EDIT: I restarted this franchise with a different Deep Route League after taking a few months off. The first version is alright, though a lot of it gets bland and repetitive. The second version kicks back up approximately 50 years after the first, and I'm trying to put more work and effort into it. To skip ahead to the 2nd Era, go to page 4, and scroll down.
Our story begins in the 2035 off-season, in a league struggling to retain owners. Oklahoma City was awarded its first franchise, a team that had seen temporary location in Kansas City as the Black Dynamite, after previously spending a good deal of time in Saskatchewan as the Droids. The Droids final season, 2033, saw a 1-15 season, with record-low fan attendance. During the one year stay in Kansas City, the Droids/Black Dynamite climbed into 3rd in the division, at 4-12. Years of mismanagement had doomed the franchise, however. The team's last playoff appearance was 2028. 2032 had been a 2-14 season, 2031 2-14, 2030 4-12, and 5-11 in 2029.
The Bison were salvaged by freebundy, new to Deep Route but committed. The 2034 and 2035 rosters were very different. 2034 QBs Dwayne Archie (1884 Yards, 8TD, 13INT) and Lucas Hales (775 Yards, 1TD, 9INT) were replaced by veteran QB Joseph Thomas and youngsters Douglas Stewart and David Lanum. RBs Jimmy Baker, Dennis Hamic, and Gerald Mccarthy remained, but Baker went from one rushing TD and 569 yards to 6 TDs and 535 yards, Hamic 2-280 to 0-229, and Mccarthy 3-475 to 3-217. For the most part, the receivers were retained, with Norman Bennett, Earnest Mckenzie, Billy Dunne, and Robert Ilalio returning, as well as TE Francisco Thomas. TEs Michael Imes and Norman Mcgunnis were added, as well as FB Jon Clement and WRs David Swenson and Robert Dyer.
Defensively, 2034 Dynamite sack leader DT Anthony Williams was retained, along with quite a few young-but average defensive ends, and some aging linebackers and defensivebacks. Kicker Terry Sheldon and Punter Eric Dame were replaced by K Joshua Comer and P Everett Helm.
The 2035 Draft brought in Guard Oscar Yoshiyama of Mississippi State (Rd1-Pick 3), Offensive tackle Julian Schiaffino of Miami (2-3), DT Roy Greisiger of Michigan State (3-3), QB Dale Campbell of Mississippi (4-3), WR Al Dones of Fort Valley State (5-3), G Floyd Chappell of UCLA (6-3), and CB Bill Garratt of Penn State (7-3). As of the beginning of 2037, only Yoshiyama and Schiaffino still remain with the Bison, in reserve roles. Greisiger plays for the Goshen Blue Collars, and Chappell rosters the Chicago Governors. The other 3 are out of the league, having never appeared in games. (While their own picks haven't seemed to have worked out, a few other players from the 2035 Draft have at least made the 2037 off-season roster of the Bison. LB Nathaniel Fitch of Texas Tech (Toronto Tiger Cats, R6-P7) DT Daryl Hutchinson of Arkansas (Rimmington Redskins, 5-29) FB John Wiskowski of Northern Illinois (Graham Bullies, 7-20) C Kyle Mandel of USC (Ft. Lauderdale Fluties, 4-30) and C Glenn Okeefe of Wisconsin (Burthorpe Badiaks, 2-21).)
Before 2035, the Bison decided that all and only stats recorded as the Bison would count as franchise statistical marks. Even though players like Norman Bennett had been with the team since Saskatchewan, their franchise stats would reset with the move, though the league recognizes all stats recorded as career stats.
2035 was a rough season, as QB Joseph Thomas was 0-4 in the first four games. David Lanum's only start was a 0TD-4INT loss. Douglas Stewart went 6-5 in the rest of the season, passing for 3156 yards, 16TDs, and 17INTs. The trifecta backfield of Baker-Mccarthy-Hamic wasn't great. Dennis Hamic managed just 229 yards and a 2.54 average. Mccarthy had a 217-3.44 season, and Baker 535-3.66. Robert Dyer dominated the first half of the season with 40 receptions before injury, while Bennett finished with 80 grabs for 1065 yards. Linebacker Michael Bennett finished with 100 tackles despite not starting the first 6 games, reserve DT Jesus Anderson managed 10 sacks in a specific passing-down role, and CB Christopher Ross and SS David Rumbley both finished with 6 INTs. CB Timothy Franks played a good shut-down role opposite Ross, but failed to make interceptions.
In the 2036 off-season, things were looking up. The Toronto Tiger Cats owned the 1st overall pick, and were definitely taking QB Brandon Gallaway of Penn State. The Cats had taken two QBs in the two prior 1st rounds, and placed both on the trade block. During the preseason, the Bison traded them CB Timothy Franks, who would no longer start based on personnel, for 3rd-year QB Bret Marquez. Also looking to make a splash defensively, RB Dennis Hamic was traded to the Goshen Blue Collars for 2035 Pro Bowl DE Tyler Gonzalea, who was coming off back-to-back 10 sack seasons. The Bison also looked to make a splash in free agency. In the first stage of free agency, they added FB John Wiskowski, QB Steven Dyson, DT Greg Rose, TE Roy Nersesian, DE Gene Nicholson, CB John Powell, CB Matthew Tores, WR Jeff Munoz, S Jason Jones, DE Dwight Young, LT Matthew Miller, C Thomas Kline, C Richard Owca, S Jason Spengler, DT Stevie Johnson, DT Gregory Thomson, DE James Cooksey, T/G Donald Solarski, G Jesus Miller, and K James Brewbaker. During stage 2, they added MLB Dale Martin and LB Christopher White. On Draft Day, P Bruce Clark was signed. During the preseason, QB Arthur Bidez, CB Neal Lozado, and RB David Dickson were added. Throughout the season, the Bison would add DE Robert Buseck (Week 4), LB Corey Sorenson (Week 7), DE James Nelson (Week 8), and QB Clayton Quinn (Week 15). Buseck went on to lead the Bison in sacks, with 13 in 13 games.
The 2036 Draft started with three straight QBs selected; Gallaway (Tiger Cats), Eugene Oddo of Mississippi (Tampa Bay Sun Devils), and David Urban of Syracuse (New York Giants). CB Kenneth Miles of Georgia Tech went 7th overall to the Atlantis Tsunamis, and DE Willie Ramirez of Vanderbilt 14th to the Tijuana Bales.
The Bison came away with a great draft class. freebundy had officially taken over draft scouting and management, and grabbed TE Alan Isbell of Michigan State 13th overall, DT John Wyandt of Houston (2-13), SS Justin Mcdaniel of Pearl River CC (3-13), K Michael Camburn of Maryland (4-13), and LB Jesse Vanetta of Syracuse (6-13). 5th Rounder CB Jimmy Emberger of Texas Tech failed to make the team, and 7th rounder DE Max Juliusson of Nebraska rode the bench and played special teams for most of the 2036 season, but was released in the following off-season. They also signed undrafted TE Leonard Harvey, who played at Florida. Overall, all 7 selections were in the Top 100 of the Bison's draft board, with Juliusson coming in at #100. So far the highest player selected in the draft currently out of football is RB Kevin Hurm, a second round selection from Western Illinois by the Burthorpe Badiaks.
The 2036 season was full of promise. The Bison opened with a 17-14 win at the London Horde, lost 12-28 at Tampa Bay Sun Devils, won 28-21 over Atlantis, lost 15-34 at Alabama Slammers, won 30-7 over the Indiana Aces, won 20-17 at the Ferguson Chokers, won 27-10 over the New York Giants, lost 3-20 to the Philadelphia Eagles, won 28-21 over the Oakland Raiders, won 27-10 against the Sun Devils in a re-match, lost 28-45 to the Ft. Lauderdale Fluties, won 9-7 over the Graham Bullies, won 31-21 in a re-match with Alabama, lost 17-20 to the Goshen Blue Collars, lost 10-24 to the New Orleans Marauders, and finished the regular season with a 34-7 divisional win over the Giants. The Bison finished with a Southern Division Championship and a 10-6 record, narrowly outpacing the 9-7 Alabama Slammers. Tampa Bay finished 6-10, and the Giants finished 4-12.
In the playoffs, the Bison did okay. They won 23-20 in a revenge game against the New Orleans Marauders, but fell 16-24 at the Ft. Lauderdale Fluties. Injuries took their tole over the season, and QB Bret Marquez and RB Gerald Mccarthy missed the playoffs.
Four players made the 2036 Pro Bowl; Rookie TE Alan Isbell, DE Robert Buseck, MLB Dale Martin, and SS David Rumbley.