Running Wild: Who Am I?




By Glenn Guzzo


            How many clues will it take you to identify the 1,000-yard rusher in the 2006-season Strat-O-Matic Pro Football game? Try it first without looking up the ratings or the National Football League statistics.



1.      Of the 23 men who rushed for 1,000 yards in 2006, I am one of only two who scored a mere two touchdowns rushing.


2.      Though I had the highest average gain of all the 1,000-yard rushers, my only gains on End Run guessed Right are on dice rolls 2, 11 and 12.


3.      I am deadly, of course, on End Run guessed Wrong, but I have no Long Gain there or anywhere on my card, even though my longest run in 2006 was more than 50 yards.


4.      I am no threat on Linebuck, Off Tackle or as a receiver.


5.      This was my first time rushing for 1,000 yards. There’s a good chance that it will be my last.


6.      I am the only 1,000-yard rusher who cannot play Halfback.



The Mystery Man


            You surely have identified him by now, if you paid close attention to last year’s NFL, this year’s Strat-O-Matic ratings, or the recent national news.


            Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick is a unique case – the NFL’s first 1,000-yard rushing quarterback and thus the first time SOM has had to card such a creature.


            Vick rushed for 1,039 yards on just 124 carries, for a frightening 8.4 yards per carry. Though those eight carries per game is a lot for a quarterback, like all SOM quarterbacks, he is thrown for steep losses when running wide guessed Right: from dice rolls 5 through 9, it’s -7, -6, -8, -3 and -4.


            But Vick will give defenses fits in passing situations. His End Run column guessed Wrong has a lethal 25 chances (out of 36 dice combinations) for Short Gain (average gain: 15 yards) or better, with scampers of +22 at dice roll 4, +25 at 8, +30 at 11 and +33 at 12.


            In his Short Pass and Long Pass columns guessed Right, he has 18 chances for “must run.” With those odds, Vick will seldom fear third-and-long, because “must run” for Vick is prime time, not desperation time.


            Descending from dice roll 2, Vick’s must-run results are +51, +24, +16, +15 and +10 through dice roll 6, then +8 at 7 and +6 at 8.


            But depending on runs in passing situation is a tough way to make an offense work. Especially when trying to come from behind, which the Falcons defense will make necessary. With Vicks’s sub-par passing, Vick stands to break a lot of hearts on broken plays – he’ll either make first downs out of nothing, or he’ll end up falling short of the end zone in exciting fashion.


            That was pretty much the story of the 2006 Atlanta Falcons, who finished with a 7-9 record.