Welcome to the final post for the 2022 season of The Football Club: 21st Season freespirit Tribute Edition. This turned out to be yet another enjoyable 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 22nd year of operation. The name of next season’s club is planned to be The Football Club: 22nd Year Champions Edition. During next season in the Main Page Column, we will take a moment each week to reflect and talk about one of our past Club Champions. Throughout 21 seasons of play, we have now had 16 different Club Champions. And perhaps we can include a brief interview with some of these champions. With that, let’s now take some time to look back at how all of our club members did during the 2022 season.
Our 2022 Club Champion is Rad Dad, who finished with 394 Points and 2 Weeks at #1. The Rhapsody Ralph trophy is already on order and will soon be delivered to his doorstep. We will try to share a picture of Rad Dad holding his well-earned trophy once it arrives. Just how did Rad Dad become the 16th player in club history to win the Club Points Championship? Rad Dad started out the season a little bit rocky as he debuted in 9th Place and then dropped into 13th Place in Week 3. But in Week 4, he won the MVP Award with 33 Points and jumped into 4th Place. From there, it was no looking back as he mostly stayed in the Top Five for the rest of the season. And during the stretch run, when big weeks count the most, he delivered three consecutive weeks of outstanding picks. In Week 16, he scored 32 Points. In Week 17, he scored 31 Points. And in Week 18, he scored 27 Points. That means that over the final three weeks, he scored 90 total Points for an average of 30 Points per week. That was just too much offensive firepower for the other top players to overcome. In addition to winning the Club Championship, Rad Dad also won the Super Bowl Head to Head Championship. So we can definitely say that this was Rad Dad’s big year. Rad Dad also led the league in Games of the Week with 26 picked correct. And he tied for Most Sunday Night / 6 Point Games with 13 picked correct. Congratulations to Rad Dad on his hugely successful season! Our 2022 Club Champion Runner-Up is My Wife Loves Jimmy G, who finished with 386 Points, which was only 8 Points behind the champion. My Wife Loves Jimmy G was playing his first full season in the club and in view of his great success was named the Rookie of the Year Award winner. My Wife Loves Jimmy G was so close to winning the club title that if a single Game of the Week had gone his way during Week 18, he would have been the champion. With the three final Games of the Week, Rad Dad got all three of them correct, while My Wife Loves Jimmy G got all three of them wrong. And that was the difference because each one of those Games of the Week would have been a 10 Point swing in the Points standings. My Wife Loves Jimmy G started off the season in rough fashion as he debuted in 15th Place. But by Week 5, he had climbed up into the Top Five. And by Week 10, he reached 2nd Place, which is a spot that he held for many weeks before ultimately finishing in that position. My Wife Loves Jimmy G had some huge weeks throughout the season, winning 1 MVP Award and 3 MVP Award Runner-Ups. On the humorous side, he got embroiled in the football game sign controversy, when Viking Blood made a special sign for her husband The Sad Salmon and held it up at the football game (more about that later under Viking Blood’s recap). In the Super Bowl Tournament, My Wife Loves Jimmy G def. Viking Blood 11-6 in the Wild Card Round to get revenge. He later made it all the way to the Final Four before being knocked out by eventual champ Rad Dad. As a side note, had he made it to the Super Bowl final and played the ultimate grudge match against The Sad Salmon, they would have tied 22-22. Perhaps this could be a new rivalry for years to come. Our 3rd Place finisher is my dad Roadrunner, who finished with 385 Points, which was only 9 Points out of 1st Place. Roadrunner returned to the club for the first time since the 2011 season and quickly established himself as a genuine contender and threat to win the title. He claimed the September Player of the Month Award by finishing out that month in the Top Five after his eleven year absence from making picks. In Week 12, he took over 1st Place in the club and stayed there for five consecutive weeks. At one point, he even built up a 12 Point lead over the rest of the club, which proved to be the largest margin of the season that any top player had. Roadrunner’s successful return and huge impact on the standings brought him the Comeback Player of the Year Award. But Roadrunner’s biggest success was leading rookie team Tuna Generations along with his son Fearless Tuna and his grandson Young Tuna to the Pro Bowl Team Championship. Nobody thought Tuna Generations would advance very far in the Pro Bowl Tournament, yet they defeated three very good teams (Tough Puffins, The Hulkamaniacs, and Daddy & His Boys) to win the team title. That was an unforgettable run through the tournament and moment for their family team to always remember. Double-Double finished in 4th Place with 383 Points after posting the Highest Score of the Year in Week 18 with 36 Points. With the club title seemingly out of reach over the final few weeks, Double-Double focused all of his energy on finishing ahead of his main rival Stinkerbell in the Points Standings. And it all came down to the final game of the season for those two. Double-Double had picked the Lions, while Stinkerbell had picked the Packers. Whoever got that game correct was going to finish ahead of the other. When Detroit won the game 20-16, Double-Double pulled ahead and finished 10 Points ahead of Stinkerbell in the standings. This marks the fifth consecutive year that Double-Double has finished ahead of her in the standings, but it has almost always been extremely close. In 2021, Double-Double finished 7 Points ahead. In 2020, he finished 1 Point ahead. And in 2018, he finished 5 Points ahead. With another successful Top Five finish, Double-Double is now just one season away from tying an important Hall of Fame record. The record for the Iron Man Streak for Top 5 Finishes currently stands at 6 Years straight. And now, Double-Double has finished in the Top Five for 5 years straight. So he will have a lot on the line next season. On Club Chat, Double-Double wrapped things up by stating: “Nice job Rad Dad. Thanks to all for a fun season including Stinkerbell.” Rounding out the Top Five, we have The Sad Salmon, who finished with 379 Points just 15 Points away from winning the title. The Sad Salmon had a massively successful season. For the second season in a row, he finished with the most MVP Awards. In 2021, he led the league with 3 MVP Awards for the season. He returned this year and matched that with another 3 MVP Awards to lead the league in that category. He also tied for the league lead of Most Double Stakes (8 correct) and Most Sunday Night / 6 Point Games (13 correct). In addition, he won the December Player of the Month Award, logged 1 Week at #1, made the Super Bowl final and became the Runner-Up in that tournament for the second straight year, and was named the co-winner (along with Viking Blood) of the freespirit Sportsmanship Award. Now that’s what I call an outstanding season, all done in the midst of moving across country from Rohnert Park to Miami. But perhaps The Sad Salmon’s best moment of the season came as his Dolphins defeated my Jets in order to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Well done, Sad Salmon, and congratulations to you and your Dolphins.
And now let’s move on to those who finished in the Top Ten. Finishing in 6th Place is Stinkerbell, who only missed out on the Top Five by 6 Points. Her highlights included logging 1 Week at #1 and tying for the league lead of Most Double Stakes with 8 picked correct. In 7th Place is 2021 Club Champion Drummer Boy. Drummer Boy had an absolutely dominant first half of the season, logging 6 weeks at #1. Many club members assumed he was on his way to winning a second straight club title. But the week after I challenged him to win an MVP Award, his previously unstoppable momentum slowed down a notch. He did eventually get over the hump and win a share of the Week 17 Award, which helped him to finish strong. At his season ending press conference, Drummer Boy stated: “After winning last year, I appreciate the difficulty to win even more. Congrats to Rad Dad.” Drummer Boy’s good sportsmanship is commendable. Drummer Boy was also was part of the Pro Bowl Runner-Up team Daddy & His Boys. In 8th Place is Hoosier Daddy, who had an overall strong and successful season. In Weeks 10 & 11, Hoosier Daddy took over 1st Place in the standings and logged 2 Weeks at #1. For the 3rd time in the last four seasons, Hoosier Daddy’s team Daddy & His Boys made it to the Pro Bowl final before ultimately losing the final match. They are definitely due for another title soon and will no doubt come back stronger than ever next year. Hoosier Daddy also made the Final Four of the Super Bowl Tournament. In 9th Place is 2020 Club Champion Mr. T, who picked up 1 MVP Award in Week 5 and reached a Peak Position of #3. Mr. T ended up spending over 1/3 of the season in the Top Five, which is standard practice for him to always be a strong contender. Rounding out the Top Ten, we have 10th Place finisher Bob Swerski. Bob Swerski claimed 1 MVP Award in Week 16 and reached a Peak Position of #4. He also tied for the league lead in Most Double Stakes with 8 picked correct. Bob Swerski has been the model of consistency, as he has finished in the Top Ten during four of the past five seasons.
Let’s continue on with a look at those who finished in the Top Fifteen. Finishing in 11th Place is club legend The Rickster. The Rickster barely missed out on finishing in the Top Ten by a mere 3 Points. The Rickster won back to back MVP Awards in Weeks 7 and 8, which propelled him into 1st Place for one week. That success brought him the October Player of the Month Award. He also led the league with Most Triple Crowns, picking 6 correct (which is 1/3 of all Triple Crowns for the season). In 12th Place we have MJD Hogg, who had yet another solid season. MJD Hogg won 2 MVP Awards and was part of the Pro Bowl Runner-Up team Daddy & His Boys. Finishing in 13th Place is Nighthawk, who kept on making good picks despite being busy taking care of Baby Hazel and taking her to the snow for the first time. Nighthawk finished with a Peak Position of #8 and was the only player in the club to never take a risk and pick Triple Jeopardy at least once. In 14th Place is Captain Insano, who claimed 1 MVP Award Runner-Up and also had a much better Triple Jeopardy record than last season. He is always one of our best all around players. And in 15th Place is Captain Jack Sparrow, who released the Kraken as he won the MVP Award in Week 9 and then finished the season with the MVP Award Runner-Up in Week 18. There is nothing like a strong finish to set up next season to be even more successful.
And finally, let’s take a look at those who finished in the bottom group of the standings. Finishing in the bottom is nothing to feel bad about, because the competition in the club is so strong and most all of us have a season where we struggle to make good picks. In 16th Place we have Shaylene, who like Roadrunner, returned to the club for the first time since 2011. Shaylene had a very good season, reaching a Peak Position of #3 and winning 1 MVP Award. In 17th Place is Viking Blood, who was named the co-winner (along with The Sad Salmon) of the freespirit Sportsmanship Award. Viking Blood reached a Peak Position of #4 in the standings and also designed the legendary sign that she brought to the football game to show her support for her husband The Sad Salmon. The sign read: “My Husband Is Hotter Than Jimmy Garoppolo!” The sign ruffled some feathers (playfully) with My Wife Loves Jimmy G, who responded by saying that it was “all good. My wife might love Jimmy G, but she knows he’ll always be my backup.” Finishing in 18th Place is Fearless Tuna. Despite my low finish in the standings, I consider my season to be very successful in view of being part of Tuna Generations, the Pro Bowl Team Champions. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Just 4 Points behind his dad was Young Tuna, who finished in 19th Place. Young Tuna had a really impressive rookie season. For starters, he led the league in Triple Jeopardy, picking 11 out of 13 (or 85%) correct. He also won 1 MVP Award and 2 MVP Award Runner-Ups. And finally, he was named the November Player of the Month Award winner. As Drummer Boy said very accurately: “Young Tuna rocked the Triple Jeopardy category.” Like his dad and grandpa, Young Tuna was part of Tuna Generations, the Pro Bowl Team Champions. In 20th Place is Slick Chick, who started with a disadvantage as she didn’t rejoin the club until Week 2. Slick Chick did pick up 1 MVP Award Runner-Up and she helped keep Club Chat fun and interesting all season along. She is always a delight to have in the club. In 21st Place, we have New York City Sewer Rat. Although he finished at the bottom, he did win 1 MVP Award during the season, which is something that seven other club members failed to do. And that covers everyone. Thanks for playing this season, everyone. It’s been a fun season! And it was a nice tribute to my mom freespirit, who loved being involved with the club more than just about anything else.