Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tom Brady = High Elf (Duh)

AKA "The Real Lord of the Rings"

It occurs to me that some might be interested in my “Dark NFL” Blood Bowl league. By “some” I mean a total of two or three people. On the other hand, I’m sure there are those who could care less about the Star Wars postings, and yet are forced to suffer through them when I’m getting down with my inner Jedi.

To those who aren’t interested in football (fantasy or otherwise), I do apologize. To everyone else…well, this is what I’ve been grooving on today.

The amazing thing about the NFL these days is not that it continues to generate such immense hype and profits, but that there is such PARITY in the League…even as some teams continue to dominate year after year. It’s an interesting dichotomy (interesting to me anyway); the mantra of “any given Sunday” certainly applies, as we’ve seen many upset over the course of the 2010 season.

And yet some teams continue to lead their division just as they have over the last decade. Houston continues to be out of the running for the AFC South title despite some fine players and excellent stats, and Indianapolis is still tied for first despite being nearly .500. Washington has struggled despite the money thrown at the team, and Tennessee is out of the play-offs (again) despite its dominant running attack.

This, again, I find similar to Blood Bowl. ANY team can win in Blood Bowl…and any team can lose as well. But the elves will still tend to rise higher in the standings (unless crippled by injuries), and “tough guy” teams tend to be in the middle of the pack, unless coached brilliantly. Luck of the dice plays an important factor, and sometimes you just get a string of bad rolls…and the opposite can also occur enabling a rank beginner to pull up an upset against a better coach. Likewise, over-confidence and mistakes “in the heat of the moment” (like committing illegal procedure penalties) are as much a part of the Blood Bowl game as bone-head penalties are on the real world gridiron.

For fans of the NFL, it’s a lot of fun.

Well, mostly…my wife (my main opponent over the years) really, REALLY doesn’t like it when her players get injured and/or killed. She becomes attached to individual players because…well, because she has an active imagination I suppose. She only gives players names if they manage to do something spectacular in a game (in other words, outstanding play-makers get nicknames and everyone else is cannon-fodder), but when a named character gets blown up she’s crushed.

Similarly, she gets emotionally attached (or disgusted with) individual NFL players. Thankfully, real players aren’t injured nearly as much as often as Blood Bowlers. My wife tends to give her own nicknames to real players on the field, too, and she would be devastated if something bad were to happen to actual humans…hell, she gets upset enough if they have a bad day playing.

Not that my temperament is dissimilar. But with Blood Bowl at least, I know you can always hire another player for a sack of gold.

Ah, well, back to the Dark NFL League. The following write-ups express only my own opinion, and I will admit my opinion of teams has definitely changed over time (also, in the past I have often tried to more evenly distribute different team types among divisions, though the results have always been unsatisfactory). The following reflect my CURRENT opinions/interpretations based on my very un-scientific thoughts on the NFL and its (recent) history:

AFC East

Buffalo: Human
Miami: Wood Elf
New England: High Elf
New York Jets: Human

Notes: Tom Brady is, of course, a high elf Phoenix Warrior as was Drew Bledsoe before him. There's really nothing about his poise, grace, and feathered hair that does NOT say "high elf," so that's a no brainer. The other teams are more historical. Marino was a prolific passer (as are the wood elves) though recent 'Fins experiments would seem to indicate they're going with more of a double War Dancer set (the infamous "Wild Cat"). Some might consider the Bills of recent years to be one of the shabbier teams in the NFL; I prefer to remember their all-around excellence that led them to four consecutive AFC Championships behind a very balanced team. The Jets share a similar balance (and I just can't see Namath as anything BUT human).

AFC North

Baltimore: Norse
Cincinnati: Wood Elf
Cleveland: Undead
Pittsburgh: Ork

Back before '05, Pittsburgh was probably my favorite non-Seattle team and I have a very nicely painted team to show for it; I'll leave it at that (though it's debatable whether "Big Ben" is a black ork or a troll). Cinci gets wood elf due to their style of the last 30 years or so with big cannon QBs (from Boomer to Blake to Palmer...even Kitna) and breakable nature. Baltimore should be self-explanatory, and Cleveland...well, they were "resurrected" after Art Modell took the franchise and left, right? Plus they play like zombies half the time...

AFC South

Houston: Hobbit
Indianapolis: High Elf
Jacksonville: Lizard Man
Tennessee: Chaos Dwarf

I have considered the Texans hobbits ever since they entered the league; when they get to the play-offs, I may reconsider. Indy is, of course, high elf...all class and shiny uniforms. Jacksonville gets one of the new teams (lizard man) from 4th edition; historically they're not much of a "finesse" team. Tennessee often plays like a bunch of hobgoblins, and have some of the dirtiest dirt-bags of the last few years suiting up for them...dirty players and secret weapons are all part of the chaos dwarves' bag o' tricks.

AFC West

Denver: Dwarf
Kansas City: Ogre
Oakland: Chaos
San Diego: Ork

Who would live on a mountain besides a bunch of dwarves; sorry Elway, your team only made a big splash when it got its running game on track. K.C. gets the one ogre team (ever hear of the Nigerian Nightmare, Christian Okoye?); beefy running and hard hitting defense that tends to fade down the stretch. Oakland I had pegged as goblin for awhile, but that was simply letting the last few years cloud my perception...it's obvious the Raiders fans have sold their souls to Chaos. And San Diego, with their hard running? Ork, ork, ork.

NFC East

Dallas: Dark Elf
New York Giants: Dwarf
Philadelphia: Skaven
Washington: Ork

Dallas cuts a dashing figure, but deep down you know they're evil...look at Jerry Jones, come on! Dark elf. Meanwhile the Giants are definitely dwarf (bashy bashy defense, bashy bashy running, and a team that can win despite a wildly inconsistent quarterback). The "City of Brotherly Love" could only be skaven...and Vick's a perfect fit (note that he came from a different skaven team by way of the D.o.C.). And smash-nose Washington? Ork (pig-faced ones even!).

NFC North

Chicago: Chaos
Detroit: Goblin
Green Bay: Human
Minnesota: Goblin (mix)

Brian Urlacher is a Chaos Warrior...or maybe a minotaur. So was Dick Butkus. So was Mike Ditka. Etc., etc. Detroit is a ruin run by goblins that have helped destroy the American car industry; Barry Sanders was a stunty goblin with an Agility of 5 and movement and sprinting maxed out (he could not be tackled). The Packers are all-too human, though Favre might be some sort of Chaos Lord anomaly (maybe he's undead). Minnesota is goblin, or perhaps a goblin-skaven-human mix like the Evil Gits or the Underworld Creepers. No, they're not Norse. The Purple People Eaters ate people...and choked in the play-offs. Often. The collapsing stadium is a goblin trait.

NFC South

Atlanta: Skaven
Carolina: Amazon
New Orleans: Plague
Tampa Bay: Chaos Dwarf

Atlanta is dark elf (the dome gives it away despite being in the South...what are you afraid of?). Carolina, as one of the "newer" teams, gets a newer team type (Amazon)...plus the Panther is the mascot of the jungle, etc. New Orleans used to be a really rotten team (get it?) but now they've corrupted Brees and they'll be good until he starts putrifying. Tampa is Chaos Dwarf; some years sporting more hobgoblins and some years having more dwarves. Mike Alstott was a bull centaur.

NFC West

Arizona: Hobbit
Saint Louis: Skaven
San Francisco: Human
Seattle: Ork

Now, of course, some of these choices can certainly debatable. San Francisco, for example could easily be a dwarf team based on the last few years of play (Frank Gore and an MIA passing attack). However, it’s hard to model the great 49ers teams of the 80s and early 90s with dwarves; I prefer to consider them "human." Meanwhile the "greatest show on turf" definitely had a slew of scurrying gutter runners ripping off TDs...and Steve Jackson is a beast of a storm vermin (perhaps even rat-ogre!). However, I would not object too greatly if someone wanted to call the Rams dark elves instead (switching with the "dirty bird" Falcons); after all, they did have the superb Marshall Faulk back in the day (though the case could be made that HE was a warp-stone eating mutant).

: )


  1. Of course, the iconic dark elf team are the Darkside Cowboys, so that's even more evidence in favour of your Dallas pick. ;)

    I was thinking about your earlier post in the context of Blood Bowl often being called a mix of American football and rugby, and I was wondering if the running-passing teams -- elves, mainly -- weren't more indicative of the NFL side, while the stompy teams -- dwarves and orcs -- came more from the rugby side of the game. The game mechanics seem to emulate American football more than they do rugby, but then I've seen more rugby teams play like orks and dwarves than I have NFL teams do the same. But then, I'm no expert!

  2. As a life-long Denver Bronco fan who remembers the Orange-Crush defense of the 70s, I actually really appreciate your pegging the Broncos as a Dwarf team. Not only did Elway get his first ring when the Broncos found their running game, his key play wasn't a pass, but a run — the helicopter dive for a first down inside the 10.

    I am curious, were you ever aware of a mini-game published in Dragon Magazine in the 80s called Monsters of the Midway?

  3. @ Fr.Dave: Oh how we detested Elway making plays with his legs as a kid! The scrambling ability of Steve Young is one reason I considered dwarf for the 49ers, too (in addition to the "miner" motif)...there are no range penalties for dwarven passers in recent editions. But of course, "dwarf" doesn't really jibe with Montana or Rice.

    I have heard of Monsters of the Midway, but never had a chance to peruse it.

    @ Kelvin: In both Rugby and American football, the kicking game is a vital part of the scoring...and there's no kicking for points in Blood Bowl. My (limited) understanding of rugby is that "downs" are as important a concept for that sport as football, and this is another major component missing from Blood Bowl. I tried to find a way to incorporate the latter by house rule, but it just doesn't work unless you want to restructutre the entire turn structure of the game.

    Blood Bowl models (very well, I think) what football would be like if "re-discovered" by a warlike society with a a limited comprehension of the game: one team kicks off to another, and that team tries to score a touchdown. Since this is the original fluff of the game, I'm down with that. It's NOT football, but it's close enough for my taste.

    Hell, in a LOT of ways the game is probably closer to JUGGING. Limit the players on the pitch, give 'em some sticks and chains, and put a stake at each end of the field and that's what you'd have!

  4. Hmmm. Antonio Gates = Wardancer! ;>

  5. @ Alan: Hmm...don't know about Gates, but LT would certainly have fit the category. However, I still see both those guys as highly skilled Ork blitzers. San Diego's just a little too DURABLE to be wood elves!

  6. Well there are two rugbies. One -- rugby league -- has downs, and the other -- union -- doesn't, and the teams play until the ball is dead, off the pitch or someone scores. It's rugby union that I see in the dwarf and orc game, with the caging tactics similar to the rucks and mauls of rugby.

    By contrast, the more agile, passing teams feel much more like football than rugby to me. But as I say, I've been out of the game for years, so it's just a musing, with little in the way of evidence behind it.

  7. @JB - True. When my Wood Elves team worked, they could dance around the other team and dominate. On the other hand, when the other team had a chance to put a good curb-stomping on one of my players, they often wouldn't see another match.