User Interview: OTTO2K3

Q&A with noted SimLeague Football user OTTO2K3

We recently contacted noted SimLeague Football user Otto2k3 to discuss game-planning, theme leagues, Bill Belichick, depth charts, Ricky Feacher, Henry David Thoreau, Eric Metcalf's speed and the Cleveland Browns.

WIS

Thanks for taking the time out to meet with us.

WIS

Who is OTTO2K3?

OTTO2K3

I am a die-hard Browns fan, born near Cleveland and raised in New Mexico where I currently live in the mountains with my three birds. I'm about 90 minutes from El Paso and close to the White Sands National Monument - a giant beach with no water. They actually just filmed the Transformers movie out here. I'm a 39-year old bartender. I also play guitar in a band and own my own recording studio. In 1992, I had the Sub Pop single of the week when I played in a band called Big Damn Crazy Weight. It was around then that I really got into football games. We would always play the original Madden to blow off steam after some heated practices. That's also when I realized that John Madden has a prejudice against the Browns. They gave Eric Metcalf a 6 out of 15 in speed. I was still always the Browns, but it killed me to see him get run down by lineman on sweeps. Living around here, I was a Cowboys fan for a little bit when Roger Staubach played. Now, that's the wrong team.

WIS

How did you find out about WhatIfSports.com and NFL SimLeagues?

OTTO2K3

It was through a search engine about three years ago when I typed in "online football game simulation" and WhatIfSports came up.

WIS

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

OTTO2K3

Music, science and other sports are my three biggest interests. I can definitely be talked into a game of basketball. But, I now retired from sandlot football. When I lived in Albuquerque, we used to play a tackle football game between the grunge bands and the punk bands. We played on the UNM band practice field for a keg. By the end of the year, we'd have to ask some of the frat guys around there to play to fill the teams. Well, I recovered a fumble in a game late in the season and ended up under a pile of guys with my knee digging into a sprinkler. As music is a second career of mine, I was asked by those guys to stop playing so I could stay healthy. I have my three birds and love to watch the science channel about outer space and stuff like that. I live near Roswell and my dad was a fighter pilot for Project Bluebook. That's all I can tell you about that.

WIS

What dynasty or simleagues games have you played?

OTTO2K3

I've played basketball, hockey and football. Football is my favorite because it comes closest to the actual experience of being a head coach or GM. You have to pay attention to strategy and gameplanning and the game translates very well to the play-by-play. I feel like I go through the same ups and downs that a coach does.

WIS

Who sits at your dream roundtable discussion?

OTTO2K3

Jimi Hendrix - I'm not sure we could understand him, but he would keep things interesting. Jim Brown - It does not matter what the topic is, it seems like he always has something to say and it's probably worth listening to. Henry David Thoreau - He is one of my all-time heroes. Aristophanes - They used to say that he was never the best at anything, but second best at everything. This is the way I always felt. I never wanted to be the best, but I never wanted more than one to be better than me. That's actually why I always wore # 2 in sports. Ben Franklin - He could tell all the dirty jokes. Madonna - She could comment on everyone walking by and keep us entertained. Plus, she's still hotter than half the girls half her age. Martin Luther King Jr. - He'd be there to remind us that there is no speciation amongst human beings.

WIS

Who are your favorite players of all-time?

OTTO2K3

Otto Graham, Jim Brown, Roger Staubach, Eric Turner, Deion Sanders, Antonio Gates, Troy Polamalu, Bobby Layne and Orpheus Roye are some of my favorite football players. I also loved Magic, Dr. J, Rodman, Robert Horry, Bob Probert and Steve Garvey.

WIS

What are your favorite teams of all time?

OTTO2K3

The Browns and, like every good kid who grew in Cleveland, the Lakers, Dodgers and Kings. We used to get KTLA back when there were networks and just a few super stations. So, I would watch whatever LA sporting event was going on that day. I stopped liking the Kings when they changed their colors to match the Raiders instead of the Lakers.

WIS

Which coaches, teams or players, past or present, do you draw on for inspiration?

OTTO2K3

Without giving too much away, Bill Belichick is the guy. He completely ignores the other team to come up with his strategy that will work. On offense, I love the 1960's Packers under Lombardi - line up, slam it down your throat and beat you. I also love Bill Cowher's tenacity and gut. That's why I lobbied so hard for the never punt setting. He's not a player, former player or coach, but I love Greg Easterbrook from ESPN.com's Tuesday Morning Quarterback. That guy should have a job in the NFL. And, I never do what Marty Schottenheimer would do because he is a chicken.

WIS

Did you play any sports growing up?

OTTO2K3

I played football, basketball and baseball until everyone got bigger than me. In junior high, we had an undefeated football team and I played cornerback and offensive guard because I was the fastest guy on the team. I was the worst baseball player ever because I could not hit. In Little League, I never really swung the bat. My assumption was that no Little League pitcher could throw three strikes in an at-bat. I lead the team in on-base percentage for four straight years, but had just one hit. In basketball, I have about as good a vert as a 6'1" white guy could. But, if you see me waving my hands behind the three-point line, fake the pass because I'm definitely not going to make the shot.

WIS

Talk about your greatest WIS moment.

OTTO2K3

I took my 7-9 Blacklist Browns team to the title in Glen87's Blacklist league.

WIS

At this point, NFL SimLeagues are not as popular as some of our other sports. What can you tell users who may be unfamiliar with the game about the merits of SimLeague football?

OTTO2K3

This game really plays like football. If it works in real football, it works here. I don't know how all of the numbers work, but I don't have to. I know that if I have a team with Paul Warfield and Cliff Branch, I need to pass the ball deep. And with such a rich history of individual players, there are infinite roster possibilities.

WIS

Having played primarily in football, do you prefer open or theme leagues? If theme, which types of themes are your favorite and why?

OTTO2K3

I play almost exclusively in theme leagues. I've got a draft keeper league that has been really successful with four different champions in four seasons. Glen87 also has some great themes that eliminate repeat players in leagues.

WIS

With today's SimEngine, how do you approach drafting players?

OTTO2K3

First, I go after the best offensive line and defense for my theme. Then, I do not spend much on backups and always get guys with 100 durability. The best backups are guys with high rush or receiving ratings who can get you big yards in limited play. For instance, 1981 Ricky Feacher, is a perfect third WR. You don't need many catches out of him, but the catches he does get go a long ways. I usually have one runningback with high carries and one for big runs. Mercury Morris is a great backup for this reason.

WIS

What offensive and defensive styles do you prefer?

OTTO2K3

I like real-life strategies that I have seen work. Like with New England, they could run the same play nine times in a row, but it comes out of nine different formations, so the defense does not know what is coming. I just like to make the other coach outthink himself.

WIS

What do you believe is the overall biggest key to success in SimLeague football?

OTTO2K3

Call the right plays to fir the personnel and the team you are playing against. I give props to Norbert for building an engine that requires some outguessing or outsmarting the other opponent, but still plays like a football game should.

WIS

Do you approach the playoffs any differently than the regular season?

OTTO2K3

I make bolder decisions. If things are not working, I'll scrap them. I also do a lot more research on my opponents.

WIS

Which NFL SimLeague users have proven to be your biggest challenge?

OTTO2K3

Kaniac, Glen87, bomain, Xarsis, Jcervelli, dickdoes, and honorable mention to DuffMan83 and Huserk75 who can beat me on any given Sunday.

WIS

What advice can you give to new WhatIfSports.com users in general who want to have fun and get the most out of the site?

OTTO2K3

Get into one of Glen87's theme leagues that level the playing field a little more. You'll soon learn how good of a football coach you can be.

WIS

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

OTTO2K3

I'd be a cornerback on the best defense in the game. We'd be rated 100 for INTs. Sometimes the right cornerback can be the more important player on the field. I'd cheat on every play and get away with it. The defense would cost $36 million and it would be like the 1950 Browns with me instead of Tommy James.

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