Managing “QB Rushing Attempts”

So you are thinking about replaying the Chicago Bears 1972 season and have concerns that Bobby Douglass won’t reach his total amount of rushing attempts (141). Will additional called runs be required? If so, how many are required? This video answers those questions with a simple math-based, two-step process that are applicable to both either mobile or non-mobile quarterbacks.   

QB Rush Deficit Calculator

2-Minute Offense – Manual Timing

There have been a number of innovations I’ve seen recently that try to take account of the radically different timing that occurs in 2-minute offense situations.

Each to their own I say, and whatever you feel comfortable with is right for you. For me personally, I’ve used manual timing inside the 2-minute warning for some time now. In my opinion, it’s the only realistic way you can replicate hurry-up timing, or go to slow-down when a team wants to milk the clock. Manual timing involves going away from APBA’s half-play system and requires you to record the timing completely separately. For those that record play-by-play (as I do), it’s not a problem to incorporate the play clock as well.

Here is my latest version of the timing rules I use. I use manual timing inside the last 2:30 of any half or OT period. I’ve benchmarked them against more than 50 actual NFL gamebooks and they are remarkably accurate.

The timing rules require use of a Timing Chart, that lets you know how much game clock is used depending on the length of the play or return.

I’ve also developed a chart for use when the FG unit needs to hurry on at the end of the half with the clock ticking down. Is there enough time left to get the kick away?

As always, comments welcomed.

2-minute timing

Timing Adjustment Chart

When using the Master Game Addition, each quarter consists of 30 full plays.  Certain plays are recorded as half-plays (i.e., incompletions, touchdowns, field goals, safeties, plays that go out of bounds, whenever the ball changes team possession and penalties).  Each half play accounts for a 15- second interval, a quarter consists of 60 half plays.  Let’s use the following example, The NY Jets kick off to the NE Patriots and the ball is returned to the NE 20-yard line to begin the game (half play or 14:45). Tom Brady’s first down pass is incomplete (half play or 14:30).  L. Blount is stuffed for no gain on second down but remained in bounds (full play or 14:00). Darrelle Revis intercepts Tom Brady’s third-down pass 25-yards downfield and returns it 45-yards for a touchdown (half play or 13:45).  I would record this play on the reverse side of my scoresheet as: NYJ – Revis 45 interception return (Folk kick), 13:45.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an alternative timing methodology to enhance the realism of the game? Wait no more; Mark Zarb has created a simple but effective solution that only requires three dice (traditional red and white die and another colored die) and the Timing Adjustment Chart. After a scoring play, roll all three dice and read the red/white in first column and the other colored die across the top.  If the other colored die roll is a 6, a re-roll is required.

Timing Adjustment Example

Using the above example, I would add 8 from the original time of 13:45 resulting in the new time of 13:53. I would now record the scoring play as: NYJ – Revis 45 interception return (Folk kick), 13:53.

Note:  If you time a game were the final play of the game is annotated as the 15:00 mark, you would subtract.  If you time a game were the final play of the game is annotated as 0:00 you would add.

“Squib Kick”

There is a 1/14 chance of rolling a TL penalty when kicking off using the APBA Football Master game. With that said, there is a 1/12 chance of rolling an Unsportsmanlike Conduct – Offense- 15 from line penalty resulting in the ball being moved to midfield.  It might tempt the opposing coach to attempt an on-sides kick but the odds are not in your favor. So the coach usually just kicks off and the result the majority of the time will be a touchback. Does this penalty really have a negative impact on the receiving team? The only impact on the game is a timing issue (i.e., half-play recorded).

During a recent conversation with Mark Zarb this very subject came up. We both agreed the correct course of action would be to squib kick the ball, however, the current game engine doesn’t offer this feature. So I asked Mark if he would create one to go along with his many other innovations. After reviewing kicking distances and potential receiving “targets”, I feel this is a quality product that accurately depicts this type of kick. I would like to share this innovation with the rest of the gaming community.

So your protecting a lead at the end of the game or you don’t want to kick to Devon Hester, it’s simple, just squib kick it. A special thanks to Mr. Mark Zarb for all his great contributions to the game of APBA Football!!

Squib Kick

C. Robert’s “Interactive Football Scoreboard”

While on one of my daily visits to APBA – Between the Lines forum, I ran across one of the coolest things I have ever seen for APBA Football an “Interactive Football Scoreboard”.  One of the primary purposes of this blog is to offer various methods and techniques for playing this game.  With that in mind, I immediately reached out to Curt and we exchanged a few emails. He was kind enough to grant me permission to share this incredible innovation with the rest of the APBA Football community.

Curt’s scoreboard provides scoring, a game clock (30 plays per quarter), ball marker yard line, automated dice roll, play-calling system, reverse/flip field button, and ball repositioning button.

Basic User Guide:
– Enter team nickname (i.e. “Bears”…first letter must be capitalized) correctly and team logo will display on screen
– Touch/click on score to increment the score or click on ‘+3’, ‘+7’, ‘-1’ buttons to adjust score
– Click on football (center of screen) to register yardage for the last play
– Game clock will automatically run (30 secs each play) and automatically adjust to each quarter as the game evolves
– Click on yard-marker (bottom-left) to reposition ball anywhere on the field (green arrows at center of screen also adjust ball yard marker)
– Click on flip-field button (bottom-right) to change ends (i.e. set the ball on the opposite end of field)
– Click on dice to trigger a new roll
– Play-Calling System will automatically recalculate based on changes made on the scoreboard
– “To Go” yardage can be adjusted by clicking on ‘+’ and ‘-‘ symbols under yards “To Go”

Doug Reese’s “Play Calling” System

Mr. Doug Reese was nice enough to give me permission to post his latest “APBA Football Play Calling” innovation.  His system is well thought out, provides that “Face-to-Face” feel for solitaire players and prevents gaming the system.  It’s easy to implement, offers flexibility (i.e., either the system or coach calls the plays) without drastically increasing the time to complete a game.  In addition, he addresses alternatives for “Timing & Scoring” and an “Audible” system.  Great job Doug!

For any questions regarding his creation, Doug’s email address is

Reese Playcalling Tutorial                      Reese Play Calling System (Version 3)


Ray Dunlap’s “Match-Up’ System

Well over this past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Ray Dunlap. It was a thrill for me because I remember reading his articles in the APBA Journal as a young Security Forces member stationed in Germany 25 years ago. I could remember sitting at my kitchen table for two night’s handwriting index cards so I could implement his “Match-Up” system. I used the system for years and still adhere to his running back “quota” system. It’s a mystery to me why this guy is not in the APBA Hall of Fame, he wrote for the Journal for years, commissioner of a successful league for over 20-years, innovator and avid APBA Football guy. I reviewed his system and it’s obvious that he has made improvements to the original design. I will be sprinkling it into my replays on a limited basis (roughly 20% of the time). The good news for everyone is you know longer have to spend a couple of evenings writing out index cards. All you have to do is email Ray at and he will send you the PDF of the cards with detailed instructions. Highly recommend!

“Read Option” Solution

It still remains to be seen if NFL defensive coordinators have solved the “Read Option” dilemma, however, thanks to Phil Molloy, APBA Football players now have a solution.  I asked Phil to create a system for solitaire play that was triggered off the “Inside Run”, worked in conjunction with “Fletch67” and only required one additional dice roll.  After a little back and forth, it was decided the system must provide a “quota” that accurately reflects real-time usage of the “Read Option” and the flexibility to work even if the Game Company gives more scramble numbers to reflect the additional runs from the option.   

So before we can simulate Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris executing the “Read Option” from our tabletop, we must establish the quota.  Using the “Read Option” tab, you must enter data into the following cells:

  • M2 – Total runs by QB per game (actual stats)
  • M3 – Scrambles by QB per game (actual stats or assumptions)
  • M4 – Designed bootleg runs by QB per game (actual stats or assumptions)
  • M6 – Pass attempts per game by QB (actual stats, not counting sacks or scrambles)
  • M7 – Total sacks sustained by QB per game (actual stats)
  • M8 – Total scramble numbers (26/27) from QB’s card

Using RG III as an example:

  • M2 – RG III averaged 8 runs per game
  • M3 – In accordance with an article from the USA Today, 70 of RG III’s 120 total runs were designed runs resulting in 50 QB scrambles (3 per game).
  • M4 –  I will leave this at “1” since APBA considers this a “Trick Play”
  • M6 – Pass attempts divided games played (393/15=26.2). Enter 26.
  • M7 – Times sacked divided by games played (30/15=2)
  • M8 – If APBA gives RG III five scramble numbers his quota would be “5”.  Four scramble numbers would be a quota of “7”.  Three scramble numbers would be a quota of “9”

Hypothetically, let’s say APBA gives RG III 5 scramble numbers (quota of 5) and he is facing a defensive unit with a run rating of 37.   Using the “dice chart” tab, the gamer would find column 5 from the quota per game (top row) and 37 from the run defense total (left-side) and locate the intersection to determine the dice roll (56-66).  Armed with this knowledge let’s go through the sequence of the “Read-Option” using the above RG III/Alfred Morris example.  In your mind’s eye, picture RG III calling an inside run for Alfred Morris, breaking the huddle and lining up in the “Pistol” formation.  If Fletch67 determines the defense is in “G’ alignment, RG III hands the ball off to Alfred Morris and the play result is determined by his card. If the defensive alignment is either “S” or “D”, roll the dice and if the result is 11-55 the defender maintains outside containment resulting in an inside run by Alfred Morris.  If the dice roll was 56-66, the defender crashed down the line of scrimmage resulting in RG III tucking the ball and running outside.   

I used this system during last night’s game between the 2011 Denver Broncos and New York Jets.  Tim Tebow’s card is unique (4-6-8-15-17-19) to replicate his style of rushing inside from the shotgun formation; however, he did have success running outside with the “Read Option”.  Tim averaged 8.7 carries per game in real-life, during last night’s replay he rushed 7 times (1 scramble, 2 called inside runs and 4 “Read Option” outside runs).    

I want to sincerely thank Mr. Phil Molloy for his time and efforts; I believe this is his greatest innovation to date and will enhance the gaming experience while maintaining realism.

Read Option Solution