Are you ready for some (Strat-O-Matic) Football?

Great Moments Await in 2009 Football Set

Wil Kolodzie

The Strat FB 2009 set offers a wealth of amazing stock and replay challenges.  The 2009 season had a number of amazing team and individual performances so it’s almost impossible to know where to get started without a specific project in mind.  


Trying to get the Minnesota Vikings or the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl is a worthwhile project.   Replaying the battle and drama of the AFC East with the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, and the Miami Dolphins is another winning idea that will provide the casual or expert Strat fan with hours, nay days, of drama and excitement.

Then there are the tougher challenges, like trying to replay the 2009 Tennessee Titans season in its entirety or to coach them in one of the various stock replay league formats. 


As we know now that we’ve seen the numbers, Chris Johnson has one of the more dazzling and exceptional RB cards in recent memory.   He has 1,633 total rushing yards on the card and hits double-digits in all of his guessed wrong columns.   The 14.22 ERW average will crush the opposition.   The OTW column looks like a nightmare if the defense doesn’t call run because Johnson will hit you with a +39 on a 3 roll or the LG reading on the 9 roll.

Yet, for all the greatness of the Johnson card, it’s not a card that will win the game for you or turn you into a juggernaut against opposing defenses.  

That’s because the Tennessee QB cards, how does one put this, really stink and do not fare well in the position rankings.

There are 33 QB cards in the 2009 set with 200+ passing attempts.   Of those cards, Vince Young ranks number 27 and Kerry Collins ranks number 31 in terms of passing yards on their cards.   For total passing units (guessed right plus guessed wrong chances) Young sits at number 29 in the set and Collins is again the number 31 QB card.

So the 2009 Titans have a fantastic, wonderful RB card in Johnson and bottom of the barrel QB cards in Young and Collins.  Throw in the fact that second string RB card LenDale White ranks number 63 for his position for rushing yards on the card and that the team does not have a 50+ total GR receiver card and it’s pretty clear what may happen to the offensive efficiency over the course of the season.

The opposing defensive strategy is simple.   Stop Chris Johnson.   Your strategy, as the Tennessee coach, is finding a play-calling scheme that will force the defense to call pass enough so you can get the rolls off the Johnson  LBW, OTW, and ERW columns.

That Tennessee has more roster quality than indicated by their 2009 season performance does help the situation to a startling degree.   For a team that disappointed heavily in the NFL over the first six weeks of the season, the Titans won 8 of their last 10 games and almost made the playoffs.

In fact, one might say they are a playoff team if they had a better quality QB and that’s the real challenge for this Tennessee team in replays and stock leagues.  


How can you win with a great RB card and poor quality QB cards?   It’s a great challenge for any Strat football fan of any experience level.

There are three considerations here:  the sum of the offensive card units, the game rules, and the opposing defenses.


Finding the 5 or 6 best plays in terms of card unit totals is one way of maximizing the offensive opportunities.  


Young to Sciafe/Johnson offers 38 combined FP GR chances.   Then there are 4 other receiver possibilities with 21 FP GR units on their cards, 34 total FP GR units in combination with Young.   For the short pass, Young to Washington/Britt has 35 SP GR chances, to Gage/Sciafe has 32 SP GR chances.


At the very least, the Tennessee offense has 8 different play-call flat/short options with a combined 34 GR units.   It’s not Manning/Brees QB territory but it’s what the Tennessee coach works with for this season.   Then we throw in that the Johnson double-digit GW averages in all of his columns.   So we have over 10 “stock” or “basic” plays for the offense and a host of permutations by the time we include the defensive zone of attack.  

Run Johnson on first down on several occasions.  See if you can get the opposing coach to start moving  his linebackers or free safety.  Then you’ll have some open zones on the defensive board and that will help bigger readings from the team defense or draft league defense cards.


If passing on first down, the Tennessee must make sure he has the best FP or SP chances available and he’s throwing into the best FP zone.   As much as possible, the Titans do not need to be in second and long situations.  They definitely can’t get caught up in too many instances where they need 13+ yards on a play.

Both Young and Collins have a paltry 3 LP GR units.   Tennessee will not pick up big chunks of passing yards even with Britt, Gage, and Washington having 9 LP GR units on their cards.  Nevertheless, getting the opposing coach to move his FS out of the LP zone represents the best strategy and hope for hitting or converting a few LP calls during the game.

Basically the Tennessee offense will play a game of field possession and trying to minimize the distance needed on second and third down.   As long as the team can avoid as many of the third down and long situations as possible where the opposing defense loads up the SP zone with defenders then the Titans have a chance to compete for the win.


Running Johnson on third down may turn into more of a necessary option against some teams, even with the linebacker-run containment rule in effect.  Perhaps running a three-receiver formation more often than one might wish to do with this team in order to open up the possibilities for more “pass” calls could work as another option on occasion.   It’s risky as an all-around or specific use strategy because of the possibility of the “1” roll from the white die or the “blocking back +5 or +1” reading.   Still, Johnson gets an average of 3.00+ yards on the LB and OT GR columns.


The key for Tennessee is to pick up small chunks of yardage, keep second and third down at a reasonable length, and then get enough first downs out of the passing game, and the big yardage gains off the Johnson card.  


Patience is also a key as the Titans will have plenty of three and out situations on offense.  There will be a lot of scenarios with first down flat pass incomplete, second down short pass incomplete, third down flat pass incomplete (or something similar).  

For the Strat coach willing to take the risk and the challenge, Tennessee is a great project and also a fantastic way to relearn and rediscover some things about Strat football.   You know you’ll get a great season out of the Johnson RB card but can you get sufficient quality from the other position player cards.   Can you as a defensive coach have the skills and strategy necessary for keeping games close?  

Tennessee is a team with a lot of close games on the schedule.   The difference between a 6-10 and a 10-6 record really depends on your in-game decision making skills and how you play the “chess match” that is Strat football.

Those who want the full flavor or experience of the Strat football challenge might try a season replay or stock league with Tennessee.  It is an challenge that will allow to savor all that is best with the game.