FCF 2022 Championship: Previewing Johnny Manziel's Zappers vs. Bored Ape FC
We're nearing the end of Fan Controlled Football's second season, otherwise known as Season v2.0.
There have been a few changes this year, notably the addition of a new four-team division and the first-ever trade. However, the action has been just as new, refreshing and fun as it was when FCF debuted in 2021.
This is a league centered around the fans, and in the case of the new Ballerz division, owned by fans through the purchase of NFTs. There are celebrity ownership groups and famous faces in the stands, but fan engagement has helped forge something truly unique.
Fans help call the plays, vote on trades, call to rest starters and communicate with quarterbacks to discuss strategy.
"Those are not the actions of people who are just passively watching games," The Athletic's Gene Clemons wrote.
The football is different—there are no kicks, no coin tosses and video game-style power-ups are involved—though perhaps not for everyone. After two seasons of watching games, following social media and eying live-stream message boards, though, I can say this: A lot of folks love it.
If you're an established FCF fan, you're already hyped for this weekend's game between the Zappers and Bored Ape FC. If you're new to the league, now is the perfect opportunity to dive in. The championship game is going to be a ton of fun and will feature one of the league's most notable names: 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
Here, you'll find an in-depth preview of this year's title game, including scheduling and live-stream information, a look at how we got here and what to expect.
2022 FCF Championship Game
Who: Zappers vs. Bored Ape FC
When: Saturday, June 11
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Where: Pullman Yards, Atlanta
Ticket Info: Via the official FCF website
Live Stream: Twitch, NBCLX, DAZN, fuboTV and the FCF App
Season v2.0 Recap
Getting to the 2022 People's Championship has been an adventure. Season v2.0 began with expansion, as the new four-team Ballerz division joined the existing four squads, known as the OGs division.
The weekly re-drafting of players—except those deemed "franchise players"—ended with the Week 3 draft. From then on, offensive skill rosters were locked, with drafts only involving offensive lines/tight ends and defenses.
However, rosters didn't completely stay locked, as we soon saw the first trade in FCF history. The highlight of that deal was NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens.
From the official FCF website:
"The first-ever trade in FCF history has taken place and it involves OG Teams the Zappers and Beasts and Ballerz team The Knights. The three-team deal was proposed by the team's owners and then sent to a vote by the fans who had the ability to veto the trade for their team—but ultimately each team's fans decided to lock it in for their squad as they focus on building out their rosters for the stretch run of FCF Season v2.0."
Owens was traded from the Zappers to the Knights of Degen, and while the move probably wasn't directly responsible for the Zappers' turnaround, it did coincide with it.
After starting the season 0-4, they rattled off three straight wins to reach a Man Up Challenge playoff showdown with the Glacier Boys. They won that to advance to the postseason proper.
Bored Ape FC took an entirely different path to the postseason, winning five games to open the campaign and locking up a playoff spot before the finale. The team had little to play for in the final two weeks, and while it finished the regular season with two consecutive losses, it still had a league-best 5-2 record.
In the playoffs, the Bored Ape FC outlasted 8oki, which got in with a Man Up Challenge victory over Owens' new team. The Bored Apes controlled most of the game but had to survive a furious comeback from 8oki and star quarterback Mitch Kidd.
The Bored Apes scored with less than 10 minutes remaining to take a 38-18 lead, but 8oki pulled within six and successfully retained possession via the "comeback rule" attempt with 11 seconds left. The Bored Ape defense held firm, though, and FCF's best regular-season team earned a spot in the title game.
The suddenly surging Zappers, meanwhile, rode an early flurry from quarterback Kelly Bryant against the Shoulda Been Stars. He led his squad to a 28-14 halftime lead but was hampered by an ankle injury after the break.
Manziel took over and helped keep the Zappers rolling, though. A team that looked like it didn't belong in Week 4 capped its impressive winning streak with a 50-24 playoff victory.
This sets up an incredible powerhouse-versus-underdog matchup for Saturday's title game.
Final Regular-Season Standings
Bored Ape FC 5-2*
Knights of Degen 4-3
Shoulda Been Stars 4-3*
Glacier Boyz 3-4
Bored Ape FC 38, 8oki 32
Zappers 50, Shoulda Been Stars 24
During the regular season, few would have believed a team that started 5-0 would be facing one that started 0-4 in the title game. However, that's where we are, thanks in large part to the stellar play of Zappers quarterback Kelly Bryant.
The Zappers have experienced a lot of fluctuation at quarterback, utilizing eight of them during the regular season. While Manziel is the most well-known, he has played sparingly. Bryant has been the team's best QB, but his ankle injury looms large in this matchup.
The 25-year-old had three combined passing and rushing touchdowns in the playoffs before the injury. The Zappers will need that sort of production to knock off the impressively consistent Bored Ape FC, led by quarterback Deondre Francois.
The 2016 ACC Rookie of the Year averaged over seven yards per rush in the regular season and finished with six passing and six rushing touchdowns.
Manziel showed during the second half against the SB Stars that he can manage a game well enough, but the Bored Apes present a stiff challenge. They have consistently won in games that mattered, and they're carrying plenty of confidence into Saturday.
"There's nothing new we need to add to the game," Bored Ape FC superback Darren Woods told NBCLX. "We just gotta keep doing the same things we're doing."
The Zappers should have their fair share of confidence too, though, after coming off of a four-game winning streak.
"We gotta finish what we started," Zappers wideout James Harden told NBCLX.
Will the run the Zappers began in Week 5 continue, or will the Bored Ape FC hold off its unlikely championship opponent? Given the way Season v2.0 has unfolded, this feels like a game in which anything could happen.
By late Saturday evening, Fan Controlled Football will have its second champion.