. That came right after winning back-to-back MVP Awards in Weeks 9 and 10 (which was the only time that someone won back-to-back MVPs all season long). The Cat also won the Division Four title in Head to Head Weekly with a record of 7-3 to claim the #1 seed in the Super Bowl Tournament. Slick Chick reached 1st Place in the standings in Week 4 and went on to spend 4 total weeks in the Top Five. She also had a very nice run in the Super Bowl Tournament to the Conference Round (or Final Four) before losing to Drummer Boy. Slick Chick’s regular presence on Club Chat makes the season more enjoyable for everyone. Perhaps in 2020, she can return to her 2010 form when she spent 7 Weeks at #1 and became our Club Champion. (#15) Stinkerbell was coming off the strongest rookie season that the club has ever seen, during which she had spent a stunning 13 Weeks at #1 and lost the club title by a mere 5 Points. Even so, being the Club Champion Runner-Up was an incredible result that most club members only dream of having. So coming into this season, she no doubt had high expectations for herself. And I would have to say that she once again delivered another good season. She spent 6 weeks in the Top Five and reached a peak position of #2 in the standings. I’m sure she wanted to do even better, but I think she did well and should be applauded.
(#16) Rad Dad probably never expected his team of The Black Pearl to all end up in the bottom three of the standings at the conclusion of the season. Even though they had a tough finish, all three teammates had positive moments during the long season. Rad Dad’s season highlight was winning the Week 12 MVP Award with 31 Points. Rad Dad debuted in 8th Place before dropping down in the standings. He also managed to escape the Super Bowl Tournament’s dreaded First Round that week by winning his match 31-23. (#17) Captain Jack Sparrow was not pleased with where he finished, but he had some great moments during the season. He debuted in 3rd Place, which is a very strong way to start the season. He then ended up logging a total of 3 weeks in the Top Five, which is much less than he is used to but still respectable. Captain Jack Sparrow’s lowest moment in the season came in Week 10 when he scored 0 Points for the week. But all credit to him because despite that major setback, he kept playing hard and rebounded nicely with scores of 23 Points and 26 Points in the following two weeks. And all of us truly enjoy Captain Jack Sparrow’s fun and interesting banter on Club Chat, especially when it comes to the status of The Black Pearl. (#18) Badwater Nessie finished at the bottom, but he still had some excellent results during the season. For instance, he won the Week 6 MVP Award with 27 Points. He also reached a peak position of #7 and tied for the Most Sunday Night / 6 Point games correct this season with 11 out of 17. Badwater Nessie is an “upset specialist” when it comes to making picks and he will no doubt have a stronger season in 2020.
Well, that is a wrap on the Season in Review final Main Page Column. Thank you for playing everyone and also thank you for always turning in your picks on time and playing with good sportsmanship. We will see you next season!