The NFL’s brief off-season is over (the way we see it, football never really stops; it just slows down in May and June)! We’ve had a great year so far here at PowerHouseGM.com, and it’s only getting better with the action starting on the field.
Long-time PowerHouse members should notice that, over the past year or so, our site’s performance and reliability has improved by leaps and bounds. That’s due to several changes we made here behind the scenes.
First, we brought in a new developer, Marianne, in July of 2017. She’s been a godsend, to put it mildly. One of our biggest problems historically was that our prior developer, talented as he is, had increasingly found it difficult to devote the time that our project needed to really keep things running smoothly.
That’s no longer the case. Now, when a technical issue comes up, it not only gets fixed more quickly, but we also take the time to hunt down the root cause and take steps to prevent it from recurring in the future.
We’ve also made a number of improvements to the site that I think make a big difference. Most notable is the new Draft Prospects page, which rolled out last spring. We left the old page up, too, if for some reason you prefer that one.
You can now also look at your team’s historical seasons with a year drop-down selector on the Standings page. This is the kind of high-impact, but relatively simple to build, enhancement that we’re trying to do more of. If you have any ideas that you’d like to see us implement, please let us know in the Forum, via the Feedback tab on the game pages, or post a reply to this article.
Another big improvement this year relates to player contracts. We have always gotten our contracts
This morning at breakfast, my younger son, who’s eleven, asked me, “Dad, would you rather not watch the Super Bowl, or not watch the NFL Draft?” He was absolutely not kidding, and it speaks volumes that I had to think about it before deciding I co
uld deal with listening to some live Draft podcast if I had to. Any other answer would be putting the cart before the horse, wouldn’t it?
The Draft is very different than when I first started following it closely as a collegian at Lehigh in the mid-1980s. The event has taken on a life of its own, spawning an entire cottage industry, and nobody says “Draftniks” anymore (because there are so many of us now that we’re no longer a fringe element?)
While I’m still looking forward to springtime here in White Plains, NY, the first annual event that fills me with a sense of renewal is Senior Bowl week. It starts with the East-West Shrine Game, followed by the NFL’s Conference Championship games, then the week of Senior Bowl practices, then the game. Oh, and there’s the Super Bowl after that before we shift entirely to free agency and the Draft.
With both the NFL and college football seasons in full swing, it’s not only time to enjoy both, but also time to crank up the scouting effort for the 2017 NFL Draft. We normally shoot for November 1st to get the draft prospects in place, but we beat that by a few weeks this year – the initial list of 1,000 prospects is now live on the Prospects page, under the Draft Room tab.
Thanks to our friends at CBSSports.com, once again our source for our draft prospects list. Rob Rang and his team are always among the first to not only produce a deep, comprehensive list, but also to write meaningful scouting content for our rabid draft fans.
There is a rhytm to the NFL year, and there’s likewise a rhythm to our year here at PowerHouse. In the fall, our attention is on the on-field competition on Sundays, but even before the Super Bowl, the college all-star games begin to usher in the next phase of the year. NFL General Managers and their virtual counterparts here on our site shift the focus to preparing for free agency and the NFL Draft.
[Note: This article is the first in a long series of new permanent content being posted to the PowerHouse Library. Yes, long-suffering PowerHouse friends, the “under construction” image has been removed, and we are at last building out this content…]
A Standard for Communications
It’s one thing to have an opinion of a draft prospect, but it’s quite another to articulate that opinion to a group of your colleagues in a way that can be useful in the decision-making process, and can be understood even if you’re not standing there waving your arms and gushing about him or crinkling your nose in disgust.
Real NFL scouts use descriptive language and common verbiage to clearly and efficiently explain traits that prospects have or lack, and they have plenty of opportunity to explain in words anything unique about the person behind the facemask.
Congratulations to the Broncos for their victory in Super Bowl 50, to Peyton Manning for winning his second championship, and to Von Miller for his superb play throughout the playoffs and his Super Bowl MVP award. Miller is one of the most dynamic young defenders in the game, and was one of the nicest young men I have met in person in my years going to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. Both the Broncos and the Panthers offer great lessons for our virtual NFL General Managers playing our iGMTM game, but that’s a topic for another time.
The NFL is truly the game that never stops, and this time of year is about turning the page and looking forward to the Scouting Combine, free agency, pro days, and the NFL Draft, where the teams that will vie for championships in the near future will add key pieces that will help make them contenders. NFL scouts have been hard at work since last summer, but this is the time of year that the rest of us shift our attention to our own scouting. For us, this time of year is as much as or even more fun than the actual competition of the NFL’s season.
With the Super Bowl in the books, much of the NFL Draft order has been determined. This year, there are no coin flips to break ties. However, the final draft order will not be known until the March owners’ meetings, where the 32 Compensatory draft choices for net free agents added and lost will be awarded to teams at the end of rounds three through seven.
We do now know most of the draft order, though, and we have uploaded it to our site for our virtual GMs to use in mock drafts by this weekend (and then updated for the Compensatory picks when those are announced.) The draft order is determined by a relatively simple process, as NFL processes go. Many in our audience will already be familiar with it, but in a nutshell:
I use Outlook calendar, and sometimes I get reminders that I totally forgot about (I know, that’s what reminders are for.) But this was a good one: February 2nd is one of PowerHouse’s milestone anniversaries. It was on that date in 1996 when I first had the idea that would eventually become our NFL General Manager simulation. Twenty years ago yesterday.
The 2014 NFL season is off to a fast start, and PowerHouse is starting fast as well. We’ve made a ton of improvements to our site and iGMTM, our NFL General Manager game, and those will only continue throughout the 2014 season and beyond. Here’s a glimpse at what we’ve already done and what we’ll be doing in the near future…
First, we’ve made a long overdue change to our site by placing our standard header on all of our pages, both content pages, like this blog posting, and our iGMTM game pages. You can now access the entire site in one way from any page using one menu structure, and you’ll see your login status wherever you are. It looks like this:
Putting our header on every site page is just one of the steps we have taken to make the site more standardized and user-friendly with one consistent look and feel. Another is the re-formatting of our NFL GM sim game pages with larger fonts. You can put the reading glasses away!
To make space for the larger fonts, we moved the team information on game pages to the top:
Another change we made recently was to PowerHouseGM.com’s site Forum. We upgraded to the latest version of the forum software, which includes new features like the ability to upload images. Along with the upgrade, we resolved some long-standing issues, like trouble with uploading personal avatars and an inconsistent login/logout process from the Forum pages (we put our site standard header there, too!)
PowerHouse Off-Season Site Update
By Chris Barry, PowerHouseGM.com