SFL issues statement on Motor City

by Cameron Irvine

The Simulation Football League has concluded its investigation into the gameplay from last week's Motor City/Jacksonville matchup that resulted in a 56-42 finish that included the same plays being run repeatedly without mercy throughout the contest.

The investigation concluded that Motor City Head Coach Drew Really manipulated the gameplan in order to force a specific play to be called often. The result was it being called over 40 times, an egregious number that falls beyond the scope of pro football replication, the league's highest principal.

This was done by adding only one play in one formation in a package the playbook previously did not possess. This was done in two instances and was also done in Week 1. Really was forthcoming, worked with the league and took accountability for his actions.

"In an attempt to take advantage of an opponent weakness, Mr. Really did not use simulation principles to guide his team to victory, rather he used a very basic and elementary way to manipulate an AI that is designed in its purest form to replicate football," said Commissioner Cameron Irvine. "My job is to protect the principles by which we play and come together as a community and that, first and foremost, is putting the art of professional football above beating a video game. Those who fail in those priorities consistently have no place amongst our coaching ranks. The league does not charge coaches to coach, as they help make our product great on the field. When they don't, we are obligated to enforce our principles to ensure all other teams who are playing by the rules reap the benefits for doing so."

2K4 provides 34 different styles of gameplan in order for teams to curtail how to beat an opponent and further customizing those books with added variety can add even more positive complexity to play calling, unless so few additions not only erase variety but control the very lack of it.

In lieu of coach dismissal, Motor City has elected to take a $100 fine - both were presented as options. Motor City complied with the league on a resolution. All teams are responsible for the actions of their players, staff and their own leadership. An attack on the game of football will not be tolerated. Any team who attempts a similar type of gameplan moving forward will face even stricter punishments.

No player should be attacked or ridiculed for their staff's decision making. These rules are in place in part to ensure that as many players as possible get to be involved in each game plan throughout the season.

This violation goes beyond the 70/30 rule for run vs. pass play % in any given game or throughout the season and while this particular gameplan also violated that rule, the egregiousness was in the lack of variety of plays called, which drew the additional violations and punishments. 

These are rolled out regulations for run/pass play % throughout the season, announced in the Phase 1 launch back in January. 

  • In 2022 Division I FBS football, Mississippi State passed more than anyone in the country, 68.61% of the time. In 2022 NFL, Tampa Bay passes more than anyone in the country, 67.65% of the time. The SFL will use these metrics to monitor playbook submissions across the league and publish in-game run/pass play ratios from box scores publicly on our stats site.  
  • The following constitutes abuse of game logic resulting in a non-simulation product during the course of a season: 
  • Three games or more with a pass/run ratio beyond 70/30 in either direction. 
  • A season average with a pass/run ratio beyond 70/30 in either direction. 
  • Punishments for abuse of power will include coaching staff removal plus a 12-month franchise double of league dues or a loss of LAA extension permanently.

While we continue to wait for these additional stat columns to be available for our box scores, here are the results from the first two weeks of the season that fell outside the 30/70 parameters:

Week 1

  • Alamo City, 71% run (55% entering 4th quarter)
  • Denver, 77% run
  • Florida, 76% run
  • Indianapolis, 19% run
  • Las Vegas, 76% run
  • Mexico City, 29% run

Week 2

  • Carolina, 73% run (67% run entering 4th quarter)
  • Denver, 76% run
  • Florida, 70% run (62% entering the 4th quarter)
  • Motor City, 22% run

Football can dictate a lack of diversity in a win or a loss by passing or running a lot in the fourth quarter depending on if the team is winning or losing. The games in bold were outside the parameters at the end of the third quarter. Opponent weakness in build or gameplan could also dictate an unbalanced percentage. A complete season's worth of data is needed to determine any patterns. Individual games beyond the scope are not necessarily a showcase of non-simulation practices but a pattern outside the scope that is not a result of the previously mentioned variables will show that.  

These are not owner enforced policies. These are league enforced policies.