Saturday, March 11, 2017

APBA: 1972 WEEK 1

     1972 Week One is in the books. And what a week it was! It opened with an unlikely and dramatic victory by the St. Louis Cardinals over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts, continued with an absolute barn-burner in Detroit and finished with a Monday night thriller in Minnesota. It was a week full of blow-outs, narrow escapes, heroes and goats.
     So, without further ado, I give you APBA Football 1972 Week 1:


Tuesday, March 7, 2017


     One game left to go in 1972 Week 1, and I've just about got this game figured out (APBA Football, that is). As you know from previous posts, my last hurdle was passing yardage, which up to this point has been way too low.

      At first, the problem was that, by calling the pass (Short, Medium or Long) and then selecting the receiver, backs were the intended receivers for too many Medium Passes and wide receivers too many Short Passes. So I started calling the pass after selecting the receiver: if the receiver was a back, it was a Short Pass; a WR, a Medium or Long. Close, but still not right.
     Now, in game 13, I think I've hit on the right solution.
     Here's how the passing game works:
1) The player calls for a pass.
2) Roll to determine the play result. That's right, the play result comes first.
3) After seeing the result, determine the depth of the pass -- short, medium, long.
4) Roll to determine the receiver from the pool based on the pass depth.
5) Roll to determine the Offensive Index and the defensive play call.
6) Implement the result.

     Sounds like cheating, doesn't it? Well, it's not really. I consider it throwing to the open man. My WRs are running downfield routes, my backs shorter patterns. I throw to who's open.
     For example, I call a pass and then roll a 15. A 15 is incomplete on Medium range and Long passes, but has several completion results as a Short pass. So the play is a Short Pass. Basically, the downfield receivers were covered, but the QB found a back open in the flat.
     Now, I determine the receiver from my pool of eligible Short Pass recipients; i.e. my backs and tight ends. I roll the dice and select the receiver based on my percentage list (which I prepared before the game).
     Next, I roll for my Offensive Index and the Defensive play call (also a homebrew) and then find the result on the play chart. Simple really.
     There are some special rules, however. On third downs, if the Short Pass chart does not include a first down result, then the Short Pass play cannot be called.
     Let's say you rolled up a 15 result. It's third-and-10. You consult the Short Pass chart and find the longest gain possible is 7 yards. You must then call a Medium or Long Pass. This will, hopefully, prevent unrealistically high completion percentages.
     Another rule is that any Medium Pass completion for less than 10 yards represents a checkdown from the wide receiver to one of the backs or tight end. Roll again -- on the Short Pass pool this time. (1972 wide receivers did not run 5 yard routes!)

     If you recall from an earlier post, I randomly determine my ball carriers on a percentage basis. Well, I do the same thing here with a little difference. I break all my eligible receivers down by pass depth.
     Short Passes can only be thrown to backs and tight ends.
     Medium Passes: wide receivers and tight ends -- and backs with a "B" rating or higher.
     Long Passes: WRs only.
     Here's a sample of one of my lineup sheets (of all the backs, only V. Washington is eligible to catch Medium Passes):

     My passing pools are at the bottom of the sheet. I determine the pass depth, and then roll 2d10, reading the result as a percentage. If the roll is from 0-27, the Short pass is to Vic Washington, for example. The percentages are based on the percentage of catches each player within a pool had that year. In 1972, Washington caught 27% of all balls caught by 49ers' backs and TEs.
     In my first game using this system, the results were pretty good. John Hadl of the San Diego Chargers threw for 207 yards, and John Brodie of the 49ers threw for 198. Granted, I rolled extremely well for them all day long. But the yards-per-completion were just where I thought they should be -- and a big improvement over what I had been experiencing. Completion percentage was a little high, though: Hadl was 15-24 and Brodie 15-18. But Brodie was a 63% passer that year and has an extraordinarily good card for Short Passes. But I will continue to tweak the system as I continue on with it.

     I've made my own game sheets, too. Here's what one looks like:

     It includes all the stats I care to keep. I don't bother with any kicking or punting stats and the only defensive stats are Sacks and Interceptions. I've included a spot for keeping track of Time Outs and Time of Possession (T.O.P.). I only only allow 1 "Rare Play" (RP) per half, so I have included check-off boxes for those also.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Essence of Essex

    I've completed another game since the Rams-Saints. This was the Bengals-Patriots. I don't want to put too much importance on what happened in this game because the Patriots are so horrible, but the passing seemed much better. Ken Anderson went 13-17 for 125 yards, which is just about right. In reality, he went 10-15 for 115. So the yards per catch is still a little low, but I was throwing more Short Passes because I valued completions more than yards and Anderson's card pretty much dictates shorter passes. There were a couple times where I could have thrown Medium and done much better. But there were also times when, had I gone Medium, I wouldn't have completed the pass at all. So half-dozen of one, 6 of the other.

     On the other hand, Plunkett was awful: 5-12 for 40 yards. In reality, Plunkett went 9-17 for 117, but a lot of that was a 35-yarder to Garrett. Chances are good that was a garbage-time screen pass or something, since the Patriots lost 31-7. Oh, in my game, they lost 35-3. Again, though, I was throwing short, primarily to backs, and it was a chore just gaining a yard at all for the pathetic Patriots.
     Interestingly, the Patriots got their field goal at the end of a drive in which I threw 4 doubles in a row -- 11, 44, 33, and 44 -- which accounted for 56 yards rushing on 4 carries. This game is a lot about die-rolling. If I had called a Medium Pass or two during that stretch, Plunkett's stats would be a whole lot different.

Johnson gaining more than 0 vs the Rams.
      Anyway, one thing I discovered is that not all cards are created equal. I think the Essex Johnson card is misprinted, for example. Look, Johnson was a 4-yds-per-carry back in 1972, but his card doesn't bear that out at all.

     I've circled the 25s. In APBA, 25 is no gain across the board. 0 yards. His first 7 carries of this game: 4, 0, 0, 0, -2, 4, 1. It happens, even to 4-yds-per-carry guys. But the last time I used Johnson (I actually played this game once before), the result was pretty much the same. No way in heck this guy's going to run for a 4-yd average at that rate. So now, when a 25 comes up, I roll a die. Even = use 19 instead. Odd = use the 25 as printed. This bore fruit, three times in the game. 3 of Johnson's last 6 carries of the game would have been for 0 yards. But using this rule, two were changed to 5 and 6 yards. Using the card as-is, you'd have to roll doubles about 1/3 of the time to get a good rushing day out of him.
     We'll see how it works out over time. But (7)25s out of 36 seems a little excessive.