Friday, August 29, 2008

Armchair Coach

[Above: Screenshot from NFL Head Coach 06]

Well, I have settled into my new job at Mill Creek Middle School, and have been blessed with a wonderful team of professionals to work with as well as an outstanding administration and a good group of kids to teach this year.

You may have wondered about my title of "armchair coach," in my articles. You are about to find out why I chose that designation.

Recently, I reinstalled NFL Head Coach out of the boredom of the preseason of the NFL, and have been working my magic to assemble a team worthy of going to the Super Bowl. Part of the fun is taking the job of the General Manager in order to make trades, sign free agents and manage the salary cap. Because the original 06 version was a little bugged, I was unable to take the reins of the Atlanta Falcons and so settled for the task of rearming the Steelers for a repeat performance. The game itself is driven by statistics, so I had to assemble my team based solely from a stat-based orientation. That being said, I quickly traded Rothlesburger to the Cardinals for their first round pick, and kicked the bus, Jerome Bettis to the curb for only having a year left of productivity. ( Sorry, Paul )

Only the younger, elite players were immune to my cutting and trading pen of doom. I was throwing players around like pieces of meat, like a stockbroker on Wall Street on the trading floor. "Who loves ya, baby?" I would ask, as I signed moderaterly skilled veterans, only to immediately turn around and trade their keisters to the highest bidder for draft picks. "What'llyahave? What'llyahave?" I asked holding up my players contracts as I wheeled and dealed with the other teams GM's. When all was said and done, I had accumulated ( a bit unrealistically, but it was fun nonetheless,) a decent draft day ensemble, and then simulated the proceedings several times to see where the computer thought players would be picked. I then traded up above those picks and took the players I wanted in the draft, as fitting for an armchair coach such as myself. Here are the results of my hard fought wrangling:

Round 1 Pick 3: QB Matt Leinhart (note: this pick effectively switched QB's between the Steelers and the Cards)
Round 1 Pick 4: HB Reggie Bush (*very* fast and agile, able to break tackles for big gains)
Round 1 Pick 5: DE Mario Williams (unlike in real life, due to his stats he will become the premier sack leader in the league for years to come)
Round 1 Pick 26: CB Jimmy Williams (he will not balloon and gain 35 pounds nor lose his work ethic as he did in real life)
Round 1 Pick 30: CB Antonio Cromartie ( a virtual clone of Jimmy Williams with great speed, strength and tackling ability, he will prowl the secondary looking for heads to knock off)
Round 2 Pick 5: FS Ko Simpson ( speed like the wind, no one will beat him deep; a perfect complement to SS Polamalu )
Round 2 Pick 16: QB Charlie Whitehurst ( akin to Matt Schaub; excellent pinpoint passing, but lacking in arm strength- a perfect pick for a backup QB)
Round 2 Pick 28: LB Ernie Sims ( outstanding speed for a linebacker, a good pick for a project LB)

I signed all my rookies to 7 year deals, and although costing more initially because they don't want to be locked in, it will pay off in the long run as they increase in stats over the years they will want significantly larger paychecks. Currently I am working towards picking up the few players I missed in the draft that will turn from small acorns into solid gold performers. The other teams want an arm and a leg for them, but it will eventually turn out in my favor.

Preseason practice starts next week, and I am looking forward to putting all my skills and armchair coaching philosophies into play. I also discovered that EA Sports will be putting out an 09 version of NFL Head Coach. Perhaps they will fix the glitches they were so reluctant to address in the last edition.

armchair coach
amateur historian

Friday, August 1, 2008

One Wish

I was thinking the other day. There was once, a long time ago, an incredible opportunity. An inconceivable opportunity. A very, very rare thing occurred. It was during King Solomon's time. King Solomon traveled to a place called Gibeon, and there was granted a wish by God in a dream. 1 Kings 3:5 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."

I thought about this wish. What would I wish for, if I were given a wish? That I could be like Superman? That I could win the lottery? That I could be happy with my self image? That I could have power or fame or love? Sure, I would like to be married to my perfect soul mate- one who would complete me. To love and be loved, to know and be known.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized something. In my heart of hearts, what I really want is to love God. That's what I really want. I want to love God. I want to be His. I want to not sin. All other things are nothing in comparison.

That's what I would wish for, if I had a wish.

G. Houtchens
armchair coach
amateur historian