Right around this time last year, we introduced a new series here at Pats Pulpit: Patriots Flag Football. In it, Greg Knopping and I went head-to-head to determine once and for all which one of us reigned supreme as the head coach of a hypothetical 7 vs. 7 flag football game played solely by members of the 2012 Patriots roster. Needless to say, I absolutely dominated and was voted GM of the year by the community. My landslide victory aside, it was a lot of fun, generated some good discussion, put two different draft philosophies on display, and gave us all something to do in the final weeks before training camp starts. Apparently, Greg is a glutton for punishment, as he is back this year in hopes of redeeming himself and putting up a more impressive showing than last year's debacle (you can get a recap of the slaughter here). So with that, let Patriots Flag Football 2013 begin!
The rules will remain the same as last year, with a few important additions. Each of us can only draft members of the 2013 Patriots, with the understanding that Tom Brady will serve as all-time quarterback. This year, we will also be adding an all-time defensive player to balance things out (this was one of our biggest mistakes last year), and after some discussion, we all settled on Jamie Collins; he's a phenomenal athlete, he has a good combination of size and speed, and he will serve well in the hybrid pass rusher/coverage player role that is so crucial to flag football. Plus, he's a question mark in terms of what he brings to the table, so we'll have to adjust our drafts accordingly. Once one coach picks a player, he is off the board for everyone else, and we will be drafting under the assumption that the entire team is 100% healthy, or will be by the time this hypothetical game is played. In addition, we established that the defense can rush the quarterback after a standard "3 Mississippi" count, and each defense gets one blitz per offensive possession. All players are eligible receivers, players can run routes or stay in to block as they see fit, are allowed to run the ball out of the backfield, and the quarterback is allowed to take off as soon as the pass rush comes (although with Tommy B back there it's kind of a useless rule). I got the impression that last year Greg and I drafted our squads based on slightly different rules, and so I wanted to make sure we are all on the same page so nobody has any excuses when I dominate for the second consecutive year.
I'm also happy to say that this year we will be expanding the draft from two teams to four, as fellow contributors Richard Hill and Adam Fox will be joining in. I'm especially excited to have Richard and Adam on board, as they will not only provide me with some much-needed competition, but having an extra two drafters means all four of us are going to have to go deep into our knowledge of the Patriots roster and spend a little more time strategizing who we pick.
I initially suggested we just put it up to a vote now, declare me the winner, and save everyone a lot of time and heartache, but I guess that the writers here at Pats Pulpit all have strong masochistic streaks. So, we'll be getting started with the draft ASAP. As last year's returning champ, I'll be picking first, followed by Greg, Richard, and then Adam. If all goes, well, this draft and ensuing vote will bring us right up to the start of training camp, and it will give me another fake trophy to put in my trophy case right next to my "Best Effort" ribbon from my 3rd grade baseball camp and my "Participant" award from the 23rd Annual Eastern Connecticut 5K Fun Run and Pancake Mixer.
Let's get this party started. Check back soon for my first pick.