Written by: Kevin Kardasz (@kevinn_up on Twitter)
8 weeks of FCF has led to this moment for both the Zappers and Apes, for two very different teams who’ve run on two very different paths to get here, it’s all led to the same place.
The Zappers have taken debatably the hardest road, it’s been an uphill battle since they started their season 0-4, and they’ve faced every game since as a must win. It took winning every remaining game on their schedule to get into the tie breaking shootout challenge against the Glacier Boyz in which they won to secure a playoff spot. QB Kelly Bryant entered the season in Week 3 and looked to be the hope the fanbase needed as they looked to get on track but suffered an injury that kept him out until Week 7 where he shouldered a must win performance.
Yet, for the heroics Bryant has pulled off to this point, it may not be his game to win. In the first round of the playoffs a series of unfortunate ankle injuries have put his status and effectiveness in question. The game may instead shift to another man’s hands, he’s played legitimate minutes 3 times this season, but when called on to close out their first playoff victory, he delivered. Heisman winner and NFL veteran Johnny Manziel may be the needle between winning and losing. His elite combination of experience, foot speed, and playground instinct has failed to come together at times in his 2 season FCF career, but when they needed him most, he delivered.
Winning a championship would be one of the greatest season turnarounds of all time, they’ve managed to evade the odds at every turn. They traded away Hall of Fame WR Terrell Owens mid season, they started with a league worst record for more than half the year, they lacked a true starting QB 4 times this season, and yet here they stand. What would it take for them to win?
Keys for the Zappers winning the People’s Championship
- Kelly Bryant. He’s one of the most mobile QBs in the league, makes crucial throws, and he’s electric. However, he’s injured. Depending on his ankle, if his running is limited it’s going to be increasingly important to keep Bryant comfortable. Don’t run the QB Flash, let him drop back and pass out of the pocket rather than run at less than 100% and take huge hits.
- Johnny Manziel may be inevitable here, if he is it’s important to remember who Johnny is, a play maker. Sure, he may not know the playbook, but he’s great at making something out of nothing. Avoid the 4 vert related plays, eliminate the opportunity for Johnny to make careless turnovers that could decide your fate.
- James Harden, James Harden, and more James Harden. Getting James running across the field in the sweep plays frees up the outside routes and will get him or his teammates more uncontested touches. Keeping Harden in the game plan and using him to his full ability will be a needle mover.
The Apes have taken a wildly different approach to the season than the Zappers have, they’ve played from far ahead rather than far behind. They started the season 5-0, they held the leagues last undefeated record going into Week 6, their dominance has been suffocating.
One of the most coordinated fan groups of all time has assembled behind the Apes lines, they’ve been calculated in everything they’ve done. On draft nights they poured deep into the player pool to find gems like Jakobie Baker, and later on scooped up newcomer Darren Woods. They’ve play called in unison, opting for one of the most rush heavy offenses we’ve ever seen, rushing more than they pass almost every week. It’s been impressive to watch, the $APE incentives funded by owners and fans has backed one of the most successful units in league history.
Yet, it’s not just the fans who’ve been elite, it’s been players. This isn’t QB Deondre Francois’s first run at an FCF title, he was here last year as well. With the game on the line, it wasn’t Francois who took the field for the Glacier Boyz, it was David Pindell. He drove for no score, and as time expired, Wild Aces QB Ed Crouch rushed for a game winning touchdown on the 1 yard line. Heartbreaking, but the rare opportunity to take another shot at a title has opened back up for Francois, this time as an Ape. He won’t have to worry about being benched, this is his team, and this is his chance. What will it take for the Apes to win?
Keys for the Apes winning the People’s Championship
- Once again, the Apes need to stick to their guns. Their lethal play calling strategies have shown no signs of slowing, and there’s no reason to change now. Giving Francois RPO opportunities is one of the most surefire calls in all of FCF, there’s no time to stop.
- Jakobie Baker has superstar potential hiding in a running back by committee system, don’t be afraid to feed your best player the ball. Getting Baker more touches is opening the amount of times that he breaks free for his large runs that often end in scores. He’s tough, let him run, a lot.
- Mike Lee is a problem and he should really be the only one guarding the point after attempts. His press on the line is lethal, his coverage is elite, and he doesn’t draw flags for his hands. Last week 8oki wins if they convert their extra points, Lee made sure that didn’t happen. Keep him where he’s best, taking points off the board.
The 2nd People’s Championship will be on Saturday June 11th, 2022, where the winner of Zappers v Apes will take it all home. Make sure to call plays from the FCF app as the season wraps up.