Hello, everyone. If you have yet to watch the Championship Match of The Dozen: Trivia Tournament II presented by High Noon, make sure to watch it above or go watch it on YouTube.
Before I go into a little retrospective on the teams, as well as a thank you to all the behind-the-scenes people, I wanted to step back and put into context what this tournament and season of The Dozen has meant to me.
One of the most memorable things about the first season of The Dozen was obviously the moment in which I cried at the end of the first Tournament...
I wrote in a blog soon after how much it all meant to me, and that I had, "over the last few years, and especially the last few months, I have gone through a ton of stuff in my personal life, outside of work, that has really weighed me down." While the cry was more so about the fact I was fucking worn out by the exhaustiveness of the Tournament, it is pretty funny that I didn't cry after this year's Tournament given the fact the lead up to it this year was one hundred times more difficult for me than last year.
Back in October, I blogged about the mental health struggles I have dealt with, and how they had started to pile up to a point where opening up and using my platform for positivity about the issues was a good thing.
That was just the tip of the iceberg for me in this last few months.
Most know by now that my dad passed away fairly suddenly (he was sick, but the turn was fast) in February, just a day before our live-event for The Dozen in Los Angeles at the Super Bowl.
I ended up staying in Los Angeles because that's what my dad would've wanted (nightmare scenario, by the way, that's the type of life choice you only think about in the context of movies or television), and it meant a lot to my mom and sister for me to see through my work. My dad never complained about his health, never quit something he started, and to finish out what I had started in Los Angeles would've made him smile, and I have no regrets about my decision. Our live-event in Los Angeles was incredible, dedicated to my dad, and it kick-started a fantastic build-up to the finale of The Dozen this month.
All of this leads me to the point that The Dozen Season 2 has had a ton of personal meaning to not just me, but my father, as well as my mom, and sister. Nobody watched more intently these last few weeks than both my mom and sister, and while we never said it, it was in large part because there is so much meaning within this show that is tied to my dad.
It has been an exhausting few months doing this show, not because it is fucking rocket science, but because ever since Los Angeles, it has weighed a mental toll to see this shit to the finish line with nothing but fireworks. From the Los Angeles event, to a great end of the regular season, an amazing Chicago event, and now an unreal Tournament, it is a huge sigh of relief that those fireworks didn't just go off, but lit up the sky.
The success of Season 2, and the show's bright future, is obviously in large part due to you, the fans. Thank you for not just watching, but also for your feedback (both positive and constructive), as well as your undeniable support when I was in the gutter during the worst period of my life. We do this to entertain, and I hope on your end you also view all of this as a success.
Okay, now let's ditch the sappy shit and talk about all of the teams in Tournament a little bit. Seniority reigns supreme in terms of the order of this list…
THE EXPERTS (Brandon Walker, PFT, & Fran): Incredible team, unfortunate collapse in the Championship Match, but this team is The Dozen, no matter who stands atop the podium. Without them, the show doesn't exist, and their continued commitment gives us tons of views, and a consistency to binds the show together. Thankful for all three, and the Season 2 revenge tour is going to be quite something. I would do anything for all three of these people, and there isn't much more that needs to be said other than that.
UPTOWN BALLS (Smitty, Tommy Smokes, & Glenny Balls): The oldest remaining non-Experts team in The Dozen, Smitty and Tommy debuted in our second ever episode, then were soon joined by Glenny Balls. First off, congratulations on an absurd run to the Championship. They were absolutely underseeded in the fan vote, and ended the year 8-3-2 in dominant fashion. When they don't self-sabotage, they're clearly very good. This is also a team that never says no to a match, and that doesn't go unappreciated. Scheduling this show is a fucking nightmare, but I can always rely on Billy Joel's favorite team.
FRANK & THE FRANKETTES (Nick, KB, & Frank the Tank): When we go on tour in the Fall, is there really a question as to what team will be considered "the big draw?" Despite fans of this team thinking I rig every fucking loss of theirs against them, the Frankettes are the top view-getters in the league. When they play, the people watch, and every match involving the Frankettes is a win for The Dozen (and my career). Another team that won't ever say no to a match, Frank the Tank is a fucking superstar at the live-shows, and Nick & KB are two of my best friends. A true Mount Rushmore team with The Dozen.
ZITI (Dave Portnoy, Eddie, & Clem): I was amped to see these guys make a run. People love to think I slant matches for Dave, which is a weird phenomenm seeing as to how their record is still under-.500 overall. This is a good team, they just happen to only play really good teams! Being a seasoned team paid off with their. Seeing Dave invest fully into competing in The Dozen has been amazing to see. It's also impossible to not include Eddie and Clem in the discussion when you talk about original members of this league. I love Ziti, no questions asked.
THE YAK (Big Cat, Rone, & Steven Cheah): The Bad Boys of trivia! It's safe to say The Yak is the villain team of the league. I hope they embrace it in full for Season 3, as the league needs a villain… and there's no reason The Yak can't fill that role. This team was my prediction to win the whole Tournament, but a slip up here and there, as well as the "get fucked" moment, derailed them. The show took off when Big Cat and Rone got involved, which I'll forever be thankful for, and nobody supplies the show more absurd moments than Steven Cheah. I still think The Yak, when they're clicking, is the toughest team to beat in The Dozen outside of maybe only the Frankettes.
CHICAGO (Chief, Carl, & White Sox Dave): When it comes to important teams, and important moments, in The Dozen history, the Chicago vs. The Experts Memorial Day 2020 match will always be an S-tier night. The Dozen was already picking up steam at that point, but the alcohol-fueled, chaotic match really sparked people to take everything a little more seriously. It went from a light-hearted internet trivia show to a bit of a competition. From "is it Crime Dog?" to their run in Season 2 as the number-one ranked team in the league, Chief, Carl, & White Sox Dave have had an unwavering commitment to The Dozen and entertaining fans. They have a real fan base, and never turn down a match. As Blue Blood as Blue Blood gets on the show. But, will they remain together for Season 3?
BIG SCREAMIN HONKERS (Coley Mick, Robbie Fox, & Ben Mintz): The first-ever Champions! You'll be hard-pressed to find a team as dedicated as the Honkers. It crushed Coley that he couldn't be in attendance this year, but he still put on quite the show. When it comes to The Dozen success, no team is better at preparing for a match than the Honkers. They know their opponents, have perfected lifeline use, Coley & Robbie fan read my mind as well as anyone, and they essentially watch game film before each match. I suspect a big season is ahead for the Honkers, especially when it comes to Ben Mintz's revenge tour following his huge gaffe against the Frankettes.
TEAM MINIHANE (Kirk Minihane, Rico Bosco, & Pat): This team has suffered two-straight match one exits in the Tournament, and probably could use a change… but I hope they never make one. These three together are my favorites. Kirk is the MVP and best player in the league, Rico will always put on an over-the-top show, and Pat is the most consistent player in the league. I might've been most honored when Kirk talked about hanging up the cleats with the Kirk Minihane Show, but included trivia as something he'd keep doing. This team will for sure be present in Boston when we get there for a live event, and I can't wait to see the Minifans in a trivia crowd. How Kirk answers some of those golf questions as quickly as he does is something that will always amaze me.
SMOCKIN (KenJac, Mark Titus, & Donnie): Boy has the conversation around this team changed quite a bit in the last few weeks! Another one of the older teams (RIP, Trillballins), Smockin has always been a team known for consistency. But after KenJac's "get fucked" moment in the Tournament II last week, there is a little more venom behind them than before this season kicked off. Will they parlay their new love into some big success and fan votes? Also, shout out to Donnie for doing trivia from half the countries in the world (he almost did it from the Middle East), and to Mark Titus for flying all the way out for the Tournament from Los Angeles.
GEN XYZ (Large, Jake Marsh, & Vibbs): This team sneakily played a ton of matches this season, and it looked grim… and then they pulled off a huge upset as a 15-seed! XYZ is one of those teams that at any moment can take a top team out. Large is easily a Top 5 player in the league, Vibbs' niche of John Mayer is unbeatable, and Jake Marsh is the definition of a primetime, postseason player. After a Final Four run last year, they pulled the biggest upset in Tournament history, and Gen XYZ is here to stay. Will they make a move in the offseason? Regardless, this is another staple team that will never turn down a match.
THE MISFITS (Hank, Kelly Keegs, & Dante/RDT/Joey/All Biz Pete): The big question with this team is, "what will they look like in Season 3?" They were ravaged following Reags trading himself away from the team for Kelly Keegs, but they played pretty well since then! Will Dante return? Could they sign ringer free agent RDT? What I do know is that Hank stepped up, becoming the leader and head coach of last year's runner-up, and Kelly Keegs finally got her permanent squad. On top of that, shout out to All Business Pete filling in for the Tournament and putting on a content show! With Hank in control, who knows what could happen, the man is a behind-the-scenes genius when it comes to team moves in this league.
urMOM (Rudy, KFC, & Jack McCarthy): I love this team. People were skeptical about The Dozen adding teams in the offseason, and while not all of them worked, we needed a little juice. urMom brought that shit from the jump! Rudy, who won Rookie of the Year, was a revelation, KFC finally got his toes wet in The Dozen world, and Jack McCarthy, formerly the worst player in league history, finally got some respect thrown on his name. This is a team that is going to be a staple team by the end of next season and will absolutely have a spot at some of our live shows. They were also money when it came to filling in when I was desperate to schedule a team, they never said no, and when they showed up, they entertained and played as hard as possible.
SPITTIN CHICLETS (RearAd, Biz, & Ryan Whitney): I wish Spittin Chiclets could play The Dozen more, and I think they feel the same way. But hey, they're superstars and a big deal, so it isn't easy! But when Chiclets plays, there will always be a few moments that make some waves. From the first time they played when RA was shit-faced with Biz, to them winning as a 13-seed in the Tournament, Chiclets is always an electric trivia experience. Nobody can match their electricity, I could see some live shows in their future…
OUT OF OFFICE (Chris Castellani, Reags, & Coach Duggs): Another new team, Out of Office had a tough end to their season, but this team made some news multiple times this year. When Castellani debuted, he was a fucking sensation. A Top 5 scorer, All-Dozen member, All-Star, and MVP candidate, Chris has a bright trivia future ahead of him, and nobody appreciates playing more than he does, which always means a lot to me. As for Reags, the former member of The Misfits and Season 1 runner-up, he was viewed as a villain when he traded himself, and it still is one of the bigger "wow" moments in the league. Was it fucking absurd to trade himself? Yes. Did it pay off? Honestly, maybe not yet, especially as The Misfits had a better second half than they did. But he caused chaos in a league that needed a little mid-season spark. Will he have to keep an eye on if Reags has any more tricks up his sleeve. We also have to credit Duggs with a career-best performance in the Tournament, he blamed himself for the loss, too, which was admirable.
THE FELLAS (Nate, Big Ev, & JackMac): Ah, this team had a tragic end. They lost in the Play-In-Game, which meant Big Ev ended up being on the "First Team Out" in both Season 1 and Season 2. JackMac, after being an oft-called phone-a-friend in Season 1, just missed out yet again… only to be called all Tournament long here in Season 2. Then Nate, apparently is already hunting for his next squad and moves, who will fight tooth and nail to make the Tournament next season. I felt for The Fellas, who started their season strong but ended it with pain.
Now for my thanks to the people behind-the-scenes. Shout out to our two producers, both super-real human beings, Tyler Goochman and Robby Fuqua. Outside of the Tournament, and our live-events, The Dozen really is run by just us, and those two carry much of the load. From social media work, to fact-checking, and everything in between. Big-time stuff from them, stretching all the way back to July.
Allan Aguirre also deserves some love. The questions used all season, and in the Tournament, were a mix of myself and Allan, who came to us as just a fan. He fucking crushed it, especially any smart people shit, which is where I lack every ounce of knowledge possible.
Here are some more names…
Youngstown “Justin Summer” Bob
Andrew “Tech Guy Andrew” Manley
The people above all had a hand in the Tournament, from marketing & sales to camera-ops, graphics (our graphics team is fucking insane), editing, jersey printing, and everything in between. All of these people deserve thanks and credit for The Dozen: Trivia Tournament II.
Lastly, a thank you to my mom and sister. We are a small family, but we continue to carry on and find every bit of positive energy possible.
I've run out of words. The Dozen is over and will be back in September 2022. There are many, many things to come.
Thank you, everyone.