TCCFL Pre-Season Perspective: A Fireside Chat with the Administration

Posted on July 10, 2013 by



An Original Publication from the Office of Morals and Ethics

To some, the leadership of the TCFFL has raised concerns of ethical and moral corruption. Some have said they’re more secretive than the Bush/Cheney administration. Some have questioned their outside activities relative to their duties to the league. Some have even gone so far as calling for impeachment and Salem Witch Hunt-like trials resulting from gross negligence of their leadership roles in a declining league environment. Some have said the TCFFL is dead.

As Chairman of the League’s Morals and Ethics Division, these claims from my office did not come without careful thought and consideration. While it’s said that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” I’ve always approached criticism through the perspective that it should not be thrown around loosely. Too often these days, wild claims are taken literally, while carefully constructed conclusions derived from insight and analysis are ignored.

What’s important to note about the role of my office and how we approach our duties is that our ideologies are not deep and static, but rather dynamic and flexible. The only means to prevent bias is to be able to continually strive to gain perspective and keep an open-mind.

This has lead me to issue a pre-season original publication that seeks to bury the hatchet of skepticism towards the Administration of the TCFFL, and highlight their incredible efforts over the past several months. During this time, I’ve seen a transformation in the way that Commissioner JG Thorington and Ass Commish Dennis Lazar Jr. have approached their leadership positions. Gone are the days of trampling over the league via their tightly held power and concentrated decision making processes. Of late they’ve ushered in a new era that focuses on collaboration, democracy and individuals rights and contributions towards our society.

In short, they’ve embraced the Office’s Official Guiding Principle: “Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do.”

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and get unparalleled access to the Administration during what is their busiest time of year leading up to the Season. I found their insights to be not only fascinating, but inspiring for the future of this League.

A transcript of our conversation follows:

First, I want to thank you, Commish, for all you’ve done for the league this off-season. Your maturation in this role has been nothing short of breath-taking and for the silent majority of this league; I think we all echo the same appreciation for you. My first question is: What keeps you going? How do you wake up each day with the same passion and energy for a league that has seen participation dwindle and concentrate to a select few? How do you cope with having a non-live draft for the first time in the Renaissance age of the TCFFL?

Coping with a non-live draft is extremely tough – especially considering the fact that it’s probably my fault we are not live-drafting.  I can’t afford to make another trip, and lord knows the “nerfs” in this league aren’t traveling to Florida.  I think introducing the Draft Reveal has helped me cope a bit.  It adds excitement and it got ten of the twelve members  together for a league-related event.  Other than that, I struggle.

As far as passion for the league, I don’t think that will ever die.  For me the league has become the mechanism in which I remember the golden years of 12 men.  It has allowed me to be nostalgic, to remember the good times.  I don’t think that will ever change.

Commish, I think you’re being too hard on yourself. It’s a very moral thing to absorb criticism and not deal it, but we all know that the likelihood of a live draft was low even if you could have made it… Wow, what a treat we have to see the Assistant Commissioner AND reigning league champion, Dennis Lazar, join the interview and taking up time out of his insanely busy work schedule. This is just unreal to get a spare minute from him. Dennis, I ask you the same question as the Commissioner – what keeps you going in your Administrative role?

Jeff, I first want to say thank you for this and all your contributions to the league. You are truly one of our most under-appreciated leaders.

Now, this year has been a challenge unlike any the administration has encountered. League-wise we’re faced with unprecedented levels of GM-apathy and dedication to non-TCFFL priorities. On a personal level, I’ve launched myself into the 1% of grinders in the league while maintaining my always-full Ass Commish schedule.

And you ask me what keeps me going? There are two things that come to mind. One is the rich tradition of the TCFFL. It was once upon a time the greatest league in the league and I wake up every morning with the intention of getting us back to the heights we once dared to reach. Secondly, and more importantly, I do it for you Jeff.

And for JG Thorington. My administration. I do all the many things that I do so that when JG and I sit down in our leather-backed chairs, with brandy’s in hand in front of a roaring fire on the eve of each year’s draft, I can see the satisfied and proud look on sweet daddy Thorington’s face for a job well done. And a job still to be done throughout the upcoming season. It’s that look on JG’s face, that single moment, that motivates me the other 364 days of the year.

Well put, Ass Commish. Now, Commish, you’ve made a number of key changes over the past few years and have largely held the promises of your Hope and Change campaign you aggressively have marketed over the years… looking back, what’s your greatest accomplishment? On the same token, what is your biggest regret while manning the role?

I’m not sure if you participate in any other fantasy football leagues, but I do.  Other leagues don’t have a website, twitter handle, podcasts, web content, GroupMe, Google Group, or legacy teams/names. Our league is one of the few that take fantasy football to a different level, and I think that is my greatest accomplishment.

I don’t regret anything.  I’m very measured.  All of the things I do related to the league are deliberate.  I weigh out many different options, but in the end I act in a way that may not be best for me, but is best for the league.  I’m willing to take shots if it means the league progresses.

I will have to respectfully disagree that you’ve always been measured, Commish, but the maturation towards your current calculated self has been very accelerated, that’s for sure. Ass Commish, you’ve been the Commish’s staunchest ally during his reign over the TCFFL. Can you describe the man as he exists outside of the spotlight? Can you comment on his growth over the past several seasons?

The reason JG Thorington is the transcendent leader he is is because for the most part, he is the same guy in the spotlight as he is hanging out on the couch, scratching his puppy’s ears and smashing wine. The unbiased, class-act, forward-thinking popular figure is the same guy underneath the perfectly tied bow-tie. Except for one fact. The private JG is a much-more-heavily burdened man than he lets on to the public. When facing the press, JG is of course unflappable. But in private, the man faces more in a given day than many will face in a year. And he handles is all with dignity and wisdom. But the media won’t cover the story of a leader who shields his people from the stress of all that he deals with. It won’t sell papers, Jeff. And it’s a damn shame.

As for JG’s growth, this is a guy who 6 years ago was shirtless, crashing tequila parties by grunting at people until they refilled his glass with more booze. While I often miss that sweet, glorious man, it’s clear the guy who now runs a machine with as many moving parts as the TCFFL has come a long way.

Guys, if I could post the same question to you both… I’m interested in hearing a radical idea that you think would benefit the league, but would likely never pass due to the partisan divide and ideological differences that define the league? Make a case for why the league would be for the better as a result of such a bold initiative.

(Commish): I’d love to see a keeper league.  Any time I bring it up it is met with harsh criticism, but I think it’d bring a new element to the league that would really test the fantasy prowess of the league GMs.  It won’t ever happen, but I’d love to try it.

Interesting, Commish. I agree it’s a tough sell, but I like your direction. How about you, Ass Commish?

An interesting question, Jeff. Especially since our administration if it’s known for anything, is known for our revolutionary and visionary ideas that are often stunted by the too-comfortable-where-we-are electorate. But in answer to your question, I’ll give you two ideas. One, I’ve always been interested in the two-points for a win + more points than half the league, 1 point for a loss where you outscore half the league system. Second, a draft day that starts with a pre-draft beer Olympics to add a drunken degree of difficulty to the proceedings.

I think the latter idea would be a slam-dunk, so I wouldn’t be so pessimistic on that possibility.

Now, Ass Commish, your tenure in your administrative role has always been very outgoing from a PR standpoint, but many are left wondering if you’re simply an attack dog that lacks the competency to get things done behind the scenes. Is this simply a lack of respect (something that can be argued is also apparent in your reputation as a GM)?

I’m not in this for respect. I’m in it for the good of the league and for the legacy that JG Thorington and I will leave behind. I don’t think we need to devote any more time to this question than that. The fringe pundits will take care of bringing this one up for us.

Commish, we heard the Ass Commish comment on you… I’d like to hear you comment on him a bit, if you wouldn’t mind.

Dennis takes a lot of heat because many think he doesn’t do anything.  Dennis is a star behind the scenes.  I’m in constant deliberations with him on everything league related.  He is so sharp and brings a perspective that really helps enhance the league.

Interesting… I’ve found in my time that the ones who claim they do a lot aren’t always the ones doing the work. Often times, the guy behind the scenes, who doesn’t seek out the spotlight, is the most productive person. I can see the Ass Commish being that guy.

Okay, moving on to the 2013 season… we’re inching closer to the season and there’s been some movement of late as far as league events. What do you make of over half the league barely communicating, despite more avenues (email, group text, groupme) that makes it easier to communicate than ever before?

Some guys aren’t married to their phones or computers like a lot of us.  I understand that.  Some guys have jobs that simply don’t allow them to keep up-to-date.  I also know that some guys try, but are ignored.  So you have a guy who is trying but is disheartened cause no one engages him, so he is less and less likely to talk.

A very diplomatic and measured response. I agree with some of that, but I think there’s more than that. I sure do see a lot of Facebook activity from some to claim they aren’t near a phone or computer at all, for example.

Ass Commish, as a Social Media expert, why do you feel there are so many league members that are neither seen, nor heard? How can you engage these individuals?

What can you do we haven’t already done? One of this administration’s biggest contributions has been the ways we’ve adapted our communication platform throughout the years. What started with Facebook group-chats delivered like telegrams in the 1800’s, to email, to gchat, to now GroupMe, we have given members every opportunity to participate.

In fact, you heard the same thing when GroupMe was introduced that you always hear from the peanut gallery. “This is great. Now I can participate more!” And then where did these guys go? We’ve heard from them even less. What can we do to engage these individuals? I’ll leave you with this: The league is very lucky JG has a kind and forgiving heart: I hear the requests and proposals that come across his desk. And a SIGNIFICANT amount of them concern removing GM’s from the league. And so far, JG has resisted every one. For many GM’s in the league sake, let’s hope he stays strong…

Great points as always, DB.

Commish, with the Draft process reeling due to a lack of a firm date, constant mind-changing on when it would work for the GM’s and being done via remote, largely de-centralized locations, do you think the Draft could become a debacle this season?

No the draft date is set for August 18 at 7:30 PM. If your team is auto-drafted I won’t do a thing about it.  This is one area where I have to stick up for myself.  Sometime in February we set a date that EVERYONE said would work.  Of course, 6 months later no one saved the date and it doesn’t work anymore.  Then you have managers who simply forgot and complain that nothing is being done about the draft.  It’s this type of sloppiness I can’t stand.

No doubt. The lack of respect for sticking to a time is getting to go overboard. I can see “Watch ‘Salt’ on FX” on some people’s calendars and trying to use that as a legitimate excuse at this point.

Alright, this has been quite a behind-the-scenes look at your administration and how the TCFFL operates. I want to close with some rapid-fire Q&A… I want both of your opinions to these questions:

1.     League Favorite this Year?

Justin: Jackie Paper Thin Skins.  I think this is his year.
Dennis: Nick Loynes

2.     Most Feared Franchise in the TCFFL?

Justin: Italian Ice
Dennis: Italian Ice

3.     Luckiest Franchise?

Justin: Cincinnati Bow-Ties
Dennis: Bowties

4.     Unluckiest Franchise?

Justin: Ronald Weasels
Dennis: Wiseaus/BIA

5.     Sleeper Pick of 2013 (Franchise):

Dennis:  PIB’s

6.     Biggest Bust Candidate of 2013:

Justin: Showtime
Dennis:  Jackie Paper Thin Skins

7.     Favorite Team Name:

Justin: Dumblethor’s Army or Boobies in America
Dennis:  I admit I’m partial to BIA

8.     Does Draft Position Matter (Yes or No):

Justin: Yes – evident in that none of the Top 5 guys would ever swap their picks.
Dennis:  Yes but it’s not as straight-forward as 1 is good, 12 is bad. Much more nuanced.

9.     Closest to Being Kicked Out of the TCFFL?

Justin: Jason (although Dylan if he doesn’t pay Josh back is just as close)

Dennis:  Jason?

10.  Someone Famous You Wish You Could Meet:

Justin: Kyle Zink
Dennis: Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Thank you both so much for your time – it’s been a real treat for me and I’m sure for the rest of the league upon reading this. Let’s have a great d

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