by Ray Bentley, Mexico City RB
The final whistle blew in Estadio Azteca, closing the Simulation Football League’s 9th season. SFL Chief Branding Officer Ryan Moats, just announced as an expansion bid winner, knew exactly what kind of build he wanted for his team: the same kind that had just muscled its way to a record-breaking title. Mr. Moats wasn’t just influenced by what he saw on the field that night, either, but what he’s seen and experienced on the field himself. As a former NFL running back, taking handoffs for both the Texans and the Eagles, Mr. Moats knows firsthand that having a threatening backfield opens up a world of possibilities for the offense and keeps defenses on their toes, something he’s hoping will pay off with his gamble on the most expensive quarterback / rusher duo in the league, Jacques Luyindola and Ryan Moats II.
Blood in the Water
The Simulation Football League’s Season 9 was dictated by rushers with excellent outings from Kyle Walsh, Ash Odom, J. Calvin Kim, and even awarding the Ray Bentley, who was voted Most Valuable Player. So when it came time to plan the build for his team, thanks to his experience on the field and observing the Simulation Football League’s Season 9, Ryan Moats knew that he wanted his team to have a powerful backfield player. Who better to fill that role than himself? As the Sharks Fullback, Ryan Moats II will start the season already close to Gold level. He’ll be taking handoffs from quarterback Jacques Luyindula, one of two quarterbacks to begin the season at near max contract level. As if the threat of two max contract offensive stars wasn’t enough, the Sharks have actually fielded four: wide receiver Gabriel Manning and tight end George Calderon will both enter Season 10 both with maximum contracts as well. Straight out of the gate, this is the most stacked offense in the SFL. Woe be to the Indianapolis Devils and the San Antonio Vaqueros, the first two tests of this unorthodox, monstrous offensive build. However, when all the cards are down at the end of Week 12, will San Fransisco regret front loading, or will the Sharks be frenzied, ready to churn the post-season waters?
Swimming With Sharks
With such an expensive offense starting out, some defensive positions have taken cuts in order to remain within the bounds of the salary cap, but this doesn’t mean the Sharks are a one-trick pony. Their two outside linebackers, Chester Field and Shawn Marshall, are both signed to max contracts, as well as cornerback Marcus Lacroy. Expect a fearsome pass rush from San Francisco early on. San Francisco’s two safeties, SS Max Jackson and FS Andrew Allen are both inked to silver contracts, along with the other Sharks cornerback, Merrick Itera. There is only one star bronze defensive player on the team, defensive tackle John Osiris, and he is expected to grow into a threat as the season progresses. Apt, for someone whose last name recalls the Egyptian God of Regeneration and Renewal. Rounding out the roster for the Sharks is one of three star punters to be inked to a deal this season, Deco Soprano, the one player the Sharks are hoping to keep off the field as much as they can. The defensive unit for San Francisco is one that deserves a second look, especially going into the second half of the season, while the offense might explode early on and then quiet down, I expect the defense to do the opposite, and bloom into greatness right when they need it most.
Always Moving Forward
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The Sharks open their season against another expansion team, James Richard’s Indianapolis Red Devils. Indianapolis is one of three teams to max out their quarterback’s starting contract, so expect an exciting barn burner. After this matchup, the Sharks head inland to take on the Vaqueros, the third team (after the Sharks) with a close-to-max quarterback contract. The Sharks return home to San Francisco to host one of Season 9’s most exciting teams, the Vancouver Legion, before hitting the road again. I personally believe that the first three games of the Sharks inaugural season will be exciting, bombastic, and full of surprises, and then the theatrics will cool down through the midpoint of the season, before finally heating up again, though via the defensive unit, at the end. When it comes right down to it, minus a few stumbles, I think the Sharks will come down with a winning record, and a chance to prove that they’re at the top of the food chain in the west.
SEASON 10 FINAL STANDING PREDICTION: 7-5 / Wildcard Playoff Berth
We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat
Ryan Moats brings a fresh new angle to the Simulation Football League. With his experience in the NFL and working in concert with EA Games on the Madden Franchise, his entrance as an owner in the Simulation Football League shakes up an already exciting field of users. With his unorthodox build, the Sharks truly are a wildcard, but with his team members loyal, and the faith they’ve entrusted in Mr. Moats, the Western Conference should be on the lookout. Remember, Sharks never sleep.