2021 Football Club Season in Review

Welcome to the final post for the 2021 season of The Football Club: Twentieth Year Final Edition.  This turned out to be a very good season with participants from all over the country joining us in making weekly picks.  And after 18 weeks of regular season football, a brand new Club Champion has emerged to hold up the Rhapsody Ralph Trophy for the first time ever.  Before we get into that, I just wanted to let you know that The Football Club is tentatively scheduled to return next season for its 21st year of operation.  The name of next season’s club is planned to be The Football Club: 21st Year Medals Edition.  This is in line with Double-Double’s suggestion on Club Chat, when he mentioned: “It takes time to do everything with the club and we’re thankful Tuna has kept it going for so long.  What if we got rid of Head to Head and the Pro Bowl Teams and forget the comments you make after each week.  That may save some time (even though we like the commentary).  1 more year! 1 more year!”  The plan is for next season to have the Weekly Picks Sheet, Current Standings, and an abbreviated Main Page Column.  But to take a break from league play which includes Head to Head and Pro Bowl Teams.  This will give me a break and allow me to cut in half the time it takes for the club each week.  But still allow the club to continue with the most important competition – the Club Points Championship. And that’s where the title of Medals Edition comes into play.  With the Points battle being the only competition, increased emphasis will be put into trying to reach the Top Ten.  All players who at some point during the season can reach the Top Ten will be named Medals winners.  Those few players who can reach 1st Place at some point during the season will be awarded Gold Medal status.  Next, all players who are able to reach the Top Five at some point during the season will achieve Silver Medal status.  Finally, the players who can reach the Top Ten during the season will achieve Bronze Medal status.  While no medals will actually be given out, this will provide additional incentive as a category that can be won just by reaching a Peak Position inside the Top Ten. Notice that how you finish the season is not important with this new category.  But what matters is doing really well at some point during the season.  With that, let’s get into the season in review for each player.

The 2021 Club Champion is Drummer Boy.  Drummer Boy accomplished this by scoring 14 Weeks at #1, 2 MVP Award Runner-Ups, and the October Player of the Month Award.  His 381 Points were actually 10 Points less than less season’s winner Mr. T (who finished with 391 Points) despite having an extra week of play this season.  This goes to show what a difficult season it was to make good picks with consistent upsets every single week.  Drummer Boy will soon be receiving the prized Rhapsody Ralph Trophy in the mail and hopefully we will have a picture of him holding up the trophy to share with you later.  Despite winning no MVP Awards this season, Drummer Boy was the model of consistency.  Week in and week out he made outstanding picks which kept him in 1st Place for 14 out of the 18 weeks we played.  By week 9, he had built an 11 Point lead in 1st Place and some club members feared he would run away with the title.  But that didn’t happen as he never again built a double-digit lead over the rest of the club.  As our new Club Champion, Drummer Boy averaged 21.2 Points per week this season.  So that gives you an idea of what it takes to win the title.  That doesn’t leave much room for low-scoring weeks of 10 Points or less.  And in fact, Drummer Boy’s worst week of the season came in Week 18 when he only scored 12 Points.  However, in an odd twist, most of those who were in a position to catch Drummer Boy picked overly conservative in Week 18 and that didn’t help them.  Drummer Boy tied a Hall of Fame record with 27 Games of the Week picked correctly.  We all congratulate him on winning the Club Championship this season!  The 2021 Club Champion Runner-Up finishing in 2nd Place was Double-Double.  Leading up to the final week, Double-Double had only reached a Peak Position of #3 all season.  So what an incredible way that was for him to finish strongly by reaching a new Peak Position of #2 and ending as the Runner-Up.  Double-Double tied for the most Double Stakes with 9 picked correctly.  But his biggest moment was leading his team Wild Animals to become the 2021 Pro Bowl Team Champions.  Especially with team play taking a break next season, he will remember his team’s thrilling victory for some time to come.  And Double-Double has now had 4 consecutive finishes inside the Top Five.  Should he be able to do that for 2 more seasons, he can tie the Hall of Fame record for the Iron Man Streak For Consecutive Top 5 Finishes.  Finishing in 3rd Place was second-year player The Sad Salmon.  The Sad Salmon went on an absolute tear during the second half of the season.  In the first half of the season, he dropped all the way down to 16th Place for consecutive weeks (Weeks 7 & 8) and found himself 34 Points behind leader Drummer Boy.  But at the exact same time his favorite team the Miami Dolphins turned their season around, so did he.  In Weeks 9 and 10, he went on to win back-to-back MVP Awards and then he added another MVP in Week 13 for good measure.  This resulted in him being named the November Player of the Month.  But his biggest moment was in Week 15 when he took over 1st Place with a 1 Point lead.  He then extended that lead to 5 Points after the Thursday games of Week 16, before falling back down to earth.  In addition to winning the Most MVP Awards this season, The Sad Salmon also reached the Super Bowl final before barely losing the title to Bob Swerski by 2 Points.  The Sad Salmon had a truly fantastic season all the way around.  Although he didn’t win the club title, he and his wife The Icelandic Cod did win big time by adopting their new dog Vanilla.  Our 4th Place finisher was Captain Insano.  Captain Insano had a very good season all the way around and spent most of the season inside the Top Five, which included debuting at #1.  In fact, Captain Insano was named our Comeback Player of the Year for improving from a 17th Place finish in 2020 to a 4th Place finish in 2021.  What a huge turnaround that was.  He also won 2 MVP Awards during the season.  Of course, I can’t leave off without mentioning Captain Insano’s struggles at picking Triple Jeopardy.  He finished with a league low record of 3 correct and 13 wrong which is 19% accuracy.  That’s leaving 20 Points on the table and had he not selected TJ at all, he would have been our Club Champion by a 7 Point margin.  Rounding out the Top Five was our 5th Place finisher Stinkerbell.  She ended up finishing a mere 14 Points behind the winner, which shows how tight this race really was.  Although she badly wanted to drive thru Double-Double and leave him in the dust, it didn’t happen once again.  Stinkerbell was hoping to get revenge for two things.  First, in 2018 Double-Double snuck in late in the season and won the club title by 5 Points over her, despite her logging 13 Weeks at #1.  Second, in 2020 Double-Double edged her out by 1 Point, which allowed him to finish in 5th Place and kept her out of a Top Five finish.  No doubt this is a rivalry which will continue into next season.  I just hope both players are able to pick as well next season as they did this season.  Also of note, Stinkerbell was the co-winner of the Sportsmanship Award this season.  She was kind enough to volunteer to sit out league play (Head to Head and Super Bowl) since we had one too many players.  Thank you once again for that, Stinkerbell.

Just missing out on the Top Five was our #6 finisher Hoosier Daddy.  Hoosier Daddy had the Highest Score of the Year with 40 Points when it mattered the most – on the very last week of the season.  That brought him the Week 18 MVP Award and carried him to within 3 Points of reaching 5th Place.  Not only did Hoosier Daddy have the Best Week but his team had the Best Team Score this season when Daddy & His Boys combined to score 99 Points in Week 2.  His team also reached the Pro Bowl final but barely lost to Wild Animals by one touchdown.  Hoosier Daddy wrapped things up nicely by being named the December Player of the Month, which gives him a lot of momentum going into next season.  He also won the category of Most Triple Crowns with 7 out of 18 picked correctly.  That’s an incredible number when you think about how many upsets happened this season.  Finishing at #7 was Hoosier’s brother and teammate MJD Hogg.  MJD Hogg had a very strong season as he tied for wins in two important categories – Most Double Stakes with 9 and Most Sunday Night / 6 Point games with 10.  MJD also logged 1 Week at #1 as he took over the top spot back in Week 2.  And he picked up 2 MVP Awards this season.  Our 8th Place finisher was club legend The Rickster.  The Rickster finished only 23 Points away from the top, had a Peak Position of #2, and picked up an MVP Award in Week 5.  The Rickster’s season highlight was once again winning a Pro Bowl team title along with Wild Animals.  In 9th Place, we have Bob Swersksi.  Bob Swerski’s highlight this season may very well have been attending the Week 18 game between the Rams and 49ers in Los Angeles, and watching the 49ers win and gain a playoff spot.  But another big highlight he had was winning the Super Bowl Head to Head title for the 3rd time in his illustrious career.  In addition, he logged 2 Weeks at #1 (Weeks 3 & 4), picked up 1 MVP Award, and was named the September Player of the Month.  And like MJD Hogg, Bob Swerski tied for the category wins of the Most Double Stakes with 9 and Most Sunday Night / 6 Point games with 10.  With all those accolades, you can’t have a much better season than that.  Well done, Bob Swerski.  Rounding out the Top Ten was Fearless Tuna.  I’m very happy with how my own season turned out.  I was able to spend 6 weeks earlier in the season in the Top Five, win 2 MVP Awards, and reach a Peak Position of #3.  And finishing in 10th Place was an improvement over 2020 when I finished in 13th Place.  Believe it or not, I’m still on a high from winning my only Club title two years ago, that’s how much it meant to me.

Moving on to 11th Place in the standings, we have our 2020 defending champion Mr. T.  Although Mr. T was unable to repeat as Club Champion (which no player ever has won back-to-back championships), he still had a solid season.  Mr. T reached a Peak Position of #3 and picked up 2 MVP Award Runner-Ups.  Next up we have Captain Jack Sparrow, who returned to the club after a one season break to finish respectably in 12th Place.  Captain Jack Sparrow picked up 1 MVP Award and peaked inside the Top Ten.  He will no doubt hoist his sails higher and play even stronger if he decides to return next season.  In 13th Place, we have Rad Dad.  Rad Dad hasn’t had a chance to share any mints with Baby Tuna (now Young Tuna) at congregation meetings for a couple of years now, but he hasn’t stopped making great picks.  Rad Dad claimed 2 MVP Awards and reached a Peak Position of #2.  With 20 club members battling it out who all know football very well, I would call that a solid season.  Finishing in 14th Place was The Icelandic Cod.  Mrs. Cod had quite the year last year with getting married to The Sad Salmon, moving to Rohnert Park, and joining The Football Club.  She was named the Rookie of the Year Award winner, not just by default, but because she played very well.  She picked up 1 MVP Award Runner-Up and nearly peaked inside the Top Ten.  That’s quite solid for just getting introduced to American football and then having the challenge of making picks and figuring out who is going to win each week.  Excellent job, Icelandic Cod, on your rookie season.  In 15th Place we had freespirit.  Although freespirit faded down the stretch, she had quite the amazing season.  She reached a Peak Position of #2 and picked up 2 MVP Award Runner-Ups.  But more importantly, she signed on with Wild Animals and helped lead them to victory in the Pro Bowl final.  One thing is for sure and that is that Wild Animals couldn’t have done it without her help.  In the categories, she tied for the Most Double Stakes with 9 out of 18 picked correctly.  And to top things off, she was the co-winner of the Sportsmanship Award this season for generously giving up her initial spot in team play.

Finishing just outside of the Top Fifteen, we have Nighthawk in 16th Place.  Despite not having a high finish, Nighthawk did win an MVP Award in Week 12 and he finished the season strong by winning the MVP Award Runner-Up in Week 18.  And it was a special moment for myself, Mrs. Tuna, and Young Tuna when we got to visit with Nighthawk, Mrs. Nighthawk, and Baby Hazel a couple of weeks ago.  In 17th Place, we have New York City Sewer Rat.  I’m actually quite impressed with NYC Sewer Rat this season.  On the hardest season ever to pick it correctly, NYC Sewer Rat won the category of Best Triple Jeopardy Ratio as he went 10-7 or 59% right.  The real shocker is that he was the only player in the entire club with a winning record at picking TJ.  Well done, Rat.  He also picked up 1 MVP Award and reached a Peak Position of #3.  Finishing in 18th Place, we have Slick Chick.  While she keeps us entertained in Club Chat (along with several other regular posters), Slick Chick also found some success in the club this season.  She peaked inside the Top Ten and also picked up 1 MVP Award Runner-Up.  But that wasn’t her season highlight.  Her season highlight was her incredible upset in the Super Bowl Tournament.  As the #9 seed in Conference Two, she shocked #1 seed and defending Super Bowl champ The Rickster 25-20 and knocked him out of the tournament.  That was an upset for the ages and it resulted in her reaching the Divisional Round.  In 19th Place, we have The Cat, who had to drop out of play after Week 15.  The Cat was busy moving houses and did not have internet access, which made turning in picks too challenging.  The Cat did have a pretty good year, though, as he reached a Peak Position of #5 and picked up 1 MVP Award Runner-Up.  And finally, in 20th Place, we have brand new player My Wife Loves Jimmy G.  My Wife Loves Jimmy G joined the club during Week 18 and turned in picks for the final week of the season.  On his debut making picks, he was 1 of only 2 players to nail the super challenging Triple Crown of Det-Wash-TB.  He also picked up 2 Games of the Week.  But he missed Quadruple Jeopardy and suffered the agony of losing -3 Points from his final score.  The end result, he debuted with 18 Points, which is a very respectable first-ever score in the club.  We look forward to him participating for a full season in 2022.  And with that, my final Main Page Column of the 2021 season has come to an end.  See you next season, everyone.  Tuna out.