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S2014Q04:: GZL Quarterly Power Rankings
By Anthony Fernandez
Special to gzl-football.com

S2014Q04:: GZL QUARTERLY POWER RANKINGS
The Cartoon Character Edition
Monday, May 27th, 2013
AF, GreenZone Media Committee

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The Pink Panther::
32. Carolina Panthers ( LR #30 )
The Panthers are not the worst team in GZL, but anytime you finish with the 4th worst record in the league, and your biggest Division Rival owns your 1st Round Pick, you have to be ranked dead last. Couple that with the fact they only got [2.1] in the last draft for what will equate to the 4th best player in this class. Even still, the Panthers finished strong with two wins, so perhaps there are positives to look forward to. After all, it appears they have a Franchise QB in Barkley, so maybe that is enough to soothe the sting of not having [1.4].


Jeckle::
31. Indianapolis Colts ( LR #20 )
Heckle::
30. New York Jets ( LR #19 )
Truth be told, I didn’t know much about Jeckle and Heckle, but apparently they were a pretty cool brother duo of cartoon birds. Heckle had a thick New York accent, and Jeckle was rather brainsy and used big words. For some reason, I feel that fits here. Merlin has drafted decent in Indy, but still has a long ways to go. It might be time for him to pull the plug on Jake Locker, who has no doubt kept the Colts at the bottom of these rankings for some time. Corey Smith entered one of the toughest situations you can imagine in New York, and actually made quite a few good moves. Unfortunately trading their own pick, the 6th pick in the draft, for QB Matt Shaub, and then moving him again a few weeks later for the Bucs 1st Round Pick (which could be anywhere from 22-32) stings. It also doesn’t help Shaub is the QB of the #1 seed in the NFC.


Michigan J. Frog::
29. Houston Texans ( LR #32 )
Paul has historically had one of the better rosters in the league, but obviously losing Shaub has been a shock to the system. Even with Schaub, they have always been a team that performs well when it doesn’t matter, then disappears when you need them to play big AsleepE playoffs). Michigan J. Frog if you remember could perform very well, but only in front of the hapless man who is hoping to make some money off of him. After losing a bit of coin on the Texans in Vegas this year, I know the feeling. Oh, and they beat me and contributed to me blowing the NFC South. Oh, and they lost out and lucked into the #1 overall pick, snatching it from me as the Panthers started to win late. Damn you, frog!


Pepe Le Pew::
28. San Francisco 49ers ( LR #29 )
The 49ers are Mr. Le Pew because they have really stunk up the last few regular seasons. There have been some teams to frequent the Top 10 picks – but to finish with a Top 4 pick for three consecutive seasons? Damn, what a fall from grace. Like Le Pew, the 49ers have some redeemable qualities, and have drafted well (minus the Weeden pick). One more “hit” with the #2 pick and the 49ers could very easily turn it around. But I think I said something similar the last two off-season’s.


Garfield::
27. Cincinnati Bengals ( LR #27 )
Ah, the loveable, lazy, fat, orange cat. The Bengals could be considered overachievers this year, and it knocked them all the way down to the 17th pick in the 1st round. They should still get a decent player there, but probably not a player that is going to impact them enough to compete next year with the Steelers, Browns, and Ravens. It’s a tough division, no doubt, but they have some questions to be answered. The first is whether they have a Franchise QB or not, which is a troubling question since the team (not GM) used TWO high picks on QBs last year.


Eeyore::
26. Minnesota Vikings ( LR #26 )
Winnie the Pooh::
25. Chicago Bears ( LR #25 )
Like Pooh, Bryan is a loveable character here in GZL. It’s easy to root for him, and I think most expect good things. After some decent moves and a nice close to 2014, there is reason for him to be jolly. Similarly, it’s easy to like AC and his Vikings, but they have a bit less to be jolly about. With questions surrounding their QB position, and numerous spots on D, it’s no surprise why they would be feeling gloomy.


Eric Cartman::
24. St. Louis Rams ( LR #22 )
It was a downer year for the Rams, but they have reasons to be optimistic. They have a decent young roster, play in a winnable division, and have a Top 12 pick. Plus Tyler is a good GM, so the future is right. As for why I picked Cartman – I dunno. To be honest, I was a little stuck on this one, and for a long time I used to think he lived in his mom’s basement eating cheesy poofs. So there’s that.


Marvin Martian::
23. Miami Dolphins ( LR #28 )
Benny wants to catch Bugs (Buffalo), and he’s building an arsenal to attack. That arsenal consists of something like SIX 1st Round Draft Picks. It will be interesting to see if they make the mistake so many make – holding onto a mediocre QB too long. Russell Wilson could be good, but he’ll never be great. They really have two options – draft Kendall Wright or E.J. Manuel – OR – trade picks for an established guy. Considering they just traded Eli Manning for a 1st, I’d bet they draft a QB.


Popeye::
22. New Orleans Saints ( LR #17 )
Dorian is a big strong guy, like Popeye, and has been a good addition to GZL. They played one of the toughest schedules in GZL this year and are a big candidate to bounce back in the tough NFC South next year. I think they only eat their spinach before they play my Buccaneers, as the Saints swept me for the 2nd consecutive season.


The Grinch::
21. Philadelphia Eagles ( LR #24 )
Eric has been pretty quiet in GZL, but he keeps his nose clean and meets all required deadlines. They face some tough decisions this offseason (who is the QB?) but Eggleston has proven in other leagues he’s capable of developing a winner. The one area we’d like to see Eric step it up is in the Training Camp points – as he routinely skips it and like the Grinch says “no presents for you” to his players.


Porky Pig::
20. Detroit Lions ( LR #16 )
Tom is coming off of an NFC Championship win, so it’s tough to be too hard on him, but it’s clear that he had a down year. I was at a loss for which character to pick here, but JP recommended Porky Pig. Something about Porky not being able to spell, which is obviously a tough criticism considering the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the acquisition of that disability, but Tom has thick skin and I’m sure can take it. Porky definitely had a stammer/stutter, and anyone that has listened to Tom’s podcasts knows that he is actually very well spoken. The Lions will turn it around next year, as long as Stafford and Megatron are there.


Felix the Cat::
19. Baltimore Ravens ( LR #21 )
Like Felix the Cat, Joe is loved by most despite the fact he rarely speaks. The Ravens were ranked higher than their record would indicate, but this is a team ravaged by injuries in 2013. They will be much improved next year, even in the very tough AFC North. Not having a 1st hurts, but having Milliner helps.


Foghorn Leghorn::
18. Dallas Cowboys ( LR #31 )
This was another character suggestion from JP, but it did sorta fit since Foghorn has the strong southern swag, and the Cowboys make their home in the south. The Cowboys had an awful year, but they were very much trying to lose down the stretch, and when you evaluate their roster it will surprise NOBODY if they step up and push the Giants and Redskins around next year. They also secured the #5 pick in the draft next year, a very dangerous proposition for a team so talented.


Casper the Friendly Ghost::
17. Arizona Cardinals ( LR #5 )
Everyone loves Adarsh, like Casper, but the team is just a ghost around playoff time. For as good as the Falcons were in the 2nd half of 2013, the Cardinals were that bad in the 2nd half. The team is talented enough to compete with the Seahawks and Rams of the world, but they could not finish the deal. Folks in GZL management are hoping Mr. Patel sticks around for Year 3, as that is when most GMs turn it around for good.


Homer Simpson::
16. Kansas City Chiefs ( LR #18 )
Ah, Timmy boy. One of my favorite guys in the madden community (even if he’s a dirty Republican). Miller is a funny father who is easy to root for – which makes him a natural fit for Homer. It is scary to think how good the Chiefs might have been in 2014 if they had Andrew Luck for more than a couple games. Expect this team to make a lot of noise in 2015.


Daffy Duck::
15. New England Patriots ( LR #23 )
Matty Spencer is one of the best guys in the community, but like Ben (Marvin Martian), he’s chasing Breck (Bugs Bunny). Daffy and Matt are regulars in their trade, and it would be tough to see either of them not around anymore, even if madden does regularly tempt Matt’s nerves (like Bugs does to Daffy). The Patriots had a great close to 2014 and will hopefully be able to carry that momentum into 2015.


Luigi::
14. Denver Broncos ( LR #12 )
What a turnaround in a season! Wade did great things, and finished just an OT short of the playoffs. I expect big things from this team now that they’ve found a Franchise QB, but for the time being, they are certainly in the shadow of the more successful brother (like Luigi is to Mario).


Mickey Mouse::
13. San Diego Chargers ( LR #15 )
I haven’t met anyone that hasn’t had a nice thing to say about Johnny Bananas. Stanley is one of the best guys our community has to offer and he’s really worked his way into that “Top 10” talk as far as All-Time GM ranking in the community. If he was less transparent and did better at self-promotion, he’s probably be in the Top 5 talk. As for GZL, he had a down year, but he’s had more trips to Disney World than any other GM here.


Mr. Magoo::
12. Seattle Seahawks ( LR #6 )
If you’ve spent as much time around Nic as some of us RZL guys, tell me who’s Wiki I pulled this description from, “a wealthy, short-statured retiree who gets into a series of comical situations as a result of his nearsightedness, compounded by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem. However, through uncanny streaks of luck, the situation always seems to work itself out for him, leaving him no worse than before.” Tell me that don’t sound like Nic in 40 years! Nic is definitely a riverboat gambler, but it has worked time and time again. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to a playoff run with JaMarcus Russell under center. Very well respected GM in the committee, and no doubt the greatest GM I ever had the privilege of beating in a Super Bowl (RZL). Top 5 GM ever, IMO.


Top Cat::
11. Jacksonville Jaguars ( LR #4 )
Justin has the Jaguars as the top cat in the GZL, but without Philip Rivers, it’s hard to see them as anything better than the 11th best team (2nd worst playoff team). I think they are very capable of beating the familiar foe Titans, but after that I don’t envision them going very far.


Woody Woodpecker::
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( LR #10 )
Like Woody, I do quite enjoy trouble, which my wife will vouch for. Very cynical, I love to playfully aggravate and instigate, but I am usually around to try and help find a resolution. My Bucs struggled in 2014, regularly playing to the level of our opposition. That included quite a few losses to beatable teams, but somehow we managed to get double digit wins for the 5th straight season. Traveling to Atlanta will be very tough, but ironically I feel like there is less pressure on me than ever. The Falcons have the banner, the home venue, and a 9-game winning streak. They are SUPPOSED to win this game. I just have to show up and hope for the best.


Mario::
9. Oakland Raiders ( LR #11 )
As stated with brother Luigi in Denver, Mario and the Raiders are the household name in the Pearce GZL family. The Raiders have won the AFC West and appear poised to challenge for their 2nd AFC Championship in franchise history. It won’t be easy with a scrambler under center, but that has never been an issue for Garth Pearce before.


Wile E. Coyote::
8. Cleveland Browns ( LR #8 )
Wile E. Coyote is described as a “genius”, and anyone who has spent enough time around LP has come to appreciate and admire what Brad has made with League Pulse. While regularly outdone by the Road Runner, Wile E. gets to win every now and then – and this might be the year. The rebuilding project finally appears to be behind Brad, and the Browns look as intimidating as anyone in the tournament.


Peter Griffin::
7. New York Giants ( LR #9 )
The loveable, offensive fat man. I’m sure like Peter Griffin, there are plenty who can’t stand JP, but I know he’s got a great heart and I’m proud to call him a friend. The Giants are a great team on paper but have a history of choking when it counts. I know after his lengthy GM career, JP is still seeking his 1st trip to the Conference Championship, and I’m hoping he wins tonight so that dream can live on for one more week. Whether most know it or not, it would be a big loss to our community if tonight is JP’s final game. Even with JaMarcus Russell at QB though, Nic will not lay down, and I am sure it would be a nice notch on his belt to “rid” the community of JP for good. I still think the Giants move on and that “opportunity” will belong to Kevin or Kurt next week.


Tasmanian Devil::
6. Washington Redskins ( LR #13 )
Kurt Ison ripped through the NFC this week, soaring up to the #2 spot and snatching a BYE. For the 2nd consecutive season, the Redskins spoiled the Giant party Week 17, and this time it turned a huge profit for the Redskins. I still don’t know how good Chad Henne is, or dependable should I say, but he’s probably dependable enough to win a game or two and make some noise in the NFC.


Charlie Brown::
5. Tennessee Titans ( LR #7 )
Like Charlie Brown, poor Tim is always “getting shit on”, as JP put it. Constantly feeling mistreated by GZL officials, Tim has overcome his hardships to come SO close the last few years, before getting bounced in the last two AFC Championships. Will they finally break through this season, or will someone pull the football away right as poor Charlie Timmy is going to kick the winning FG?


Bugs Bunny::
4. Buffalo Bills ( LR #3 )
The cocky, sly, troublemaker is a favorite in the madden community, so it’s no surprise that the talented GM turned things around in Buffalo so quickly. I remain skeptical of how far they can actually go with RG3 this season, but with the #2 seed, they look like a pretty good bet to play in the AFC Championship. That is a statement that would have never been mumbled in Buffalo pre-Breck. That’s what’s up, doc.


Bart Simpson::
3. Atlanta Falcons ( LR #14 )
Matt is a known instigator in the Madden Community, but he’s damn entertaining and he goes down with his ships. This year, he refused to go down with the (1-6) ship and turned it around to win the NFC South. While the Bucs might “feel” like the champions to most, the Falcons “feel” like the champions to me and have for a long time – since they eliminated me last year in the playoffs after the Bucs hung the NFC South Banner. Hopefully we can return the favor tonight. It has been an outstanding season by the Falcons, either way.


The Great Gazoo::
2. Green Bay Packers ( LR #2 )
The Great Gazoo might not be a household name, but if you’ve ever watched the Flintstones you probably remember him. It was tough pinpointing a character for Kevin, who by all accounts could be any cartoon Super Hero you think of, but I like the Great Gazoo reference because he’s green, he’s super smart, and he’s from another galaxy. And sometimes when you’re competing with Kevin (whether in a division like I did in RZL, or a Conference like I do here in GZL, or just in a head-to-head matchup like he smoked me in two weeks ago), it often feels like he’s just on another planet and it’s impossible to beat him (or even keep up). He’s a true competitor, and the backbone of this and any league he’s in.


Road Runner::
1. Pittsburgh Steelers ( LR #1 )
Like the Road Runner, Ricky is super smart, even if he hides behind a guise of simplicity. One of my mentors for sure, he was the great equalizer in RZL and in GZL and allowed other polarizing figures like myself to stay balanced. With him stepping down at the end of 2014, he will be very much missed. It’s only fitting that in this season, his biggest rival Wile E. Coyote (Brad and the Browns) are in hot pursuit. Ricky has been arguably the most important member of the madden community for over 5 years, which seems fitting when you weigh the outstanding contributions to the madden community Brad has made with League Pulse. Will Brad and the Browns catch Ricky and the Steelers? Or will the Road Runner go out on a high note, winning Super Bowl V and leaving a trail of dust behind him as he blazes into the future? Either way, he has earned the right to go out on his terms, and we are all indebted to Ricky for his outstanding years carrying the mantle in both GZL, RZL, and I’m sure other places.


Thanks for reading! This is a QUARTERLY feature! This was the final installment of 2014. I would love to hear your thoughts!


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