Welcome to the official site for The Football Club. The Football Club is a yearly gathering place for long-time friends who all meet up and make picks for every week of the NFL football season. The purpose of our club is to share in a friendly competition of making picks with a focus on good sportsmanship. While we have winners and losers for all three of our Major competitions – Club Points, Super Bowl Head to Head, and Pro Bowl Team, winning is not the most important thing. The club helps us to make each and every football game played meaningful as we strive to gain Points and improve on our scores from previous years. Every year is a reunion of sorts, and without the club many of us would lose contact with each other. If you are interested in joining The Football Club, please visit our Official Rules page so you can learn more about how the club operates. Keep in mind that signing up for the club is basically signing a contract to turn in football picks on time, once per week for 17 weeks. This is not much to ask, as if necessary you could turn in your weekly picks in about 5 minutes time if needed. Also, we do not allow members of the public to participate, only friends and family members of current club members.
THE FOOTBALL CLUB CONTENTS
Main Page – The club’s home page contains Tuna’s ongoing regularly updated blog covering all things related to The Football Club. Tuna shares his thoughts on results from the Points Standings, Head to Head play, and Pro Bowl team play. He also posts his own picks before kickoff for all club members to take note of.
Club Central – This important section contains the Official Rules of The Football Club, which helps to explain how the club works and some of the basic guidelines for play. There is a list of current club members which contains some of the highlights of their careers if they are veteran players. And this is where we keep our list of Veteran Inductees who are added to The Hall of Fame each year.
Weekly Play – One of the most important sections of the club, this contains the Current Standings, where club members can see how well they are doing both in picking games and statistically. Special mention is made of MVP Award winners and the prestigious Top Five. Weekly Picks Sheets, which form the basis for the entire club and competition, can also be viewed here and are usually posted shortly after the conclusion of a previous week.
H2H & Team Play – Here is where you will find all of the updated information for some of our favorite competitions, the Head to Head Weekly and Pro Bowl Team Weekly play. Later in the season, you can also find all the information about our annual Super Bowl Tournament and Pro Bowl Tournament.
The Hall of Fame – Believe it or not, The Football Club has been in existence for over 1/3 of the time that Super Bowls have been played. During all those years, many champions have been crowned and many records have been set and broken. Visit this section to meet those champions and look back on all the amazing accomplishments we have seen. The Hall of Fame features Club Champions, Super Bowl Head to Head Champions, Pro Bowl Team Champions, and All-Time Statistical Records.
HISTORY OF THE CLUB
Tuna created The Football Club in 1990 during his sophomore year attending Armijo High School in Fairfield, California. At that time around twenty people played, including schoolmates and family members. The first edition of The Football Club included such code names as $lick Dick Tracy, Homie the Clown, Hard Drivin’ 5.0, Marty McFly, Doc Emmett L. Brown, Miami Pound Machine, and The Jamaican. The format that was created then remains to this day, with such categories as the Triple Crown and the Double Stakes. After completing high school, Tuna moved to Novato and the club was discontinued for the time being. After a tennis match with J-Bird, he suggested that Tuna should start up that football contest that he used to do. Around that time it was just a couple of weeks before the 1997 football season, so Tuna decided to restart the club.
The first year of the modern club in 1997 saw the club grow from an initial 12 members to over 20. The Super Bowl Tournament was created during this first season, with players going head to head against an opponent. Whoever had the higher score would advance further into the tournament, and the loser would be knocked out. The next season during 1998 saw the creation of a new prestigious category – the MVP Award. Every week the club member who had the highest score was given the MVP Award and recognition for the achievement at the top of the next week’s pick sheet. And the club continued its expansion, as it grew to around 30 members. Another new aspect to the club that was also introduced during 1998 was the Pro Bowl Tournament. Teams of three players would combine their scores every week and battle against other teams to see who was better. During these first two seasons, picks were routinely delivered around Novato by Tuna, who would print out the updated information and drop the sheets off weekly. There are great memories of Tuna dropping the picks sheets off to Hoosier Daddy and others, who were anxiously awaiting the results and new info. The statistical records for the first two seasons have been lost forever, although we still do know who won those seasons.
At the start of 1999, the third year of the modern club, there were some additional changes. Up until this season, commentary was included on the Current Standings sheet. Based on a club members performance the previous week, commentary was given, examples of which included “solid performance”, “climbing the charts”, “holding on strong”, and “continues to impress”. In all, there was a list of over 100 different comments that were given out. This commentary was switched to a list of Year Honors, and later Statistics were added which had an ongoing total of how many Games of the Week, Double Stakes, Triple Crowns, and Monday Night Football games had been picked correctly. And one of the coolest aspects of the club started also, with each club member receiving a logo or picture that reflected who they were. Beginning with the 2000 football season all picks were posted only to the official web page, with very few hard copies (paper printouts) being passed out. The 2000 season is most notable because it had the highest recorded number of club members, with 49 participating that year.
In 2001 and 2002 the club had shortened seasons of playing. For 2001 we only played for the first three weeks of the season. Tuna had taken on a new theocratic assignment at that time, and needed to focus extra time and energy on that. So the club was called off for the year, which was disappointing to many. In 2002, Tuna was on a two month trip overseas, visiting the U.K., Ireland, Greece, and Russia, during September and October. (This was when he spent one month in Russia and first met his future wife Mrs. Tuna). When he returned home, he restarted the club for the final seven weeks of the season. After the regular season was over, all club members started from zero and participated in a Playoff Picks contest for only the second time ever. The Playoff Picks incorporated picking all the playoff game winners, the winners with spreads, the over/unders, and statistical challenge questions.
That brings us to 2003 and 2004, both full season editions of the club. The 2003 season provided a new Hall of Fame category, which was the Rookie of the Year Award. With so many new people playing each season, it provided for an interesting way to reward our outstanding newcomers at the end of each year. There were several interesting developments in the 2004 club – including the addition of Rush Ruhnengbach as a Head to Head and Pro Bowl commentator, and holding the Year End Football Club party and trophy presentations. While sometimes controversial, Rush’s Previews proved to be very enjoyable to read, and he also successfully built up interest in the Head to Head and Pro Bowl matches each week. These matches were also increased in value, as each victory throughout the season brought club members a 1/2 Bonus Point starting in 2004. And the first annual trophy presentations were a major success, as over 20 club members gathered to receive awards, trophies, and share their thoughts on the 2004 season. A major development in 2004 was the addition of the Clubhouse Forum. This forum was a place where club members could post their thoughts on the week and leave messages for other club members. The forum was also used to post all club member picks for the week, so you can see how other people are doing in comparison to you, without having to wait for the release of the updated standings. Finally, the 2004 picks sheet had a small change, as the Over/Under was included for each Monday night game.
One amazing new development specifically for the 2005 club was the redesigned picks sheet, which allowed club members to easily fill out and submit their picks online. Fearless Tuna had to learn some complex HTML programming to do this, but it was worth the effort, as the new sheet was an amazing success. As time went by, several of the developments from this time period were discontinued, such as Rush’s commentary, trophy presentations, the discussion forum, and online submission forms for picks. At the close of the 2005 season, the Hall of Fame began welcoming three Veteran Inductees each season. This was a chance to honor and remember great players from the past who had now retired. In 2006 and 2007, the club continued to be refined and improved. 2007 brought the elimination of any 1/2 Bonus Points for winning matches in Head to Head Weekly and Pro Bowl Weekly. It was determined that the victory alone is enough, as more wins result in a higher seeding in the tournaments down the line. Also, the Points competition worked better if it was pure, without any outside Bonus Points deciding the ultimate winner. Also in 2007, the club Main Page was finally redesigned, with a more sophisticated and modern display created. The new Main Page made the club a lot more user-friendly and also allowed us to display the picture of five different club members each week – the person in First Place (along with a list of the current Top Five), the person who won the MVP Award & MVP Award Runner-Up, the person who had the best result in Head to Head Weekly, and the team who had the best result in Pro Bowl Weekly.
The 2008 season of the club featured one of the most unexpected and startling changes to date – the addition of a weekly podcast. Whereas in previous years the Main Page Column was written out (a time-consuming project of up to 1 hour per week), the new Main Page Column was delivered by podcast. In another time-saving measure, the posting of Club Member picks was eliminated. These small changes allowed the club to continue despite major changes in Tuna’s life (specifically… getting married to Mrs. Tuna). The podcasts were discontinued during the 2009 season, which focused on encouraging friendly sportsmanship among members. In line with this, the Sportsmanship Award and Comeback Player of the Year Award were introduced with great success. The Hall of Fame was also redesigned and split into two different sections, allowing for easy review of past champions and statistical leaders over the years. For the 2010 season, the Official Rules page was completely updated and revised, something which was long overdue. At this point, one of the things lacking in the club was communication between different club members, since the forum had long ago been disbanded. That changed when a Shoutbox was included in the 2010 edition. The Shoutbox was further refined for the 2011 edition of the club. It was enlarged to allow club members to leave longer messages to each other. Club members used the Shoutbox to cheer for their favorite teams and congratulate each other on good picks.
As the 2012 season rolled around, it was realized by Tuna that the club needed to have a fresh look to it and another upgrade. It had been five long years that the club had kept the same format, and thus he went ahead and redesigned the club from scratch. The purpose of the redesign was to actually further simplify the club in an effort to save time. Now that the club is using a WordPress format, there will be no need to publish HTML pages and then transfer the files by way of FTP every week. All the updating is done right on the site and the changes are instant. Truly, the future continues to be bright for The Football Club. From 2013 through 2017, the club went on hiatus. Managing the club while at the same time juggling family responsibilities and spiritual responsibilities proved to be too challenging, so Tuna wisely shut down the club for five straight seasons. This disappointed many club members. However, in 2018, Tuna announced that The Football Club would return for a special Legacy Edition season of competition. After five seasons off, many club members were anxious for the season to start so that we could all enjoy renewed friendly competition.