Issuu on Google+

1


Contents: Pg:3 Real Bowl X venue details and ticket design Pg:5 2014 Playoffs Reviewed Pg:20 Washington Redskins Player Profile Pg:23 Real Bowl X Team Rosters Pg:24 Houston Texans Player Profile Pg:28 GM Interview - Ace Pg:33 GM Interview - Greg Pg:37 Real Bowl – The First 10 Years Pg:43 2014 RDFL Owner of the Year Poll Result Author Credits: (Dthompson / Greg / Ace / ukpatfan )

2


Admit One: The Hottest Ticket in Town

3


Venue: The New Orleans Superdome

Home of the New Orleans Saints

4


2014 Post Season Review. The 2014 playoff race would see the same AFC playoff teams as 2013, with the exception of Pittsburgh in place of Baltimore. The NFC playoff teams also had familiar look with the exception of Green Bay replacing Minnesota and Philadelphia replacing San Francisco. Pittsburgh made the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Philadelphia hit the post season for the first time since 2008. Whilst for Green Bay, this would be their first ever playoff appearance. Here we examine each of the playoff games, round by round, as we follow to road to Real Bowl X.

5


Wildcard Round: AFC: Wildcards

Buffalo travelled to San Diego in a repeat of their 2013 wildcard game and once again there was heartache for the Bolts. The Bills absolutely dominated San Diego with more than twice as many offensive yards and in excess of 42mins time of possession. They ended up running the ball a clock draining 48 times. The 28-17 final score only remained respectable thanks to the Bills lacking a killer instinct in the redzone. They managed only 1 TD and scored 21 points off the boot of kicker and game MVP, Bill Lofton. Lofton set a new playoff game record and tied the All-Time single game record (equalling another Bills kicker – Sebastian Janikowski) with his 7 FG’s. With the win Buffalo booked a road trip into Houston.

6


AFC: Wildcards.

The Indianapolis at Pittsburgh game proved much more competitive as the Colts rallied from a 10-0 deficit to squeeze past the home team 17-10. In a statistically even game, the difference was in the QB performance. Big Ben Roethlisberger put in a game winning performance as he threw for 262 yards and crucially no turnovers, deservedly winning the game ball with a 104 QB rating. The Steelers quarterback, J.P Losman, had the opposite type of game only managing a lowly 58.9 rating off the back of slightly more than a 50% completion rate and 2 Ints. After going up 17-10 early in the 3rd qtr, the second half degenerated into a punting contest as the Colts pass D stifled Losman’s best efforts to get his team back on level terms. The Steelers huffed and puffed but Indianpolis held firm to book a divisional game in Miami.

7


NFC: Wildcard Games

Two old divisional rivals went head to head for the third time this season as Dallas headed into Washington. The Cowboys had thumped the Redskins 37-15 in the regular season finale in Dallas to split the regular season games one each. Dallas may have felt confident going into the wildcard showdown, but the Skins have only lost once at home to the Cowboys in the ten years since the RDFL was born. This road trip was to be all too familiar to Dallas as they managed a one and out for the third year running in the playoffs. Two 2nd qtr turnovers really hurt the Cowboys as Washington capitalized bursting out to a 21-3 halftime lead. Skins QB Philip Rivers just doesn’t lose games from such a position and the 34-13 final score was a fair reflection on Washington’s dominance over their bitter rivals. Their victory would see them rewarded with a tough road trip across the country against the 15-1 Seattle Seahawks. 8


NFC: Wildcard Games.

The final wildcard game would see the two new NFC playoff teams matching up in a refreshing battle as Philadelphia travelled to chilly Green Bay. The final score of 24-7 was a comfortable win for the Packers in a one sided game. Green Bay outplayed the Eagles making 24 first downs to the Eagles 9, moving the ball for 378yds to the Eagles 136, and holding onto the ball for 37 minutes. Both teams turned the ball over a couple of times but crucially all the interceptions were at halfway or in Eagles territory. Philly QB Frankie Markovich had a game to forget posting just a 31.7 rating after a sub 50% completion ratio, 3 Ints, losing a fumble and being sacked 6 times. The Packers advanced to a divisional game in Atlanta.

9


Divisional Round: AFC: Divisional Games

Buffalo headed into Houston and despite their triumph over San Diego, they must have know they were in for a difficult game. Houston had won the tough AC South division and had cruised into the playoffs on the back of a four game winning streak which included victories over three other playoff teams. The Texans also had enjoyed a ‘week off’ and of course would be playing at home, and are a seasoned playoff team following their three road victories on the way to a Conference final in 2013. Unsurprisingly, they were firm favorites to clinch another win. What may have surprised many fans and commentators alike was the 51-17 drubbing the Texans proceeded to hand out to the Bills. The stats were pretty even and Houston actually turned the ball over twice (twice more than the Bills), so the final score was somewhat deceptive….but as we all know, the score is the only stat that really matters. Both QB’s played well. Buffalo’s Jason Campbell threw for over 300yds with no Ints and a 90 rating, but Houston’s ex10


Seattle field general Justin Vance showed his playoff experience overcoming a pick to hit 5 TD’s, 314yds and a 133 rating. Vance is used to the big games and if his foot holds up, there is no reason why he shouldn’t grab a third ring to add to his two Seahawk triumphs. The Texans advanced to another Conference Final, and with home field advantage guaranteed, Houston looked the team to beat in the AFC.

11


AFC: Divisional Games.

The other AFC divisional game saw Miami host Indianapolis in a mouth-watering match up for the right to face Houston in the Conference Final. Both these teams had recently appeared in the Real Bowl Championship game and both were seen as bone fide Championship candidates again this year. However, something had to give. With a 31-3 lead deep into the third qtr, Miami looked to have things under control and were good value following a dominant 3 quarters of football. Indy managed a late rally scoring 16pts to make the Dolphins sweat, but Roethlisberger couldn’t quite mastermind the comeback and Miami deservedly prevailed 34-23 to make it to their second Conference Final in four years. QB Carson Palmer won the game ball following his 114 QB rating but a solid running game and very effective defense contributed greatly to the Fins victory. Miami lost to Houston in the 2013 playoffs and their reward for beating Indianapolis was another match up against the Texans.

12


NFC: Divisional Games

Green Bay hit the road heading south to Atlanta in the first NFC divisional game. Atlanta had the psychological advantage having battered Green Bay 41-17 at Lambeau Field in week 7. This game was to prove to be a much more even contest and the topsy-turvy OT battle would be the most exciting game in the playoffs so far. The Falcons took an early lead but then the two teams alternated scores over the remainder of the game in a ding-dong battle which culminated in Clay Holliman kicking a 48yd winning FG for the Packers after both teams had had two possessions in OT. What a game and surely it will go down in Packers history as one of their most legendary performances ever. The teams were pretty even statistically during regulation time but in OT the Packers D really stepped up and smothered the Falcons usually efficient offense. 2014 was the first time the Packers had ever made it to the playoffs and this unlikely road win against an imposing Falcons’ team must rank as one of the shocks of the 2014 playoffs. Green Bay advanced to their first Conference Final and it was party time in Wisconsin. 13


NFC: Divisional Games.

The second NFC divisional game saw Washington travel to Real Bowl favorites Seattle in another eagerly anticipated game. These two teams have been in the playoffs more regularly than any other franchise in league history and it would be a treat to witness two such successful outfits going head to head in a winner takes it all contest. These two teams had also met in the regular season and like Green Bay, Washington had been humiliated at home, losing 48-38 in week 4. The smart money was on the 15-1 Seattle Seahawks, but in a reminder that this game can never be taken for granted, Washington ensured that we would see two underdogs make it to the Conference Final. Their 34-31 victory was another edge of the seat game and completed a fantastic weekend of football for the neutral fans. After rushing out to an early 14pt lead, Seattle scratched and bit their way back into the game as a 49yd Howie Carvin interception return kick started the team and caused the game to really heat up. 14


Skins QB Philip Rivers kept his team rolling despite taking some punishment from that perpetual playoff powerhouse Bennie Banks (1 sack, 3 hurries and 5 knockdowns). Rivers did just enough to win the 84th game ball of his illustrious career, guiding his team to a narrow 3pt victory despite a late scare as Seattle refused to lie down. The last of the four teams to make the Conference Finals was decided and who would have thought neither Atlanta nor Seattle would be appearing in the NFC title game!

15


Conference Finals: AFC: Conference Game

For the second season in a row, Miami and Houston went head to head in a playoff game and for the second season in a row, the Texans prevailed. For most of the first half, the Dolphins were on course to lay the ghost of last year’s defeat to rest. Carson Palmer and Matt Jones were on form and two long TD passes had seen Miami jump out to a 16-10 lead as half time loomed. 16


Unfortunately for the Dolphins, they then proceeded to shoot themselves in the foot for the remainder of the game as they coughed up the ball on four fumbles and an interception to hand Houston the initiative. The final stats were pretty much even-steven except for the 5 to 2 turnover ratio. Houston grabbed 10pts off takeaways and the cushion enabled them to drain the clock and kill the game 29-16. Houston had trouble all day with the Miami deep threat and the Dolphins were also able to run big on occasion against the Texans D. However, it was the turnovers that proved too much to overcome and gave Houston the breathing room they needed to go after Palmer. Six Texan players registered a sack on Palmer who also had 5 throws blocked, another picked and 8 hurries as he was forced to throw during the second half. In the end Miami were left to rue their missed opportunity and Houston must know they dodged a bullet in this one as they advanced to their first ever Championship game.

17


NFC: Conference Game

The two big NFC favorites had both been knocked out in the divisional round as Washington travelled to the icy wastes of frozen Green Bay to decide who would represent the NFC in Real Bowl X. Although Washington had the better playoff pedigree, Green Bay enjoyed home field advantage and were obviously up for the challenge from the get go. It took the Redskins a little while to acclimatise as the Packers scored on their first two possessions to take a 10-3 first quarter lead. Washington soon hit their stride though, banging in 17 unanswered points during the second period as Green Bay knew they had a game on. Philip Rivers was once again flawless and RB Carnell Williams was effective on the ground, as the Redskins offense moved up through the gears. With a 20-10 half time lead, some viewers may have expected the rookie playoff side to falter, however the Packers showed they were made of the right stuff and refused to lie down. 18


The two teams traded blows as an entertaining game entered the 4th qtr. It was only in the last few minutes of the 4th that Washington finally managed to shake off a resilient Packers outfit with another Rivers TD toss. The final score of 38-24 perhaps did not give Green Bay enough credit for running Washington hard, but come the final whistle Washingtons experience had tipped the scales and they would progress to their third Real Bowl in five seasons.

There we have it‌. An exciting blend of new and established playoff contenders had provided a roller coaster ride during the post season. Close and competitive games, mixed with a sprinkling of shock results, have entertained us but finally we saw the two conference champions decided. Now all that remains is for these two elite teams to battle it out for the ultimate accolade. Real Bowl X should be a good one folks, enjoy the game.

19


Washington Redskins Player Profile Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers is a lock future hall of famer. The accomplished 11 year veteran is one of the most easily recognisable players in the league and is a regular on the front covers of magazines, sports or otherwise.

20


This guy plays for a bluechip franchise in the nation’s capital and he performs too. Originally drafted in the 11th round of the allocation draft by the Tennessee Titans, Rivers spent his first season as a pro on the bench learning the playbook. However, by the beginning of his second year, Rivers was deemed ready to unleash and he has started virtually every game since then. His stats were nothing special during his early years but in 2008, he burst into life posting a 100.7 QB rating and threw for over 4000yds as he realised that he did belong in the league and could play with the best of them. Number 5 hasn’t looked back since….. Every season since 2008, Rivers has managed to throw for over 4000yds and he has consistently been amongst the league passing leaders. Rivers’ play hasn’t gone unrecognised either as he has grabbed virtually every individual award possible. A three time All-Pro, a league MVP in 2009 and 2013 and a two time Offensive Player of the Year, Rivers is rightly regarded as one the all time greats. As Philip looks ahead to his 12th year in the league, he stands 5th in the All-Time passing yards list and if he stays healthy he will surely become a member of the exclusive 40,000yds QB club. But, there is one award – one piece of bling - that he hasn’t yet managed to make his own. Rivers yearns to own a Real Bowl winners ring. He’s up there with Leftwich, Brady and Rodgers on the All-time list but they have the ring, he doesn’t……and it rankles. Rivers has made it to the post season four times previously, but on each occasion he has tasted defeat.

21


Now, with a new team, he is as close as he has ever been. He can almost taste it. Washington too have gotton close before, having lost the Championship game twice in their previous two appearances in the Real Bowl. Both the Redskins and Philip Rivers are drawing near to the closure of their window of opportunity. Both know this may be their best chance ever, their last chance ever, to reach the pinnacle of the sport. Rivers is a born leader, highly ambitious and determined to cap a glorious career. He is one more win away from becoming a Redskins legend‌..the only thing between him and eternal glory is the dark blue ranks of Houston. History beckons. Will Rivers be the raging torrent we all know or will the Texans be able to dam the River calm those torrid waters?

22


Team Rosters NFC Champions

AFC Champions

*rookie 5. Philip Rivers 31. Carnell Williams 32. Bennie Pearson 82. John Davis 88. Sharod White 86.Braylon Edwards 55. Mitch Darrow 63. Christian Durran 64. Roman Liakos 69. Lonnie Ingram 68.Terrance Miller 4. Joel Price 15. Toby Battle * 88. Sharod White 86.Braylon Edwards 77.Demarcus Ware 95.G. Sagapolutele 91. Shaun Rogers 73. Barry Dole 93. Andre Schultz 97. Brian Joyner 92. T.J Schwartz * 42. Blake Forland 40. Jesse Emmons 21.Donte Nicholson 27.Dwayne Wooden

QB RB FB TE SE FL OC RG LG RT LT K P Punt Rtn KO Rtn RDE LDE RDT LDT SLB MLB WLB LCB RCB SS FS

QB RB FB TE SE FL OC RG LG RT LT K P Punt Rtn KO Rtn RDE LDE NT SLB SILB WILB WLB LCB RCB SS FS

23

3. Justin Vance 39. Don Hannegraf 34.Howard Brandon 83. Terrance Hiles 85. Edwin Ritschel 87. Keith Sadowski 52.Brandon Nedney 69.Antonio Harper 64. Kris Hastings 63. Rick Tanner 78. Lee Stegeman 6. Neil Rackers 18. Mo Hammond 44. Maurice Lofton 85. Edwin Ritschel 90.DannyArmstrong 73.Kenechi Udezi 96. Henry Verba 55.WarrenOkuyama 91. Lance Peters 59. Barrett Ruud 57. Sherman Lofton 35.Buddy McGregor 41. D.Putrezziello 42. Deion Dansby 29. Joey Buie


Houston Texans Player Profile

LB Lance Peters

Reaching the Championship game is a professional high for any player lucky enough to play in the league’s showcase. To be a member of a Real Bowl roster, a player has to invest blood, sweat, tears and pain to complement his talents. Every guy who runs out of the tunnel on Sunday will have worked tremendously hard and put in long hours to get onto that field for 60 minutes of action. Well, for one member of the Houston Texans, hard work doesn’t even come close to describing what he has had to go through to reach the big one.

24


Lance Peters is a solid hitting pro-typical inside linebacker. The 6’02ft, 237lbs tackling machine has been in the league for 8 years since Houston drafted him in the 6th round of the 2007 Draft. Peters spent a season or two learning the ropes before really coming to notice in 2009 when he amassed over 100 tackles for the first time in his career. Shrewd Texans’ fans came to recognise one of the unsung heroes on the team and a strong leader in the locker room. Peter’s performance dipped slightly in 2010 as he missed five games with a knee injury, but in 2011 he bounced back with a vengeance and took All-Pro honors after recording 121 tackles, 3 sacks and a pick in his career year to date. It looked like Peters would go from strength to strength as this ferocious, young defender became the heart of the Texans D. However, the football gods are cruel and after just three games of the 2012 season, Peters knee would explode during a road game in Pittsburgh and he would spend the rest of the year on crutches. You find the true worth of a man in adversity. This guy is the son of an Air Force Major and he is a leader. Texans’ insiders say Lance grew as a man during that lonely year spent in rehab. Once the op to rebuild his knee was done, Lance hit the weight room and swam 5000 meters daily to regain the strength in his knee, but it was the mental reconstruction that impressed his fellow players and coaches. The 2013 pre-season saw a fit, leaner and hungry inside linebacker ready to go. There was a glint in his eye and fans prepared themselves for a season to remember from the defensive leader. Then….BAM!

25


In the blink of an eye, during the first exhibition game in 2013, Peter’s knee blew again! One of the most memorable television images of that RDFL season was seeing Peters writhing on the turf with agony etched across his face as he realised he would miss a second year of football in a row. What had Peters done to deserve such a cruel blow? Certainly many players might have been expected to give up and accept the knee couldn’t stand up to the rigours of the pro game. But, once again, Peters showed heart and balls as he refused to accept his career was over and dismissed doctors recommendations that he retire. Another long, hard year beckoned in rehab but displaying the bloody minded determination he puts into his tackling, Peters rose to the challenge once more. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of a ruined career, Peters fought himself back to fitness and the Texans rewarded him by franchising the linebacker. On the eve of the 2014 season, Peters was fit once more and it was almost like having another 1st round draft pick as this guy suited up for the first time in anger in two seasons. Peters didn’t disappoint, and 95 tackles later, Lance has shown he can still perform at the highest level. The seasons just gone is only the second time in 8 years as a pro that Lance has started every game. Watch the players closely as they run out of the tunnel on Sunday. Try to look past the razzmatazz, the glitz and the noise. If you look very closely, you will see number 91 trotting out quietly, perhaps with a wry smile on his face and perhaps with a glance up towards the heavens.

26


I guarantee, there will not be another player on that field - from either team - who deserves to be there more than the blue #91.

27


Meet the Chief – Redskins GM Ace Q: This is the third time Washington have made it to the big game. Can you describe how it felt when you knew the Redskins were going to the show for another tilt at the Championship? A: I was stoked we have beaten some very very good teams to get here, firstly Dallas, then Seattle and finally Green Bay. To beat Dallas and then Seattle is in my mind a great achievement as I rate Mike in Dallas very highly as a GM as he seems to give me the hardest games. Nick well is Nick and I hate to play him as he normally kicks my arse but we have beaten them a couple of times in the play offs now. And then Jon who did a fantastic job this year with the Packers and I think will become a fixture in play offs of the future. Funny story about how I found out we had mate it through to the Bowl game I was in the delivery room with my wife as she gave birth with our first child, in between contractions thought I would sneak a quick look at the forums on my phone to check out what was going on and saw the result. She wasn’t very impressed that I was checking it out while she was in so much pain. Need to sit down now before they get homed from hospital and watch the game on solivision and do some game planning for the game. Q: Both the Skins previous trips to the Championship have ended in defeat. How confident are you that this time it will be third time lucky? A: You can never be to confident going into a game like this as someone has to be a loser at the end of the game, this team has felt that feeling twice and I’m hoping that drives them to go one better. In the previous two losses we came up against a very good Kansas team where the result could of gone either way 28


unfortunately we were on the losing end of the 28-27 score line, I put down our second loss to Baltimore to me being out game planned by Dave who game planned a very good win for the Ravens. Q: Which opponent did you feel gave Washington their toughest test this season and why? A: I think with us playing them at least twice a year Dallas is the team that gives me the toughest game, there are no easy games in this league and certainly Seattle and Houston play a very tough game but playing Dallas I never know which side of the score line I’m going to be on. I think the two teams match up well and it becomes a lottery, it felt really good to go 2-1 against Dallas this year after they swept me last season. Q: The AC South continues to be a tough division but many now see the NC East as the hardest division in football. Would you agree? A: Firstly let me just say that I don’t think there are any truly easy divisions here at the RDFL we have a very very good league here with a lot of outstanding GM’s. I agree that are both incredibly tough divisions but I think this season more than any of the others every team in the East was vying to win the division. In the past 2 and sometimes 3 teams have been competitive in the East but I think all of the teams were competitive. In the AFC South they have 3 very good teams and 1 that is rebuilding, interestingly the AFC South and NFC East played this year and the results were 8-8, though one thing to note is that Houston went 4-0 against the East Unfortunately for us one of those losses was the Redskins losing to the Texans so we would love to even the score in the bowl game.

29


Q: The AC South champs, Houston, are a fine team. How difficult an opponent will they be? A: They have beaten some good teams to get to the Bowl game and I have a very healthy respect for how Greg has managed this team and the trades he has made to increase the talent level. We played out a 27-21 loss to Houston in week 2 this season but I feel we have improved a lot since then so it will be interesting to see how we compete this time. Q: Is there one Texans player you fear more than any other and why? A: Although I think the Texans offence is built around a top rushing game I believe second in the league Justin Vance is the guy that will be the most dangerous in this game. He is a proven winner and even with his shark attack injuries he continues to be one of the RDFL’s best QB’s. If we can keep him on the run with our pass rush we will be part way to winning the big game. Q: Which one Redskins player has had the biggest impact in getting Washington to the Championship? A: This is a tough one as there is a core on offensive that are making this team tick, but the improvement in the secondary is probably the thing that has helped this team get back to the big game. Early in the season we were dead last in nearly all passing categories and although this unit will never be top ten with the current personnel they are getting in done and stopping the games from becoming a shoot out.

30


Q:Washington have no high draft picks in the next draft and some of your biggest stars are now seasoned veterans. Do you feel this is the last chance for this team to win it all? A: I’m getting use to not having any high draft picks as it has been a while since we had a 1st rounder and I have never had a high first since I have been the GM of the Redskins. If you look purely at the age yes it may be but funny things happen in the world of FOF and I think depending on retirements we can continue to be up competing for titles for a few seasons to come. Although veterans, the likes of Rivers, Braylon, Sharod and Cadillac are still performing up there with the best in the league. Testament to this is Braylon breaking his own season TD record and Cadillac leading the league in rushing on a team that loves to throw the ball. Q: QB Philip Rivers was traded in from Tennessee two seasons ago and has posted some monster numbers. Do you feel that the Rivers trade is the best deal you have negotiated and just what kind of edge does he give to the team? A: I don’t normally perform a lot of trades in other leagues but for some reason here I have traded a lot. Even before I took over this team the previous GM had made a lot of trades. Rivers has done a fantastic job here although his numbers have been down a little this year he has still played lights out. He gives us a opportunity to win every game we play and has been pretty consistent throughout. For impact of trade Rivers would have to be the best trade but saying that we made it to 2 bowl games with Curiel at the helm. I think the trade Darren and I made was fair to both sides and gave me better value than the Leftwich trade which happened at the same time and has been compared against.

31


Q: Which one player elsewhere in the league would you love to add to your roster and why? Mark Leicester CB New Orleans, I tried my hardest to upgrade my secondary over the off season and made a honest attempt to trade Mark Leicester away from New Orleans but they decline my offer. I certainly understand why as he is one of the elite CB’s in this league. Q: Which other RDFL franchise has most impressed you during the 2013 season and why? Atlanta Falcons, Bear always has a competitive well coached team, truth be told I was surprised the Green Bay got past Atlanta as Bear had them hitting top gear all season. The thing about Bear is he will learn from the play off loss and continue this team moving forward. There aren’t many leagues Bear hasn’t won in so it is just a matter of time until the Falcons are holding up the Real Bowl trophy. Q: 2013 has seen some new blood entering the playoff race. Philly, Green Bay and Pittsburgh are fresh faces in this years post season. Can you give me another team that you think has a great chance of bringing a fresh feel to the 2014 playoff race and explain your choice? A: Detroit is my pick to be a new face in the play offs. They have some good young talent and the coaching of Steel I think this team is going to push Green Bay all the way next year. Lastly looking forward to playing Houston this coming weekend and I hope the game lives up to everyone’s expectations. Thank you for providing an interesting insight Ace, good luck on Sunday.

32


The Big Interview - Texans GM Greg.

Q: This is the first time Houston have made it to the Championship game. Can you describe how it felt when you knew the Texans were going to the show? G: Over the moon. Although the solecismic preview had us as favourites against the Dolphins, when I sat down to look at their roster and gameplan, I felt we would have to do something extremely special to overcome their talent. They were close to being the complete package, and I wasn’t confident that we were assured of having anything work against them. Also in the back of my mind was our capitulation in the AFC Championship game last year, and I was fearful of a repeat performance. Q: It is now two seasons running that we have seen Houston break the Dolphins hearts in the playoffs. You had some nice words for the Miami GM after the Conference game and it clear there is a lot of mutual respect between you both. Do you feel Stuart should pull the plug and trade some of his stars, or do you feel his team has it in them for one more strong playoff push?

G: He has the talent there for another good few seasons yet, I would hope they keep the talent together. Depends upon how long Palmer keeps playing at a high level.

Q: Which opponent did you feel gave Houston their toughest test this season and why?

G: Indianapolis. Up until the end of the season, they were operating at the very top of their game and brushed us aside in week 10. But we remembered that game and the AFC Championship last year, and have added some proven winners to the roster.

33


Q: The AC South continues to be a tough division but many now see the NC East as the hardet division in football. Would you agree?

G: Undoubtedly. The Giants would have made the playoffs were they in another division, I’m sure. The Redskins and the Cowboys are both top drawer teams, and the Eagles have really impressed me this year (thanks for the win over the Colts wk 16 guys).

Q: Washington topped the NC East and have won some tricky games, including Seattle on the road, to get this far. Just how difficult an opponent will they be in the Real Bowl?

G: Very difficult – Solecismic preview has the game even. In a way I would be more confident if we hadn’t beaten them earlier in the season, as I don’t think there’s as much chance of us beating them twice. Earlier meeting was Vance’s first game for us and he was inspired, we’ll need him to be again.

Q: Is there one Redskins player you fear more than any other and why?

G: They have top talent in most places, but you have to respect the QB and WRs. Watch Williams run all over me now. Q: Which one Texan player has had the biggest impact in getting Houston to the Championship?

G: Vance is the obvious choice, though he only played 9 games in the regular season. On the other side of the ball, getting LB Lance Peters back at the top of his game after such a long term injury is probably the fairy tale about this season. Q: In the close season, Houston made some big trade moves. Henry Verba, Langston Moore, Kenechi Udeze, Barrett Ruud and Justin Vance all joined the team in headline deals. Do you feel these guys made the difference in getting Houston over the hump and which tradee ended up being the best value?

G: Again it’s easy to single out Vance, but our defense used to be truly awful and you have to like the performances of Udeze and Ruud. Q: QB Justin Vance was perhaps the biggest name to join the team but did his much publicised foot injury make him a risky proposition?

G: Yes it was a gamble, and time will tell after next training camp whether he will 34


decline further or bounce back to his former levels. But I felt it was worth the risk, and I think he fits into our offensive scheme perfectly. I don’t think I use him in the same way that Nick wanted to, so I’m pleased to have him. Q: Which one player elsewhere in the league would you love to add to your roster and why?

G: I’d like another top cornerback, so Jimmie Mughelli from Cleveland. Alternatively, a monster pass rushing WLB like Darnell Lester from the Vikings.

Q: Which other RDFL franchise has most impressed you during the 2013 season and why?

G: I really thought the Eagles were going nowhere at season preview time. They proved me wrong. And for the Rams to make .500, never saw that coming! Q: 2013 has seen some new blood entering the playoff race. Philly, Green Bay and Pittsburgh are fresh faces in this years post season. Can you give me another team that you think has a great chance of bringing a fresh feel to the 2014 playoff race and explain your choice?

G: I can see the Cardinals making the postseason for the first time in a long time next year. They have some great talent in their roster. Greg, thank you for talking to us on the eve of the Championship game, and good luck Sunday.

35


RDFL Bowl History The First 10 Years

Real Bowl

Winners

Runners up

Score

I San Francisco 49ers (Jacksonville Jaguars) 35-14 Archive material lost when the League office moved to the current headquarters. II San Francisco 49ers (Denver Broncos) 26-21 Archive material lost when the League office moved to the current headquarters. III San Francisco 49ers Threepeat‌

(Indianapolis Colts)

20-17

Glendale, Arizona played host to RDFL bowl III as the 49ers looked to win the RDFL championship for the third season in a row. The Colts took an early 3 point lead on the 2nd possession of the game as Brown converted a 39-yard FG opportunity after getting the ball at halfway following an opening possession 3 and out. The same happened on the next possession as the 49ers went 3 and out but this time Roethlisberger found Boldin with a 13 yard TD pass to increase the Colts lead to 10. The 49ers got going with McGahee catching a 23 yard pass then on the next play breaking one 56 yards for the score. In the 2nd Quarter Brady found Johnson from 11 yards out to give the 49ers their first lead of the day. The 49ers decided to kick a FG rather than go for it on 4th and goal at the 1 just before the 2 minute warning with Farr converting what would prove to be the winning margin giving San Francisco a 17-10 half time lead. Indianapolis started the 2nd half driving down the field and tying the score with a 2 yard TD run from Jones, though the 49ers retook the lead with a 49-yard FG on the subsequent possession. In the 4th Brown missed a 54-yard FG attempt (short), they did get the ball back with 2 minutes 26 seconds left in the game,

36


the Colts converted a 4th and 1, but seconds later CB Washington intercepted a Roethlisberger pass and it was over as the 49ers ran out the clock. MVP RB McGahee IV Jacksonville Jaguars (Seattle Seahawks) A new Champion is crowned... as the big cats purr

35-31

This year it was in Sacramento and there was going to be a new champions as the NFC was represented by Seattle and the AFC by RDFL bowl I losers, Jacksonville. Seattle took an early lead scoring a TD on a 5 yard pass from Hasselbeck to TE Mili one play after an offside flag had given the drive life after a failed 3rd down pass. It was 14-0 soon after as Rodgers was intercepted by Boone and the Hasselbeck/Mili combination working again (this time from 2 yards out). Rodgers responded passing left and right before finding Shockey from 8 yards out to cut the deficit in half. On the next Jaguars drive Hastings fumbled but recovered the ball allowing Rackers to kick a 49-yard FG. The Seahawks extended the lead with Sommerville scoring from 2 yards out, this after having a 1st and 25 play earlier in the drive. Seattle got the ball back and in seconds it looked like the route was on as Hasselbeck found Humble with a 64 yards TD pass (42 YAC) to make it 27-10. Seattle were stopped with a sack on their next drive giving the Jaguars just over two minutes in the half to try and reduce the lead but they couldn’t move the ball as time ran out. Seattle were held to start the 2nd half and the Jaguars build on this momentum converting 3rd downs and then on 3rd and goal from the 7 Rodgers found Parten for the TD, Jacksonville decided to go for two and Rodgers found Davis to make it a 10 point game (28-1) with over 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Seattle punted again as the Jaguars continued to roll converting 3 3rd downs before settling for a Rackers 30-yard FG and a one score game. Seattle couldn’t move the ball at all and just as Seattle had stopped the Jaguars and forced a punt the return was fumbled and lost giving Jacksonville the ball just inside their half and five plays later it was 28 all as Rodgers found Clayton from 8 yards out. Hasselbeck was intercepted by ILB Reynolds setting up the go ahead score for the Jaguars (Rodgers to Davis from 24 yards out) and the huge 1st half lead was history. Seattle had 7 minutes left to change their fortunes or it was going to be sleepless in Seattle. On 3rd and 7 at the Jacksonville 9 Hassel beck was sacked by Kampman so Brock kicked a 31-yard FG with just over 3 minutes left in the game, Seattle stopped the Jaguars just and were left with 43 seconds and the ball at their own 5 yard line, it wasn’t anywhere near enough as the Jaguars became the first AFC team to be RDFL Champions. V New Orleans Saints (Kansas City Chiefs) Saints win RDFL bowl V party is bigger than Mardi Gras.

26-10

The RDFL champions have been crowned, neither team had been to the big game before and both were hoping to take this opportunity to shine, however it turned into a defensive struggle with both offences going 3 and out on a number of occasions. The Saints did start well driving into FG range as Mahoney hit from 49-yards out to open the scoring. The Chiefs failed to move the ball with a big penalty and sack stopping them. The Saints then made in 10-0 going 60 yards with a Culpepper strike to Warrick being the final play. At the start of the 2nd quarter Brien hit a 42-yard FG to end a solid drive. A few possessions later Kansas got back into FG range but Brien missed

37


from 46 yards. The Saints took the ball on a good drive which ended with a Mahoney 32 yard FG to take the score to 13-3, a Leftwich interception in the final two minutes of the half ended not being costly as the Saints couldn’t take advantage. The first 5 possessions in the second half resulted in punts before the Saints started to move the ball Culpepper passing and running to move the ball up the field before Eric Shelton took it in from 18 yards out to make the game 20-3 with under a minute left in the 3rd. Kansas really need to score and what a drive it was, completing 3 4th downs including a 4th and 11 on their own 29 Leftwich took the Chiefs down the field and completed the drive with a 15-yard pass to Toomer to make the score 20-10. The Saints punted on their next drive. The Chiefs feeling that they needed a score decided to go for it on 4th and 9 on their 24 yard line despite their being over 8 minutes left in the game. The pass was incomplete and the Saints kicked a 21-yard FG to extend the lead. The Chiefs then failed on a 4th and 10 from their own 29-yard line and it was game over as Mahoney kicked a 26-yard FG. Another failed 4th down for the Chiefs and the Saints ran out the clock winning 26-10 VI Kansas City Chiefs (Washington Redskins) Kansas are the chiefs of the RDFL.

28-27

The Kansas City Chiefs are RDFL bowl VI Champions and what a game it was. If you missed it then The Chiefs took an early lead on a Leftwich to Martinez TD pass, however early in the 2nd Quarter it was all tied up on a Curiel pass to Edwards. The scores didn’t stay tied for long as Leftwich marched Kansas down the field before hitting Burress with the scoring pass. A second Curiel TD pass to Edwards tied it up and then before half time a Van Pelt fumble set-up the Redskins to take a 3-point lead. The second half started with a bang as White took a Curiel pass to the house (56-yard scoring pass) and it was suddenly a 10-point game to Washington, when another Price FG extended the lead the Kansas fans started to look towards the exits as he looked like they were going to lose two bowl games in a row, Early in the 4th Leftwich found Lelie for 7 points and it was back within one score. With 5.46 left a Kansas punt was downed at the Washington 4 yard line, what happened next will go down in Kansas City folklore. On 2nd and 10 Nash was hammered by Kassell the ball popped loose DE Van Lingo picked it up and fell into the end zone as the Chiefs took a 1-point lead. Washington couldn’t move the ball but stopped Kansas with a 3 and out getting the ball back with 2.21 left at their own 45yard line. Despite knowing they only needed to move into FG range Curiel went for it all and was picked off by Safety Branch at the 5 yard line and it was all over, Chiefs winning 28-27 VII Seattle Seahawks (Miami Dolphins) 38-31 Superbowl VII – Seahawks swoop in to grab the title…. finally Miami and Seattle both finished the season 14-2 and came through some interesting times in the playoffs with both teams having high hopes for the ultimate success. Seattle being the most successful regular season franchise in the history of the league yet had never won a bowl, while Miami had dominated the AFC East for a couple of years and were the best team in the AFC this season. One of the teams was going to

38


win the RDFL bowl for the first time in its history, though the bookies had Seattle as firm favourites. Seattle jumped out to an early lead despite almost giving Miami great field position with fumble on the opening possession, as after punting Palmer was intercepted and safety Schoonover took it to the house from 34-yards. Scobee missed a 44-yard FG on the next Dolphin possession (it was to prove to be one of many missed on the night) and on the very next play Vance found Humble on a short pass and Humble took it a further 51 yards to complete a 66-yard TD pass play. Miami needed to respond and with the help of a Seattle penalty on a failed 3rd down, drove down the field before Palmer found Kornbluth in the end zone from 3-yards out to half the lead. For Dolphins fans it was a short-lived celebration as Seattle restored the two score lead with Vance finding Steven Jackson from 5 yards out for another score. The defences then started to make plays as both teams were forced to punt a couple of times, including a 71 yard punt by McCarty for the Fins. Despite moving the ball on the next Miami possession a unnecessary roughness call on Miami gave Seattle good field position with 29 second left which gave Brock a chance to kick a 55 yard FG but it was wide right. 21-7 Seattle at the half. The Dolphins got the ball first and went 72 yards in 5 plays as Gabriel completed a 42 yard TD pass play, running the last 33 yards through traffic. Seattle wanted a score to settle the nerves and with Vance passes got into FG range however Brock missed wide right again from 46 yards out. This seemed to take the air out of the Seattle defence and give confidence to Miami as the offence drove 64 yards in 16 plays as Smith ran it in for the final 3 yards on the 1st play of the 4th quarter, Scobee converted the extra point and the game was tied. It took 9 seconds for Seattle players and fans to go wild though as Carvin took the kick off 87 yards for a TD. Miami were stunned though Gabriel did return the following kick off 45 yards to give themselves good field position. A couple of big Palmer passes got Miami down to the Seattle 6 yard line but they had to settle for a Scobee 23-yard FG to reduce the lead to 4 points with 12.05 left. Seattle responded as they gave Brock a 3rd opportunity to kick a FG and this one he nailed from 48 yards out. The Dolphins had to punt from deep in their own territory so Seattle started at their own 43. Jackson gained 3 yards and then broke the next play round left end for 54 yards and surely the winning score. When Palmer was picked off a couple of plays later some of the Seahawk fans started to celebrate. Seattle moved into the Miami half and with 2.21 left Brock attempted another FG this one from 50 yards out, but a poor hold meant another kick sailed wide right. Miami and Palmer came out passing and moved the ball down to the Seattle 9 yard line with 1.06 left, here Palmer found Kornbluth in the end zone for second time and it was a 7-point game. The Dolphins tried the onside kick but Seattle’s Paul Whiting recovered the kick 3 plays later it was all over as Seattle won another exciting RDFL bowl 38-31. VIII Baltimore Ravens (Washington Redskins) 30-16 Superbowl VIII – Ravens win the battle of Maryland‌.or was that the I95. Washington finished the season 12-4 and were seeded 2nd in the NFC, Baltimore was 11-5 and through some quirk in the tiebreak procedure were the AFC number one seed. Washington had been here before losing to Kansas in 2010, while the closest Baltimore had ever got was an AFC Championship loss to Kansas back in 2009. So whoever won would be a new name on the roll of honour. The bookies surprisingly had the Ravens as a two point favourite, perhaps because they had beaten the

39


Redskins in Washington in week 16. However all indications were it was going to be another close game. Washington got the ball first and an excellent kick off return gave them the ball just inside the Baltimore half. Williams and Curiel moved the ball to the 28 and when a False start was called on 3rd and 10 it looked like Washington would be settling for a FG. However Curiel found White for 14 yards and one play later for another 14 as White found his way into the end zone for an early lead. The Ravens offence looked good on its first possession but settled for a Rayner 46-yard FG after a penalty. It looked like the Redskins were going to extend the lead however FS Riley intercepted a Curiel pass in the endzone, in what may have been one of the games crucial plays. Baltimore took the ball converting three 3rd downs before Holmes ran it in from 7 yards and a Ravens lead. This lead was short lived as Edwards gave Washington excellent field position again and Curiel found White with a 17-yard pass to convert a 3rd and 12 and then two plays later with a 30 yard TD pass and a 14-10 lead. Baltimore moved the ball well again and were looking good with 1st and goal at the 9, but on 3rd down DE Spears blocked the pass and Rayner kicked a 23-yard FG. The Redskins went 3 and out and on the final play of the half Vick was intercepted as time expired. So Washington led by 1 point at half time with both offences on top. It was to be much more defensive in the 2nd half as both defences made halftime adjustments, the Ravens went 3 and out as did the Redskins (sacks by Wiggins and Lewis). The punt left Baltimore at their own 5 and after a first down run gained nothing, Vick stepped back to pass he found Lester for 6 yards but a yellow flag for holding in the end zone gave Washington 2 point for the first safety ever awarded in RDFL SuperBowl history. More importantly it was a 3-point lead. Defences were on top as both teams failed to move the ball going 3 and out, but Washington had the advantage in territory and a score. A sack on 3rd down stopped the Redskins in the Baltimore half mid way through the 3rd quarter, and the Ravens then put together an all-important drive. After Vick was sacked on 2nd down by Ware, it was 3rd and 12, however Vick found TE McCree for 21 yards to keep the drive alive. The drive ended with Vick finding Downs from 2 yards out and a 4-point lead. Washington went 3 and out again and Baltimore suddenly had all the momentum, a 3rd and 9 play was converted early in the 4th quarter (Vick to Mizutani for 17 yards) and the final yard was a Vick to Holmes TD pass and an 11 point lead. Two plays later Curiel scrambled and fumbled the ball giving the Ravens the chance to end the game however the Redskins defence held firm so Rayner kicked his 3rd FG this one from 34 yards and it was still a two score game. Washington moved to the Baltimore 37 but an illegal forward pass pushed them back and on 4th and 2 at the 42 the Redskins punted despite their only being 6 ½ minutes left. Baltimore went 3 and out. Two good passes moved Washington to the Ravens 29, but two incomplete passes hurt, it got worse as Curiel was sacked (Bergeron) and on 4th down Wiggins blocked the pass. Baltimore managed to run the clock out as the Redskins failed to stop the offence running the ball in the last 2 ½ minutes as Baltimore won the title 30-16. Vick was awarded the MVP. IX Seattle Seahawks Seattle win it again‌

(Indianapolis Colts)

24-21

Last year the Colts took a 3 point lead with a 29-yard FG with 3:37 left in the 1st, however it was to be short lived as Seattle QB Vance found TE Stargell with a TD pass early in the 2nd. Brock kicked a FG to extend the lead but before half time Willis and Roethlisberger combined for a TD to tie it up. In the 2nd half safety Consideine

40


made a huge play as he intercepted a Roethlisberger pass allowing Seattle to score and retake the lead. The Seahawks even overcame a TD being called back for holding as Dauber caught a TD pass from Vance a play after the one to Hitchcock had been called back. Brown reduced the lead with a FG for the Colts but a huge run by Hitchcock from 43 yards out ensured the Seahawks were going to edge this one. Brock did miss a FG from 49-yards out, giving faint hopes to the Indianapolis fans as Roethlisberger took the chink of light finding TE Morton with a 2-yard TD pass. The two point conversion was successful making it 24-21. Seattle ran out some of the clock before punting and pinning the Colts deep, there was no time to move the ball as the clock ran out and Seattle were champions once more. Vance was awarded the MVP. X Washington Redskins v Houston Texans Who will triumph and see their name engraved on the Real Bowl trophy?

41


Owner of the Year Award – 2014 Presented by Miss Charity Beaver

Last season saw the inaugural ‘Owner of the Year’ award presented to the Houston Texans GM, Greg. Only fellow GM’s were eligible to vote and Greg won comfortably with a healthy 42 percent of the ballot. Well, the fact that Houston have rolled on into the Championship game the following year, only goes to show that RDFL Owners are a knowledgeable lot and are pretty shrewd when it comes to judging their peers. Greg was clearly humbled by being named as the first ever recipient of this prestigious award, an award which carries a huge amount of respect with the title. This year, the number of votes cast has increased and it seems owners are not just looking at the win/loss column, playoff berths or even year on year improvement when they are measuring achievement. Factors such as contribution to the league as a whole and punching above a team’s weight are also under consideration. Miss Charity Beaver and the organisers of the Owner of the Year award would like to extend their thanks to all those owners who took the trouble to vote.

42


Well, without further delay, here is RDFL RedZone’s own Miss Charity Beaver to present the results of the 2014 Owner of the Year ballot:

Your Hostess: Miss Charity Beaver

43


Owner of the Year results: (in reverse order) Baloo (San Diego) Alrith (St Louis) JesterBlaze (Chicago) ukpatfan (Cincinnati) Ace (Washington) Radfords (Philadelphia) Bear (Atlanta) djmorton (Arizona) Mike (Dallas) All poll 1 vote each.

Jon (Green Bay): 5 votes. Greg (Houston): 7 votes. 44


Congratulations to Greg. For the second year in a row his peers vote him the ‘RDFL Owner of the Year.’ A worthy winner.

Well, that is all football fans. Enjoy the game.

45


RDFL Bowl X: Official Programme