Welcome to the first edition of the hopefully semi-regular BG newsletter, the title is borrowed (with a minor spelling correction) from a publication which will be familiar to those of you who live in a city with a lot of the 'hungry and homeless'. My name is Robert Crowther, coach of the Vikings for the last two and a bit seasons. The newsletter will offer reviews and commentary of action in the BG and will hopefully provoke and provide a forum for an exchange of views between coaches in the league. I already do a newsletter in the NFLBP so I won't be doing this every week, my plan is to do another one after week seven (ie. to be distributed with week eight results). If I am deluged with letters and contributions I'll try and do one every two turns. Anyone who thinks they can do a better or more regular newsletter is welcome to take the job on, but do tell me first... 'How do I become a part of this publishing phenomenon?' I hear you asking, time to introduce the contacts section.

Contacts Section

Anyone who would like to enter into correspondence with other coaches can submit their details for inclusion in this section. Only me in here at present, but we've got to start somewhere.






Robert Crowther

2 Lily Terrace


EH11 1PN

[email protected]

I would also like to make you all aware of the Gameplan Club that exists on Yahoo! Although not affiliated with Ab Initio Games in any way, it offers links to other Gameplan related sites (my favourite is at '') and facilities for chat and message posting, check it out at '' (click on 'Clubs' in the small writing near the top of the page).

Review of Weeks One to Three

AFC East

The Jets and Colts have picked up where they left off last season and both confirmed their contender status with convincing wins over two of last season's playoff teams in week three. New York have twelve sacks and an impressive +6 turnover ratio in their three victories. The Indianapolis defense comes up with fewer big plays but also spends less time on the field thanks to a consistent rushing offense. The Dolphins are perhaps a little unlucky to have faced the Jets and the champion Broncos in the first two weeks and could be set for a revival as their schedule softens up, but it's hard to see them challenging either of the top teams in this division. Buffalo look to be in for a long season.

NFC East

This division features the league's two toughest defenses in the form of the Redskins and surprise team the Giants. Washington went the first two weeks without scoring a touchdown but look to be on track with a thrashing of Detroit while New York have scored 28 of their 51 points in the fourth quarter. Washington, as defending champs in the East, have a far tougher inter-conference schedule than the Giants which could make it hard for them to catch up. The Eagles will be hoping to improve on last season's total of three wins but will not achieve much beyond that while the Cowboys are the only team in the division with a poor defense.

AFC Central

Points difference was all that separated Baltimore and Houston over sixteen games in 2001, and points difference is all that separates the two after three games in 2002. The Ravens' more powerful offense gives them the edge over the Oilers and they can produce in big games, as they proved with last season's playoff victory in New York. Without more offensive firepower the Oilers are likely to finish second again. The Bengals and Steelers opponent's so far have a combined record of 16-2, things can only get better. Cincinnati in particular have the makings of a powerful offense.

NFC Central

The Vikings have improved on last year's terrible start thanks to improved decision making from their young quarterback, a good start from their new look defense and a soft schedule. Green Bay and Chicago have both faced better opposition and remain only a game back and both have performed well in head to head matchups with Minnesota. This division didn't have a single losing team last year and has produced three of the last four wildcard teams – no-one will get an easy ride to the title. Detroit are a bit of a surprise, without a win so far, and perhaps in need of a change in direction on offense.

AFC West

Last season's champions look to have some opposition this year in the shape of Seattle, the Seahawks are yet to play a 'top' team but have been about as impressive as anyone can be in their victories so far. The Denver defense has been somewhat inconsistent so far but the offense has been putting enough points on the board to make that a non issue. It seems likely that someone will take advantage of the Bronco D this season, if Seattle want to wrest the title away they'd better make sure it's them. Kansas City have fully deserved their winless start but are a good bet to finish ahead of the Raiders, who are possibly the worst team in any gameplan league ever.

NFC West

The champions have not done well in this division in recent years, first Carolina fell off the pedestal in dramatic fashion and now San Francisco are shaping up to emulate them. The 49ers may have been unlucky to have run into the on form defenses of New York and Minnesota, but they were hardly convincing in their victory over Atlanta. The Falcons are tough to beat, which is the best first step in becoming a playoff team, and could end up taking the division by default as St Louis and Carolina have both been less than spectacular.

Spotlight On...

This section will hopefully feature profiles of the various coaches in the league, the first of whom is me...


Robert Crowther




None (Internet/IT when I get round to it)

Gameplan Experience

Currently coach of the NFLBP Raiders, NFLAY Bengals and NFLBG Vikings.

Favourite Team

Oakland Raiders

Favourite Things

Reading; TV; Watching and playing american football (currently with the London Mets); Watching most sport.

Favourite Authors

Douglas Coupland; William Gibson; Haruki Murakami; Jeff Noon; Terry Pratchett; Neal Stephenson; Jack Womack.

Favourite TV

Buffy; Angel; ER; Friends; Star Trek (all flavours); South Park; Simpsons; Red Dwarf.

Favourite Films

Grosse Point Blank; Bladerunner; When Harry Met Sally; Buffy the Vampire Slayer (best crap film ever made).

Favourite Music

Talking Heads; Wonderstuff; Stone Roses; Blur.

If I won the lottery...

I would buy a car for every day of the week and a computer for every room in my (very large) house – plus an extra house just to hold all my books.

Please don't feel you need to follow my categories when doing your own profiles ;-)

Message Board

From Robert Crowther to all: send me your messages and announcements (and proclamations of past and future glory) and have them appear here!

Statistics Corner

Top seven teams, average per offensive play

Weeks One to Three

Sacks are counted as a pass play for no gain

Top seven teams, average per defensive play

Preview – Week Four

Game of the Week

Broncos at Ravens

A rematch of last season's AFC Championship game, the Ravens lost in Denver then but gave as good as they got in a high scoring game. The champions have struggled to run the ball so far this season and have also been giving up alarming amounts of yardage on defense but veteran QB Brister has kept his nerve and completed those key passes. The Baltimore defense doesn't look good enough to stop the Bronco's passing game but their offense is more than good enough to pile up plenty of points. The game will be high scoring and will likely come down to who makes the fewest mistakes. Home-field advantage could make a difference for Baltimore.

Ravens by 1

Other games: Jets by 14; Colts by 21; Dolphins by 3; Bengals by 3; Oilers by 7; Redskins by 3; Panthers by 3; Giants by 3; Packers by 7; Rams by 3.

Shootout of the week – Broncos at Ravens

Blowout of the week – Raiders at Colts

Slugfest of the week – Falcons at Redskins

Preview – Week Five

Game of the Week

Jets at Colts

It is likely that both teams will enter this game unbeaten and, whatever the result, both will be in contention for the division title at the end of the year. The destination of that title will likely be decided by the results of this game and the return in week sixteen. Neither have been particularly impressive statistically but both have been winning comfortably, only New York have been behind in any game – that was by one point for less than a quarter. It is my feeling that Indianapolis are the better team but they can't afford to make any mistakes.

Colts by 1

Other games: Dolphins by 3; Oilers by 1; Bengals by 7; Broncos by 1; Chiefs by 14; Redskins by 7; Giants by 3; Packers by 10; 49ers by 1; Falcons by 3.

Shootout of the week – Seahawks at Broncos

Blowout of the week – Packers at Lions

Slugfest of the week – Giants at Eagles

Preview – Week Six

Game of the Week

Dolphins at Bears

Both teams went 8-8 last season and are looking to pick up those couple of extra wins that will put them in the playoffs. Chicago have made a solid start, their only loss coming in Green Bay when they had three turnovers but they have beaten two of last season's playoff teams. Miami have lost to the Jets and the Broncos, teams that combined for a 26-6 record last season, by a total of thirteen points. The Dolphins have a powerful looking offense while the Bears have a better record because they have stopped their opponents from scoring. These are the sort of games that these teams will need to win if they want to take that next step.

Bears by 3

Other games: Packers by 3; Colts by 10; Ravens by 7; Oilers by 7; Falcons by 3; Bengals by 1; Redskins by 3; Seahawks by 10; Giants by 7; Eagles by 10.

Shootout of the week – Ravens at 49ers

Blowout of the week – Cowboys at Seahawks

Slugfest of the week – Rams at Oilers


Well, that concludes the first ever edition of The BG Issue, I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to contact me at the address or email listed above with any comments you might have about the newsletter or articles for future inclusion. Please remember that I won't be doing this every week but I will try to reply to any letters or email I receive.