Tweaks to Existing Innovations & Introducing a New One

For several years now, Mark Zarb and I have corroborated numerous innovations and ideas with regard to APBA Football. Mark is the “brains”, he comes up with the conceptual ideas and transforms them into procedures or innovations. I apply those ideas/innovations to my replays to determine the effectiveness. Now, that Mark is playing full-time, we have double the data points to determine if it “works or not”.

The primary reason I replayed the 1969 AFL season was to be able to compare the statistics of the two replays. The following is the four objectives that I evaluated:

Objective 1. Assess adjustment to Fletch67 defensive ratings and Key against the Run.

Objective 2. Assess change to Double Coverage (Keying) formula for both Neutral and Situational downs.

Objective 3. Assess if change to “Situational Down and Distance” chart affected opponent’s ability to convert third down.

Objective 4. Assess frequency and playability of new “Pass Rush Impact” innovation.

Test Report 



Innovation – “Special Teams”

Special Team Return Charts

Since I will be introducing a new innovation by Mr. Dan Flynn on Friday, I wanted to take the time to post Mr. Mark Zarb’s “Special Teams” innovation. Mark has rated each team’s ability to cover both kick-off and punt returns. These ratings can either be A, B+, B, B- or C. Let’s say Team A is rated “B” on kickoff coverage and “B-“on punt coverage. A separate chart breaking down kickoff and punt returns into each of the aforementioned indices is included above (a sample of part of the kickoff return chart is below). In the Team A example, whenever they are covering a kick-off you would look up the result off of the returner’s card under column “B” on punt returns you would look up the result off of the returner’s card under column “B-“.

Special Team Example






Innovation Friday – “Timing Method”

I want to revisit a tremendous innovation created by Mr. Mark Zarb. Without question, the most important statistic in a football game is “Total Plays”. Why, because if these are off, guess what? All of your other statistics will be “off”, it has the ultimate trickle-down effect.

What is the purpose of an innovation? To improve or rectify an existing shortfall and enhance accuracy. Using the “out of box” rules for timing is a very “cookie-cutter” approach. I say this because it doesn’t account for all the different eras of football or the individual styles of each team. Let’s just look at the statistics from the 2016 NFL season, The New Orleans Saints ran the most plays from scrimmage with 69.06 compared to the Detroit Lions who had the least with 61.31. If interested in comparing NFL seasons from 2009 to present,

Let me provide you with a quick history lesson. Mark and I have corroborated for years on a variety of APBA Football-related issues. Mark is the creator and I’m the tester for all of his incredible card sets and innovations. Never was an innovation or idea “created in a vacuum”. Each of his ideas have been thoroughly tested to determine the “cause and effect” the innovation has on the game engine.

Mark’s “Timing Method” was based off of several of “our” replays that range from the 1960s to 2011. Mark compiled our notes and created the below methodology but it did not stop there. Since then, we have tested it another 60-plus games using two different methods. Mark used the combined “total-play averages” of each team and I used the combined total plays of each team in accordance with the actual box score. What we found, is we consistently came within a plus or minus 2 or 3 plays per game. What I love best about his system is it’s easy to understand and implement. Secondly, it offers the flexibility to counter any situation ranging from the “dead ball era” of the 1970s to Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles.

Mark, I want to take a moment to thank you not only for all that you have done for me personally but for all that you have done for the APBA Football community. Without question, all of your innovations over the years as enhanced the Football gaming experience ten-fold.

Oguard62 Adjustment


Mark Zarb’s 1978 NFL Replay

I’m honored that my APBA Football brother and dear friend, Mark Zarb, will be posting  his 1978 NFL replay on my blog. This will be his fifth full-season NFL replay. His previous efforts can be reviewed on the left-hand sidebar under the “Mark Zarb Vault” widget. His posts will consist of the scoring summary and stat-line for each game”.

Mark will be using cards that he created for use with the modern boards. His preparation for a replay is “legendary” and his “post-game” presentation will be upgraded but still provide the same historical information that his readers have become so accustomed to. If you have never followed one of his replays, all I can say is you are really missing out. In my opinion, he is the finest replayer in the world.

During the 1978 season, the league expanded the regular season from a 14-game schedule to 16. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 8 teams to 10 teams by adding another wild card from each conference. The wild card teams played each other, with the winner advancing to the playoff round of eight teams.

The season ended with Super Bowl XIII when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Dallas Cowboys at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

The average salary for a player in 1978 was under $62,600, up 13.2 percent over the previous year. Fran Tarkenton was the highest-paid quarterback at $360,000 and running back O.J. Simpson was the highest paid player, at just under $733,400.

The league passed major rule changes to encourage offensive scoring. In 1977 – the last year of the so-called “Dead Ball Era” – teams scored an average of 17.2 points per game, the lowest total since 1942.

  • To open up the passing game, defenders are permitted to make contact with receivers only to a point of five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. This applies only to the time before the ball is thrown, at which point any contact is pass interference. Previously, contact was allowed anywhere on the field. This is usually referred to as the “Mel Blount Rule”
  • The offensive team may only make one forward pass during a play from scrimmage, but only if the ball does not cross the line and return behind the line prior to the pass.
  • Double touching of a forward pass is legal, but batting a pass towards the opponent’s end zone is illegal. Previously, a second offensive player could not legally catch a deflected pass unless a defensive player had touched it. This is usually referred to as the “Mel Renfro Rule”.
  • The pass blocking rules were extended to permit extended arms and open hands.
  • The penalty for intentional grounding is reduced from a loss of down and 15 yards to a loss of down and 10 yards from the previous spot (or at the spot of the foul if the spot is 10 yards or more behind the line of scrimmage). If the passer commits the foul in his own end zone, the defense scores a safety.
  • Hurdling is no longer a foul.

“QB Sneak” Chart

I want to share this neat “qb-sneak” chart created by Mark Zarb. This chart incorporates fumbles, first down measurements, penalties and lost yardage versus all three defensive alignments. For example, it’s third and one and offense is in A index against G defensive alignment and the play result off the QB’s card is 11. Refer to the chart and you will see (1-4)* indicating a measurement is required. Roll single die and if within 1-4 range it’s a 1-yard gain and a first down. If it was outside the range (5 or 6) there is no gain.

Mark and I incorporated this chart into our audible system. The QB comes to the line and “A” gap is not covered by a defender, the QB has the option to audible to a QB sneak or you can use this chart purely as a “standalone” feature. Either way it offers another alternative to playing this great game without slowing down play.

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.