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Old 02-21-2006, 09:48 AM   #1
revrew
Team Chaplain
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
FOF: The Rise of the Rebels

"The South Shall Rise Again: The True Biography of Jeffrey Davis and the Birmingham Rebels"
BACK COVER COPY ('cause we know you don't read a book until you've read the back cover first).

The crowds chant, "Re-bels, Re-bels, Re-bels." Black men and white men wave Confederate flags in a sea of gray coats in Birmingham, Alabama. What kind of twisted scene is this?

It's the amazing story of The Birmingham Rebels, an NFL team that changed the way our nation looks at football, at race, at politics, and at history itself. But the book you're holding is also the startling confession of the man behind the scenes, the one man privvy to the strange and dark underbelly of a national phenomenon.

Now, for the first time, learn how Jeffrey Davis, the late owner of the Rebels and the descendant of Confederacy President Jefferson Davis, schemed and manipulated his way into ownership of the NFL franchise. Learn how his megalomaniacal schemes orchestrated a purging of all "damn Yankees" from the team, and learn about his insensed hatred for the New England Patriots and the Washington Redskins. Learn about Davis' insane goal of renaming the Lombardi trophy after Robert E. Lee, and learn about the real story behind Davis' untimely death.

From the confessions of Kendall Wilson, Davis' long-time partner and general manager of the Rebels, you'll gain insight not only into the workings of a storied NFL franchise, but also into the mind of a billionaire NFL owner gone mad. No, this isn't the story of Jerry Jones. It's the story of football, politics, slavery, victory, and defeat. It's America's story. It's the story of the Rebels.

Stay tuned for the unfolding saga...a new, creative dynasty from multi-award winning dynasty poster, revrew
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.

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Old 02-21-2006, 10:04 AM   #2
WSUCougar
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Join Date: Jul 2001
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Quote:
Black men and white men wave Confederate flags
Alrighty then.
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:08 AM   #3
JeeberD
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Sounds fascinating!
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:09 AM   #4
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
Chapter 1: A Slave to Davis

I first met Jeffrey Davis in debate club at A&M (go Aggies!). He was the senior captain, and I was just a freshman, but Jeffrey took me under his wing right away. It was probably because I was the only other member of the team that actually agreed with the side of the debate we were compelled to argue: "The South Was Right."

What can I say? I was a young idealist dedicated to states' rights vs. the abuses of the federal government. I was a hyper-conservative who cited federal breeches of constitutionality like Brooklyn kids in the fifties cited baseball statistics. When Jeffrey saw my enthusiasm for the subject, he filled my head with speeches about equal representation, econonmic tyranny at the hands of the industrial North, and the necessity of cultural integrity. He was passionate back then. I admired him so much. I had no idea just how personal the cause was to him...or what his passion would do to him later.

We won a lot of debates that year. Of course, we didn't argue in favor of slavery, and we quickly sliced down our opponents that tried to take it there. It was important to Jeffrey that we champion the idea that slavery was on the way out, even in the South, and that the war was really about cultural--not racial--bigotry. "It was the primordial ooze of that eternally damned Reconstruction from which Southern racism arose," argued Davis. "Were it not for the insensitivity and imperial arrogance of the federal government, the good people of the South could have rebuilt our society without turning our nation into a swamp of racial tension and poverty-induced rivalry. No, how dare you blame the flower for the color you pollinate into it; how dare you blame the child for resenting his brothers when you make him a bastard!" Rarely did our debate opponents prepare for Davis' incredible rantings. Half the stuff he said was just bull, but he said it with such conviction, no one knew how to answer. It helped, of course, that Jeffrey's mother is the descendant of a slave and Jeffrey carried his mother's skin hue. It always confounded our opponents to see a black man arguing so fervently for the South!

I wonder, years later now, if Jeffrey truly understood slavery. Not the slavery of the 1800's, but the slavery of today. I wonder what he would have done if just once I had answered one of his commands with a hearty, "Yes, massah." For I, Kendall Wilson, was Jeffrey Davis' slave. And now that my master is gone, I can finally tell the story, the story of how I constructed a champion team on a foundation built by a lunatic.
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:56 AM   #5
fantastic flying froggies
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sounds promising indeed...
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Old 02-24-2006, 08:20 AM   #6
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
Jeffrey took ownership of me 8 months out of college. He had founded an investment firm in San Antonio 2 years previous, and done very well in his first few years. By his fourth year in business, he had made his first million.

When I graduated from College Station, Jeffrey invited me to come work for him. Those first few years in business were exhilerating, riding a rocket of early success. It was my partnership with him that enabled him to make that first million.

But trouble began 8 months out of college. My wife, Melisa, became pregnant, and our insurance required 18 months of continuous coverage before covering a pregnancy. "No problem," Jeffrey told me, "my family has money to burn. I'll explain it all to Dad, and I'm sure we can cover the costs. Don't worry about a thing. Consider it an advance on the health benefits you'll receive when our firm takes on group coverage."

But Melisa's pregnancy had complications. The doctor prescribed medications and nursing care, and then Melisa delivered early. Our son, Andrew, was born 12 weeks premature. His hospital stay lasted 4 months, and all the while the doctors' bills grew into six digits.

Jeffrey said, "Look, Kendall. You have a wife and son who need you to care for them now; you can't be saddled with worrying about the cost. It's covered. It's paid for. Let it go, and go be with your family." I thought Jeffrey was a saint. I didn't suspect a thing.

A year later, Andrew was a normal, healthy boy. Melisa was well; business was doing well...all seemed well until Jeffrey called me into his office. He was sweating bullets, his tie was loosened, his shirt was stained with sweat.

"Kendall, I need your help. I need to ask you to do something. I...I didn't want this to happen; I didn't want to involve you."

"What is it?" I asked. "Are you in trouble of some kind?"

"Yes and no. No and yes. I mean, sort of, but not that kind, but--"

"C'mon, man. Tell me. I'd do anything for you," I said. I didn't realize how foolish my words were at the time.

With a pained look, Jeffrey pushed a file across the desk. "I need you make a transaction for a phantom company I set up. I can't do it. My name is too close. We've got to cover better. I've got the plan right here. If you establish this corporation, then move to sell to my phantom company..."

"Holy crap, Jeffrey! Do you know what you're saying? This has insider trading, money laundering, and tax evasion written all over it. Why would you need all this cloak-and-dagger stuff? The firm doesn't need this!"

"Yes, Kendall. Yes it does. It's the only way I see of making the money we need, fast."

"Insider trading will do that. But why do we need money?"

"Do you remember when I told you that my family was loaded?"

"Yeah..."

"And that they'd take care of all those medical bills?"

"You mean, my--"

"Yes. Well, Dad didn't agree to it. I borrowed the money out of a client's fund. But then the stock took off and I couldn't recoup what I borrowed--"

"You mean stole."

"You get the picture. I bent the rules to pay for your expenses, Kendall, and now I'm the one who's going to get screwed for it. You can't let me hang like that. Not when I did everything I could to take care of you and yours in your hour of need."

I didn't know what to say. Once I realized what he had done, I knew I couldn't just let him hang. It would be hard to prove I didn't know what he had been doing. I should have known what he was doing. But I was so focused on Melisa and Andrew at the time...

I eventually agreed, and set up the illicit transactions. The firm made millions off the scam. Jeffrey got rich.

It wasn't the last time Jeffrey used the "I paid for your baby" tool to get me to do his wishes. Through the years, he used that again and again. Until the day after we bought the Rebels. The day I confronted him...
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 02-27-2006, 01:54 PM   #7
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
"I'm not doing it anymore, you son of a--"

"Hey, is that any way to talk to your old friend, Kendall?"

"Friend, Jeffrey? Do you even know what that means? 'Friend'? Does a friend really use a friend's sick child to manipulate him into his selfish whims over and over again? It's been twenty years, Jeffrey! Let it go. I'm not going to screw over the citizens of New Orleans for you. Not now. Not after Katrina. The answer is no."

"Spare me the pity party and pretentious piety, 'friend.' I don't grieve over New Orleans. That city has been a living example of everything that is wrong with the South, everything I'm working to change. 'Line up all the black women in this district, line up all the white women in this district, then bring all the carpetbaggers down to get drunk and get their way!' I don't think so. Now, do what I tell you to do."

"Well, that's a fine attitude. But the answer is no, and what's with this heavy 'do what I tell you' crap?"

"You will."

"No, I won't."

"Do you remember, Kendall, when I asked you to cover me by setting up that phantom corporation years ago?"

"I'm supposed to forget?"

"No. You're supposed to remember. And remember well. You will do what I tell you to do, or I shall reveal what you did. You're the one who conducted the transaction. You're the one who set up the phony company. You're the one who would go to prison if you were ever found out."

"You're threatening me? With prison?"

"No, I'm just pointing out where the chips have fallen. So you can make a wise decision, instead of a stupid one."

"The chips? What about the chips where you stole from clients' accounts? Where you laundered funds to pay for Andrew's medical bills? You'd be prison-bound for that yourself."

"I'm sorry, Kendall. I had hoped we would remain friends through this. But that's no longer possible. The chips you just referred to...don't exist."

"What?"

"Let me spell it out. I never stole from a client's accounts. I payed your bills out of my own pocket. Then you committed insider trading, money laundering, and a whole host of nasty things that I will effectively deny knowing anything about. I do appreciate, however, that you set it up so that your illegal activities would benefit my bank account more than yours. It was most kind of you."

"You lied to me? Just to...to get dirt on me? To control me?"

"I'm sorry, Kendall. You mentioned deceiving you, getting dirt on you, and gathering information that will keep you in my service and confidence for the rest of your life. Yes, I've done that. But which instance are you referring to?"

His words brought back a flood of memories. From that day forward, Jeffrey owned me.
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 03-02-2006, 09:22 AM   #8
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
CHAPTER 2: When the Saints Were Done In

When Davis first approached me about managing an NFL franchise, I nearly cried. My fantasy from childhood was to do exactly that. In fact, in our office fantasy football league, I was the reigning champion, four years straight. That (and season tickets to the Texans) was as close as I ever figured I would come to the NFL.

Jeffrey Davis, however, had a plan in mind. For 6 years, our firm had handled investments and financial management for New Orleans Saints owner, Tom Benson. Benson had been trying to improve the financial situation with the Saints even before we knew him. He had even threatened to move the team to San Antonio if he couldn't get a better stadium deal. After hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, Benson made good on his threat for a while. As New Orleans rebuilt, however, Benson grew more and more restless, especially as his financial position grew worse and worse.

That's when Davis stepped in. Davis suggested that Benson sell a share in the team and then use that money to either make a concerted effort to improve his New Orleans position or make good on his threat to move the team. Davis even offered to help grease the wheels in San Antonio if Benson chose to make the move. And who should Benson sell a 49% share of the team to? Jeffrey Davis, of course.

Davis had made hundreds of millions in the stock market and in international investing. His investments with Chinese pharmaceuticals and wind energy in India were especially profitable. When Katrina shook up New Orleans, Davis was flirting with the title of billionaire.

Many of those investments were my discoveries or my ideas, but because of our "arrangement," I remained an employee of the firm, rather than full partner. I was well-paid, but Davis made the millions.

Tom Benson was reluctant at the time to sell to Davis, but Jeffrey had an influencial friend on his side: NFL commishioner Paul Tagliabue. The media and several other organizations were breathing down Tagliabue's neck to get more African-American owners into the NFL, and Davis manipulated that pressure to leverage Tagliabue into exerting some influence on Benson.

That's also when I first met Keaton Graves. Mr. Graves was a first-class spin doctor, a master of media manipulation who had quietly garnered significant respect through his work with the Clinton presidency, though his name was largely unknown to the general public. I don't know how Graves came to be in Jeffrey Davis' employ, but nonetheless, Graves quickly became an intricate part of the Davis team. He was to Jeffrey Davis what Goebbels was to Hitler, a propagandist that masked Davis' intent in a thick cloak of benevolence. Graves' work with Davis was a magnum opus, profoundly to be admired--were it not so dispicable.

Graves, I learned, had been on the payroll for months, working hard to stir up activist groups and key media sources to put pressure on Tagliabue. Graves liked playing the race card, but never directly. He made sure Jeffrey Davis' image was always one of racial reconciliation, touting a raceless Amercian melting pot, as evidenced by his own mixed racial ancestry. "If Jefforson Davis' grandson can marry the granddaughter of a slave and their son live the American dream to become a millionaire," Davis was quoted as saying (thanks to Keaton Graves), "then let us let our painful past give birth to a new generation, living not their grandparents' struggle, but living instead our common American destiny. Let us no longer be a Divided States of 1865, but let us be a United States of the 21st century."

It's amazing that Davis could even stomach saying that, for in truth, Davis lived more in 1865 than any man, woman, or child since 1865. Davis had no intention of uniting the United States, only raising up a new and utopian South. The other states in the Union, as far as Davis was concerned, could just go to hell.
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 03-07-2006, 10:50 AM   #9
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
Tom Benson sold 49% of the Saints to Jeffrey Davis. Then, one year later, Benson GAVE Davis an additional, controlling 2% in the team. That was my first indication that I was no longer in the inner sanctum of Davis' outrageous plans. I don't know what Davis had on Benson to blackmail him, but I'm certain that's what happened. I can't help but wonder, too, what made commishioner Tagliabue so quickly bullrush the approval through. All I knew was that Jeffrey Davis was the new owner of the Saints, that no one seemed capable of stopping his plans, and that--thanks to Keaton Graves--the public adored Davis as the new savior, not just for the Saints, but for Southern pride, black pride, San Antonio pride, Republican pride, and cat-owner's pride (yes, Graves had his tentacles into every segment of the population. If there was a magazine, newsletter, or blog that had something in common with Jeffrey Davis, then positive discussion on Davis was sure to find its way into the pages).

Davis would need the P.R. capital for his next move, the one he ordered me in to help with.

The NFL rules normally state that a team has to demonstrate negative local reaction (such as a failed stadium proposal) before a franchise can move to a different city. "Draw up a stadium proposal," Davis told me.

"But the people of New Orleans can't afford stadium renovations now," I protested, "they're still cleaning up. There's no money for it."

"Yes, exactly. This much is obvious to anyone, even Tagliabue. Surely he will see the wisdom in forgoing the bad P.R. a stadium proposal would make. But at the same time, the Saints cannot play in the damaged SuperDome. That facility should be put to good use, but a football team is not a good use. The Saints will have to move."

"We can use the SuperDome," I said.

"No. No we can't. We won't. That's that. Draw up the proposal. We're moving to Birmingham."

That's when I told Davis he couldn't tell me what to do. That's when I discovered I had no choice.
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:23 AM   #10
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
CHAPTER 3: The Wilson Rebels

"I'm turning over all football operations to you," Davis told me. "Though we have had a bit of a personal falling out lately, I still have tremendous faith in you as a businessman. Now, I will want to have some input, provide the general perameters and vision under which you will be working, but so long as we understand the boundaries, this team will be yours."

I have to admit, I was awed at what he was offering. I hesitated to receive anything, to take anything, to accept anything he might offer, but the little boy in me was overjoyed at the idea of running the Saints. I agreed, perhaps a bit too quickly. Not that I really had a choice.

"Here's what you need to understand, Kendall. This is not just an investment to me. This is not just a football team. Everything I have done, every investment, every decision has been leading up to this moment.

"Do you remember in debate club at A&M, when we debated the South was right? I still believe that. I still believe we should throw off the yolk of Northern oppression and secede all over again. But I also know that that's a political thing, and I have no patience for arguing with moron lawyers in Washington. I've tried some, you know. I've tried reasoning with them, but they're so brainwashed by their Reconstructionist colleges and universities that they couldn't see the truth if a rebel rifle was shoving their noses in it.

"So, I'm going to fight the Civil War all over again, Kendall. This football team will be my army, and through them, the South will rise again."

The gleam in his Napoleonic eyes told me that day that something inside Davis had snapped. If the world ever got to see the real Jeffrey, then Al would no longer be regarded as the craziest Davis in football.

"So here are the ground rules, Kendall. They are non-negotiable. By opening day next season, there will be no players left on the roster who are from Northern states. They can't have grown up there. They can't have gone to school there. Whether a Yankee by birth or by schoolin', they're all damned as far as I'm concerned. Do you understand that?"

"No. I think that's ludicrous and insane."

Jeffrey laughed. "Then you do understand it. Ludicrous or insane or whatever you want to call it, those are the rules you will play by. I want Southern players only. Texas is okay, but no one from California or anywhere else out west. No one from Kansas or Oklahoma or Missouri or Kentucky or especially West Virginia. And no one from Florida either."

"It is ludicrous. And insane. And geographically inept. Why not Florida?"

"Too many carpetbaggers. It doesn't count as a Southern state anymore. Florida's out. I want Carolinians, Virginians, and so forth. Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, and so forth. You got it?"

"Once again: ludicrous, insane, and I don't really have a choice here, do I?

"No. And one more thing: Don't you ever, ever lose to the New England Patriots or the Washington Redskins."
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 03-10-2006, 10:15 AM   #11
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
"Why not?"

"New England, man. New England. I know there were Minnesotans and Indianans who fought in the War, but it was all New England's fault. And Washington was the capital. And their mascots are really offensive to me. I'd rather beat those two squads in a season than win the SuperBowl, you follow me?"

"I hope not. You're going off the deep end and I'd rather return to normal."

"You don't understand, Kendall. Ever since the North invaded, my people have been spat upon, discriminated against, shut down, kept out, oppressed, lynched, and killed. Now's our chance to tackle, crush, invade, and kick their butts all over the gridiron! I want a team that will lynch Northerners on the field! I want a team that can set my people free!"

"And by 'my people' you mean..."

"Southerners, Kendall! Southerners! And black people, too. You know that racism wouldn't even exist if it weren't for Reconstruction. Why, you can't fault a flower--"

"Right, right, or fault a brother for making him a bastard. Sounds familiar. But you actually believe all that? I mean, I thought you were just trying to confuse our debate opponents. I mean, I've always agreed with the states' rights thing, but that whole analogy just seems to break down for me--"

"Don't be small-minded, man. Besides, your mother wasn't the descendant of a slave. How dare you question the expression of my being?"

"Have you been smoking something?"

"Cubans, actually. Want one?"

"No, thanks."

"Now, about the team..."
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 03-13-2006, 03:43 PM   #12
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
"I was thinking we rename the team the Confederates. The colors are red and blue, and we put the Confederate flag on the helmet--"

"Stop. Right there. You said I'd have control over football operations, right?"

"Right."

"So, let me name the team and take care of colors and all that."

"No."

"Fine. But we can't do the whole Stars and Bars thing. You'll lose a zillion on picketers and public relations and..."

"He's right, you know," came a sly, scratchy voice from the doorway behind us.

"Mr. Graves!" said Jeffrey. "Come in and join us, won't you?"

"He's right, Jeffrey," said Graves. "You can't name the team the Confederates. It would be a P.R. disaster, undo years of work preparing your people for this day."

"Well, I won't call them the Saints; that doesn't make any sense, even in New Orleans," said Jeffrey.

"Agreed. Perhaps the name 'Rebels' would suit the team better. Your meaning would be preserved, if a bit veiled, and people here do seem to resinate with that moniker."

"I like it, Graves. But do we still get to keep the flag?"

I was beginning to wonder who was really in charge here, the insane near-billionaire, or the snake of a spin-doctor he had hired.

"We won't keep the flag," said Graves. "But that doesn't mean the fans won't. In fact, some of them will catch the meaning of 'Rebels' right away and begin waving the flag at games. It will erupt in a media bonanza. They'll talk about what the flag represents, and whether the Southern spirit is well-represented by it or by the Rebels. We can work with that. We can make the fans take ownership of your cause without knowing what they're doing."

"I like it," said Davis. "But what shall the uniforms look like?"

"Oh," I said, my words dripping with sarcastic wit, "you wouldn't want anything with BLUE on it, would you? I mean, that is the NORTH's color after all."

"You're right!" shouted Jeffrey. "No blue. No blue at all. But we can keep the red. Red for passion. Red for pride. Red for rebellion. Yes, red. And then...Kendall, you're a genious. Gray! Like the old graycoats! Our colors will be gray and...and scarlet! Gray and scarlet! And on the helmets, crossed swords from Rebel calvary. What do you think, Kendall?"

"Of what?"

"Gray and scarlet! And crossed swords. Grey and scarlet, man!"

"Gray and scarlet?"

"Yes, gray and scarlet!"

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 03-17-2006, 03:36 PM   #13
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
CHAPTER 4: The Yankee Purging

The hardest part of carrying out Jeffrey Davis' plan was the initial purging of Yankees from the team. I knew if I conducted a fire-sale trade bonanza, the other GMs would be on to me and give me rock bottom negotiation. I knew if I just gutted the team all at once, the fans would...

But there was my answer. The team had a new owner, a new city, and the Saints had stunk for years. It was time for a cleaning of the house. I would trade a few of the big stars that no one would understand cutting, and then I would just gut the team. There was no way I could trickle out a cutting of 35 players, so I determined to do it all in one shot and take the media hit once, rather than letting it drag on. Like Mike Ditka trading his whole draft for Ricky Williams, I was going to release 60% of the roster and be done with it.

Thankfully, a few of our key players were died-in-the-wool Southerners. QB Aaron Brooks and young LDE Charles Grant were Southerners, but most notably for the fans, stars RB Deuce McCallister and WR Joe Horn were going to stay as well.

I looked to trade away WR Donte Stallworth and RDE Will Smith early, before the cuts hit the fan, but most of the other Yankees weren't as popular with the locals. I had lucked out there.

With my plan in mind and my pride about to be buried right along with my public image, I began the purging...
__________________
Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 03-22-2006, 03:36 PM   #14
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
The first trade came with the help of Keaton Graves, of all people. Through some carefully and intentionally planted lies about Donte Stallworth trashing the former Saints, we made Donte expendible in the eyes of the fans. I unloaded him without too much fuss to the NY Giants for some help on both our offensive and defensive lines--places we were going to be very sore for talent when the big cuts came.

Our second big trade made huge headlines, however, when DE Darren Howard was sent to Jacksonville for two young foundations of our future defense: SLB Darryn Smith and FS Deon Grant. The best news is that Howard was expendible with a young DE coming up to replace him in LDE Charles Grant, so the public was swayed to tout how good a deal we got without yet suspecting a thing.

The final straw, however, was trading away former first rounder RDE Will Smith. It made no sense to the team, and talk radio and shows like PTI crucified us for it. The trade did bring in WR Corey Bradford and SS Eric Brown, but the other GMs were beginning to get suspicious. Commissioner Tagliabue called me to ask why were so busy on the trade wire. I stalled the commish, but our time was up: we needed to dump.
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Old 03-22-2006, 05:17 PM   #15
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Was Stallworth traded because he's originally from California?
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardent enthusiast
Was Stallworth traded because he's originally from California?

Donte Stallworth, Sacramento, California --- Yep! Davis wouldn't allow California. "Too northern in flavor," he said. "Sure, San Diego is southerly, but it isn't the South!"

It turned out to be a decent trade, for us though. Stallworth was injured in Giants' training camp and never returned to form. Though he played for many more seasons, he never exceeded 800 yards receiving.

Thanks for asking! I was hoping I wasn't writing just for my own amusement.
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:47 AM   #17
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In the middle of the summer, while most teams were still in mini-camps, I cut 30 players in one day. Many of them were quality players, starters who should have been key to the team were it not for Davis' crazy rules. I feel bad for those players. Several of them found homes quickly and got into other teams' training camps. Many, however, were too costly too late in the process and had to either take huge pay cuts or slide to the CFL. A few, I'm sure, never recovered their careers. All I can say now is that I'm sorry. It wasn't personal. At least, it wasn't to me.

I was expecting a P.R. nightmare. I was expecting the new fans of Birmingham were going to scream bloody murder and betrayal. But once again, Keaton Graves was ready.

The same day I made the cuts, before news of a single cut ever hit the wires, Graves launched a major news conference and media campaign. The city change had already been made public, but Graves had held on to other information. That day, he announced the name Rebels and made a public display of our new uniforms. The media frenzy was understandably huge. But then the snake really went to work:

"The citizens of Birmingham do not deserve to inherit a new team that smells of old, with the old baggage and the old ways. This will not be the old Saints team moved to a new city. Instead, the Birmingham Rebels will be a new birth.

From this point on, consider the Rebels an expansion franchise into a new city. Many of the old players and coaches will be released to find homes elsewhere, and like an expansion franchise, we will build from the ground up. Some of the stars of the team will be retained, but most will be leaving. Yes, that means there will be growing pains in the first few years. Yes, that means victories will be hard-fought in the early stages of this conflict. But together we will build a new era of football in Birmingham! An exciting age! A new age of Rebels!"

It was a perfectly intoned speech, captivating and reassuring, like the hypnotic tones of a snake lulling its prey to sleep. Sure, the talking heads on ESPN.com scoffed and balked at the idea of emptying a team on purpose. But most of the public bought it. Some in the media hailed it as bold and daring, just the kind of brash and ingenious move that was needed to turn the old Saints organization around. I only wonder how much Davis paid them to say it.
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Old 03-23-2006, 03:36 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revrew
Donte Stallworth, Sacramento, California --- Yep! Davis wouldn't allow California. "Too northern in flavor," he said. "Sure, San Diego is southerly, but it isn't the South!"

It turned out to be a decent trade, for us though. Stallworth was injured in Giants' training camp and never returned to form. Though he played for many more seasons, he never exceeded 800 yards receiving.

Thanks for asking! I was hoping I wasn't writing just for my own amusement.

I originally thought you were talking about players who played collegiately in the South, not just southern born players. Are southern born players who play in the North allowed on the team, or is that another restriction?

Good read, I am enjoying it.
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Old 03-23-2006, 06:05 PM   #19
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I found a fan:

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Old 03-24-2006, 06:34 AM   #20
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...Thanks for asking! I was hoping I wasn't writing just for my own amusement.

I'm still here and enjoying myself!
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Old 03-27-2006, 11:25 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardent enthusiast
I originally thought you were talking about players who played collegiately in the South, not just southern born players. Are southern born players who play in the North allowed on the team, or is that another restriction?

Good read, I am enjoying it.

Thanks for the question, and sorry if I didn't make that clear. Davis' restriction was that there could be no Northern influence, either by birth or by training, so the ONLY players who were BOTH born in the allowed Southern states AND played college ball in the allowed Southern states could be on the roster.

This was the real challenge of this dynasty. It would have been too easy to see success with either Southern collegiates or Southern born, especially as the South is such a hotbed of football talent. Thus the restriction that they be BOTH. To my surprise, this became even more difficult as the seasons wore on, because apparently the FOF engine generates players with random birth towns and random colleges. As you play later seasons, a player's hometown seems to have no correlation to his college. In the real player file, a lot of Alabama boys play for the Crimson Tide; as the FOF engine creates players, those Alabama boys play for Notre Dame and Boise State.

To Froggies, ardent, and others reading: Thanks! Things are about to start heating up!
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Old 03-27-2006, 11:28 AM   #22
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CHAPTER 5: Rebels Take the Field, Season One

I want to take this moment to apologize to the citizens of Birmingham. I knew our first few years were going to be really tough. I looked over the roster of undrafted players and cast-offs that formed the bulk of our team only because they were Southerners. I told my wife, "We're going to be the worst squad in football this year." I was just thankful that neither New England nor Washington were scheduled for our first year of play. I didn't want to test Davis' threats.

That first preseason was a disaster. We limped to 1-3, with only the running of Deuce McAllister to brighten our spirits. A sudden surge of enthusiasm hit, however, at the start of the regular season.

The first season of Rebel football began at home against the Seattle Seahawks. As we expected, Sean Alexander and the Seahawks came in, running all over our inexperienced defense. What we didn't expect was the improbably fourth quarter.

To open the fourth quarter of the first Rebel game, Rebel KR Michael Lewis took a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. Just as the Saints were reborn the Rebels, that kickoff return gave the team new life. Quarterback Aaron Brooks and WR Joe Horn began lighting up the fourth quarter, scoring again and again. With only seven seconds left, the Rebels kicked the field goal that gave them a stunning 34-31 win.

The city of Birmingham was rockin' with enthusiasm. The Rebels, considered by many an expansion franchise, were a glorious 1-0: undefeated!

There was, however, the beginning of serious tension. At the game, some fans had come dressed in Rebel jerseys, Rebel pennants, Rebel foam fingers...and Confederate flags. Stadium security had to break up over a dozen fights throughout the stands. The extra 500 security members that we had hired kept the fights and arguments small and in check. The TV cameras didn't catch much. But the newspapers on hand weren't about to miss this juicy scoop.
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Old 03-28-2006, 08:41 PM   #23
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When San Fransisco came to town the next week, the stands were crawling with reporters waiting to get their claws into some inflammatory soundbites. Many of the same, square-jawed rednecks showed up waving even larger Confederate flags, just to cause a stir. It was working, too, with the journalists and security weaving through the crowd.

Some just didn't care about the hullabaloo. One father was quoted as saying, "I'm here to watch a football game with my son, not argue politics. You see those flags at every truck stop, diner, courthouse, and school around here anyway. I don't see what the big deal is."

Others, of course, went off the deep end. Maria Blackwell of the NAACP made herself and her organization look bad with sit-down protests that were later accompainied by marijuana possession arrests.

A good stir was created, not just by the flags, but by the Rebels second victory, a surprise 17-13 defeat of the 49ers. Yes, the first-year Rebels were bad, but not nearly so bad as a few of the other teams in the league. I don't know how they did it. They must have been trying to be bad. 'Cause Lord knows Jeffrey Davis' "guidelines" were killin' us.

Despite the good feelings about a 2-0 Rebels squad, the quagmire of racial and political tensions was coming to a head. It was time for Keaton Graves to step in and do his dirty magic.
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:03 AM   #24
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After the first Rebels game, Graves had called a meeting for the Tuesday after the San Fran victory. He assembled an all-star lineup of talking heads: Jesse Jackson, members of the King family, the head of the NAACP, the governor of Alabama, Commissioner Tagliabue, and so on. The star of the show, just as Graves had planned it, was none other than Jeffrey Davis.

Davis moderated an orderly line of speeches that kept him in the spotlight and made sure to make Davis look like he was the only level-headed person in the building. Clever camera work disguised any details that suggested otherwise.

Each member of a 10-member panel was given 2 minutes to voice an opinion about the Confederate flag being waved at football games and becoming an unofficial, unbacked symbol of an NFL team. Davis ran the panel like clockwork. Graves had even arranged the order of speakers so that the most hotheaded members went first, followed by gentile, articulate arguments that diffused the heat.

Each member was then given an additional minute, in turn, to refute other comments. Again, Davis ran a tight ship. No true consensus could be attained--Graves made sure of that. He stacked the panel with people far more articulate than the reactionaries who wanted to see the flag burned and the Rebels shipped back to New Orleans.

The capping moment, however, came when Davis took the microphone for himself. Davis was given 12 minutes (Graves had determined that the ideal length for maximum persuasion without desensitizing the issue) and a national TV audience to lay the matter to rest. In those 12 minutes I was reminded of the sweet, caramel voice and dazzling charisma of the man who led us to a national debate championship at A&M.

The entirety of Davis' speech can be read in Appendix A of this book, but the words that will always remain with me were: "There's no reason my grandfather's flag cannot be my brother's flag, if indeed that is how I will look upon the men around me--white men, black men, and all of God's children here in the South. So long as I see my brother as the enemy, however; so long as I see his pride in his country and state as a battle flag of my enemy, I have chosen to hate my brother for no other reason than the color of his skin. It's not the pride of the South that I would hate in that flag; it's not the courageous decisions of my grandfather that I would hate in that flag; no, the only thing I would hate in that flag is that one of those damned white men was waving it. And if he waves that flag, and it causes me to hate, who is the bigot then? Who is the hater? Is it the man with the flag? No, it would be me."

Jeffrey Davis had done it again. Did everything he say make perfect sense? No. But Jeffrey Davis had a way of saying the sky was green and the earth was flat and you'd believe it. You've probably seen some of Davis' speeches replayed on television. Right along with "I have a dream," the Black History Channel plays, "If he waves that flag, and it causes me to hate, who is the bigot then?" Do Davis' comments deserve such reverence? Heck, no. Davis was a lunatic with a brilliant spin doctor. But more about that later.
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:59 PM   #25
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By the time the Rebels returned to Birmingham 4 weeks later, Davis' comments had been played and replayed, studied in school, editorialized about in everything from the New York Times to Jet. Many in the media were hoping for a quick solution to racial tension, a panacea that would issue in an interracial utopia. Many of those had (perhaps too quickly) latched on to Davis' words as the miracle cure. I considered it snake oil, but perhaps that was only because of my opinion of the snake that was selling it.

Regardless, when the 2-4 Rebels (yeah, we were getting stomped on the road) returned to Birmingham, they were met by fans purposely waving the flag...as a sign of brotherhood? There were black men in the stands that looked on the flags...and nodded in approval?

I confess, I felt like like the nation got on the carousel and left me standing on the side. What was going on? Graves propaganda campaign had been in full swing for only 5 weeks, and already the people of the U.S. were widely convinced that the Confederate flag was a sign of unity and maturity. The tide of popular opinion had shifted: "If you can't get over somebody waving a flag representing their own unique expression of history, what kind of judgmental bigot are you? Anyone with any social maturity KNOWS we're past that chapter, when a few stars and stripes could divide whole races of people. Anyone with any social conscience is above such smallmindedess."

There was even a campaign among young black men to "have the balls" to wear the flag, to show they have enough pride in themselves to not allow such a symbol to hold them in oppression anymore.

Behold the power of football. The era of Rebel pride had begun.
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Old 04-08-2006, 07:39 AM   #26
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Our first year of play led us to a surprising 6-10 finish. Solid secondary play and better-than-advertised play from QB Aaron Brooks led us to some thrilling victories, including a sweep of Atlanta (that was the crazy fluke year when Mike Vick threw 23 interceptions).

The unexpected success had also led us to a $45 million dollar profit, a number I didn't expect to see again for some time. Davis, of course, was thrilled.

I didn't expect to have as much luck our second year, so I made the bold choice to submit a stadium plan to the residents of Birmingham. Playing at the UAB stadium was okay, but with Rebel pride surging, I figured this opportunity was too golden to pass up.

I was almost right. The stadium referendum failed by a 50.3 to 49.7 vote. A mere three thousand votes stopped us from building Rebel Memorial Colisseum. Our time would come, however. It was time to move into the offseason, and time to figure out how I was going to deal with the $32 million in lost cap space after the Yankee purging.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:11 PM   #27
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CHAPTER 6: The Rebels Draft an Army

Aaron Brooks and Joe Horn had grown to be popular heroes in Birmingham, but Davis and I had been facing contract negotiations all year. After the first year, I laid down the line on our popular holdovers: "The Rebels are a new team. We're not the Saints, and we never will be. You two can work to make the Rebels winners, or you can go the way of the Saints. It's really up to you and want you want to do with your future. Win here, or make your money somewhere else."

Both Brooks and Horn renegotiated to long, cheap contracts that gave me some room to wiggle the cap. We did release our starting MLB from that first year, for his numbers didn't justify his salary, but finding another MLB proved to be a struggle for a few years.

When the free agency period began, I put all the eggs in a big basket by going after RDE John Abraham. When the South Carolina native signed with us, the local presses began to herald our return to sound football decisions. We also grabbed some more help in the secondary, ensuring it would continue to be a strength of ours, even if we suffered injury.

The draft, however, proved to be more challenging. When our spot to draft at #10 came around, there was no pure Southerner on the board that merited that high of a pick. If I reached for QB Marco Turtschin, I knew we'd catch it for sure. At this point, the general populace had no idea we were only playing with Southerners. I didn't want this first draft to tip it off. I didn't want other GMs to know our limitations and thus so easily plan to screw us in trades and draft strategy.

Fortunately, I knew the Redskins had an extra tackle who merited a first round pick and who happened to be a true-blue Texan. With a little hemin' and hawin', we landed tackle Derrick Dockery in exchange for that first round pick.

It wasn't a perfect trade (Dockery was a RT, and we needed LT), but everyone knew we needed a tackle and the best one was taken from the board at that point. The public bought the trade, and we moved Dockery to LT.

As it turned out, QB Turtschin was still there in the second round, so we picked him to put some heat on Brooks and keep those still critical of Aaron at bay. In the third, we scooped the rest of the league by taking the best kicker on the board, Willie Harper out of Arkansas. As bad as our kicking game was the first year (19 of 34 FGA's), again we took the best Southerner and made it look like we meant it. After that, we stretched for a few, but with the big picks out of the way, the scrutiny was a lot less heated on the later selections.

We made it through the first draft with a collective sigh of relief. Our achilles' heel (Davis' restrictions on Southern players only) was still a secret.

Rnd 2 - Marco Turtschin, QB, North Carolina
Rnd 3 - Willie Harper, K, Tulane
Rnd 4 - Lonnie Knott, WR, Duke
Rnd 5 - Maurice Prescott, P, Baylor
Rnd 6 - Gus Thomas, ILB, Virginia Tech
Rnd 7 - Ken Durham, FB, Texas Tech

AUTHOR'S SIDEBAR: The Drafting of a Legend

My first date, my first prom, my first car, my first house, not even my first day of marriage--none of these I remember clouded by such trepidation as my first draft pick as an NFL General Manager.

On one April day, my merit as a manager would be indelibly stamped with the judgment of a million sports critics and the record of history. By that first draft day, several radio stations and magazines had already scoffed at my lack of experience. Would a draft day disaster confirm that I was nothing more than an armchair quarterback, a cubicle shmuck that ought to go back to my office fantasy pool? Or could I prove myself in the cutthroat arena of the NFL war rooms?

Trading out of the first round took off some of the heat, but it wasn't my first choice. A dozen players seemed worthy of our pick, but none met Jeffrey Davis' strict criteria for true Southernism. As it turned out, Davis' restrictions on my first draft--in some odd joke and twist of the draft day gods--made my first draft one of the greatest in history.

Going into the draft, I wanted my first pick to be solid. I didn't want some talented hotshot with "upside;" I didn't want an underclassman who should have stayed in college to learn the fundamentals; and I definitely didn't want some All-American big-man-on-campus primadonna who thought the NFL owed him a living for all his talent who would flame out on drug and domestic violence charges before he made his first Probowl. I was looking for character. I was looking for leadership. I was looking for intelligence. I was looking for Marco Turtschin.

Turtschin started his senior year at North Carolina with only 2 starts under his belt. He was nowhere on the draft boards at the beginning of the season. But when the 'Heels finally gave him the reins, Turtschin proved and efficient leader who took North Carolina to the Sugar Bowl on an 8-3 record. His Senior Bowl performance elevated his stock quickly, and he impressed with accuracy and a quick release at the combine. By draft day, Turtschin was considered one of the top 4 quarterback prospects on the board.

Scouts, Inc. put it this way: "Strengths: Quick release, accurate, poised, makes quick decisions. He reads defenses well and showed he could rally his team. Weaknesses: Lacks NFL-caliber arm strength and looks a bit stiff in the pocket. He doesn't move well and tends to throw the ball away rather than make plays. Final analysis: Turtschin is peaking at the right time, with solid performances in bowl games and tryouts. He'll be taken on the first day of the draft."

I had my eye on Turtschin from the beginning, especially since Aaron Brooks' performance at QB was streaky at best. I interviewed Turtschin personally, and was impressed with his maturity. When our second round pick was on the clock, I was thrilled to see that Turtschin was still available. I knew the critics would like a QB pick. I knew Davis would like a Tar Heel. And I knew I could live with my first pick being a young man I'd be proud to represent the Rebels.

Of course, given the knocks on Turtschin's arm and mobility, I didn't think I had drafted a star. I didn't think I had drafted a Hall of Famer. I certainly didn't think I had just drafted one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. I had no idea just how great of a miscalculation my first draft pick represented. Sometimes being wrong is oh, so right.
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:03 PM   #28
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Our second season, however, proved to be everything I feared the first season would be. Aaron Brooks returned to his old, turnover-prone self, negating one of the key strengths that allowed us to go 6-10 (wahoo!) in our first year. Our offensive line fell apart, our lack of a middle linebacker (we had tried to pry Tennessee native Al Wilson from the Broncos, but they had already invested too much in him to trade him away) left us susceptible to the run, and several of our key players went down to injury in the preseason.

We started the season losing badly, but the worst of it came after the second game, a 23-20 overtime loss...in New England.

I had such incredible hopes for the game--not beforehand, for we were so banged up with injury that a loss seemed inevitable, but toward the end of the game. That first matchup against the Patriots (or, "those damned bluecoats," as Jeffrey Davis called them) came down to a matter of seconds. WR Joe Horn had played especially well, hauling in over 200 yards and a touchdown, and the defense had stood remarkably strong, leaving us with a 20-17 lead inside the final two-minute warning. With the ball in our possession, all we needed was a first down to seal the game. But New England had all its time outs, and a first down never happened. On fourth and one, still in our own territory, we punted, hoping to pin New England deep. Our rookie punter, however, shanked a 26-yarder. Two plays later, a 55-yard bomb put the ball inside our 10, and we were suddenly looking at a last-second loss. Thankfully, the defense held the Pats to a field goal, sending it to overtime.

The Patriots won the toss. The Patriots marched down the field. The Patriots kicked a field goal to win, 23-20.

Our fans were stunned.

Jeffrey went ballistic.

That was the first time the fans should have had an inkling of the madness of the man at the helm. In the visitor's luxury box, Davis turned raging eyes on every member of his entourage. He bagan flinging mixed drinks across the room (most of them at me), kicked over a couch, and even hurled a playbook so hard, the man he hit with it needed stitches.

The entire tantrum was caught on video tape (though through darkened glass, so the incident with the playbook wasn't really seen). It was broadcast on local television stations.

That, of course, was when Keaton Graves stepped in. He had built such a hero cult around Davis (and had enough of the local media in his back pocket), that Davis' rantings weren't seen as the ravings of a lunatic--which they were--but the passion of a man dedicated to his cause. Somehow, Graves turned Davis' childish tantrum into a badge of honor. While other owners were seen as eccentric or aloof, Graves' turned Davis' image into that of the common man--a man with passion, pain, and fire. Though some were put off, many bought into it. "Davis is like us, man. He didn't see the loss as so many thousands in profits to be written off like those other owners. He got pissed. Alright!"

But what would become of my career, with a loss I was warned never to suffer?
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:30 PM   #29
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***Note to faithful readers***

Go up two posts, and you will see a new addition edited in. I forgot to include the "Author's sidebar" in the correct place the first time around. Please pardon the interruption and go back to read the sidebar, the title of which is highlighted in red.
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Old 04-19-2006, 02:22 AM   #30
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Been reading every day... and will keep reading everyday... MORE UPDATES

Great stuff revrew, been subscribing to this thread since day one.
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:09 PM   #31
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Coder: Thanks! And, as you requested...


A strange turn of events kept my job. For, you see, the man who was hit with the playbook and needed stitches...was me. I blacked out from the blow and was taken away by ambulance. Davis might have said, "You're fired!" but I didn't hear it.

The next time I saw Davis (back in Birmingham, for he never came to see me in the hospital), I came with a black eye and stitches across my forehead. I also came under the full advice of my attorney.

I knew Davis didn't want to admit me to his office, so I met with Graves first. I laid it on the line. Very simply, the common man image might take a blow if the public knew the full extent of Davis' little tantrum. The image might take a hit if Davis was in jail for assault, too.

Graves came around to my way of thinking soon enough. We met with Davis.

The negotiations were tense: I wanted to remain GM with a guaranteed 10-year contract and a share of the Rebel's earnings. Very simply, when the Rebels made a profit, I wanted 80 percent. And I wanted the silly roster limitation rules lifted.

Davis squirmed and ranted every way possible, including a not-so-subtle threat of violence against my loved ones. To be honest, I hadn't known him to be involved in the organized crime scene, but with Graves' record in the Clinton administration, I figured procuring a hit man might not be difficult for the Davis team.

I admit, I was shaken. Yet I stuck to my guns. I had Graves nervous, and I knew Graves had Jeffrey's ear.

In the end, a compromise: I remained GM for a guaranteed 10 years, even if we lost to New England and Washington. I remained a silent partner that absorbed no losses, but 50% of the profits. And the silly roster limitation rules...remained.

Davis would not budge on his obsession with a gridiron graycoat army. He had even taken to referring to players from "The Southern Nation" vs. players "of foreign descent." There was no way to move him.

Perhaps I wasn't going to win the Superbowl in Birmingham. But I could cost Davis a few million and make a few for myself in the meantime. That, for now, would be enough.

Our second year ended with a dismal 2-14 record, the second worst in the league. The team still made $14 mil that year, however, which netted me seven. Davis had other costs and had to pay out to the other investors...so he only made a fraction of what I raked in. The time for paybacks came one step closer.
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Old 04-24-2006, 10:02 AM   #32
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CHAPTER 7: The 3rd Year Overhaul

The beginning of the third year was the beginning of our rise, though nothing seemed to work right away. I walked into that preseason ready to spend all the new cap room I had acquired after the penalties for cutting all the old, Northern Saints finally wore off.

The Free Agency market, however, was nearly bare of true Southerners. Most had been locked up by their teams before I could get to them. I knew the fans would be screaming at me if I didn't bring in some big free agents with the money we had available, so I went against my better judgment and laid down huge money for the only big Southerner available, 5th year tight end Randy McMichael. Thankfully, Randy signed, and I spent the rest of time signing depth and getting ready for what was going to be a huge draft for us.

A rare thing occurred that year--two blue chip prospects at the top of the draft board, both true Southerners. I knew I wasn't going to get a chance like this again, so I went to the trade board hard. I already owned the #2 pick, where I expected Spencer Knowles, the LSU can't-miss running phenom to still be available. Granted, we already had Deuce McAllister in the stable, but his contract year had come, and he was hopping mad about being stuck with a franchise tag. His future was shaky, and Knowles looked like a superstar we could build on.

But where we really needed help was at MLB. Sitting high on the draft board was C.J. Atkins, a Texas born and bred Mike backer with Hall of Fame written all over him. I cut loose the wagon and hitched it all to this young man. I traded away the bank to bring Atkins into the barn.

Finally, I searched for teams in cap trouble and found a true Southerner to anchor our defensive line. DT Marcus Tubbs was young but already proven, and his team needed to unload some salary. I put every last egg in the basket (we would have no #1 draft picks and few #2s for the next 3 years), and traded for Tubbs.

I really needed all four of these young men--McMichael, Tubbs, Knowles, and Atkins--to become stars for this team. If they bombed, so would our team...for years to come.

Rnd 1 - Spencer Knowles, RB, Louisiana State
Rnd 1 - C.J. Atkins, ILB, Texas
Rnd 2 - Brian Shaughnessy, WR, Georgia
Rnd 3 - Shannon Bensen, T, Virginia Tech
Rnd 4 - Mo McGeoghan, P, North Carolina
Rnd 7 - Joey Montgomery, DE, Texas
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:31 AM   #33
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In preseason, our top picks looked pretty solid. McMichael proved to be both a security blanket and a playmaker for our sophomore QB Marco Turtschin. Atkins looked the real deal, easily winning our starting MLB spot. RB Spencer Knowles was sitting behind McAllister but chomping at the bit.

Then the regular season started...and the wheels fell off the bus. We started off right where we had started the previous year. Joe Horn was out to injury, and we dropped the first 5 games straight. The Deuce wasn't as impressive as he had been in years past, Turtschin was struggling with the starting role, and the offense went 5 weeks without topping 20 points.

For the next two weeks, Jeffrey Davis didn't speak a word to me. His silence nonetheless communicated large: we had a bye week, and then we faced the Washington Redskins.

During the bye, we brought back a healthy Joe Horn and finally surrendered the rushing attack to the rookie Knowles. When Washington came to town, we hoped the two additions would give us the spark we needed.

The big game came, and Knowles showed us on the first drive why we had drafted him. A 15- and 26-yard run, and we grabbed the lead on a McMichael touchdown grab. From there, we engaged in a dogfight. In the first half, the Skins couldn't stop Knowles, but we couldn't stop their passing attack. In the second half, the Skins keyed on Knowles, freeing WR Joe Horn to do some damage. But still, we couldn't stop the passing attack. Finally, a pair of key Redskin turnovers put us in a place to win. We got over the goalline and won the game, 27-20.

Afterwards, Davis came to me and said, "Now that's what I'm talking about! First them Yankees took the Indian lands, then they burned Southern lands, then they took that racist Indian name. Now they're taking that pigskin back home shoved so far up their #%$ they can taste it. That's the way it's done. As far as I'm concerned, your boys just won the SuperBowl."

"Your boys," he said. I liked the sound of that. We had won a big one. But we weren't done.
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Old 04-25-2006, 12:36 PM   #34
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Just wanted to say this is a good read so far, keep it up!
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:25 PM   #35
astrosfan64
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LOL you have a great imagination. At first, I was like no way, I'll read this. Now, I'm hooked.

Come on Patriots beat them Rebals...

Are the Eagles involved in all this?
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:00 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrosfan64
LOL you have a great imagination. At first, I was like no way, I'll read this. Now, I'm hooked.

Come on Patriots beat them Rebals...

Are the Eagles involved in all this?

Thanks, 'stro's. But, um, I think you have it backwards. You're supposed to be cheering for the Rebels!

As for the Eagles...not specifically. Davis' ire is reserved for Civil War era grudges. Thus, he's upset at "New England," especially since they have the gall to call themselves Patriots (when the true patriots...well, you get the idea.) Washington also earned double ire for not only being the capital of the Union, but for a name (Redskins) Davis perceives as racist.

Philadelphia, of course, was also part of the evil Union alliance, but he can't expect the Rebels to always beat every Yankee clan of hooligans.
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:15 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revrew
Thanks, 'stro's. But, um, I think you have it backwards. You're supposed to be cheering for the Rebels!

As for the Eagles...not specifically. Davis' ire is reserved for Civil War era grudges. Thus, he's upset at "New England," especially since they have the gall to call themselves Patriots (when the true patriots...well, you get the idea.) Washington also earned double ire for not only being the capital of the Union, but for a name (Redskins) Davis perceives as racist.

Philadelphia, of course, was also part of the evil Union alliance, but he can't expect the Rebels to always beat every Yankee clan of hooligans.

I'm a yankee stuck in the south . Look forward to the next chapter.
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Old 05-02-2006, 08:33 AM   #38
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The next week, we traveled to 6-1 Dallas where we were 13-point underdogs. We won. Then we won again. Then we won again. We won 7 of the next 9, a tear that brought us to 7-7 after starting 0-5. The future was beginning to shine through the clouds. We dropped the last 4 to vastly superior teams, but at 7-9, we had just finished with our best season of Rebel football to date.

Of our 4 key acquisitions--McMichael, Tubbs, Knowles, and Atkins--all 4 looked like winners. McMichael finished the year with 91 catches for 922 yards and 5 TDs, blatantly overlooked for post-season honors (Jeffrey Davis blamed it on Yankee presswriters). Atkins finished with 100 tackles even, 1.5 sacks, and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Tubbs played solidly, and Knowles clearly defended the starting RB role from all challengers. Had he started those first 5 games, he probably would have won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Excitement was starting to build in Birmingham, both inside corporate HQ and on the street. "We may not get to draft much for the next 3 years," I told a reporter for the Atlanta Constitution, "but we drafted 3 years worth of stars this year alone."

Sure, we lost $48 million dollars in our third season, but almost all of it came out of Jeffrey Davis' pocket. After the move to Birmingham, many of the Saints' part-owners were looking to sell, and after the 2-14 year, Jeffrey succeeded in acquiring nearly 100% of the team. Good thing, too. That meant he was going to take on nearly 100% of our losses over the next few years, especially with the new stadium the public agreed to give us after our upstart 7-9 year. Jeffrey was not only going to suffer through losses, he was also going to have to shell out $200 million to build a new stadium. If I was careful enough, I thought, I might just bankrupt that bastard.
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:10 AM   #39
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CHAPTER 8: The Rebs Become Formidable

Our fourth season began with two big newslines--one good and one bad. The bad news was that veteran star WR Joe Horn, who had been injured last year but made a strong comeback, chose to retire. I pleaded with him through his agent to give us another year or two, but Horn told the media he had just lost his fire to continue. His heart was still in New Orleans, and he returned there to devote himself to a charity he had started in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It was a heavy blow to Rebels fans.

The good news, however, was that the voters of Birmingham approved a new stadium deal, one that would cost Jeffrey Davis a cool $200 million dollars and give the Rebels one of the finest stadiums in the league.

Unfortunately for the fans, we couldn't give them much news either in the free agency market, nor in the draft. I knew we had a beautiful crop of young players, who, given time and maturity, could propel this team to the winner's circle. I needed the money to lock up the youngsters, rather than trying to pull in vets to win now. In free agency, we brought in a few vets that fell through the cracks--mostly backups that could handle the time if we suffered injury--and we traded virtually nothin for an upgrade at fullback. The draft gave us nothing but depth (or so we thought) and hopefully, hopefully, the right guard we were desperately needing.

Rnd 3 - Lamont Carlisle, QB, Baylor
Rnd 3 - Mercury Frase, G, Small College
Rnd 5 - Toby Porter, CB, Tennessee
Rnd 6 - Ross Lewis, QB, Truman State
Rnd 7 - Frankie Warholic, DT, Houston

The fate of our season, however, would rest not on new acquisitions, but the development of the previous year's rookies and youngsters. Little did I know, years down the road, that one of our late draft picks would "volunteer" his name for the Hall of Fame.
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Old 05-08-2006, 10:27 AM   #40
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Early wins (including a 14-7 defeat of New England in the preseason--though Davis told me point blank, "Preseason doesn't mean a thing. Just don't embarrass us.") boosted our confidence, but the real turning point in Rebel football came at the halfway point of our fourth season.

We were sitting at 4-3 and traveled to 4-3 Tampa Bay. We knew we couldn't catch division leader Carolina, but to make it to the playoffs we had to get into second, and that meant getting past perennial bridesmaid Tampa. It was gut-check time for our young team, as QB Turtschin's security blanket, TE Randy McMichael, was out to injury. Turtschin was showing signs of being an excellent leader and field general (though his raw talent was always suspect), but this was a big test for him.

It was a big test for the rest of the team, too. Someone had to step up and make some plays. Our defense was getting a rep for getting to the quarterback, led by our bookend star DEs, John Abraham and Charles Grant. But with Joe Horn's retirement, our WR situation was a mess. McMichael out only exposed our team's biggest Achilles heel. Someone needed to step up.

That someone was sophomore running back, Spencer Knowles. He had shown flashes before, but this was the first game that he truly took the team on his back and carried us to victory. Knowles ran for 125 yards and 3 touchdowns. Coupled with our increasingly intimidating defense, we rolled to 24-10.

After the Tampa game, confidence soared. So did the team. We finished the season 11-5 and grabbed the top wildcard spot. Only in our fourth season, and the Rebels were on their way to their first playoffs! How's that for rewarding the fans that gave us a $485 million dollar stadium deal?
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Old 05-09-2006, 09:42 AM   #41
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The Rebels traveled to Dallas to face a lightning-efficient passing attack. The game was a fight to the finish. It was also a sign of things to come. Spencer Knowles was a fantastic running back, but he struggled with fumbles throughout his career. We lost that game, largely because we lost the turnover battle. Still, a 20-17 loss was nothing to hang our heads over.

The season still ended on a high, as whispers of next year hung in the air. The Rebels were a young team and figured to return many to the fray.

From a management perspective, however, the heat began to get to Jeffrey Davis. He had to shell out $48 million in a stadium payment and another $9 million in losses, for a total loss of $57 million. In two years under my guaranteed contract, I had cost Jeffrey Davis $105 million dollars. Granted, the value of his franchise, under the new stadium deal, had skyrocketed, but the cash flow beat him up a bit. You have to understand, I wasn't actually costing him money, I was just moving it from liquid assets to investing it the Rebels.

There would come a day when Davis would see the method to my madness. There would come a day when he would question just who owned the Rebels. By then, it would be too late. He would regret the day he used my sick son to make me a slave. He would regret his deceptions.
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:18 AM   #42
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Chapter 9: Great Expectations

Before that fourth season of Rebel football (in which we made the playoffs), I had tried fervently to work out a deal with the Titans to bring 6'4 Southerner receiver Tyrone Calico to Birmingham. The Titans wouldn't have it, and so I waited.

That season, however, the Titans suffered a horrible year, driving Calico's performance and stock way down. When the season ended, the Titans were in cap trouble and released Calico to free agency. When I spoke to Calico's agent, his client was very impressed that I had gone to such great lengths to try to bring him to Birmingham earlier. His client was impressed with our upward trend, and to make a long story short, Calico signed with us for a song in the first week of free agency, before other teams even made a serious offer.

The ripples of our free agency coup spread across the media. Everyone knew we were hurting at WR, but the signing of Calico plus the re-emergence of veteran wideouts Robert Ferguson and Corey Bradford (signed to the Rebels in seasons 2 and 3 for cheap after suffering injuries and poor years elsewhere), gave us a suddenly formidable receiving corps. That veteran FB we grabbed in season 4 showed himself to be a receiving threat, and then coupled with TE Randy McMichael, young QB Marco Turtschin had more weapons than he could count.

With our holes being shored up and our young stars emerging, the Rebels became a trendy pick to win the SuperBowl. ESPN the Magazine ran a cover article featuring Turtschin, Knowles, and MLB Atkins, with the headline, "Are the Rebels Ready?". Their answer was yes, and the Mag picked us to win it all. Was that a curse, as it had been to other teams? Perhaps, but time would tell.

At the end of free agency, I surveyed the team. We had some expensive depth eating up cap space, and I knew we were getting close to being a real contender. "This could be our year," I told Davis, so I dumped some of our depth and went after one last free agent, 11-year veteran left guard Alan Faneca. With Faneca anchoring the line, we would still struggle at right guard, but the rest of the line could more than hold its own. If someone, anyone could step up at RG, I believed the O-line would plow our way to the big game.

Our draft, depleted by the trades that brought in Spencer Knowles and C.J. Atkins:

Rnd 3 - Jerald Boyle, WR, Auburn
Rnd 4 - Johnnie Wachsmuth, TE, Texas - El Paso
Rnd 4 - Toby Guthrie, T, North Carolina
Rnd 5 - Ron Cicci, QB, Small College
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Old 05-10-2006, 03:15 PM   #43
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Fantastic reading thus far.
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Old 05-15-2006, 05:13 PM   #44
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Izulde: Thanks

Throughout season five, several players stepped up at crucial moments. In game 2, with injuries to our receiving corps, the offense sputtered, but #4 WR Dante Hall ran back both a punt return and a kicoff return for touchdowns, almost single-handedly carrying us to victory.

Unfortunately, a solid and consistent right guard never did step up that season, and we lost both of our games to conference rival Tampa Bay. The Bucs knocked us down to second in the division, but the fifth season Rebels--one of the most talented Rebel teams in franchise history--still powered to an 11-5 finish, grabbing the top wild card spot.

That squad gave us our first playoff victory, a 24-3 trouncing of Chicago in the snow. That squad also powered us past Dallas, who knocked us out the previous year. It was close (27-24), and the difference was our strength all year: getting to the quarterback. We racked up 5 sacks in that game and more than 50 that year.

Thankfully, Tampa Bay was beaten by surprise upstart wildcard Green Bay, giving us the NFC championship game at home. We had lost to Green Bay in Lambeau earlier that year, but at home, the NFC championship was a blowout, as Knowles ran for 174 yards, Turtschin completed 24 of 27 passes for 4 touchdowns, and the Oline put in its best performance of the year. 41-15 was the final score, and we looked very good going into the big game.

Though we had beaten Denver 17-10 earlier in the season, the Bronco squad that met us in the first Rebel SuperBowl was healthier and stronger than it had been earlier. Through 4 quarters, the game raged back and forth. Many still remember that Bowl as one of the best in history. Late in the third quarter, however, we began losing air in the tires. The physical Bronco secondary had knocked out Tyrone Calico, Robert Ferguson, and Corey Bradford with injury. Our top 3 wideouts were in the locker room or on the bench, leaving us with diminutive Dante Hall and a rookie to catch passes. We couldn't even field a 3-WR set. We didn't have any wideouts left.

Unable to get a big play, the battle for field position and possession time began to work against us. Denver tied it up, 17-17, as we struggled desperately to hang on.

The Bronco defense began to key in on our tight ends (we had to run a series of 2TE sets to get more receivers into patterns), taking away even star TE Randy McMichael. The Broncs brought 8 into the box, and we couldn't burn them over the top. Our third downs got longer, and we didn't have the playmakers to convert.

With little time on the clock, we just needed one more first down to take the game into overtime. We couldn't do it. We punted away, and the Broncos marched over our tired defense, and with only seconds on the clock, lined up for a game-winning 52-yard field goal. The ball sailed through the uprights as time expired, stealing away our first shot at the Lombardi. We lost 20-17.

The postseason was bittersweet for the Rebs. LDE Charles Grant's league-leading 18 sacks won him 1st team DE. Pass-catching FB Alan Ricard won 2nd team FB, and SLB Daryl Smith finally got much deserved recognition, his 8 INTS getting him 2nd team OLB. The team lost 50 million dollars (driving up Jeffrey Davis' total losses to $155 million), but more importantly...I had put a lot of eggs into the basket that year. I had wagered the future against a SuperBowl victory. When we lost, we knew we weren't going to return stronger the following year. The cap man had finally come, and it was time for the Rebels to pay up.
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Old 05-15-2006, 05:27 PM   #45
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Toooo bad.
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:57 AM   #46
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CHAPTER 10: No guts, no glory

Our sixth season proved to be the most pivotal season in Rebels history. Owner Jeffrey Davis didn't know it, but his insanity was about to trip him up. I don't know if it was karma, or simply the law of reaping what you sow, but Davis' greatest moment of glory and the fulfilling of all his dreams was about to coincide with his darkest moment.

As soon as the NFL announced the schedule for the following year, Davis approached me. "You know what this year means, right?"

"It means we're in a heckuva lotta cap trouble is what it means," I replied. "It means we may have to cut a bunch of our star players just to get in under the cap--"

"No! No, you can't! This must be our greatest year ever! We must field the greatest Rebel army we've known to date!"

"Look, I know we came within spitting distance of the Lombardi. We gave it all we had. But to try to retool this year may not be possible."

"Lombardi?" Davis asked incredulously. "The SuperBowl would, of course, be a welcome thing, an icing on the cake. But the cake, man. Don't forget the cake."

At this point, I was beginning to suspect someone had been feeding my employer looney pills. "The cake?"

"Yes! Have you not looked at the schedule? Week 2! New England! Week 6! Washington! This is our SuperBowl year, Kendall! The Yankees are invading from the North, and this is our chance to send them packing! The South shall rise again, Kendall, and you are to do whatever it takes--and I mean whatever--to defeat our foes this year. The Patriots and Redskins, the bluecoats and the bigots, must go down. Do you understand me?"

"Very well," I replied. "As you wish."

Davis left my office, his deranged mind filled with visions of victories like so many sugar plums dancing in his head.

I, on the other hand, had known of the schedule long before Davis' incensed visit to my office. It would fit nicely into my plans. Very nicely. "Whatever it takes," he said, right?
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:27 AM   #47
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Old 05-18-2006, 10:34 AM   #48
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At the opening of the off-season (or, the ON-season for G.M.s like me), the Rebels were more than 13 million over the cap with only 40 players on the active roster. We had to not only shave 13 million dollars off the roster, we had to add between 6 and 13 players more!

At first, I thought our chances at defending the NFC title were slim to none. With our Oline and defensive stars aging, I grew worried that our fifth season had been as close to a Lombardi as we were ever going to get. If I had to release too many players to get under the cap, we wouldn't be able to make another run for years.

As soon as the pain of the SuperBowl loss cooled, I hit the phones hard, preaching another title run to our seasoned vets. I had hoped they would catch the fever and be willing to renegotiate into cream puff contracts that could free the Rebels from cap hell. Then I sent out the scouts to see if there was any way we could trade out some expensive reserves and/or some of our picks for underpriced, true Southerner starters.

On the re-signing front, we weren't as lucky as we'd hoped. Our players were willing to renegotiate, but only at the cost of big signing bonuses and contracts that escalated out of control. We wouldn't be able to hold the nucleus together for long. But maybe, just maybe, one more year.

On the trading front, we were able to score one of two big trades we were hoping for. Though we paid a hefty price, the Giants were willing to give up Georgia native, Split End Chester Lucido. Our scouts touted Lucido as a greatly undervalued player, one whose ability to run a precise route and catch the ball under any situation reminded some of the old guys of the Vikings' Chris Carter. Opposite Tyrone Calico with the speedy Robert Ferguson in the slot, our receiver corps got an immediate upgrade. The underperforming and injury-prone Corey Bradford was shown the door, and the carpet was rolled out for Lucido.

It was a brutal off-season. We renegotiated everybody, made some painful cuts, and negotiated down to the last week of free-agency before training camp. Then, the day before training camp began, we inked LCB Ahmad Carroll. We were in negotiation with Carroll every week for 15 weeks, but finally brought him in. Ahmad was the kind of one-on-one shutdown corner we had never had in Birmingham, and I dearly hoped he would stay healthy to finally give us a pass defense worthy of our pass rush.

Another draft, depleted by trades:
2 (31) Byron Robertson, G, VA
3 (31) Marco Graveson, CB, LSU
7 (31) Aaron Sockanathan, WR, NC State

Staying healthy, of course, was going to be the key. In order to sign Carroll, I had to make a gutsy decision. There was no more wriggle room. If we were going to bring him in, we had to make the foolhardy decision to play with less than a full roster. We couldn't afford 53 guys on the team. If injuries hit us, we would be in deep water. But I wanted a SuperBowl, and I wanted it bad. Bad enough to play the season with only 49 guys on the roster. "Whatever it takes," Davis had said. Gulp.
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Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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Old 05-18-2006, 11:25 AM   #49
Poli
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Update on my birthday. Sweet!
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Old 05-19-2006, 10:02 AM   #50
revrew
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Just outside Des Moines, IA
ardent: Happy Birthday! and now, for another update...

Of course, "Whatever it takes," was going to cost Davis dearly. I had no idea at the time how dearly...but I was hopeful. Davis had lost over $150 million dollars in cash since his investment in the Saints/Rebels. He barely had the money to purchase the Saints in the first place, and he certainly didn't have the money to shell out an additional $150 mil. Jeffrey's cash reserves were dried up. He was out of room to use his money to manipulate and control people any longer.

Time for him to get a bit of his own medicine.

I had worked to work and rework every contract I could. The only way to do drive our cap cost down, however, was to get small contracts up front with big guaranteed money to go with it. In the NFL, that guaranteed money takes the form of "signing bonuses," which owners must pay at the beginning of the year, before any ticket sales or merchandizing revenue comes in. To renegotiate with our veteran players, I rang up a signing bonus bill of 57 million dollars and handed it to Davis.

"57 million? I haven't got that kind of money! You need it when?"

"Now, frankly. You did say you didn't want the veterans cut. You did say, 'do whatever it takes--and I do mean whatever.' The only way to keep the veterans and stay under the cap was to give them signing bonuses up front. It was the only 'whatever' we have available to us."

"But...I thought you were supposed to be good at money management!"

"NFL teams do it all the time. I didn't do anything other managers don't do. Besides, by the end of the year, you'll have it all back."

"But what am I supposed to do in the meantime? I barely have a penny to my name besides the Rebels anymore! I don't have the money."

"Hey, not a problem. You'll have hundreds of millions coming in throughout the year. I'm sure we can simply float a loan on this. I mean that, or maybe you could sell off some of the Rebels--"

"No! The Rebels are mine! I don't want someone else coming in here and trying to draft some damn Yankees or something. I don't want someone sniffing around, getting their fingers in the mix."

"Then...a loan? It can be done."

"Whatever. You heard what I said. Whatever it takes. Just beat the Pats and Skins."

"Very well. As you wish." The next day I brought in papers from a small bank, granting Davis a loan for $60 million dollars. Davis signed it without looking at it. He was too busy playing Front Office Football with the updated rosters, trying to sim a season in which the Rebels beat both the Patriots and the Redskins.

What Davis didn't realize was that the loan was from a small bank that was started only 3 years earlier...by me. Davis essentially took out a loan...from me. I didnt' have $60 million myself, but my bank could float it, and so it did. The terms of the loan were simple: the day after Davis made his $48 million dollar stadium payment, the full $60 million was due. As collateral in case of non-payment, the bank would agree to take a 49% share in the team instead of payment. Even if Davis defaulted on the loan, he would still be owner, but Kendall Trust Lmtd. would be a 49% partner.
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Winner of 6 FOFC Scribe Awards, including 3 Gold Scribes
Founder of the ZFL, 2004 Golden Scribe Dynasty of the Year
Now bringing The Des Moines Dragons back to life, and the joke's on YOU, NFL!
I came to the Crossroad. I took it. And that has made all the difference.
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