NFL GM Simulation | Off-Season Update

PowerHouse Off-Season Site Update

By Chris Barry,

realistic nfl game constructionEarly summer is really the only time during the calendar year that things are normally pretty quiet in the NFL. The top-tier free agents have typically signed, and the rest are waiting for an opportunity closer to the start of training camp.  Of course, in 2013, Aaron Hernandez, for all the wrong reasons, has single-handedly changed all of this, but that story (thankfully) is an exception that proves the rule.

We notice a slow-down in activity on our website as well.  Our members log in a little less often than during the season, in the height of free agency, or around draft time.  They tend to get caught up on transactions in bunches, versus on a daily basis.  In short, things can seem a bit sleepy around here this time of year.  It’s the calm before the storm.

But, rest assured, things aren’t sleepy at all here, behind the scenes, and I thought this might be a good time to catch everyone up on what we’re up to right now.

First, we are working with our data provider to get about 100 fringe players who are missing from our players table in the system.  These are mostly undrafted rookies.  Examples include Anthony Amos from the Cowboys and Mike Shanahan from the Jets.  One of our members reported being unable to find those two in the Transactions feed, which led us to discover the larger issue.

Second, we recently did a major update to our contracts table.  The contracts of players on your roster are updated automatically when we do this, so if you see that your cap calculations have changed, this is likely the reason.

Hand-in-hand with the contracts update, we will also shortly be implementing the “Rule of 51,” which is something we didn’t model in our original site development.  During the off-season, when rosters are expanded to 90, only the top 51 contracts in terms of cap number count.  If you have 80 players right now, your “cheapest” 29 shouldn’t count, but are counting right now.  That will soon be corrected.

All of this, while important, is of a more “tactical” nature.  What has us really excited is all of the development work we’re doing behind the scenes to make your overall experience on the site more enjoyable and engaging.

We’re consolidating all of the different blogs on the site, which are currently confusing and, frankly, neglected in terms of publishing frequency.

We’re going to have one blog, which you’ll see right here in this spot, and we’ll bring you more content, more often – content that you’ll find interesting and helpful as you run your team in iGM.  And, we’ll give our members who are interested in writing an opportunity to contribute.  Think Bleacher Report with a higher sophistication threshold.

Next, we’re working to finally complete our Help system, and we’re using a different platform to do it than the one you see partly-finished on the site today.  It will provide help not only with our game, but with NFL topics that will help you in the game, like how the salary cap works and how to scout prospects like an professional.


NFL GM Game Learning CenterNFL GM Game new content screenshot


Another major initiative for 2013 surrounds beefing up the paid side of our site.  We’re thrilled with how many of you have signed up and are running teams.  And we’ll continue to let you do so for free, forever.  But, we would also love to make our paid offering so compelling that you simply can’t resist becoming a paid member!

Right now, paid members are able to see their game results during the NFL season, and can also run the reports on the Reports tab for their own iGM team.  Free members cannot see game results after their team’s second game, and can run reports for all the NFL teams, but not their own team.

Starting soon, paid members will also be able to download our complete player contracts spreadsheet – the same one that we upload to our site to determine the contracts in our game.

Ongoing thanks to Jay Hurley of, who manages this spreadsheet for us.  I honestly don’t know how he stays on top of all of this, but he has my infinite appreciation, and any of you who are 49er fans please visit his site.

Also starting soon, paid members will be able to download our complete player scoring files.  These have every player’s score for every week in our game – the calculations that drive the game results in iGM.

Our scoring, by the way, is adapted from the excellent work done by the folks at  We needed to make some changes to convert their annual calculations to weekly ones, but the concept for our scoring is based on their “Approximate Value” metric, described here.

Many of you have expressed that you’d love to be able to compete with each other, versus operating your team in a bit of a vacuum, as you do today.  For the 2013 season, we have plans to run site-wide contests for paid members, with great NFL memorabilia for prizes – autographed jerseys, helmets, etc.  You’ll be included automatically, but you must be a paid member to be eligible!

GM Simulation Lambert jerseyWe’re still working out the details, but we’ll have several categories – highest scoring iGM team in season points, anyone winning the Super Bowl, etc.  We’ll take into consideration what kind of team you have – someone who takes over the Patriots has an advantage over someone who does an expansion draft, and we’ll factor that into things.

We’ll also blog about weekly leaders and other successes of our members (with your permission, of course!)  We’d really like to further develop a sense of community on our site, and this is the next step in that direction.

Thank you for your support of PowerHouse, and enjoy your summer.  We’re only a few weeks away from training camps opening, and the Hall of Fame Game, featuring the Cowboys and Dolphins, is Sunday, August 4th.

It won’t be long now!

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