Welcome to season 8 of BFIG! Wait, what in the D'Brickashaw? Season 8? Commish no longer believes in the constancy of time.
Was Bud Light Lime even a thing in 2009? (Wait for it... checking...)
May 2008! The survival gods willed us to enter this world together and cause a mind-bending, questionably alcoholic footballsplosion.
To honor how far we've come, Commish is gonna take you on a trip through BFIG memory lane. Grab some Jujubes. Maybe some Sno-Caps.
2009: Hi, hey, let's do a survivor pool! I LIKE WRITING.
That was literally how this whole thing started. Commish was Sports Editor of the Daily Trojan when USC's football coaches didn't get blitzed before games or get fired in LAX parking lots. Remember when 42-point underdog Stanford and its rookie head coach Jim Harbaugh beat No. 1 USC at home? Commish was in the end zone, covering the greatest (statistical) upset in college football history.
After graduating, I wanted to stay close to sportswriting even though my career was leading in a very different direction. And so, THE NFL (Brett Favre Isn't Gonna) Survivor Pool was born.
I idolized Brett Favre growing up. Then Favre decided to wear purple. I loved Brett Favre. I hated Brett Favre. Naming my survivor pool in his (dis)honor felt like the perfect compromise.
Then I picked the Vikings in Week 3 (pride, swallowed), and this happened:
I get serious chills watching that back. I'm not sure I'll ever have a more thrilling survival finish.
The entire year basically went that way for the 46 OG participants. 2009 was by far the best winning percentage we've ever recorded (.775), and three people made it to Week 17. That's 6.5 percent of the entire pool.
In the end, my roommate at the time, Josh Huff, won all 17 of his picks and earned the right to wear BFIG's inaugural title belt.
Commish was left to wonder, "Is it always this easy?"
... in the six years since, Josh has won a total of a seven games.
2010: Let's run it back! TELL 'EM, CHAD.
The marketing pitch in BFIG's second year went something like this: "Yo, I started a football pool last year. It was cool. Winner's gonna get a thousand bucks this year, hopefully. But even if it's not that big, it'll still be cool... hopefully. Want in?"
What I hadn't fully grasped was how perfect the survivor format was. If 2009's Favre-to-Lewis showed me the power of one pick meaning everything, 2010 was season-long proof that, in survival, drama is really the only guarantee.
Season 2's winner, Ken Sofer, openly acknowledged that his title run was as comical as it was thrilling.
It started in Week 7, when Ken prayed at the altar of Cundiff to secure a 37-34 overtime victory...
One week later, Ken found himself collapsed on the floor, pouring out uncontrollable tears of joy over Buffalo's decision to ice its own kicker and lose in overtime, again, by a field goal...
In Week 9, Ken found himself in overtime for the third straight week. He lost the ability to speak, walk, make Sexy Rexy jokes, and dip nachos in cheese. He picked the Jets, and, well...
Nick Folk made it back-to-back-to-back overtime field goal victories for Ken, who was somehow still conscious enough to make his Week 10 pick. His comment captured the situation well:
"At this point I'm playing with the house's money, so if Panthers backup Jimmy Clausen is magically possessed by the spirit of fellow Golden Domer Joe Montana (yes I know he's still alive. Semantics.) and passes for 6 TDs against the Bucs, I'm not going to be all that upset because I should have been eliminated several weeks ago."
Perhaps fueled by the ridiculous onslaught of down-to-the-wire finishes, our pick comments took on a life of their own in 2010, and the foundation for a football community like no other had been set.
Ken went on to capture a Week 17 tiebreaker title, and BFIG was off to the races.
(Also: Jimmy Clausen!)
2011 - 2015: Yo, anyone have a waterer? I GOTTA FEED THIS TREE.
The Eli Face, the Romocoaster, the Curse of Leon Hall, the curiosity of Moxie success, the Trezza dance, GRONKPARTYSHIP, Plaschke in the pool, responsible Bud Light Lime consumption, grossly irresponsible Bud Light Lime consumption, drunk pick comments, going Thurlow, Tinder for BFIG, middle school Julian Edelman, elementary school Josh Sitton, the Hedge of Happiness...
BFIG's inside jokes might finally outnumber Belichick's illegal video tape dungeons.
Each year, BFIG doubles in size because you all up the ante. We sit back at the end of the year and say, "I don't know how to describe this place, but I f***ing love it," and then we tell more friends to get in next year.
Commish dated a girl once who convinced him to do yoga, took him to a clothing-optional desert "retreat" in god-knows-where California, and generally presented him with a more cosmic approach to life.
It didn't really have an effect on me, though. I'd hear "transcendent" and "transformational" and "awakening" and just think, "Yo, you people really gotta do this BFIG thing."
2016: We party all year long. WHO'S GOT NEXT?
As 2016 rolled around, Commish knew BFIG was no longer a survivor pool. It was a full-fledged football community. It was time to give the people what they want.
The SZN is our way of having BFIG-esque fun all year round. New competitions - Commish can't hardly wait to pick your 2018 NBA Champions, the Minnesota Timberwolves, in NBA survivor - won't have the same history as BFIG (yet), but all of you are gonna be here, so Commish is fairly certain we're gonna have a blast.
As for BFIG 2016, I have no idea what's gonna happen. I gave up on that train a long time ago. I just want more moments like Favre to Lewis.
And you know what? That's a pretty safe bet.
You can check out all of Commish's preseason writing here. If you made it this far, 1) You're fantastic, and 2) Send this to a few friends!