By Christian Pundt
QB – Christian Christiansen (TAL)
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I feel like the stats speak for themselves. 4788 passing yards, 10.7 yards per attempt, and 41 touchdowns, while only being sacked 19 times. The interception number started to creep up there and there was a pair of rough games on the road versus Mexico City and Atlanta, but ‘Dub C’ righted the ship (even in the lowest yardage output of the season) in week 12. At the end of the day, he piloted the most lethal passing attack in the league and was the captain of a 12-0 team.
RB – Ray Bentley (MXC)
Bentley started off the year sort of sluggish, but returned to MVP form by midseason and became the backbone for a born-again Aztecs team that is certainly in the mix to win it all. The Altered Beast tied for the league lead in touchdown runs with 12 and posted a respectable 1604 yards on the ground with 4.5 yards per carry. While the numbers themselves may not jump out at you like other runningbacks may, Bentley was the sole back truly capable of single-handedly winning a game and did so in the vaunted Eastern Conference.
RB – Ash Odom (QCC)
The league leader in rushing yards in a league built on the rushing attack has to be on this list. Odom posted 1734 rushing yards at 5.1 yards per carry for 9 touchdowns on the season. He was the focal point of the historic Queen City rushing attack after jumping ship from Alaska last season. At the end of the day, Odom’s numbers can’t be ignored and was arguably the most consistent player in the league this season.
WR – Ken Gossett (TAL)
Kenny G had inarguably the single most dominant offensive season by any player in the Simulation Football League this season. Gossett was the X-factor in a high-powered Tallahassee offense and wound up with a whopping 2186 receiving yards at 19.0 yards per clip on 115 receptions and 20 touchdowns. There was no cornerback that could guard Gossett this season and Kenny routinely Moss’d them on routine jump balls on end zone fades.
WR – Duke Wilson (TAL)
Duke Wilson is the easy pick for Offensive Rookie of Season 10 and can very well make a case for Offensive Player of Season 10 if Gossett takes home the MVP honors. The young stud started off the season with a bang, raking in over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns in one of the most spectacular debuts the SFL has ever scene. Thereafter, Wilson proved it was no fluke turning that performance into 1802 receiving yards at 22.5 (!!!!) yards per reception and a league-leading 21 receiving touchdowns. That 22.5 yards per reception was the second highest in the SFL this season and is even more impressive considering the 80 balls Wilson caught this season.
WR – Optimus Cline (ALK)
While there were many deserving recipients of my final skill position slot, I opted to go with Optimus Cline. Cline was the league’s reception leader at 118, which he parlayed into 1478 receiving yards. The only drawback for this mammoth of a receiver in the second most effective passing attack in the SFL? Only 5 receiving touchdowns. That won’t affect him too much here, as I refuse to believe a player of Cline’s talent simply isn’t an effective red zone target. Opportunities will come his way in the postseason, just you watch.
OL – Tallahassee OL (TAL)
I can put whoever I want here. It’s my list mmmk?
DE – Taqwuan Hale (TAL)
Hale finished with 18.0 sacks, third in the SFL this season. Hale bookended the only position group – the Tallahassee defensive line – that truly destroyed gameplans on a week-to-week basis. Hale was one of the most effective edge rushers all season but gained steam as the season went along and finished as perhaps the hottest defensive end in the league. Not to be stopped there, Hale was a dominating presence in the run game as well. He record 51.0 tackles and 28 tackles for a loss, effectively eliminating the ability for teams to run to his side of the field.
DT – Hunter Norwood (TAL)
As great as Hale was, Norwood might’ve been even better along the same defensive line. Norwood finished second in the league with 18.5 sacks and recorded 53.5 tackles (28 of which were for a loss). Norwood routinely destroyed opponents’ inside run game and almost single-handedly (he had some help from some guy known as F A T S Johnson) destroyed quarterbacks’ pockets with his nasty internal pass rush. Norwood is very much in the running for Defensive Player of Season 11 and Defensive Rookie of Season 11 and would probably be a lock for it if it wasn’t for Alex Dominguez.
Disclaimer: Norwood or Hale would’ve lead the league in sacks if Tallahassee didn’t carry four defensive linemen. They stole sacks from each other. There I said it.
DT – Chad Takkul (HOU)
As much as I wanted to put my boy Mike ‘Fats’ Johnson, I feared no one would want to read “An Intro to the Tallahassee Pride Roster” and that the article itself wouldn’t be published. That being said, Chad Takkul was a dominant force all season and probably the best player on one of the most effective defenses down in Houston. The Hyena recorded 16.0 sacks 34.0 tackles, and 22 tackles for a loss. As my compatriots in the Central Conference will tell you, Chad Takkul had a gamewrecking Season 10 and is very much in the awards mix this season.
DE – Alex Dominguez (ALK)
It seems like ‘Big Sexy’ will be running away with the defensive awards again this season. Dominguez might’ve had him most dominant season yet on another year where Alaska ranked among the tops in nearly all defensive statistics. Dominguez’s 19.5 sacks, 51.0 tackles, 31 tackles for a loss, provided a backbone for the second most aeriel and second most dangerous passing attack in the league, en route to a 10-2 season. Dominguez and the Storm look to make a deep run this playoffs and there doesn’t appear much teams can do to stop them.
LB – Aquantis Shyne (ATL)
Picking linebackers is where it got really weird for this team. The linebacker that truly stood above the rest, however, was Aquantis Shyne. The league-leading tackler recorded 127.0 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, and 10 pass deflections. Shyne, along with his partner-in-crime Dillon Roland, locked down the center of the field for both runningbacks and quarterbacks. While he didn’t record any sacks, Shyne’s presence was most certainly felt in coverage and had to be gameplanned around. Overall, when looking for the best players in the SFL, I had to look at the most dominant run-stuffing linebacker and one of the most capable pass covering players to handle the Mike position.
LB – Slinn Shady (LON)
This is going to be a controversial choice to some people but hear me out. Shady began the season as one of the most productive linebackers before ‘trailing off’ into the top six (i.e. the top shelf; that’s not exactly what I would call bad). Shady recorded 108.0 tackles (93 of which were solo), 2 assisted sacks, 14 tackles for loss (tops among the elite linebacking crew), and 3 pass deflections. While many probably deserved this spot, I opted for an elite backfield threat whose peaks this season were probably higher than many of his peers. Yes, I do live on the edge.
CB – Ryan Michaels (HOU)
Cornerback was easily the most difficult position to mark my picks for. In case you haven’t notice, its hard to quantify a cornerbacks’ success, so for someone who has only caught *most * of the SFL games this season, rather than all of them, this became a rather difficult project. That being said, I’m bound to mess up somehow so bear with me. I chose Michaels because 1) I like him and 2) he’s tied for the league lead in interceptions and plays on that suffocating Houston defense. Looking at the stats and in my examination of public opinion across the league, Michaels seems like a quality pick for the ‘All-Christian’ Team CB1.
Yes, I did want to pick Michael Sprous here, but I already covered why I can’t do that on my Chad Takkul write-up.
CB – Aaron Arrington (STL)
Moving down the list, at the CB2 position I chose Aaron Arrington. Arrington is a shutdown corner in this league who was particularly dominant towards the beginning of the season. While his .5 sack, 49.0 tackle, 7 interception statline may be exceeded by the likes of Merrick Itera and Michael Vetack, my tiebreaker came down to the fact that Aaron Arrington is up for the inaugural Hall of Fame class and I can’t argue with sustained greatness.
CB – Evan Carroll (ALK)
Yes, I’m running a nickel package. Third linebackers are for teams that like to be passed on for four hundred yards a game. So, here’s where I break from how most folks put together their list. Now despite this ultralogical method of me choosing my personnel package, I probably could’ve used a more scientific process for this individual selection. Essentially, I just put my faith blindly in the hands of one of the greatest defensive minds in league history in Max Paul (MightyRX) and just penciled in his #1 corner (ha, sorry @RyanDavidson). Boom. Easy. Moving on.
FS – EK Vinson (ATL)
The free safety in the SFL is one of the most visible defensive players, yet somehow the only stat that shows up that allows us to truly quantify their effect in center field is interceptions. And for me, that’s not good enough in my defense. I wanted a free safety that would on a week-to-week basis be able to lock down over the top passing. So logically, my choice was Tallahassee Pride free safety Anthony Wyo… except I didn’t think I could get away with seven Pride players on this team (already taking 2-3 players off that deserved a spot). I chose the next best thing instead, EK Vinson was a dominating and blinding force at the free safety position all year. He recorded 76.5 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, and 7 interceptions on the season. As a quarterback who probably threw half a dozen, if not more picks to EK Vinson (and another half a dozen to his brother Aaron Lee), I can attest his impact on the field is much greater than what the stats are allowing us to see. The man who carried those distracting neon green sleeves this season gets my vote.
SS – Alex Bond (TAL)
I wasn’t willing to budge on this one (no matter what the Charles Ball truthers say). Alex Bond was the glue that held this dominating defense together this season. Bond might’ve been both the most dominating safety in both the run and the pass. As a safety, he finished seventh among all players (first among defensive backs) in the league in tackles, recording 109.5 (and being the only player besides Shady to record 100+ solo tackles), 1 sack, and 8 tackles for loss. On top of that, he was tied for second with 8 interceptions on the season and nine pass deflections. Bond has truly been a swiss army knife for the Pride and has been elite in everything he has been asked to do.
K – Zack Daggs (LON)
I pick a kicker the only way I know how – by field goal percentage and by eliminating potential outliers (sorry San Antonio kickers).
P – Arminius Davis (SAV)
Here’s where I make it up to my friends in Central Texas. Davis lead the league among touchbacks and was only 1 punt inside the 20 yard line away from being tied for first in that category with Ashley Finch.
A message from the editor: I apologise for the fact that we don’t have pictures for every player on the team. Obviously, some of you aren’t very photogenic!