2018 APBA Convention – Football Tournament!!!

by Ray Dunlap

I know I speak for all of the authors on this site in saying that I really do hope EVERYONE makes it to Alpharetta for the June Convention.  It is hard to put into words how remarkable the experience is of spending time with people who share our hobby and our passion!

I also wanted to let everyone who is planning on coming know about our Football Tournament.  We have tried, over the past few years, to do a tournament and we have had marginal success.  And the problem is really two-fold.

First, the games just take way too much time, especially when you have a coach who is unfamiliar with the Master game rules.  In fact, we had one game last year that lasted over six hours!  and, frankly, that is unacceptable.

The other frustration is that, because of the length of these games, we have had to really limit the participation in the tournament.  We had four people two years ago and eight coaches last year.

We hope to get 16 this year, and we are making a couple of pretty significant changes to try and accommodate that goal.  First, we will NOT be playing the Master Game.  I know that many of you truly LOVE the Master Game for it’s coaching nuances and the great flexibility  and array of coaching strategies it allows.  And, I get it!  But, there are two reasons that the baseball tournament uses the Basic Game only – speed and simplicity!  And, we need to embrace the same concept with Football.

Honestly, if you are not accustomed to playing the Master Game, you will be at such a disadvantage in a head-to-head matchup with someone who is, and, frankly, that is not the spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish.  The Basic Game is simple, but still gives each coach plenty of opportunity to use strategy to out-maneuver their opponent.

I know that I have already lost Greg Wells in this narrative – he is a Football Master Game purist, and I respect that . . . . but, John Herson has charged me with the goal of getting more coaches involved in football and that’s why we’re going to use the Basic Game this year at the Convention.

The other significant change that you will see is that we will shorten the games by 50%.  You will start each game at the beginning of the third quarter with the score tied 10-10.  This should shave about an hour off the playing time and allow us to easily finish the four rounds necessary to get this tournament completed.

The “Super Bowl” will, however, be a full game and, if both coaches wish to, they can use the Master Game at that point.  But all of the elimination games prior to the Championship game will use the Basic Game format and they will be two quarters in length.

Now, you can pick any team you like so long as the player cards are compatible with the current game boards.  So, for instance, if you wished to use the 1976 Steelers, you would have to use the new, reprinted version, not the cards that have been collecting dust in your basement for forty years!

So, if you’re interested, let me know (ray@raydunlap.com)!  And make sure you tell me which team you are going to coach,  So far we have one taker – not surprisingly – Greg “OGuard62” Barath will be there and he’ll be coaching the powerhouse 1993 Dallas Cowboys!

I really hope to see EVERYONE in Atlanta this June!!

Conference Championship Games Set!!

After five months of playing this single-elimination 2016 APBA Football Tournament, we’re down to four teams.  In the NFC, it will be the Green Bay Packers going to Atlanta to take on the Falcons . . . and, in the AFC, the Chiefs will travel to Foxboro to challenge the New England Patriots.

As always, in my format that relies on individual match-ups, injured players can really make a difference.  So, here is the list of players who will NOT be available to play for their respective teams in the Conference Championship Round, and there are some notable names here (underlined and in bold print), including an All-Pro Linebacker for Atlanta (Beasley):

Green Bay:  Eddie Lacy, Jared Cook, JC Tretter, Datone Jones, Joe Thomas, Quinten Rollins, Julius Peppers

Atlanta:  Taylor Gabriel, Adrian Clayborn, Courtney Upshaw, Tyson Jackson, Brooks Reed, Jalen Collins, Vic Beasley

Kansas City:  Chris Jones, Ramik Wilson, Justin Houston, Daniel Sorensen, Tamba Hali

New England:  Dion Lewis, Chris Long, Malcolm Brown, Kyle Van Noy, Shea McClellin, Jabaal Sheard

New England 27 – Pittsburgh 13

Pittsburgh – New England Recap Sheet

Brady?  Who needs Brady?!!?

In the second consecutive game without their All-World quarterback, the New England Patriots rallied behind Jimmy Garoppolo to pound the Pittsburgh Steelers and advance to the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs!

Garoppolo was terrific, completing 20 passes for 314 yards and a touchdown.  But, it was the Patriots’ defense that really rose to the occasion, holding the Steelers to only 249 yards of offense in their 27-13 victory.

Kick Return and Penalty Inquiries . . .

Q –  Kickoff is caught 4 yards deep in the end-zone and is returned 28 yards to the 24. However, there is a flag on the play. It is a 10-yard penalty on the return.

The rules say to mark it off 15 yards ahead of where it was caught, so that would be the 11 yard line. “Half the distance to the goal” would put it at the 5 yard line.

How many Kick Return yards does the returner get credit for and why?

A – The returner gets credited for return yardage up to the point of the infraction.  So, in this case it would be a 15 yard return because the penalty occurred at the 11 yard line.  Then, the ball would be put in play at the 5½ yard line (I would use the six yard line in APBA – I always give the marginal benefit to the team with their back to the goal line).


Q – If it’s not a penalty, why does the Ref throw a flag on a kick out of bounds? 

It is a penalty . . . . it is just not a “distance” penalty, so no yardage is actually calculated for penalty purposes.  But the kicking team is assessed one penalty for no yards.

Green Bay 31 – Dallas 28

Green Bay – Dallas Recap Sheet

A tough week for the Cowboys.  First, they lose a game against the Bucs in my season replay . . . and, then, they drop this elimination game in my tournament against Green Bay!  The Packers beat the Cowboys on a game-ending 33 yard field goal by Mason Crosby to advance to the NFC Championship Game and a date with the Atlanta Falcons.

Green Bay quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, and Dallas quarterback, Dak Prescott, were both terrific, combining for 49 completions, 782 yards and six touchdowns!  But four fumbles by Ezekiel Elliott (losing three of them) and a crucial 24 yard pass interference penalty against the Cowboys in the games final seconds proved too costly as the Packers move on!

Sacks in the end zone…

Q – Ray, if a quarterback is sacked in his own end zone is the yardage lost from the line of scrimmage to the goal line OR from where he is brought down? For example, QB sacked for 9 yard loss from his own 1 yard line: 1 yard sack OR 9yard sack?

A – If a player is tackled in the end zone, on any play from scrimmage, he is only credited with a loss that would take him to the goal line.  So, in the example above, it would be scored as a one-yard sack.