I will be departing for the APBA Convention so my 1993 NFL Replay and the daily “Legends of the Tabletop” cards will be on hold until my return. For those you who enjoy this great hobby, I highly recommend that you attend one of these events. To quote fellow Hall of Famer, Johnny Cochrane, “The APBA community is like family”.
I would like to take a moment and wish each and everyone of you a wonderful “Thanksgiving”! Enjoy being with friends and family. It’s my annual tradition to break out my APBA Football “Thanksgiving” shirt! Without question, my favorite holiday of the year. Great food, good drinks, three football games and of course, APBA Football on the tabletop.
It seems like yesterday that I was searching EBAY for some APBA Football cards only to come across a listing for a 1968 AFL/NFL APBA card set compatible with the modern football game created by some gentleman named Mark Zarb. Of course, being a life-long New York Jets fan, I couldn’t believe my luck. Upon receiving the card set, I noticed Mark Zarb’s contact information at the bottom of the introduction letter and reached out to him. How would I know that I just found my brother from another mother? We both are life-long, die-hard, suffering New York Jet fans with a passion for the realism of APBA Football.
While Mark was still selling cards, I purchased and eventually replayed the 1967, 1974, and 1981 seasons. When he got out of the business, he took a hiatus from the hobby for a couple of years but not from our friendship. We routinely communicated and eventually I convinced him to come visit me down in Huntsville, Alabama in March, 2014.
That visit was pivotal because it brought him back into the fold as a card maker and a replayer. Since then, he has carded and replayed the following seasons: 1972, 1981 (revised from original) and 1978. In addition, he carded and is currently working on replaying the 2010 campaign. In between numerous Thanksgivings and Iron Bowls, Jet games, innovation discussions, fine-dining, and countless Crown Royal and Tanqueray’s together, he found the time to card me 1985, 1969 and 1998 seasons for my replaying pleasure.
I find it only fitting, that my tenth full-season replay will be the 1968 AFL/NFL season. Just for clarification purposes, this will not be conducted with the original set that I purchased all those years ago. This is a brand new set based off of “lessons learned” from the eleven football seasons that Mark has carded and well over a 1,000 play-tested games which have validated the innovations and methodology that we employ.
As I toil away on my ninth full-season APBA Football replay, I’ve come to a conclusion with regard to how I perceive the upcoming weekly schedule. Completing a football replay is a series of short-term goals such as completing all the scheduled games for each applicable week. My last action item to achieving that goal is to type out the games for the upcoming week in accordance with Pro-Football.com. Of course, I do a mental preview of the schedule to determine the following: Who does my Jets play and where? Key divisional matchups, games with playoff implications and of course, the DUDs. I always thought of these DUD games (between to subpar teams) to be the “dog days of a replay” and would literally dread playing them. But truth be told, I couldn’t have been more wrong. For example, a couple weeks ago I played a game between two “one-win” teams (Lions and Cardinals) and the game came down to the final play and had me on the end of my chair rolling it. After that game, I went down memory lane and it occurred to me that the majority of the time, these are the games that most entertaining.
If you are conducting a replay, no longer view these upcoming matchups as a necessary evil but enjoy how competitive these games usually are. If you are not conducting a replay, grab a couple of “losing teams” from a set and roll a game, I promise that you will really enjoy it.
I’m contemplating replaying the 1993 season after my next project (1968 AFL/NFL) is completed. I’ve had this set for several years now and wanted to break it out for a test run. So I created locators for each team, determined “Yards per Catch” and “Fumble Frequency Number ratings” for each team. The cards played as well as I remember them but there are a few factors that cause me hesitation. I miss having access to all the players’ cards who “touched the ball”, the kicker’s cards don’t have the additional dice rolls (37 thru 42) and the “P” column for kickoffs wasn’t invented yet, and players weren’t coded for fumble recoveries yet. Of course, I could use Howard’s Ahlskog chart for on-side kicks to mitigate that deficiency and implement other workarounds. The preparation phase of a replay is so tedious and time-consuming that I must be 100 percent certain prior to embarking on this project. So I will be welcoming feedback on this matter.
With that said, let me take you back to East Rutherford, New Jersey for opening day of the 1993 campaign. The Denver Broncos came to town to take on the retooled New York Jets. This was the first season of free agency, although the Jets struck out on Reggie White, they did land Boomer Esiason, Ronnie Lott and Leonard Marshall. I remember wiping a tear from my eye watching Dennis Byrd walk out on the field during the pre-game ceremony.