By Matthew Soper
The history of American Football and Mexico is a short tale since it was a market untouched until 2015. To tell the truth, Mexico had a football team in 1969.
The Mexico Golden Aztecs played in the final season of the ill-fated Continental Football League. After the season was over, the league folded to the history books and the team would be forgotten. However, this wasn’t the end of American Football in Mexico.
In the fifth season of the Simulation Football League, ‘brilliant young mind’, Ramos Lynn, would successfully bid and was granted a franchise. The team name was the Santa Fe Gorillas.
Ramos had started in the SFL as a free safety for the Season Three expansion, Baltimore Crabs. He originally planned to fire up franchise interest in Vancouver and then Ontario, Canada. Ramos decided to place his new team in Santa Fe, a suburb of Mexico City: his home town. The Gorillas, along with the D.C. Dragons, Louisville Wolfpack, and Tallahassee Pride, would have a great first season.
Santa Fe would make it in to the playoffs where they played the Pride in the Grey Conference Championship game. Which they won, 31 to 27. They were looking for a title in their first year, but came up short to the D.C. Dragons in a close final game. They were looking to rebound the next year, but due to a 3 and 7 record, failed to qualify. In their third season, they would regain control and earn a 10 and 2 record (the strongest in franchise history). However, they would bow out of the playoffs again, thanks to the more experienced Orlando Intimidators.
After the end of the season, Ramos would do what Erik Barkley manages so successfully: he rebranded the team.
First step: changing the team’s name to Mexico City and playing in Estadio Azteca (now recognised as an all-time fortress). The next step: renaming the team to ‘the Aztecs’, an ancient civilisation famed for determination and personal sacrifice. The first year in this new home would be rough, with Lynn’s side squeezing into the first round of the playoffs. Their brave run was halted at the hands of Houston in the Semi-Finals. That being said, the seeds were planted; they were growing.
Season Nine would be their highest point yet. The team captured the Western Conference title with an 8 and 4 record and would take out Houston and Vancouver to make it back to the SFL Championship Game for the first time since Season Five. This time, the expansion Chicago Wildcats would be the team that would try to stop them. However, the Aztecs, on the back of ‘The Altered Beast’ (Ray Bentley) along with QB Matt Wilson and WR Dijon Swann, would edge out Chicago to finally win the clubs first title.
Despite failing to recapture their title this season, falling to the Alaska Storm in the Conference quarterfinals, the Aztecs will probably go down as one of the SFL’s most dominant franchises. Even if Dijon Swann retiring at seasons end, the team is looking to add another title to their trophy case. And with it, continue their legacy in Simulation Football.