User Interview: 98average

Q&A with noted Gridiron Dynasty user 98average

While the college football regular season has finished and the bowl games not yet upon us, the games live on everyday through Gridiron Dynasty at WhatIfSports.com. And, while Gridiron Dyansty may not have many Reggie Bushes or Vince Youth, we have plenty of excitement, great matchups and some the best head-to-head competition outside of Saturday's in the fall.

WhatIfSports.com recently met with relative Gridiron Dynasty guru 98average to discuss such topics as recruiting, game-planning, WHIPs, bowling's biggest villain, Diego Maradona, balling against JKidd, riddles and Al Davis.

WIS

Who is 98average?

98average

I'm 30 years old, married with three kids, a Bengals season ticket holder and own greyhounds that I race across the country. The name 98average comes from my first year of playing at a bowling alley I inherited. My first year, I had a bowled an average of 98. But then I practiced every day and got pretty good, so that by the time I played in tournaments I was consistently bowling 150+ while carrying a 98 handicap. I ended up winning over $12,000 that year and everyone knew me as 98average. It was like I was the biggest villain in bowling, but I had actually improved that much.

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSorts.com?

98average

I used to play Stats. Inc's game Diamond Legends and the idea of simulations appealed to me. So, I Googled sim games and WIS came up. The price was perfect (compared to $50 for Diamond Legends) so I thought that I would give it a try. At that time, baseball did not track WHIP for pitchers; all they had was ERA. I began calculating WHIP by myself and did pretty well in the baseball engine with that strategy. Since you fixed that in baseball, I have gotten more into SimLeague basketball and Gridiron Dynasty.

WIS

Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

98average

Basically all sports. I am in fantasy football and basketball. I just love competition and keep looking for ways to compete. Otherwise, I look through greyhound stuff pretty much all day.

WIS

What is your favorite sports moment?

98average

I got to play against Jason Kidd in a high school tournament in Florida. He had this aura about him with the media and the hype. Of course, he made me look stupid. He was already on an extra level compared to everyone else. As a fan, the Patriots AFC Championship game against the Raiders where Vinatieri hit those big field goals was great.

WIS

Who are your favorite teams of all-time?

98average

The 1986 Red Sox were my team. I loved them and will never forget that groundball. I remember sitting in my living room on a school night when my dad had let me stay up to watch the game. Then it happened. It was just so surreal. I also loved the 1980s Celtics, '90s Cowboys, Lou Holtz's Notre Dame teams and Providence College (especially with Pitino and Donovan).

WIS

Did you play any sports growing up?

98average

I played everything. From little league baseball to hockey and basketball I played as much as I could. I still remember when I would get up at 5:00 am everyday just to play hockey. At that time, I think I was pretty athletic and always very competitive.

WIS

What players did you admire most growing up?

98average

Roger Clemens because of his preparation. Larry Bird was who I wanted to be. And, Cam Neely because he held that Bruins team together and did so much for the community.

WIS

Who are your favorite players in today's game?

98average

Dwight Howard is a monster. He may end up being one of the best players ever. He's just 19 and can move better than any big guy I've ever send. I think we'll be talking about him forever. Tom Brady - who else is more clutch than him.

WIS

What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

98average

I want to go to a Notre Dam football game in South Bend. Just going to a Notre Dame home basketball game a couple of years ago was a great experience. I can't imagine the atmosphere for football.

WIS

Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable?

98average

My table would be all about getting answers. I'd have Magic Johnson to see how he has coped with/beaten AIDS when everyone else with it has problems. Jose Canseco would open up about all of the players on steroids - I guess my table is a bunch of guys who are messed up. Pete Rose, who I absolutely hate, would be there, too. I'd put Barry Bonds under the spotlight. And, I'd get Diego Maradona to talk.

WIS

If you could be commissioner of any league, which sport would it be and what would you do to change the game?

98average

The NBA. I think 70% of all players smoke weed so I would make sure that everyone was drug tested for it and that there would be harsh penalties. I also hate that there is constant contact in what is supposedly a non-contact sport. It's gotten really bad. So, I would completely eliminate backing a player down. And, I would move the Hawks out of Atlanta.

WIS

As a coach in GD do you draw on the philosophies of any past or present coaches?

98average

Yeah, JConte. I'm not as concerned about real football strategies as a strategy to win in the game. I guess in the respect I am a bit like Al Davis - just win baby.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of our website?

98average

The price is the most attractive thing. There are no other sim games that are cheaper. I also love the way games are played with the ability to adjust and it seems that there are always new things coming out for the different games.

WIS

Least favorite?

98average

Sometimes simple things don't get fixed that cause gameplay glitches. The "riddles" from customer support cause confusion as well. My questions are not always answered directly.

WIS

Having played in over 50 seasons with a winning percentage over .800, what do you believe is the biggest key to GD success?

98average

You know what I do? I'll line up in the Notre Dame Box and set my settings to Always Run to make sure that I dictate the pace of the game. I'll even tell my opponents that's what I am going to do and there is still no stopping me. There are no defensive adjustments in the game worthwhile. All defensive settings mean nothing. So, I focus on recruiting the best defensive players and then get the right guys to pound the ball.

WIS

What is your approach to recruiting?

98average

I try to stay away from battling people. If I want to get into a battle, I'll go to Yahoo Maps and look at the distance between the schools and the player and determine whether I can keep up financially. If not, I'll save my money. I also like to wait a day or so to see who is pursued. That way I can go after some of the best "undecideds."

WIS

How do you go about setting your depth chart and game plan?

98average

The depth chart is key. If I think a user is going to run a lot, I'll go with a 5-2 and put in my players with the best Tackling ratings. For passing, I'll switch to a 4-3 and look for players with high Game Instinct, Speed and Technique. It's all about getting the best players on the field for each situation. And for practices, I spend all my time on individuals. I don't worry about practicing formations.

WIS

Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?

98average

Elbruskinm and Breum are the two best overall coaches. Elbruskinm does such a great job setting up preseason tournaments and is always helpful. Kobo is pretty good too.

WIS

What would you tell new users to the site who want to get the most out of WhatIfSports.com has to offer?

98average

If you love stats and/or hands-on competition, this is the right place to be. You get to build your own team in each game. Everything about your team and conduct is a reflection of your.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and how much would you cost?

98average

I'd want to be good, so I'd be a GD Quarterback with a 99 Game Instinct based solely on my knowledge of Gridiron Dynasty. I would also have pretty good strength and technique and that's it.

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