Note ... This is going to be an ongoing project for me throughout this season. Gradually as the weeks go by I hope to share with you the highlights of the past 33 years of FAFL using my collection of our league newsletters. I've had a blast reading through our first season as it reminded me of story lines I've long since forgotten about and I'm excited about recreating it for you guys. Just getting out all the old newsletters and looking at them in their detail, I admit now that it amazes me how I was able to get them in the mail by Tuesday nights so you all could receive them by Wednesday or Thursday ... Yikes and I'm still married? As time permits I'll continuing adding to this project. So if this is of any interest to you, check back to catch some history .... Enjoy

How it all began ... August 28, 1981
11 friends representing 8 teams got together on the above date to
draft skill players from NFL teams onto their own imaginary teams and play weekly games against each other in a league that rewarded the team with the best record. Little did any of them know they'd return the next season and the next, but most of all they had no idea they were so far ahead of the curve of a game that today inspires, infatuates and frustrates millions of players. Today, 5 of the original 11 members (4 teams) are still part of FAFL ... Awesome!

As I look back on the rules of that 1981 season they seemed so archaic yet you could see the foundation was set then for the rules we have today. That first year we drafted 15 players and started 11. Your roster included 2-QBs, 4-RBs, 6-RECs, 2-Ks & 1 player at any position (drafted as your final pick). The scoring system was similar as it is today but with a twist. A runner or receiver had to reach 50 yards before his score could be counted. And a QB had to throw for 100 yards before his score could be counted. So if you had a QB throw for 99 yards his total was zero not 4 points like today. If a runner or receiver's yardage was 49 yards ... sorry zero points for that week, OUCH! I admit now, we really didn't know what we were doing when it came to transactions. Can you believe we agreed to a system where the first team that phoned in for said player -- received that player ... and you could start calling at 6 am Tuesday mornings! As you could guess, I didn't need an alarm clock on Tuesdays ... and I'm still married? Tie games did not have a tiebreaker. In fact there were 4 ties that season. There was no 1st and 2nd half and stranger yet, No Playoffs.
The NFL was just 16 weeks long back then and we played the first 14. The league paid out the first 3 places. And try not to laugh but our total $$ pool was just 580.00. We had the 5 special individual at $15. each. 3rd place paid 50.00, 2nd place paid 101.00 and drum roll ..... 1st place paid 353.50!

For the first few weeks, besides the weekly competition, the league was striving to find an identity. Instead of going by Team-1, Team-2, etc., my thought was for each of us to come up with a team name and a league name to add a bit of pizzazz to what we were creating. By Week-5 we had a break-through on a league name. Vern,Sr, proposed the name 'FRUSTRATED ATHLETE'S FOOTBALL LEAGUE' and we were are on our way. By Week-6 all eight owners had created their team names. One of those 8 team names still exist today  ...  The Buschleaguers. The other 3 original owners still playing began with different IDs  ...  The Rock Lobster of today were known as the B.V.D.S. (Brad & Vern,Sr.) from '81-'88, became the Moon-Bucks from '89-'90, then the Rock Lobsters in '91. The Marauders of today were the Hellfighters in '81, the Marauders in '82-'83 then changed to the The Purple & Black Attack in '84 before returning as the Marauders in '85. The Niner Nuts were known as Ourassisdragon in our initial season changing to their present name in 1982.

Here's a small bit of background on the other four founding FAFL owners (all former champions) before getting into the highlights of season-1 ... My brother in law Bob (Bob's Bums) was not much of a football fan at the time but marrying into a sports fanatic family, he knew he'd have to become a fan quickly or he'd be spending family gatherings in the corner. Bob went on to play 7 seasons ('81-'87) winning a championship in 1984, not bad for a beginner ... A family friend from the old neighborhood, Al Brown (Artesian Primates) played in the league 11 years ('81-'91) and was FAFL's first champion. Al was one of my biggest supporters in the early years and after he retired in the late 80s he became a computer 'teckie'. He was always pushing me to move our league into the world of computers telling me that's the future of fantasy sports. Al was a very engaging man who was way ahead of his time. Throughout the 80's the Davis' 2 teams would compete against the Browns' 2 teams during Thanksgiving week for the Golden Turkey award that Al found, God knows where. We lost Al in April of 2003 and that following season we dedicated our 'Best of the Rest' Turkey trophy in his honor ... Al's son Les (Lester's Molesters '81-'95 and Lab Animals '96-'99) played in the league for 19 seasons winning a championship in his final year. Les became a very close friend of myself and my brother Brad while we were growing up. He was a softball teammate of ours during those 19 years as were many of the guys that were associated with FAFL over the past 33 years ... Finally a high school friend of myself and Mike, Ernie (Ernie's Erratics '81 and the Air Express '82-'05) played in the league for 21 seasons. Ernie won his championship in 1985. Due to his health issues Ernie missed the 1999 season then returned for the 2000 & 2001 seasons. He had to step away once again missing the next 3 years ('02-'04). He returned for the 2005 which unfortunately was his last due to his untimely death in December-2005.

SEASON-1 .... Al Brown's Artesian Primates took control of 1st place on Week-5 and never looked backed.
Finishing the season on a 16-2 run, the Dan Fouts led Artesians held off Vern's Niner Nuts by 2 games. By Week-8 it had become a two team race between the before mentioned teams as no other team came within 6 games of 2nd place over the final six weeks. A crucial showdown between the two top teams in Week-13 produced a huge win by the Niner Nuts to pull them within 1 game with one week to go. In that final week a scene that would become too familiar when the FAFL championship was on the line, Vern lost to Mike's Marauders to begin his bridesmaid run of seven 2nd place finishes.         Final 1981 standings ....

Artesian Primates
Ourassisdragon (Niner Nuts)
Hell-Fighters (Marauders)
Lester's Molesters
B.V.D.s (Rock Lobster II)
Bob's Bums
Ernie's Erratics

Fouts would win FAFL's first Player of the Year award and was the league's top scorer. He averaged 25.5 points per week with a high of 44 points. Al used a RB combo of William Andrews and Wendell Tyler that finished 4/5 in the final rankings. His top receiver was Steve Watson who finished 2nd in the final rankings. His other top receiver is today's popular color guy on Sunday Night Football, Cris Collinsworth. Hall of Famers John Riggins and John Stallworth were notable backups for the champs.

TO BE CONTINUED  ..........