By Matthew Slinn, Images by J.R. Lawless
After sitting down with thay entertaining trio of running backs, I continued grilling the skill position players of the SFLm. In this piece, I speak to quarterbacks, Ben Stone and Jay Cue, two players at the top of their games and eager to increase their stock in a very competative market. We shall start with Ben Stone.
Slinn: Hey Ben! Very happy to be sat here with you, ready to pick your brain about all things SFL. I’m sure a few of the community already know this story, but I’d like to know personally, how did you stumble across our great league?
Stone: Thanks for having me. I learned about the league from the Arizona Scorpions owner Eddie Gauge. He is my Uncle through marriage. My wife and I went to visit our family up in Arizona and I saw the coverage from the S14 draft on Eddies Facebook page and started asking him questions about it. I then watched the Scorpions first game of the year weeks later and was hooked.
Slinn: Ahh ok, so obviously Arizona has a full fledged roster and it’s likely you’ll end up on a rival team. Have you taken a look at the schedule to see which teams play Arizona, so you could face Eddie?
Stone: Funny you ask that. I did point out to Eddie that if I ended up getting selected by Lone Star that my first career SFL game would be against him. I would be happy to be selected by any team though. I am just looking for any opportunity to make an impact in this league!
Slinn: This ‘impact’ you have professed as wanting to make in this league – does that extend to potential off the field positions? Whether it be a team staff or league staff position?
Stone: It definitely does! I am willing to help my team off the field in any way that I can. As far as taking a team staff or league staff position that would be something I would be interested in, but for now I am just focused on getting established in this great league.
Slinn: Already finding your positivity infectious and I’m sure that will filter into the team that drafts you. Speaking of the draft, any early indications are to when you might get taken?
Stone: I appreciate that! I have had some very good conversations with a number of teams looking for both my primary (QB) and secondary (WR/FS) positions, but you never know with the draft. I would obviously love and prefer to be drafted as a QB in this league so I can help lead a team to a championship, but just getting my foot in the door is plenty enough!
Slinn: Quarterback is obviously the marquee position for a lot of players and fans. Are there any QB’s you wish to emulate in the SFL? And to be clear, I’m talking SFL passers here.
Stone: For sure, the first one that comes to mind is Marcus Dunhill. Making the pro-bowl, winning an MVP and a Championship are all goals of mine and he did all of that last year with a great organization in Atlanta! Another player I like to watch is Christian Christiansen. As a QB you want the opportunity to lead your team downfield with a passing attack and nobody did that more last season than him.
Slinn: I couldn’t have picked two better players to follow in the footsteps of. Both are living legends of the league with telescopic arm talent. We’re drawing to the end of our interview now and I have one more question to ask you. SFL or NFL…pick one receiver who you would draft to pass to if you could guarantee you would be a partnership for 10 seasons.
Stone: Wow! So many great receivers come to mind, but I am going to have to go with Larry Fitzgerald. He is the entire package when it comes to receivers. He has the toughness, the route running, the hands as well as the leadership you want out of a teammate. His loyalty is unmatched and at the end of the day that is the kind of guy you want in your locker room.
Slinn: And the longevity. The man lasted for YEARS! Well, Ben, thanks so much for a great discussion. Naturally, I wish you all the best!
Stone: Thank you for the opportunity and the time Slinn! Good luck this upcoming season!
What a great interview with a respectful and eloquent young man. Now onto another…Mr. Jay Cue.
Slinn: Hi Jay! Very happy to be sat here with you, ready to pick your brain about all things SFL. I’m sure a few of the community already know this story, but I’d like to know personally, how did you stumble across our great league?
JC: Hey Slinn. Thanks for having me. Cue is based across the pond, in the lovely country of Portugal! A few months ago, i found a different sim league on reddit, that introduced me to a concept that it’s not very common in Europe. I enjoyed it and one time some of the users started talking about the SFL, and what they said peaked my interest. Went online, found the website and the discord and decided to join. I started doing check ins to see if i could get some team to draft me, but i joined almost at draft time, so i only got 2 check ins, so naturally i went undrafted. That eventually became a “blessing in disguise”, as the SFLm was introduced, allowing me to get to this point as one of the players on the top of the rookie board.
Slinn: Ahhhhh so you have been around for a long time then! Well if that doesn’t say to teams ‘this guy is in for the long run’, I don’t know what does! You may also be interested to know that i’m also your side of the pond, but due north in England. What made you decide to pursue a career at QB?
JC: I guess i played with the probabilities, considering i was at the time of the position choice like top 5 or 6 on the rookie board, i figured i would get a shot of choosing QB for the SFLm and the SFL Draft. But i consulted a lot with some of the more established QBs in the league (sorry to all of you that got me in your DMs bugging you), asking them what was expected of someone with a player in that position and what should i focus on. Ultimately, after a lot of discussion, I felt like it was a good fit for me and my objectives on the SFL.
Slinn: It would be interesting to know, with the way things have shaped up heading into the draft and QB being such a hotly sought after position, whether you still think it was the right thing to do? And, off the back of that, if you have had good dialogue with any teams?
JC: If we look a month back, i would say i was more confident then than I am now. At the time there were big changes on rosters, some veteran QBs left, others were thinking about it, so everyone was saying that eventually 6 or 7 teams would be needing a QB shortly, which was absolutely perfect for me as one of the top QB’s on the rookie board. But after that a lot of changes happened again, veteran players came back, which made the position a bit saturated and we now know that some SFLm QBs won’t be drafted, at least in that position. Looking at team talks, i think i spoke with every Owner/GM of the teams that need (or needed at the time) a QB and made my pitch very clear to them. Some teams were naturally waiting on Pichler to decide his next team, but now it is pretty clear which teams will be drafting a QB. Every team i spoke too knows my intentions, we had very good talks about team and personal objectives, so even though i’m not as confident to be drafted as i was 1 month ago, i think QB needy teams know that i’m a good prospect and a safe choice. And if they don’t, let me know what i can do to help them with that decision.
Slinn: Well you are certainly winning me over – as an interviewer – with your detailed answers. I have to ask then, because as you say, QB is rather saturated, so there another position Jay Cue is happy to play for the right team?
JC: My secondary build is a CB, as i had to choose defense. I can’t say that I mind playing as a CB, or any other position on that side of the field for that matter, but if i am really honest, the fact that i have been doing checkins since last december i think, should at least give me a chance to play as my preferred position. Obviously that i knew from the start that nothing is guaranteed and i’m in this situation because i chose to, but i have been present for the last 28 or 29 weeks, so any team looking for a QB in the draft should have me high on their board. But if for some reason they decide to go with other of my fellow QBs, i think i’m ready to play other position.
Slinn: Yeah, I think one big thing about this league is that you have to be prepared to be flexible in your approach and not restrict yourself too much. Keep an open mind and you could find yourself finding unexpected enjoyment. Is there an area of the league you have particularly found enjoyable over others?
JC: I have to admit that i find it amazing how users can pretty much do everything on this league like on real life. The only thing i don’t think it happens is real contract money and positional meetings with coaches laughing The fact that people take a lot of interest in scouting, either players and opposing teams, just shows the type of commitment players have on the SFL. The part that i feel is the most enjoyable is the locker rooms. I shared the 2 now, London’s and Lincoln, and the fact that we can see the excitement during every game, the breakdown after, with everyone sharing a common goal, it’s fantastic.
Slinn: And what do you bring to a locker room Jay? If I asked your teammates, what would they say about you?
JC: What i can bring is activity and a positive vibe. I’m not gonna say that i am the best guy every to grace the SFL obviously, but i think that everyone who shared some conversation with me can say that i am a pretty easy going dude, that likes to say a few jokes to lighten the mood. But there’s something very important that i think i can bring: i know very well that, in the end, even though we can spend a lot of our time here, this is only a game. I think some people misses this point. So i won’t be complaining about my player not getting the plays he should or whatever, i completely trust GMs and Owners in the SFL to do what’s best for the team, but that we are all dependent on sim luck after all.
Slinn: If only Vegas needed a QB man, I’d draft you here and now! I’m coming to the end of my questions now, but I have one more for you, and I want you to think back to other SFL QB’s you’ve seen on the field. Is there a player you would like to emulate, or replicate their play style?
JC: It’s always hard to try and emulate someone from a video game, like i said, it’s all very dependent on the sim. I like to say, “sim’s gonna sim!” So, no matter what you do, how hard you try to get your player to be the best and how hard you try to help your team, sometimes things just don’t go your way. Don’t take it personally. But on the field, considering i have been doing check ins for 1 season, obviously i would like to emulate Jonny Pichler, that managed to help his team get to the playoffs on his rookie year. That’s always a good thing, when you can get to a team and instantly change their objectives. But like i said to every scout, i’m up for whatever the team needs and sees its QB going in the future. My objectives will align with the ones the team has. Do you want a QB that’s not a complicated person to please? I’m your guy.
Slinn: Thanks, once again Jay for this talk. I hope to see you on the field VERY soon!
JC: Thank you for your questions Slinn, really appreciated it!
And there we have it! I hope you learned something from those conversations, whether you’re a fellow rookie, teammate of either of these two men, GM, owner, coach. They both certainly put their best foot forwards. Our next ‘Rookie Rendezvous’ will be headed up by our very own AJ Stryker, as she talks with some rookies who may or may not be flying under some radars.