Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Disappointing season comes to an end
2084... A season to forget, quickly.
We finished the season 7-9, with a positive points differential, at the last moment surpassing the Gothenburg Giants to avoid a fourth place finish inside the division by sweeping the division in Oranje Haven for the first time in the '80s. The French teams both made the playoffs. A ghost owned Paris Musketeers team won the division, the Bordeaux Vineyards ended a long streak of seasons without post-season play. Paris beat Bordeaux in the wild card round. Paris then deservingly crushed out the next round, ghost owned teams get no cheers from the Merchantmen management.
Winning the last two games avoided our first double-digit loss figure since the 2033 season. Imagine that, having a team touted as pre-season favorites to win it all (for the second season straight), stumbling into a 5-11 or 6-10 record! How mindboggling would that have been. Now, we're just the best 53 players in the league that managed to go 16-17 in the last two seasons. Still dreadful, just not indescribably horrific.
We've entered the 2085 off-season, losing two staff members. Our defensive coordinator J.J. Wolfe shockingly got hired by the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums as their new head coach. Our strength coordinator Martin Devine for 15 seasons decided to move to the reigning league champion Williamsburg Colonials, despite still having a long-term contract with us. Losing Devine hurt, Wolfe though, he failed to make our loaded defense play well. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise...
Tight end Monty Elliott retired after 9 seasons of service. We grabbed him in the sixth round of the 2076 draft, lived up to his then scouted potential. In 2082 peaked with 1,101 receiving yards and All IHOF (first team) honors. Like everybody else on the offense, he struggled the last two seasons. Despite that, he's retiring with 572 receptions for 6,517 yards and 47 touchdowns. His catches and yardage are new franchise records for tight ends. His touchdown figure is third to the late '50s tandem Jorge Jurevicius and Emmanuel Forbes. With 43 key run blocks, he's second to Jurevicius in that figure amongst tight ends.
Wide receivers Dennis Nadell and Brody Stevens were also amongst the retiring players. Neither was on roster last season, we've let them both go in recent seasons. They rank 13th and 10th all-time in receiving yards for the Merchantmen. Both played a WR2 role for us for several years, with many 1,000-yard seasons on their resume, even both reaching that 1,000-yard mark in 2080, the season after J.R. Mills retirement and two ahead of the arrival of Theodore Bondy.
Defensive tackle Chandler Posante was a bit of a surprise retirement. Granted, we released him in the 2084 off-season and somehow didn't find a roster spot elsewhere. Apparently other teams in the league don't think a pass rusher like Posante was worth signing. He played 95 games for us (including the playoffs), usually splitting time with other defensive linemen, but being prominent on passing downs, next to Glen Stiegler.
We're entering the off-season nearly $25M over the cap, $47.72M after taking draft picks into account. That's modest, but we'll have to find another $40M or so to be able to extend Theodore Bondy's contract. Elsewhere, I'm expecting us to find the cap space to not need any major cuts, like we had to go through in recent off-seasons.
We're picking nineth overall in the first round of the 2085 draft. Shockingly high for a team with our record, points differential and status. Had we lost either of our last two games when we were out of contention, we would have moved up to 8th in the draft order, a testament of why tanking rarely helps. Which is something we'll never ever do anyway, making it a moot point to begin with. And given that three of the three most notable retirements this off-season were a 6th round pick, an undrafted wide receiver. Brody Stevens indeed was a first round pick, but only 24th overall, so basically lived up to expectations.
So yeah, 2085. A new opportunity. We'll have to see what we can make of this. The talent is there, but we've been such an underwhelming underachieving team for two straight seasons, my expectations have been dampened into thinking we've found a way to waste the best of talent in football. No, we're not going to shop around Theodore Bondy and Kirk Hitchcock, or even Craig McCorkle and Butch Pearson. The crème de la crème of football players on our roster should resparkle their talent and carry the team to where we belong: a deep playoffs run.
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail