By Slinn Shady
When the successful owners of Season 11’s three expansion teams were announced a couple of weeks ago, one question flashed across my mind.
“Who is Tim Johnston?”
It was a name that I had never seen connected with the league before and, as I’m sure quite a few of the SFL community will admit, I wondered what was so special about this ‘unknown entity’ that he managed to secure one of the SFL’s 21 coveted ownership positions. A few days and many a conversation later, I discovered that Johnston was no newcomer to the SFL, but a seasoned vet; an experienced leader with an eye for football gameplanning. My prejudgements about the man’s credentials couldn’t have been further from the truth, as in meeting and conversing with Johnston, he was knowledgeable, well-spoken and showed a keen eye for detail. Essentially, a class act.
I would fill you in on some of his history with the league, but Tim answers those questions in the interview more eloquently than I could. With that, over to the interview…
Slinn Shady: So, Tim, massive congratulations on securing one of the expansion teams for Season 11! With a lot of the SFL community having joined since Season 9, they may not know of your name and background. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your history with the SFL.
Tim Johnston: Thanks Matthew. Happy to be back! I joined the SFL when the league expanded from seven teams to eight in season three after seeing and hearing a live game. It was Cam’s passion for the games that drew me in. Way back in Season 2, there were sometimes just 2 or 3 viewers – but Cam had the same passion back then as he does today with hundreds and thousands of viewers. He did 3-4 broadcasts solo every week. I was (and still am) involved with CAG NFL (a user vs user league using the same game as the SFL) so I decided it would be great for the SFL if guys in the CAG NFL became players and coordinators on the Baltimore franchise. A few guys we brought along on that first squad were Tom Paterniti (offensive coordinator), the Dazzos (QB/LB father/son duo), Eddie Gauge (SS), WRs Nick T. Quick and Demetrius Outdat and some FS named Joe ‘Ramos’ Lynn. WR D.R. Sim and WR Max Paul also (Wane Inzer) played for Baltimore, in other seasons.
Shady: You are the former owner of the ‘now disbanded’ Baltimore Crabs. What made you return to the SFL at this point in time?
TJ: The SFL deserves our best because there are so many (staff and support) giving their best. I had a storm of personal situations that occurred at one time at the end of season nine. Those things are nearing a more normal state in the next few months. I am happy to be back in the league. There is nothing like it.
Shady: Clearly you have an affinity with the city of Baltimore. Could you explain to the readers where that stems from?
TJ: I was born and raised in Baltimore. Although I have moved to Southern Pennsylvania, my wife and I still work there, family, friends and church is there. We just sleep in Pennsylvania.
Shady: Now that you’ve secured full SFL status as the owner of the Vultures, something I’m intrigued to know is, ‘What style of football does Tim Johnston like his team to play?’. Obviously, you don’t need to give any secrets away!
TJ: Balanced offense – ‘bend but don’t break’ defense. That’s it.
Shady: Judging on your opponents in the Eastern Conference, is there a team in particular you are looking forward to locking horns with??
TJ: We have had a long rivalry with Carolina. We hate them – but they are such classy, nice guys! You can add any team that Maurice Spurgeon plays for…Baltimore and New York/Queen City have had some great games in the SFL. Erik is one of the guys in the league I have met in person (along with the great hexpert/SFL President Jermaine Smith). However, who looks forward to competing against Erik?
Shady: And finally, in three words, can you sum up the qualities that make a great SFL franchise?
TJ: Support (for the league), Participation and Passion.
A note from the editor: I don’t get time to pen many articles these days, but this one was an absolute pleasure to produce. Tim was extremely classy and great to work with. Thanks mate, and all the best for the season ahead!