by Mike Daggs, Queen City TE

Hello SFL Nation! This is Mike Daggs, and I’ll be your host for this year’s power rankings! The votes are in. Your voices have been heard. It’s time to find out who YOU think is the strongest to the weakest to start season 10. Is defending champion Mexico City still at the top? Did you feel Carolina would be better this season than their 1 – 11 record from season 9 made them appear? Where do the brand-new expansion teams fit into the mix? It’s time to find out! Here are the preseason Power Rankings as voted by you! Let it begin….

Mexico City 1At number 1, MEXICO CITY. The defending champs are still the best in the hearts and minds of SFL nation. But there's a new Player Progression system this season. Gone are the simple stars, in are the ratings. Gone are having multiple animations right out of the gate, in is earning them over time. Will Ray Bentley still play like a Bentley, or will he be more like a Honda? Will the Bronze Bomber Matt Willson still find ways to make plays and get the ball to his trio of receivers? Will other teams have figured out their willing formula and shut them down? They were an offensive powerhouse in season 9 putting up a whopping 414 points over the course of the season. Their stingy defense held teams in check and gave Mexico City one of the highest point differentials in the league. With most of their starting roster from season 9 returning and the addition of some linebacker help they should be in great shape to keep the W's coming. And I wouldn't worry about Ray Bentley's production dropping.... after all, that's a grown-ass man. Bentley shared the following insight into the upcoming season: "Mexico City showed everyone last year how it's done, and now everybody wanna be like Ray. I understand that, I appreciate that. But the Aztecs aren't gonna rest on their laurels until they take preseason power rankings, the Eastern Conference title, and another record breaking championship. In the grungy words of King Gizzard, 'I'm completely satisfied / my other life I will not miss / an Altered Beast until I die / and I will not give up on this / never!'" What exactly that means, I have no clue....
Chicago2At number 2, Chicago! Our runner up for the championship of season nine find themselves once again in second place. Only one horrific call incomplete pass (where was the toe drag swag?!) from potentially winning the championship game, Chicago will still be a team to beat in season 10. Finishing only in 3rd place in the Western Conference they had to fight and claw their way to the top last season, starting off with a statement win over the Queen City Corsairs in the Conference Semifinals. Will quarterback ET King, running back J Calvin Kim and company be able to bring them all the way back to the big show? They've got some great weapons on offense and stud players on defense. This is the only team going into season 10 with only veterans on their roster - rookies need not apply! They're primed to make a run at the trophy this season.
Queen City3At number 3, Queen City! Winners of four SFL championship trophies (that’s nearly half of all championship games!) Queen City finds themselves right behind the two teams from the season 9 championship game. Some key additions were made this off-season none bigger than the highest rated running back in the league, Ash Odom. Leaving Alaska for an additional 2° of warmer temperatures in western New York, Odom is also joined by newcomer Mike Daggs, the third highest rated tight end in the league, who will help open up some running lanes. Couple these two with number five QB AJ Caswell along with the other star players on this Queen City squad and you have a team that could find themselves very quickly in the number one spot in these rankings. Some players were asked their thoughts about the upcoming year. WR Memphis Blue said "AJ Caswell, Ashley Odom and Blue brothers gonna WRECK". AJ Caswell displayed even more confidence declaring "We're winning number 5"
Alaska4At number 4, Alaska! Alaska found themselves with the challenge this off-season. Who do we replace Ash Odom with at the running back position? Their answer… no one! Alaska goes in the season 10 choosing not to have a star running back but rather appears to be embracing the “Defense wins championships” philosophy. Don't count out their offense so quickly though as receivers Optimus Cline and Robert Merrill represent the highest rated receiving tandem on any team in the league. QB Ron Cockren will be relying heavily on these two to put points on the board. But make no mistake, it’s the Alaska defense that’s going to be relied on the most to stop their opponent to win the game for Alaska. One of only a handful of teams to have a star kicker as well, Brad Brechett may be relied on multiple times for some game-winning kicks.
Atlanta5At number 5, Atlanta. Finishing 7 - 5 in season 9 Atlanta is looking to make a statement in the competitive Eastern Conference. They may have been 4th in their conference last year but they fought their way to the Conference Championship game before falling to Chicago. They're hoping that investing heavily in defense will help them stop the likes of Mexico City, Queen City, and Tallahassee from spoiling their season. DT (Hawkins), two linebackers (Roland & Shyne), two corners (Forth & Ketza), and two safeties (Lee & Vinson) - many of which appear near the top of their categories in rankings. Atlanta may be the true measure this season whether or not defense can truly win championships.
Tallahassee6At number 6, Tallahassee. They won the Eastern Conference with an impressive 9 - 3 record but fell in a stunning defeat to Atlanta in the Conference Semifinals. That inability to win in the first round of the playoffs appears to have made everyone's confidence in the power of this team fall a bit to start season 10. But highly rated QB Christian Christiansen and WR Ken Gossett have other plans in mind with the championship trophey in their sites. They will be looking for redemption this season to prove they are the powerhouse that they all believe they are. The only SFL team with a full star defensive line (Bane, Johnson, Norwood, and Hale), Tallahassee will be looking for some serious pass rush and run stuffing ability out of this group. They're also one of just two teams to boast a star full back, and the only team to have both a star FB *and* star RB. Rookie FB Caleb Connolley is hoping that he can help open some serious holes for RB Jaye Eniola.
Vancouver7At number 7, Vancouver. Their 7 - 5 finish was enough to get them into the playoffs, and they made the most of it. Vancouver knocked off Alaska and then only fell JUST short of beating Season 9 Champions Mexico City losing by a field goal in overtime. How is Vancouver not higher on this list?? QB Tom Pepper, RB Ivan Sanchez, and the quartet of receiving options in WR's Stephens, Killian, & Vega plus TE Carr are out for redemption this season and looking to show that this wasn't a fluke. They believe they can make it back to the playoffs and take things all the way this year. On defense Vancouver is hoping that rookie corner Jaquarinarius Dontamateryx can make an impact, and if nothing else distract the opposition while they look at his jersey trying to figure out just how to pronounce his name. FS Mahmoud Ajlouni has high expectations for his defense, saying "I think with a new secondary, me being the only veteran shows that we need to prove a lot to the league and show why we shouldn’t be doubted. We need to get out there and dominate from day one. If we all step and do our job we could definitely be a top 5 defensive unit."
Dallas8At number 8, Dallas. After a 4 - 4 start Dallas lost 3 of their final 4 games to finish 5 - 7. It was a back and forth season all year for the Ruffnecks who struggled to find consistency on all season long. They're hoping for a big rebound in season 10 and are looking to QB Macc Wavy Jr to connect with big time receiver Prince Escobar. The highest rated receiver in the league has bounced around a bit, going from Baltimore to Dallas to Cleveland in the past three seasons and now back to Dallas. The 6'3" Escobar accounted for over 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Cleveland offense last season and Dallas is hoping that he can bring that production back down south. Highly touted RB Mike Davis also hopes to make a big impact in the run game to get things going for Dallas.
Houston9At number 9, Houston. It feels as though the Hyenas should be higher on this list rather than right in the middle with a 7 - 5 season 9 record, but here they sit. Possibly it has something to do with the lack of points scored on offense. They ended the season sitting 3rd from the bottom in the league in points scored. Their defense, however, was stingy and got Houston to sit 3rd from the TOP in points allowed. They're going to need more production out of their offense this season if they hope to become a contender, and it all starts with rookie running back Warren Murray. Murray is one of the fastest, most agile backs in the league this year and if they can take advantage of that speed and utilize QB Ahmed Cheema to connect in the passing game with WR's Sim, Ajlouni, and Malone they may be able to make some magic happen on the field.
Sioux Falls10At number 10, Sioux Falls. Typically in sports making your way on to the "top ten" of a list is fantastic. Unfortunately for Sioux Falls, top ten in the SFL Season 10 Power Rankings means that you're the leader of the bottom half. The Sparrows had a disappointing 6 - 6 campaign in season 9, causing them to be leading the bottom half of the conference and missing the playoffs. QB Julian Tyree had an impressive season 7 throwing for over 4,500 yards and 40 TD's to only 28 picks. He has since regressed and ended season 9 with only 3,300 yards, 19 touchdowns, and still had 28 picks. Sioux Falls fans have been heard asking "Where is season 7 Tyree!?" Where indeed. The Sparrows are hoping that he can bounce back to form and have a career year in season 10. He's a top 5 QB heading into the season with a quick release and has a trio of good receiving options with all-pro Shaun Harrelson, standout rookie AJ Warren, and 2nd year wideout Michael Moore. Rookie running back Robert Redford can hopefully take some of the burden off of Tyree, and as long as this isn't the 81 year old actor Robert Redford he can hopefully get some work done on the field. Tyree was asked his thoughts about the upcoming year and said "If you haven't heard the phrase before... you will soon. #FearTheYellow"
Oklahoma City11At number 11, Oklahoma City. The Renegades went 5 - 7 in season 9 due in large part to a lack of production on offense. How do you fix that? Oklahoma City thinks you can fix it by flushing your entire offense and starting fresh. TE Tybeerious Bovine is the only returning member of the Renegade offense, and they apparently liked him so much they decided to be the only team in the SFL with two, count them TWO, start tight ends. Bovine is joined by rookie Jalen Hurt. They're both highly rated as the 4th and 5th best TE's in the league, making them the best TE tandem around! Yes, they're the only TE tandem - but still the best! Rookie RB Donk Bonkers not only has the most fun name of a rookie this season but also hopes to make a big impact on the field as the highest rated player on the team.
Carolina12At number 13, Carolina. Carolina ended season 9 with the worst record in the league managing only one win over the course of the season. How did they win that one game, you ask? Only a 61 - 41 shellacking of Cleveland, that's how. Unfortunately they only averaged 25 points per game for the rest of the season and their defense surrendered more points than any team except Cleveland (of course surrendering 61 points to Carolina certainly didn't help Cleveland's numbers...) So what's the formula to win this year? Rookie RB AJ Francis. He's fast, his agile, he's strong, and he's just not going to fumble the ball. Veteran QB Mark Biddix will rely on him heavily, but he'll also be hoping to get contributions from veteran free agency acquisition WR Jalan Miller from Sioux Falls. Miller is coming off back to back to back 1,000 yard seasons and has accounted for 28 touchdowns in that time. If he can bring that production to Carolina the offense should be humming. Biddix was asked what he expected out of his team in season 10 and said "To sum up the Carolina Skyhawks in season 10, we are hangry...the defense is hungry and the offense is angry....yes, hangry."
San Antonio13At number 13, San Antonio. After finishing a disappointing 3 - 9 in season 9. San Antonio QB Joey Langdon was asked his feelings about the upcoming season. "I feel like we have a team that is built to score points while at the same time prevent the other team from scoring points" said Langdon, before riding a bike into the side of a Kroger's. Not exactly the most confidence inspiring quote for the fans of the Vaqueros. Langdon hopes to rebound from a frustrating season that saw a TD to Pick ratio of nearly 1 - 2. He's tied for the highest rated QB in the league this season and should be able to make a nice turn-around. Rookie wide receivers Daley Holder and Daly Hornish should be able to help him out with that as a large targets down in the red zone. 2nd year CB Justin Morris is highly rated, is blazing fast and has great closing speed. He's looking to build on his 3 INT performance in his rookie season and become the strength of the San Antonio defense. What else will lead them to victory? How about one of our first ever star punters? Arminius Davis has leg strength for DAYS and can pin back the opposition with what will likely be some of the most massive punts ever seen in an SFL game.
Indianapolis14At number 14, Indianapolis. Our first of four expansion teams breaks their way into the top 14. Why is this significant? That means they beat out an existing team for ranking position! The all-rookie squad is lead by QB Nathan Lee and RB Matthew Mitchell. They also boast a pair of highly rated wide receivers in Dan Daly and Eli McCormick that even as rookies make up the 2nd highest rated receiving tandem in the league. Taking a page out of the Queen City playbook, the Red Devils went with three safties in Paul Connolly, Paul Blake, and Earnest Claiborne - but in a twist, also went with two corners in Michael Vetack and Steve Vetack! The secondary of this team has the potential to be one of the best right out of the gate. One of three teams to also go with a star punter, Ronnie Wilde looks to help make a difference in the field position game.
St. Louis15At number 15, St Louis. The Gladiators struggled mightily in season 9 to score points, averaging only 17 points per game. St Louis looks to fix that problem by bringing in highly regarded rookie running back Denzel Diaz. Coming in at a tiny 5'6" 205lbs Diaz is currently the third best running back in the league. He's a workhorse who can not only break tackles but can hide behind a leaf the offensive line and make it difficult for any defense to find him. Also coming to the field for 2nd year QB Ethan Alexander is free agent acquisition WR Cody Scott from Carolina. Not a lot of production was seen out of Scott in Carolina, but the 6'5" route god of a receiver knows he's got more to offer than Carolina was willing to pay for. He is for sure a player to watch this season as he prepared to have a breakout year. Returning veteran TE Elijah Swaim had a 1,000 campaign last year and hopes to build off of that success and continue to find his way to the end zone.
Tulsa16At number 16, Tulsa. The only expansion team for season 10 to not be made up completely of rookies, the Desperados boast five free agent veterans on their squad, none bigger than former Chicago running back Dion Hawkins. Hawkins helped lead his former team to the championship game with a 1,400 yard, 9 touchdown campaign last season. He's joined by Vancouver receiver Khoury Jones, Baltimore receiver Sonzo Robinson, fellow Chicago linebacker Espnn Ry'Ale, and Baltimore corner Jeffrey Desir. Joining the veterans is rookie QB Sir Charles Robinson who hopes to have a strong rookie season and lead his team to victory. One of a handful of teams to use a star kicker, Tulsa hopes Joseph Carroll can pull off any game winning kicks that are needed to push them into the win column.
London17At number 17, London. The London Knights add to the league's international presence by giving the SFL a team out in Europe. I know I've said it a few times already - but there's a few teams taking on a "defense wins championships" approach. None are more prevalent than the London Knights. The all-rookie squad boasts only four star players on offense. The rest? Defense and special teams. Linebacker Slinn Shady is the highest rated linebacker in the league. He was asked about the upcoming season and said "I know it. My fellow Knights know it. The whole SFL knows it. The East is gonna be an absolute grind this year, and no-one is expecting us to make the postseason. But underestimate us at your peril. We're athletic, we're technically gifted and we have heart. We match up very well with the rest of the East and I think we'll surprise some people, starting with Atlanta in Week 1. As far as I can see, there are only two certainties in Season 10. One, no running back in The East is breaking my tackle and two, this season is gonna be the best the SFL has ever seen". Also on defense, Free Safety Jeffrey Daggs is hoping to make an immediate impact in the league. The third highest rated free safety was quoted as saying "I can't wait to play against Queen City and cover their Tight End, who happens to be my dad. I'm going to pick off any pass that comes his way. He won't be getting any catches against me" Strong words for the expansion rookie Londoners!
San Francisco18Rounding out the power rankings at number 18, San Francisco. They may be sitting at the bottom right now, but I wouldn't expect that to last long. Lead by none other than former NFL running back Ryan Moats, the San Francisco Sharks are sure to draw up some game plans the likes of which the SFL has never seen before. Starting with their interesting roster breakdown. Perhaps even more focused on defense than London, the Sharks only have a star QB, FB, WR, and TE on offense. Yes - one each. No star RB - it appears that Moats hopes to handles those duties from the FB position. They make the most out of the limited offensive stars they possess - QB Jacques Luyindula is tied for the highest rated QB in the league, Moats is the highest rated FB, WR Gabriel Manning is nearly the highest rated receiver barely falling to #2, and TE George Calderon is the highest rated TE in the league. A powerful, if limited, offense for sure. The defense is made up of a star DT, John Osiris, a couple of linebackers (Shawn Marshall and Chester Field), a pair of corners (Marcus LaCroy and Merrick Itera), and a pair of safeties (Max Jackson and Andrew Allen. The Sharks round out the last of the teams relying on a star punter this year with Deco Soprano. This may be the most interesting team to watch and see how they perform in season 10.