By Ray Bentley
1. BALTIMORE VULTURES
Here in the Pump Fake Writer’s Room* we hold a lot of traditions sacred: Cam’s opening night “Kick it!”; not changing socks while on a winning streak etc. Most importantly, we hold in the highest honor the tradition of watching Russell Mulcahy’s seminal 1986 masterpiece of cinema, Highlander every Tuesday and Thursday nights. So when your intrepid writer saw the Vultures travel to reigning, undefeated back-to-back champions Alaska and eke out the win, then behead one of Alaska’s non-contract defenders and consume their soul, it was obvious: there could only be one, and it was Baltimore.
*a cardboard box kept in a spot of poor drainage in the backyard of an abandoned house.
2. ALASKA STORM
The Alaska Storm are the reigning back-to-back champions. Just because Baltimore ritually sacrificed one of their players at midfield after the game doesn’t mean the world is ending for them. Alaska is a hearty enough team to be able to bounce back next week, but the question is, will they? This Pump Fake writer is confident in saying: maybe!
3. VANCOUVER LEGION
THEY ARE MANY. THEY ARE LEGION. Vancouver’s offseason plans of weekly supplications to the blood demon Legion worked, in a gamble many deemed religiously irresponsible and wildly dangerous, as they felled the Atlanta Swarm with terrifying ease. Things look good for the Legion, though with their demonic convent, their ebon-dark eyes and ability to speak in deep-voiced unknown languages, fans are understandably a bit creeped-out.
4. CHICAGO WILDCATS
Queen City headed to Chicago,
They were looking for a W to steal.
Corsairs were in a bind, as they were way behind, so they were willing to make a deal.
But Shann said “We’re the Wildcats,”
“And this might be some sin,”
“but we’ll play your game, and you’ll feel shamed, cause you know we’ll take that win!”
satirized lyrics shamelessly used
5. ST. LOUIS GLADIATORS
The Saint Louis Arch is an easily recognized piece of architectural glory, a landmark symbolizing the start of the journey westward for pioneer settlers. It is hollow, and the very top of the Arch serves as a viewing deck for tourists to look out upon City Hall and the mighty Mississippi from. To reach said viewing deck, visitors must ride in what can only be described as egg-shaped elevator cars that shift to allow the car to remain gravitationally constant with its passengers. Sadly, the Arch is not, as this writer believed, a functioning Stargate. It’s not even a Stargate at all! Oh, also, the Gladiators toppled the visiting Dallas Lobos by six points.
6. TULSA DESPERADOS
Newcomer Ashley Jackson struck gold in her first outing in Tulsa, securing a win for the Desperados in the storied “Oklahoma Has Two Teams, and New York Only Has One? Uh… Ok, Sure” series over the Oklahoma City Renegades. In the struggle for outlaw supremacy, currently Tulsa holds the lead, with Queen City and the Renegades looking to play catchup; we’ll see which team holds the highest bounty by season’s end!
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Ray does not seem to understand that these teams are not, in fact, constantly fleeing from law enforcement, and they are just team names.)
7. NEW ORLEANS PHARAOHS
I’ve been told I’m only allowed to use the phrase “The Mummy’s Curse” once this season, and to blow it so soon would be a true disservice to the entire league. Having said that, the underdog, away Pharaohs were able to cur- err, stymie Houston’s offense, holding them to only 4 field goals, while making a case that the wrong Gulf of Mexico team made the postseason last year.
They really hit Houston with The Mummy’s Curse im so sorry, i couldn’t not…
8. MEXICO CITY AZTECS
After the close of Week 1, the team with the highest scoring offense and best run defense sits firmly entrenched in eighth place. Some might ask, however, why they’re not ranked in first after such a statement win on the road to start the season, but the answer is simple: two back to back pick sixes to end the first quarter will absolutely, positively crater your standing in the eyes of your running back, especially when he’s too fat and lazy to stop the first INT. Hit the gym, fatty!
9. LAS VEGAS FURY
When Sioux Falls arrived in Las Vegas only to see the entire city covered in parkas, blankets, coats and scarves, the Sparrows were a bit perplexed. It was only during the postgame conference with Max Jackson, when he only repeated the phrase “Revenge is a dish best served cold” and nothing else, that it was revealed that they were trying to get into the minds of their opponents before the game. Vegas is a place of big risks and bigger rewards, though, and gifting their opponent the yips and an L has to be a sweet one.
10. DENVER NIGHTWINGS
Denver, Denver, Denver. You won your game against the new-look Indianapolis Spitfire! I think! Every time I try to look the game up I wake up hours later with a blinding headache and dry, scratchy throat. Someone, anyone, please send help.
11. SAN FRANCISCO SHARKS
Despite running back Ogun Zulu’s best efforts to do absolutely nothing, the San Francisco defensive gameplan of “confuse the hell out of our former quarterback” worked like a charm, gifting the Sharks six turnovers during the game, including the one that sealed their win on the road against the London Knights.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: They weren’t actually on the road, I just know that this will really annoy Slinn as he edits this).
12. INDIANAPOLIS SPITFIRE
Oh god! I just woke up…my head is killing me; what time is it?
13. SIOUX FALLS SPARROWS
Sioux Falls (get it) just outside of the halfway mark this week thanks to a close game against the Fury that would have gone to overtime had it not been for those pesky, mystery solving teenagers! Also, the missed field goal, but the league really needs to do something about those kids; they can’t just drive their smelly van wherever they please, letting their dog leave its business all over creation!.
14. QUEEN CITY CORSAIRS
Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly
Than play a sanctimonious part
With a pirate head and a pirate heart
Away to the cheating world go you
Where pirates all are well-to-do;
But I’ll be true to the song I sing
And live and die a Pirate King
For I am a Pirate King!
Here lies the Pirate King, slain by the Chicago Wildcats on Monday, January 7th, 2019. He didn’t care for accurate line spacing.
15. HOUSTON HYENAS
A coincidence that the word hubris and the name Houston both begin with the same letter, and same general pronunciation? The former semi-finalists hosted a game against the post-seasonless Pharaohs but due to a (MUMMY’S CURSE PHRASING REDACTED BY EDITOR) they were unable to get anything started on offense, even with rookie season record setter in passing yards AND ego ballooning Kentez Johnson back under center. This writer is confident that, it only being Week one, he has not heard the last laugh from the Hyenas yet.
16. DALLAS LOBOS
Shaking things up, Dallas’ plan of slotting a linebacker in at safety somehow went terribly wrong, as they were continuously burned by the St. Louis wideouts all night. Join us next week, when the Lobos plan to place a kicker under center, a punter at tight end, and quarterback Jacques Luyindula pulling double-duty as the midfield logo and uprights in the hopes to jump start their season.
17. LONDON KNIGHTS
London slips to the bottom half of the power rankings to start the season off, as they fell to the San Francisco Sharks in their home opener (Slinn must be ‘doin his nut in). Newly minted Knights quarterback Rob Roby stumbled in his first appearance as he repeatedly forgot he no longer played for San Francisco. While the Knights have plenty of time to turn their season around, they’re going to need to get on it quick if they don’t want the Queen to leave at halftime again!
(EDITORS NOTE: The Queen has not attended any game, and we cannot for the life of us get Ray to understand this. He also firmly believes that the King of Canada, a position that does not exist, must officially cut the ribbon on the stadium to open every Vancouver game. We’re working on it.)
18. OKLAHOMA CITY RENEGADES
a person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles.
In this case, the principle betrayed was that of winning against the Tulsa Desperados. Noted: running your mouth is counted statistically far less than actually running, something some rushers in the league (*cough*) have not taken into account.
19. ATLANTA SWARM
This week’s winner of the Andrew Rastelli Memorial Award for Which Team Do I Throw To? goes to Marcus Dunhill for recording an astounding 8 interceptions against a geographically ironic red-hot Vancouver Legion. The Swarm did not put their best foot forward on opening day, but considering as members of the hive that they have 5 others, there’s time to turn this bad boy around.
20. CAROLINA SKYHAWKS
After a strong showing in Season 11, the Carolina Skyhawks are one spot away from the feared last place ranking after an abysmal home opener against perennial eighth placers Mexico City. To say there were bright spots would essentially be describing the lighting in the stadium, which consisted of multiple stands of Heavy Duty USFLHDR 58-81WPR Round Stadium Flood Lights as well as WGL and WPL models, strategically placed around the arena for maximum coverage, making up for the minimal coverage shown by Carolina’s secondary. Truly, everyone was well-lit all evening long.
21. TALLAHASSEE PRIDE
Last place in the Power Rankings is a spot of Pride this week, as the former championship game participants fall to 21st for the cowardly act of not even playing a game. Several players protested vociferously to this writer, claiming multiple times that it was their “Bye Week” and that their season begins in Sioux Falls in Week 2. This writer scoffs in the face of facts and logic, and therefore, Tallahassee has found themselves in quite the pit to climb out of. We’ll see when they open their season next week against the Sparrows in Sioux Falls.