User Interview: IBEW

Q&A with noted SimLeague Football user IBEW

Are you ready for some football? Well, having recently completed the season, many are still recovering from a Super Bowl hangover and are content to wait six months for the next kickoff. However, the true fan will wish the season never ended and that every Sunday were as exciting as an NFL Sunday.

Not to whet the appetite too much, but to appease those true fans, WhatIfSports.com's latest interview is one of the NFL SimLeague's best. While NFL teams are looking for superstars and diamonds in the rough through free agency and the draft, NFL SimLeagues allow users to do that and more. Build and draft a team of All-Time greats and immediately pit them against other users for the ultimate, competitive football fix.

WhatIfSports.com recently contacted SimLeague football user IBEW to discuss (among other topics) drafting WRs, Red Zone ratings, Hank Stramm, electrical work, Madden online, Jack Lambert, a 5.0 Mustang, bass fishing, durability and stamina.

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

WIS

Who is IBEW?

IBEW

IBEW stands for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. I am an electrical worker and have always used that as my name, including playing Madden online where I ended up being a moderator for a site that pointed out the guys who cheat or look for the tricks versus those who actually played Madden as a football game.

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com and NFL SimLeagues?

IBEW

I actually heard about it through some of my friends who played Madden online. One of my friends from there and another friend of mine who I had played other simulation football games with joined a couple of years ago.

WIS

Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

IBEW

I've got a 5.0 Mustang that I've worked on and taken drag racing a few times. Mustang Magazine even came out and took a picture of my son with it for one of their issues. Otherwise, I've got a family and dogs and I used to bass fish a lot, but haven't done too much of that in a while.

WIS

What dynasty or simleagues games have you played?

IBEW

Just football. I've played a few spring training/exhibition seasons of baseball and basketball, but those just don't do if for me like football.

WIS

Who sits at your dream roundtable discussion?

IBEW

It's got to be a bunch of great football minds - Joe Montana, Hank Stramm, Bill Walsh, Jack Lambert and Ronnie Lott. Anyone who looses a finger to play the game is welcome and I want to hear about it.

WIS

Who are your favorite players of all-time?

IBEW

Otis Taylor is my all-time favorite. I remember thinking I was going to be 6'2", 200 lbs and graceful, but I stopped well short of that at 5'8". Rice and Montana were two of my other favorites. I almost forgot the late Great Walter Payton

WIS

What are your favorite teams of all time?

IBEW

I loved the '70s Chiefs and '80s 49ers. Stramm was one of the original west coast innovators with shifting pockets and the short ball control passing game. He helped pave the way for Walsh and the 49ers. I live about ten miles from Arrowhead Stadium, so I still root for the Chiefs.

WIS

Which coaches, teams or players, past or present, do you draw on for inspiration?

IBEW

Myself - I've coached some little league teams and I just follow what I know works there and in football in general. I stay as balanced as possible. Unfortunately, though I was similar in real life as I am in the sim because I win but rarely the big games. I'm almost like Schottenheimer or the Bills.

WIS

Did you play any sports growing up?

IBEW

I played football, basketball and baseball, but not too much in high school because I never was really big enough. Though during my sophomore year, I knocked the opposing QB out of the game in our Homecoming Game. My coach was shocked as I was by far the smallest guy on the team.

WIS

As a fan of football, what are your thoughts on the current state of the game?

IBEW

Honestly, I wish they'd bring back the passing rules to allow for some more bump and run downfield. This is football not basketball. I also think they get a little too stringent on the celebrations. I loved watching Marcus Allen give the ball to the official, but I really don't have a problem with some of the crazy stuff that guys do now. It's hilarious and I am entertained. As long as players aren't rubbing it in to the opposing team, I don't mind seeing the celebrations.

WIS

Talk about your greatest WIS moment.

IBEW

In the first season of the newest sim, I won my first and only championship by beating Norbert in the Super Bowl.

WIS

At this point, NFL SimLeagues are not as popular as some of our other sports. What can you tell users who may be unfamiliar with the game about the merits of SimLeague football?

IBEW

This sim is like real NFL football. Unexpected things can and will happen and any team can be beat. The game of football is so complex and there are so many inputs in the sim that anything can happen. The latest version of the sim is great at capturing that. And don't forget to have fun.

WIS

Having played primarily in football, do you prefer open or theme leagues? If theme, which types of themes are your favorite and why?

IBEW

I prefer open leagues because I believe they are more of a challenge. The salary cap is pretty limiting, but it forces me to make choices and build a "real" football team. I think having the salary cap bumped up to 65mil or restructuring the salaries to reflect this would help some. Theme leagues can still be fun though because I can play more with some of my favorite players and experiment a little more.

WIS

With today's SimEngine, how do you approach drafting players?

IBEW

With QBs, I always look for a low interception percentage. Good WRs can make an average QB good, but they won't keep the ball away from the other team. I like balanced RBs. A runningback who carried the ball for a record number of times but only gets three yards a carry is no good, but it also doesn't work if he got six yards a carry but has low stamina. And with Defense I mostly look at Drive and Red Zone ratings. This game is all about scoring points, so I'll pay to keep the other team from doing that.

WIS

Are there any players in specific that you like to put on your teams?

IBEW

Jerry Rice is on pretty much every team of mine. When I can choose from a number of WRs who all produce about the same, I'm going to go with Rice over Owens because I have always liked Rice and I do not have to pick Owens. I also like to get the '89 Montana on my teams, but then I need a good backup QB because he didn't play the whole season. Ozzie Newsome is another guy I use at TE. I'll take pretty much any runningback.

WIS

What offensive and defensive styles do you prefer?

IBEW

I like to stay balanced. Depending on the team, I may swing to 55/45, but that's as far as I go. For defense, I like to take the late '80s Bills, before they were really good. They have a high Drive and Red Zone and are not too expensive.

WIS

What do you believe is the overall biggest key to success in SimLeague football?

IBEW

Having enough stamina and durability at every position. I see a lot of guys play in leagues that have to forfeit games. Some of these users are just looking for glitches in the sim and end up wasting an entire season. That's not fun. Building a real football team will lead to fun and success.

WIS

Do you approach the playoffs any differently than the regular season?

IBEW

No, but I should. Even if I do well in the playoffs, I still find a way to lose. I've been in four Super Bowls and only won one.

WIS

Which NFL SimLeague users have proven to be your biggest challenge?

IBEW

There have been a lot of guys going back to previous engines like "Ziggy" and "Tracks," but no one really stands out in the new version. No one dominates and I am not intimidated by anyone. It's a lot like real football. Users who just look for glitches can't win consistently right now.

WIS

Which users do you respect the most?

IBEW

Glen87. He always puts together great theme leagues and he seems to be a good guy.

WIS

What advice can you give to new WhatIfSports.com users in general who want to have fun and get the most out of the site?

IBEW

Use players you like to keep you interested and never forget that it's a sim so unexpected things will happen.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position and how much would you cost?

IBEW

Football - I'd be a WR and a safety and cost $10 million and I would play dominant defense.

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