1981 Week 3 Summary


I’m still in catch up mode here. I started this replay at about the same time as Greg started his 2019 replay. I’m currently finishing up week 4. This week 3 update has me almost caught up. I’ll never catch Greg though.

Week 3 Highlights

Dave Preston scored 4 touchdowns in Denver’s (2-1) win over Baltimore (1-2). Preston scored on a pair of 3 yard runs as well as on passes of 27 and 29 yards.

In a battle of 2-0 teams Cincinnati handled Cleveland with ease. Ken Anderson completed 19 of 25 passes with 2 TD passes. Kenny also scored on a 5 yard run. Pete Johnson ran for 105 yards for the still undefeated Bengals.

Billy Sims had 199 total yards as Detroit (0-2) won their first game of the season by a score of 27-24 over the Minnesota Vikings (1-1). Sims carried 25 times for 176 yards and one touchdown. He also caught a 23 yard TD pass from Gary Danielson.

Washington (2-0) won their third straight by beating the Cardinals (0-2). Washington held St. Louis to under 200 total yards in the 20-0 shutout victory. Mike Nelms returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown. Art Monk had 7 receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown for Washington.

Game of the week

The Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) hosted the San Diego Chargers (1-1) in what turned out to be the best game of the week. The Chargers once again started quickly in this game (much like their OT loss to the Browns in week 1). Dan Fouts found Kellen Winslow for TD passes of 57 and 22 yards in the first half as the Chargers opened up a 17-3 lead. The Chiefs then clawed their way back into things with four Nick Lowery field goals. The Chargers still led 17-15 late in the 4th quarter when Rolf Benirschke missed a 49 yard field goal with 1:51 remaining. Bill Kenney converted a 4th and 15 pass to Carlos Carson for 28 yards from their own 34 yard line to keep the Chiefs hopes alive. Kansas City then marched down to the San Diego 2 yard line where Kenney found J.T. Smith open in the end zone for the score with only 24 seconds remaining, giving the Chiefs a hard fought 22-17 victory.

1981 Replay Week 2


Week 2 Highlights

A lot scoring this week. Miami (1-0) posted the most points as they put up 48 on the Steelers (0-1). Tommy Vigorito started the scoring with a 46 yard punt return TD less than 2 minutes into the game. David Woodley threw for two scores and rushed for a another as the Dolphins won easily 48-20.

The Colts (0-1) had the upset of the week as they stunned Buffalo (0-1) by a 29-24 score. Greg Landry subbed in for an injured Bert Jones and tossed TD passes to Roger Carr and Randy McMillan in the second half to complete the comeback after Baltimore trailed 17-6 at the half.

Ozzie Newsome caught 7 Brian Sipe passes for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Browns (1-0) won their second straight game 30-14 over the Oilers (0-1).

Ronnie Lott and Dwight Hicks returned interceptions for scores as the 49er’s (1-0) trounced the Bears (1-0) by a score of 41-3.

Game of the week

The Bengals (1-0) bested the Jets (1-0) by a score of 15-13. New York took a 13-6 lead into the 4th quarter. The only touchdown of the game to that point was scored by Darrol Ray on an interception that he caught in the end zone after Ken Anderson’s pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage. Cincinnati got a Jim Breech field goal midway through the 4th quarter to close the gap to 13-9. On the ensuing drive Wes Walker coughed up the ball after a 19 yard catch and run. The Bengals recovered the fumble at the Jets 35 yard line. From there the Bengals went 35 yards in 5 plays capped by a 1 yard Pete Johnson touchdown with 4:15 remaining. Cincinnati then forced a Jets punt and ran out the clock for the victory.

1981 Replay Week 1 Summary


Week 1 Replay Highlights

Jimmie Giles scored 4 touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s victory over Minnesota on opening night. Giles scored on passes of 20, 26 and 44 yards. He also recovered a fumble and scored from 13 yards out.

Tony Collins ran for 179 yards on only 11 carries as New England dominated Baltimore. The Patriots had 617 yards of offense against the Colts.

Dwaine Board recorded 4 sacks and Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark for a 51 yard tiebreaking TD with less than 5 minutes to go as the 49er’s edged out Detroit 24 to 17.

Game of the week

San Diego at Cleveland on Monday night was the easily the best game of the 1st week. San Diego scored touchdowns on their first 3 possessions to quickly open a 21-0 lead. But Brian Sipe, who threw for 374 yards on the day, then led the Browns to 28 unanswered points to give the Browns the lead midway through the 4th quarter. Dan Fouts hit Charlie Joiner for a 4 yard TD with only 28 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. The Chargers won the toss in overtime but were forced to punt on their first possession. Sipe then marched the Browns downfield 68 yards in 5 plays to setup a 20 yard Dave Jacobs field goal to win the game.

Dan’s 1981 NFL Replay

I chose 1981 to replay mainly due to it being one of the few memorable years for this long suffering Bengals fan. I was lucky enough to have season tickets to the Bengals games in 1981. It was the beginning of “The Jungle” and although the were not really high hopes at the beginning of the year the season ended up being quite a memorable here in Cincinnati.

My method of play is as follows.

I plan to replay the entire 1981 NFL season. I’m using an Excel spreadsheet on my own creation to do all board lookups. I also have the spreadsheet refined enough to do all the stat keeping for me.

Mark Zarb’s most recent floating index will be used as well as the Fletch 67 system.

I’ll call offensive plays for both teams.

My spreadsheet is programmed to call the defensive formation based on what formation the offense has chosen. The defense is fairly vanilla but my playcalling is not geared to outthink the defense. The defenses will blitz very infrequently.

My keying is a modified version of Oguard’s. Better defenses will have a higher percentage of keyed plays. I expect the keying percentage to run between 10 and 20 percent over the course of the replay.

I am also using a modified version of the team Sack, Interception and Special Team ratings that Maz created.

Defenses have been rated on their ability to force fumbles. This is similar to the FFN innovation on the site. I chose to not rate teams for the ability to recover fumbles. I’m allowing the recoveries to be random. I’m not convinced that recovering fumbles is anything more than a random thing anyway. Forcing fumbles does seem to be a skill that some defense do have from year to year.

I’m using my own Yards per Catch ratings which Greg posted here a few months ago.

These are the major method of play options that I will use. I hope to describe a few more of my minor innovations as we move along.

This replay will move at a much slower pace than Greg’s. Although I already have almost three weeks completed at this point. I will post summaries of the first three weeks soon.

So you want to conduct an APBA Football replay?

A few years back I wrote an article on the “5 Keys to Starting and Finishing a Replay.” In this article, I discussed having the experience to conduct a full season replay, tips for selecting the right season to replay, task breakdown hints, discussed variety options, and the importance of backing up your project. These are all important points, however, having completed several full-season projects since this article, I realized I missed the two most important keys which are “passion for the game” and “frequency of play.”

The real secret to starting and finishing a replay is quite simple, you have to “love playing the game”. Your passion for the hobby is what allows you to conduct a replay and deal with life’s responsibilities. Is it difficult juggling a 40 to 60-hour work week, family responsibilities, etc? You bet it is but not impossible if you “love playing the game”. I’m living proof, I worked those 60-hour workweeks and dealt with life-threatening health issues but still banged out games at a blistering pace. I lived on 4 to 5 hours sleep, was up at 5 a.m. each morning during the work week to roll a half, never watched TV unless it was a football game, and finished rolling/reporting the game later that evening. Why did I repeat this “24-hour cycle” for well over the last decade? It’s quite simple, I not only love the mechanics of playing the game, but thoroughly enjoy all aspects of preparing for and conducting a replay.

So many times, I see were a well-intentioned replay was started only to peter out after a few months or slow down to only a game or two per week. The fact of the matter is, the longer a project takes the odds of reaching completion diminish tremendously. Conducting a modern-day replay consists of 256 regular season games and eleven post-season games. Trust me, this is a grind but doable if you play a minimum of five games per week. If the replayer averages 5-games per week the regular season will be completed in 51.2 weeks or 12.8 or 13 months. Not to sound like “Debbie-downer” but don’t forget to factor in the “prep” work, which generally takes me anywhere between three to five months.

So if you are thinking about undertaking a replay, please, honestly answer the following question: “Do I love playing APBA Football enough to dedicate the time required?” If the answer is “I don’t know or not really”, don’t waste your time even considering a replay. There are so many other ways to enjoy this game while playing solitaire. Play a replay of your favorite team or player, conduct a mini-tournament, or just grab two teams and hit the gridiron tabletop. The beauty is you can make it as simple or complicated as you want to. You don’t even have to record player statistics just play to see who wins the game. For the “Mark Zarbs” of the world, who answered “YES”, your focus needs to be on frequency of play. A dollar to a donut, if someone asked my APBA Football brother and best friend, Mark Zarb, what impact have I had on his game? I bet his answer would be he plays games at a more accelerated pace compared to his earlier full-season replays.

Denny Hodge’s “Score & Store” Score Sheet

For those of you who routinely visit “APBA Between the Lines” you are quite familiar with Mr. Denny Hodge, a.k.a. Zinnastone and his first-class replays.  I’m a big fan of his work and greatly appreciate his contributions to the game of APBA football.  His latest innovation, Football Score and Store, is nothing short of brilliant.  Denny has transformed Jeff Harts’s detailed score sheet into an interactive document that not only allows the gamer the ability to record and save individual game statistics, but automatically updates standings, team and league statistics.  In addition, he transformed the score sheet into an “automated locator” system which identifies the ball carrier, intended receiver and defensive alignment in accordance with Fletch67.

I know how time consuming it is preparing for a replay, but, I can’t imagine the level of effort it took to create this.  His willingness to share this tremendous innovation with the rest of the APBA Football community is incredibly generous.

For all questions/recommendations regarding this innovation, contact Denny at zinnastone@yahoo.com.

A Running Back First

Never before have I witnessed a running back carry the ball 21 times and finish the game with negative yardage until today.  Rashard Mendenhall was facing the Ravens defense (44/44) and ran in “C” throughout the game.  To make matters worse, he did hit a “2” for a breakaway run but it only resulted in a 3-yard touchdown.  A breakdown of his carries are as follows:

6, 0, -5, 2, 2, 6, -12, -3, 1, 0, 3, -1, -5, 0, 0, 2, 5, 0, 0, 1, -10 = -8

2011 Mid-Season Report Card

I’ve reached the midway point (128 of a 256 game season) of my 2011 NFL replay. I’ve attached both American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC) statistics and “Evaluation” workbooks for review.  My evaluation criteria is stringent but in line with my “Pursuit of the Perfect Replay”.  I’m an independent party with twenty-five years experience in the “Test and Evaluation” field. This evaluation is based purely on “objective” findings. The criterion is the same one used to evaluate all card sets associated with my previous replays.  In addition, I’ve listed both positive and negative “subjective” observations noted during the course of the replay.  

Plan.  I’ve used a five-tier (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor) rating system to individually evaluate team wins and 50 offensive and defensive categories. I’ve compared the replay’s league average against the actual league average per category, assigned a weighted score (i.e., Excellent is worth 5 points, Very Good is 4 points, etc.), summed and averaged to determine the overall rating. For example, if the league average for first downs was 36.3 per game and the replay averaged 34.2 resulting in a difference (+/-) of 2.1.  When compared against the criteria, this category would be rated as “Fair” and assigned 2 points.

The most important replay statistic, “Ball Control Plays” or “Plays from Scrimmage” was not evaluated. Rushing attempts, passing attempts and sacks combined determine the total amount of “Ball Control Plays” or “Plays from Scrimmage”.  Since two out of three of those are controlled by the gamer, it would be unfair to evaluate this statistic. 

Execute.  Each game was replayed in accordance with my “Method of Play” presentation.  All quarterbacks were strictly limited to a 60-40 short/screen pass to medium/long pass ratio.  Dual threat running backs carded with 15-16-17-19 were strictly limited to a 50/50 inside to outside run ratio. Running backs carded with 3-5-7-9 were limited to only outside runs.  Running backs carded with 4-6-8-10 were limited to only inside runs.

 I’ve used two innovations on offense (Floating Index and Yards per Catch) and defense (Fletch67/Situational Down & Distance Chart and Sack/Interception rating) throughout the replay. On game 70 of the replay, I implemented Howard Ahlskog’s, Fumble Frequency Number (FFN) innovation, to mitigate an excessive number of fumbles. 

Report.  The overall grade of the set is determined by adding the numerical value (i.e., excellent is 5 points, very good is 4 points, good is 3 points, etc) associated with each category being evaluated and determining the mean average. The grading scale used to determine the overall rating is:

  • Excellent = 4.0 – 5.0
  • Very Good = 3.5 – 3.9
  • Good = 3.0 – 3.4
  • Fair = 2.5 – 2.9
  • Poor = 2.4 or less.

The AFC had 51 categories evaluated for a sum of 169 resulting in a mean average of 3.3 to earn a “Good” rating. A total of four teams matched their week 9 record.  It requires an “excellent” rating in both the offensive and defensive category to receive an overall “excellent” rating. The AFC earned “Excellent” ratings in the following categories:  Average per punt return; Total TDs; TDs on Returns and Extra Points.

The NFC had 51 categories evaluated for a sum of 171 resulting in a mean average of 3.4 to earn a “Good” rating.  A total of four teams matched their week 9 record.  The NFC earned “Excellent” ratings in the following three categories: Fumbles; Total TDs and TDs on Returns.

I’m extremely impressed with the performance of kickers’ cards.   This set has received the highest grade ever with regard to percentage of successful field goal attempts.

I’ve observed the following statistical inaccuracies:

Fumbles:  Players that never fumbled during the course of the year received a fumble number(s).  This is especially prevalent with kickers and punters cards.

Interception Returns:  Players carded with return yardage when they didn’t have any in real-life.  For example, game 95 between the Jets and Chargers, Jim Leonhard had a 44-yard interception return for a TD but only had one interception for zero return yards during the season.

Missed Extra Points:  John Kasay was 63 for 63 in extra points during the season; however, he currently is 39 out of 41 during the replay.  

Subjective Observations.

Pro:  The “card” format is a major upgrade over the perforated sheets for a multitude of reasons.  The convenience of no longer having to dedicate hours separating the individual cards and eliminates the risk of tearing a card(s).  The cards are delivered with the starting offensive and defensive lineups already prepositioned. The cardstock is heavier which greatly increases the durability of the card set. The appearance of the front and back of the cards is not only impressive but the print (RPN numbers) has not faded with use. The cost of the set and extra players might be prohibitive for the casual player; however, for a person like myself who intends to replay every game it’s quite reasonable (i.e., 39 cents per game).  

Con:  It’s obvious that teams post season performance was taken into consideration when crafting offensive/defensive ratings. For example, the Super Bowl Champion, NY Giants, finished the season with a 9-7 record and had the 27th ranked defense; however, their split defensive rating is 41/40.  The Giants defense gave up an average of 376.4 yards per game; however, during this replay they only allow 279.6 yards per game.      

Conclusion:  Is the quality of this set good enough for me to face the grind of 128 more regular season games? You bet it is! This set is a “Good”, quality set that has already brought me countless hours of entertainment. For further proof, just check out the box score of my last game (game 128) played: Actual Score – Green Bay 45, San Diego 38; APBA Score – Green Bay 44, San Diego 37.  

2011 AFC Stats     AFC Mid-Season Card Set Evaluation

2011 NFC Stats    NFC Mid-Season Card Set Evaluation