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Secret Base Reviews: Fan Controlled Football

Fan Controlled Football season is underway. Is it good?

On February 13th, a new football league came into our lives. It’s one of the most creative, interest-piquing ideas I’ve seen in a while: A football league where the fans call the plays and make decisions.

That might sound great, but is the league making a quality product? Over the past two weeks, I’ve been analyzing the play on my twitch channel, and it’s time to get these notes off.

Let’s take a look.

The concept

There is a lot to unpack here, but I will do my best. Fan Controlled football is a 7-on-7 indoor football league where the players run the plays that the fans call. Every play, the fans of the offensive team get to vote on what play to run. The play with the most votes wins.

Then you get to sit back and watch the magic happen. There is a viewer point system called Fan IQ that gives you bonuses for calling good plays. After two weeks of calling plays, this is where my IQ level is. I don’t know what’ll happen when I get to 50 yet but I’m not tripping.

I am glad that this league isn’t letting us call defensive plays, because I don’t trust trolls and actually want to win games. Calling plays is actually a really fun thing to do and keeps me interested in the game.

The execution

Nothing is perfect from the get-go, and Fan Controlled Football isn’t an exemption. However, there is evidence that the league is working out its small issues. There are good ideas here that offset each other and it seems that the league is paying attention to the problems.

For example, the game has a weird pacing problem. The league runs on a running clock, which means that while players are waiting around for fan instructions the clock is still running. The original rule was that when the clock gets under one minute in the half the clock will stop if there’s an incompletion or a player goes out of bounds.

In a Beasts-Wild Aces game (that was ON THE LINE by the way), the Beasts had to race against the clock because the time was winding down. In normal football, players can no-huddle and hurry up to maximize the time. In this case however, the players had to wait around for us to call the plays and then hurry up and do everything.

Is this legal? Who the fuck knows. However, the league went ahead and changed the rules of the entire league before the second game on the docket. This on-the-fly change made sense and made us at home feel like the league is listening to us.

There are also some things about the league that are very confusing. For example, there are power-ups in this league. Players can ask for a fifth down or create a powerplay and kick a defensive player off of the field. However, when these powerplays are announced by the referee they come as a complete surprise because we don’t know the kinds of powerplays a team has at its disposal.

For example, there was a “coach override” in a CLOSE GAME by a team that I was rooting for. I didn’t know that existed. I feel like I’ve not been paying attention but I’ve watched four of these games live on stream so I know I’m not missing anything. It’s pretty confusing when it happens because the referees have trouble explaining things. This leads me to another point.

The officiating

Oof. I hate that I have to say this, but there have been numerous game-changing calls. I haven’t seen a way for fans to vote on challenging a play and it just makes for a really awkward officiating experience.

Possessions/Change in possessions are super important in a high-scoring league, and I wish there was a way to properly reward these defensive plays even if the calls are difficult to make.

Now there’s a lot more that I can talk about here. How the team rosters basically reshuffle every week with a fantasy-style draft (each team has two franchise tags), for example. Or when Marshawn Lynch talked about eating a caesar salad and taking a fat shit on the live broadcast.

There’s so much to unpack about this league, and the overall chaos keeps me coming back. There’s some stuff to work on yes, but it’s a fun product and I look forward to seeing where it all goes.