Fan Controlled Football league shows promise: 5 takeaways from opening week

The Fan Controlled Football league had its first week of games, and it was hectic fun.

There were a few hiccups (like the controversial officiating at the end of the first game), but for the first week of a brand new product, it wasn’t too bad. Johnny Manziel was the biggest name that attracted people to watch, but this league is filled with plenty of talented players, even if they aren’t household names.

Both of the opening week games were close with the Wild Aces topping the Glacier Boyz 30-22 and the Beasts beating the Zappers 48-44. The games both ended with a chance for a tie or a win on the final drives. The Glacier Boyz appeared to have a near game-tying catch, but the officials controversially ruled it a drop.

The Zappers nearly came back on legitimately one of the craziest final plays I’ve ever seen in a football game.

MORE: Everything you need to know about Fan Controlled Football

There’s clearly a lot of differences in this league compared to your typical football league, like being able to call the plays on the field. But there were a lot of other great elements to this league aside from the big stuff.

Below, we’ll go over some of the big takeaways from the first week of games.

1. Mobile quarterbacks are king

I’ve always loved mobile quarterbacks more than the standard drop-back passer, so to me the scrambling in this league really caught my attention. I don’t have the numbers because the FCF doesn’t have box scores readily available, but most quarterbacks seemed to have finished with 50+ rushing yards.

Beasts backup QB T.J. Edwards had 96 rushing yards (per the broadcast), and Manziel finished with 68 rushing yards (per the broadcast). Zappers backup QB Logan Marchi had a 40-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and had more scrambles, so he definitely topped 50. Glacier Boyz QB David Pindell was running around all game and even though I don’t have his numbers, I’m pretty sure he topped 50 as well.

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Because it’s 7-on-7 football, it really allows the quarterback to run around freely on almost every play. You have 3-on-3 blocking, and then 3-on-3 coverage, which just leaves the QB 1-on-1 against a defender. All the QB has to do is make that man miss, and it’s open field to run.

2. Fans love calling pass plays

Again, I don’t have the numbers available, but it felt like fans were calling passes on at least 90% of the plays for all four teams. The only time a run would be called is if it was on a short down-and-distance, or near the goal line. Otherwise, it was bombs away for the quarterbacks.

This eventually led to a lot of scrambling, as I mentioned in the first point, but it led to a lot of action throughout the course of the game. It felt like fans just wanted to see quarterbacks toss it deep or just run around. They weren’t too interested in handing the ball off to their running backs.

Although running the ball would probably be a good strategy if your team has the lead. There’s a lot of downtime in between plays as they await the call from fans. And since this league has a running clock, you could pretty much just chew the clock down if you were consistently calling run plays and picking up first downs.

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3. The broadcast booth wasn’t afraid to be different

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the night wasn’t the play on the field, but the commentary about it.

During the first game, Beasts co-owner Marshawn Lynch was invited to the booth and was allowed to truly be himself. He didn’t have to censor his language, and spoke freely about whatever came to his mind. Including taking a s— after eating a caeser salad.

Even though Lynch was the standout, the broadcast booth was great in general. Glacier Boyz co-owner and NFL player Richard Sherman was also invited to talk, and had some great back-and-forth with Lynch. Later on, they brought in Beasts co-owner and former WNBA player Renee Montgomery who brought some excitement to the booth. It was fun seeing all of the different co-owners come in to talk about their teams, and the league in general.

The final element that stuck out to me was that the broadcast booth was fine letting a few expletives in. While this may turn some people off, I thought it was perfect for the type of league the FCF wants to be.

4. Calling plays is a fun experience

When I saw that the league was allowing fans to call the plays, I wasn’t completely sure how it would work. I thought maybe fans would have access to the entire playbook and could just spam nonsense plays over and over again if they wanted to. But that’s not the case.

Fans get an initial option of run or pass … simple enough. From there, fans get to choose one of three plays from that category. Those plays are pre-determined by an algorithm that considers them good plays to call in that situation. In other words, fans aren’t given an option to choose a horrible play.

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After you pick your play, you’re taken to a screen that shows the six available play calls and you can see which one got the most votes. It’s pretty cool to see the play you picked actually get called, and see what happens afterwards.

Not only is it a fun experience, but it’s incredibly easy. All you have to do is pick your team, and then connect your FCF account with Twitch through an extension. From there, the extension will pop up on all offensive plays (fans don’t call defensive plays) and you go from there.

5. The extra point system is fantastic

One thing that really stands out about this league is the fact there is no kicking at all. There aren’t even goal posts to suggest the idea of field goals or extra points (there is also no punting). This is the first football league I can think of that just completely eliminated the idea of kicking. Even the Arena Football League, which this league is the most similar to, had field goals and extra points.

Instead of kicking an extra point, teams line up in a 1-on-1 battle between WR and DB. The quarterbacks “snaps” the ball from a chair, and then has three seconds to throw to his wideout. It’s a fun and exciting way to do extra points instead of just boringly watch a kicker make a field goal while the defensive players stand around doing nothing.

It’s just another small element that helps make this league stand out.