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A Reminder Of Days Gone By
The year was 1997. The top of the billboard charts was owned by the likes of Puff Daddy, Notorious B.I.G., The Spice Girls, Hanson, Mariah Carey, and Boyz II Men. We saw the release of Jurassic Park, Men In Black, and Titanic. O.J. Simpson was found guilty and we lost Princess Diana and the aforementioned Notorious B.I.G.. And two high school kids decided to start up a fantasy football league, buy weekly newspapers to read the box scores and run everything out of a notebook that they would update during statistics class.
26 seasons later and we are going to get a rematch of Fantasy Bowl I, as both the San Francisco Rattlesnakes and the Chicago Triumph vie for their 3rd championship. San Francisco won that first fantasy bowl by a score of 101-77. Although back then, we didn't even have team names and the average scores were only 76 points per game. That score of 101 was the high score of the week and the 77 was 3rd best that week. San Francisco was lead by Fantasy Bowl MVP Barry Sanders, Shannon Sharpe, and Dan Marino and Chicago by Play-off MVP Brett Favre, Cris Carter, and Antowain Smith.
But now we must look to the present, where it is unlikely that 101 points is going to get the job done. Both teams have plenty of experience in the big game, as this will make a combined 17 appearances between the two of them. San Francisco is counting on a pair of Cowboys in the big game that boast a combined record of 16-5 on the season. Dak has had the most points for the Snakes in 2023. Ceedee Lamb was picked up in a big week 13 trade. Prior to that trade, San Francisco was 5-7 and in 8th place with an average of 109.7 points per game. Since the trade, they are 4-0 with an average point total of 144.3. They also have made history already as the first 5 seed to ever advance to the finals.
The Triumph could also be considered late bloomers. They started off a mere 4-4 through 8 weeks with 126.6 points per game. Since they are 7-1 with 140.3 per game. Christian McCaffrey has been off the charts for Chicago with a record of 14-2. He has already won the league MVP for 2023. He has 488 points with a week to go, which is already the 5th best all time for a running back and will likely be 2nd or 3rd by the end. He trails Steven Jackson (489), Marshall Faulk (493), Jonathan Taylor (523), and himself (572). Unfortunately for Chicago, they did lose T.J. Hockenson for the final game. It would have been a great match up between Hockenson and LaPorta. Chicago has outscored San Fran in 11 of the 16 weeks prior. But this is the one that counts.
San Francisco advanced with a win over Los Angeles. The Bombers might have been in the big game, had Brock Purdy not gotten injured late in the Monday Night Game. If you added Purdy's back up's stats to his own, it would have taken Purdy's point total from 4 to 21, which would have given LA a 2 point win. Chicago's win over Tampa Bay wasn't as close throughout. Stafford put up 33 on Thursday and the Triumph never really looked back. The Blizzard did manage a good game from Justin Jefferson, but Mike Evans was able to counter it and send the Blizzard to the Bronze Bowl. Los Angeles and Tampa Bay will play against each other in a bowl game for the second time in 3 years. But this probably feels like an upgrade over the prior match up in, which was in the Toilet Bowl.