Welcome to the introductory article for the 2009 NFC West Featured Columnist Competition!
I am glad that you have found this article, and I hope this competition intrigues you enough for you to follow it all season long.
We developed this competition as a means for both camaraderie and competition among the NFC West writers, both of which are critical elements among men who are supposed to be rivals.
The premise of this competition is simple: take two prominent writers from a set of division rivals and pit them against each other in a competition which tests a man's football IQ.
The eight contestants in this year's competition will submit picks each week in hopes of outwitting their opponents and claiming the 2009 NFC West Featured Columnist crown.
There are several interesting features to this year's competition, so without further ado, here are the rules and guidelines.
2009 NFC West Competition Rules and Guidelines
—Each team in the NFC West will be represented by two Featured Columnists, making a total of eight contestants.
—In the event that two Featured Columnists are unavailable for a certain team, the spots will be filled with regular writers from said team.
—Each week, every contestant will pick the winners of the full slate of NFL games.
—The picks will be turned in no later than 24 hours before the first kickoff of the week.
—Any contestant who fails to turn in a set of picks will receive the lowest total score achieved for that week by an active contestant (Example: Player A fails to turn in picks for Week Three. Player C finished in last place for Week Three by scoring only nine points. Since Player A failed to turn in his picks, he would be given the equivalent of the lowest score of the week: nine points).
—The night before each week's first game, an article will be published showing every contestant's picks for that week.
—The article will include each contestant's picks, as well as any interesting trends which have developed that week (e.g. a unanimous selection, an underdog that several people selected, etc.).
—Scoring is simple; each correct pick counts for one point.
—Underdog Bonus: Any correct pick which was selected by 25 percent or less of the contestants (typically this will be two or less contestants) will receive an additional point for predicting an Underdog victory.
—Tie Breaker: In the event of a tie at the end of the season, the winner will be determined by the most correct picks made for Monday Night Football games (17 total).
—Each Tuesday, an article will be published with the previous week's results.
—The picks will be scored and ranked, providing a standings board for both weekly and seasonal ranks.
—There will be an individual standings board, but the most important part of the competition will be teamwork, because...
Determining a Winner
—While individual success is impressive, team success wins championships
—Wedding Crashers Rule No. 65—When your crash partner fails, you fail. No man is an island.
—Each contestant's scores will be combined with his partner's scores to determine that team's overall rank (e.g. Seth Doria and Ron Clements scores will combine to produce the St. Louis Rams overall score).
—At the end of the year, the team with the highest combined score wins the competition!
—Aside from bragging rights, this year's contestants have agreed to sweeten the pot for the winning duo.
—The two winners of this year's competition will receive a brand new NFL Replica jersey of their choice from NFLShop.com.
As if winning the bragging rights weren't enough, now each contestant has a shot at sporting some brand new threads...
With these rules in mind, now it is time to meet the contestants in the 2009 NFC West Competition!
2009 NFC West Competition Contestants
(Both teams and contestants are listed in alphabetical order)
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Fan Since: 1970-1987, 2002-Present (Long Story)
Playing For: No. 34 Tim Hightower Home Jersey
2009 Breakout Player: WR Chris Henry—Cincinnati Bengals
2009 Breakout Team: Houston Texans
2009 BOLD Prediction: RB Ahmad Bradshaw will lead the NY Giants in yards from scrimmage.
Hometown: Peoria, AZ
Fan Since: More of a Supporter than a Fan
Playing For: Just Wire the Money to a Foreign Account and I'll Pick a Jersey Later...
2009 Breakout Player: WR Nate Washington—Tennessee Titans
2009 Breakout Team: San Francisco 49ers
2009 BOLD Prediction: Louis Murphy leads all rookie WR in yards and touchdowns.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Andrew Garda (FC)
Hometown: Astoria, NY
Fan Since: 1991—The Beginning of the Young Years
Playing For: No.21 Frank Gore Jersey
2009 Breakout Player: WR Josh Morgan—San Francisco 49ers
2009 Breakout Team: New Orleans Saints—Always a Bridesmaid Never a Bride...UNTIL NOW! Playoffs, Baby!
2009 BOLD Prediction: With Carson Palmer Back Chad Ochocinco will Return to Form and hit 1500 yards (he will, however, still be ridiculous).
Dray Miller (FC)
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Fan Since: Birth (1980)
Playing For: Vintage Brent Jones 49ers Jersey or Pat Tillman Cardinals Jersey (Both Went to My High School)
2009 Breakout Player: DE Jarron Gilbert–Chicago Bears
2009 Breakout Team: San Francisco 49ers, of course.
2009 BOLD Prediction: Josh McDaniels will be fired after just one season, in which he manages to completely ruin the Denver Broncos organization.
Scotty Kimberly (FC)
Hometown: Bellingham, WA
Fan Since: Birth (1985)
Playing For: No. 51 Lofa Tatupu Home Jersey
2009 Breakout Player: RB Ray Rice—Baltimore Ravens
2009 Breakout Team: Detroit Lions (Expect 6+ Wins)
2009 BOLD Prediction: Pat White will finish the year with 15-plus combined TD (Rush/Receive/Throw).
Rob Staton (FC)
Hometown: Sheffield, United Kingdom
Fan Since: 2004
Playing For: No. 80 Steve Largent Retro or No. 89 John Carlson Home
2009 Breakout Player: RB Cedric Benson
2009 Breakout Team: Houston Texans
2009 BOLD Prediction: Knowshon Moreno will rush for 1500 yards and 12 touchdowns.
ST. LOUIS RAMS
Ron Clements (FC)
Hometown: La Crosse, WI
Fan Since: Packers Fan Since Birth (1974)
Playing For: No. 19 Derek Stanley (He's from Wisconsin)
2009 Breakout Player: TE Billy Bajema—St. Louis Rams
2009 Breakout Team: Green Bay Packers (10 Wins This Year)
2009 BOLD Prediction: Steven Jackson will lead the NFL in total yards from scrimmage AND Billy Bajema will finish the season with more receptions than Randy McMichael.
Seth Doria (FC)
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Fan Since: 2009
Playing For: Rams 2010 First-Round Draft Pick
2009 Breakout Player: RB Michael Bush—Oakland Raiders (the next Michael Turner)
2009 Breakout Team: Green Bay Packers
2009 BOLD Prediction: Vince Young will make more starts than Kerry Collins.
Please comment with what you like/dislike/expect and join in on the discussion.