football strategy [Updated October 2005]  

 2005 WBC Report  

2006 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment

Bruce Reiff, OH

2005 Champion

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Event History
1991    Mike Fitzgerald      22
1992    Bill Cleary      30
1993    Paul O'Neil      30
1994    Gordon Rodgers      42
1995    David Terry      36
1996    Bruce Reiff      30
1997    Paul O'Neil      32
1998    Paul O'Neil      24
1999    Bruce Reiff     27
2000    Bruce Reiff     28
2001    Bruce Reiff     25
2002    Bill Cleary     27
2003    Bruce Reiff     32
2004     Kevin Keller     31
2005    Bruce Reiff     28


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Bruce Reiff        OH    05    149
  2.  Bill Cleary        MD    03     72
  3.  Kevin Keller       MD    05     33
  4.  Ken Whitesell      MD    05     33
  5.  Ray Stakenas II    MI    05     30
  6.  Paul O'Neil        MD    01     21
  7.  Marvin Birnbaum    NY    05     18
  8.  David Rynkowski    NY    05     18
  9.  Jason Levine       NY    04     18
 10.  Arthur Davis       MI    03     18
 11.  Stan Buck          MD    01     18
 12.  Stuart Tucker      MD    04     12
 13.  Sumner Clarren     MD    00     12
 14.  Jim Vroom          PA    01     10
 15.  Keith Schoose      CA    03      9
 16.  David Anderson     PA    00      9
 17.  Gordon Rodgers     PA    00      8
 18.  Dan Dolan Jr       NJ    02      6
 19.  Tom Shaw           MD    00      6
 20.  Alan Moon          MA    99      6
 21.  Arthur Davis       MI    04      3
 22.  Debbie Bell        MD    03      3
 23.  Pitt Crandelmire   MA    01      3
 24.  Jeremy Billones    VA    00      3
 25.  Harry Flawd        PA    99      2

2005 Laurelists

Marvin Birnbaum, NY

Ray Stakenas II, MI

Ken Whitesell, PA

Dave Rynkowski, NY

Kevin Keller, MD

Past Winners

Mike Fitzgerald, CT

Bill Cleary, MD
1992, 2002

Paul O'Neil, MD
1993, 1997-1998

Gordon Rodgers, PA

Dave Terry, MD

Bruce Reiff, OH
'96, '99-'01, '03

Kevin Keller, MD

Six ...

What is it that they say? You can't keep a good man down? After losing twice in the early rounds of 2004's tournament, some may have believed that Mr. Reiff's reign as the WBC Football Strategy favorite was at an end. Some may have even speculated that this titan of the gridiron's glory days were behind him and that no more would he rule the field. Some probably hoped that he was finished. But they were wrong.

After the first few hours of Wednesday's heat, the field of 19 had been whittled down to four diehard quarter-finalists. Among the four were three veterans of the WBC gridiron wars: Bill Cleary, Bruce Reiff, and Ray Stakenas II; and one new face, Andy Dolan. While Bill and Ray sat down to a rematch of last year's struggle, Andy and Bruce faced off for the first time.

Bill and Ray's game got off to a slow start as neither one could convert during the first quarter. In the second, Ray was able to find the end zone and Bill had to settle for a field goal as the teams went into the locker room for the half. After taking the field again, Ray's team marched down to find pay dirt once more, while Bill's offense was struggling. At the beginning of the fourth it was Ray's 14 to Bill's 3. Sensing that perhaps his offensive coordinator needed a change of vocation, Bill took charge and rallied his team to two fourth quarter TDs, taking the lead. With time running out, Ray hit two long passes setting up Jason Hanson for the tying field goal. In sudden death overtime, Bill won the all-important coin toss and promptly moved his team to within field goal range. But fate is not kind, as a gust of wind swept the 16 yard attempt wide and gave Ray the ball. Ray wasted no time in charging down the field to set up his own kick at the 1 yard line. No such favorable winds blew for Bill and Ray advanced to the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Andy, who may have been a newcomer to this event, was no newbie to the game after spending countless hours playing via e-mail. The game started ominously for Bruce when he fumbled the opening kickoff, setting Andy up for a quick three points. The former champ, unfazed by the turn of events, held Andy scoreless for the rest of the half while managing to get 10 points of his own on the board. After the half, Andy was able to break across the goal line in the third while denying Bruce the same opportunity. The fourth opened with the score tied at ten apiece. Bruce's resolve was apparent as he got an unanswered touchdown and field goal. Andy was feeling the pressure and with time running out was able to punch one across, bringing him to within three. On his next possession, Bruce couldn't convert the first down and punted it away, giving it to Andy with a little over two minutes left. Andy tried valiantly, but in the end he couldn't get through the iron defense of Mr. Reiff and Bruce advanced to meet Ray.

The heat finale opened to a scoreless first quarter, as Ray and Bruce pounded away on each other hoping to find a hole in the defense. Then Bruce spotted the opening and hammered Ray for 24 points in the second quarter. Ray was seen stumbling towards the locker room at the half as they picked up pieces of his team from all over the stadium. When he emerged, however, he had patched his team together and with the help of performance enhancing drugs was ready to tackle the Football Strategy King. Ray's offense roared onto the field in the second half and racked up 12 points on Bruce. His defense battered Bruce's quarterback, who was unable to convert any scoring opportunities. At the start of the fourth Bruce was still up 24 to 12, but the momentum had clearly swung the other way. Ray continued to charge forward and scored another TD, but the drugs began to wear off and when the clock ticked off the final few seconds he found himself short. Bruce advanced to the Final by a score of 24 to 19.

The quarterfinals on Friday pitted Debbie Bell vs Ken Whitesell in a battle of old league foes and Marvin Birnbaum vs Kevin Keller, the defending champion. Debbie's team got off to a rocky start against Ken's tough defense which held her scoreless for the first half. His offense was hitting its stride as well, notching three touchdowns to put him up 21 to 0 at the half. Using unorthodox motivational techniques, Debbie finally jump started her offense in the third quarter, finding paydirt. Unfortunately for her, her defense seemed incapable of stopping Ken as he rolled in for another TD. At the start of the fourth Ken was sitting on a comfortable lead of 28 to 7. He built on it by adding yet another seven points to make it 35 to 7. Debbie also found the end zone, but it was too little too late and Ken advanced with a 35 to 14 win.

At the other end of the table, Marvin and Kevin were locked in a seesaw contest that went down to the wire. In each of the first two quarters they both scored TDs sending both teams to the locker room with the score at 14 apiece. During the third, Kevin scored his third touchdown midway through the quarter, but Marvin came right back with seven points of his own. The fourth quarter opened with the score still tied. On his second possession of the quarter Kevin moved the ball down the field but had to settle for a field goal. Marvin got the ball with six minutes remaining and proceeded to eat up the clock while moving himself into scoring position. With one minute to go he threw the stop-and- go pass for a 35 yard touchdown. Kevin simply didn't have the time to get another score and Marvin advanced to meet Ken.

When Marvin and Ken sat down to face one another, they knew in the back of their minds that the winner would be facing Bruce in the Final. Marvin jumped out to a quick lead in the first quarter scoring seven points. Ken was able to match him but couldn't hold on in the second as Marvin's team put their second TD on the board. At the half, Marvin was up 14 to 7. When the teams returned to the field, Marvin again made a quick score and added a field goal while Ken's offense battered against Marvin's defensive brick wall. The fourth quarter saw yet another touchdown by both teams but Ken's offense couldn't score fast enough to overtake Marvin's offensive juggernaut. When the whistle blew it was Marvin on top 31 to 21.

Marvin now moved on to face the favorite in a final showdown. Marvin won the toss and elected to receive the ball. It took him five minutes but he was able to nose it across the goal line to go up 7-0. Bruce quickly marched down the field and set up his own touchdown run to even the score. The second quarter looked much like the first, with Marvin using the balance of the Pro-Style offense and Bruce the methodical Ball Control to move their teams and gain a second touchdown. The half ended tied at 14 all. Then in a move that may be forever questioned, Marvin decided to forsake the Pro-Style offense for an Aerial approach. Bruce was ready and stopped the aerial game cold. Meanwhile, the methodical Ball Control offense of the five-time champ added yet another TD, but missed the point after to give Bruce a 20 to 14 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. His aerial game stymied, Marvin looked to his kicker who put a solid attempt through the uprights to close the gap. But Bruce added a field goal of his own to hold his lead of six points going into the final minutes. Marvin had one last attempt to score a touchdown and win, but the aerial game which hadn't worked the entire half was again unable to move through Bruce's solid defense. Bruce held on to the 23 to 17 lead to take yet another WBC Football Strategy title.

What is this now? His sixth? I've lost track, but I do know one thing. He isn't done. He'll be back next year, ready to take on all comers who try to knock the king off his hill. And lest he get too proud, may he take note of the words uttered by one of this year's contestants. "In 2006, Bruce Reiff, do not ask for whom the bell tolls: for it tolls for thee!"

 GM      Nathaniel Hoam  [2nd Year]   NA   NA

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