Jack Brown, Jett Zero, Merrick Itera, Mike Improta, Ray Bentley
Banner Image by J.R. Lawless

The season is now five weeks old and the SFL might have itself a legit Championship contender. The Vancouver Legion defeated the Seattle Tyrants over the weekend and move to 5-0. They are the only undefeated team remaining in the SFL.

Some in the league are still not ready to believe just yet, but the Legion’s perfect start was enough to push them up to the “Top Spot” in the Power Rankings. We witnessed a blocked punt, an interception returned for a 100-yard touchdown, and an onside kick recovered by the kicking team. Stephen Hacker continues to score TD’s, (wait, what?), and more importantly, for the last 3 weeks the SFL’s Beat Writing Team, “Curse of First” struck again! If you’re a fan, there’s hardly a chance you haven’t heard of the “Curse of First.” The apparent and infamous jinx goes like this. The #1 ranked team in Power Rankings for the SFL is doomed to encounter something bad – poor luck, a decline in play, or even outright LOSE the next game. It’s superstition at its finest. Did the curse strike again on Jacksonville in New Orleans? Whether you genuinely fear your favorite team suffering at the hands of the “Curse of First” or find it all ridiculously silly, it hasn’t ever quite gone away. Will this week be the exception to the rule?

Just or not, if you need to vent about this inexplicable mystery of events, hit-up the SFL Beat Team’s hot-line at: [email protected] and let us all know, how you truly feel.

Rank
Team
Record
(Movement)
Recap

1

Vancouver Legion
5 - 0
(▲ 1)
After 5 weeks into the SFL’s s14 schedule, things are a feeling “warm and fuzzy” for the Eternal Frost. There are few places on Earth where you can ski, surf, be transported back in time over 5,000 years, and watch the Vancouver Legion go 5-0 all in one day. This is what took place on Saturday night at Canada Field during the Battle of the Northwest. The ferocious Seattle Tyrant’s came into town hungry for a win, but left the frozen dimension with a frigid loss. Owner/Head Coach Andy Hamilton asked the SFL’s leading rusher (going into the game), Sudo Nakai to cool-off for a bit, and allow Quarterback Tom Pepper to take charge. He did indeed, as Pepper threw for 294 yards and 3 TD’s without any interceptions, receiving Player of the Game. Wide receiver Brett Killian hauled in of the touchdowns, catching 7 passes for 146 yards. The other touchdowns went to wide-out Heath McDaniel, Jr and tight end, Craig Hearn. Vancouver’s “Iceberg” Defense was led by the consistent play of the “Bash-Brothers.” Rookie Linebacker Doug Day had two tackles for losses and Brian Craven added one sack with a pair of tackles for losses. The defensive front also dominated with Lee Adama’s two sacks and Kevin Brackett recording another. Vancouver is first in total offense, first in total defense, and first in the Power Rankings. Does the winning trend continue in Week 6 with the Gladiators headed north of the boarder, or does it freeze with the “Curse of First” striking again?

2

Baltimore Vultures
4 - 1
(▲ 1)
Baltimore has quickly soared past their Week Three loss at Denver, and has devoured the competition during their last two at home versus the Atlanta Swarm and Houston Hyenas - compiling a staggering 81 points. They put up 31 against the number two ranked Swarm Defense, and just dropped 50 on the Houston. The Vultures are flying-high, and halfback T-Roy Gaines is a big reason why. Gaines ran for 169 yards on 26 carries and a whopping four touchdowns on Tuesday night. He is leading the league with 3 touchdowns receptions on 40 catches out of the backfield, and to quote the eloquent speaking color analyst, Eddie Gauge, “...most running backs make people miss...T-Roy makes people pay.” Ivory Ervin continues to impress with snagging 39 receptions for 411 yards and three TD's. Kicker Shark Tarkington is tied for the SFL's lead, booting 15 for 15 field goals. The Defensive “Wake” has feasted well, and Tony “Whatchu Talkin 'Bout" Willis has contributed 56 total tackles from the Strong Safety position to go along with teammate Giovanni Bolt's four interceptions. Week 6 matches the 4-1 Vultures at the 4-1 Predators. The birds are circling, looking down on their prey, and if Charleston isn't “looking up,” these buzzards are about to swoop away with win number 5.

3

Atlanta Swarm
4 - 1
(▲ 1)
BDG = Big Dominating Game from BDG Hollewood. When the game ended, this ‘Busy Bee” stung the Storm for an incredible offense performance that will merit votes for the Offensive Player of the Season. Hollewood has been nothing short of the league’s most dominant offensive player over the last four games combining for 95 carries, 677 yards and 8 touchdowns. BDG piled up 11 catches for 60 yards and racked-up 162 yards and a Touchdown on 20 carries at home versus the Storm. He was Atlanta’s sole “worker bee,” moving the ball up and down the field. Most think with those numbers the game was a blow-out and probably over… it was just the opposite as Florida kept the game close throughout, and with just under 4 minutes left to go, recovered an onside kick, only trailing by 4 points. The Storm swirled down into the Atlanta red-zone and when QB Ron Cockren seemed to have Optimus Cline open in the corner of the endzone to take the lead, it was free safety Blake Hamrac who flew-in for the interception. Atlanta’s next drive saw kicker Shane Short booting home a 41-yard field goal to give the home team a 7-point lead. Florida had one more chance. However, it was the Swarm’s cornerback Blake Chance who picked off Cockren ending the game. Defensive End Tim Cleland had 2 sacks and defensive tackle Joshua Williams knocked the Florida QB down for another, giving him 9 total sacks on the year. Atlanta is second in total offense and second in total defense. If you don’t make a sudden move, wasps will tend to leave you alone. When you disturb their nest, they will attack. The Arizona Scorpions enter in Week 6 and will try to skitter out of the the Hive with a road win. Do the Scorpions poison the colony, or is it the Swarm who “bring the sting?”
4
Charleston Predators
4 - 1
(▲ 2)
Do not fault them for their schedule, Do not make excuses for what they have done. Certainly, do not underestimate this team that sits inside the Top 5 Power Rankings, either. The Predators lost their second game of the season to the #1 ranked Vancouver Legion, whom no one has been able to beat, and have never looked back. The Charleston Predators are 4 & 1 and have just defeated a very tough Sioux Falls team on the road. They've extended their winning streak to three in a row, and their wins have averaged a 14.5 point margin of victory. Keith Swearingen continues to carry this team on the ground, gaining yardage when he's called upon, and the Charleston Offense seems to find a way to move the chains when they need to on critical third downs. Rookie Tight End, Lyriic DaVinci has been a nice addition to the passing game as he's contributed 13 catches on 17 targets during the winning streak. On the other side of the ball, it's has been veteran Linebacker, Jack Brown leading the way with 36 total tackles and 6 going for losses. Brown is the centerpiece of the Predator's defense and when he plays well, they don't surrender many points. Let's not forget to mention the incredible job the secondary has done. It was Cornerback, Kaladin Holley with a pick in the last game and Free Safety, Josh Riese's 44 yard interception return that gave the Killer Whales the lead and eventual win at Sioux Falls. This team is in a ferocious mood and looking to attack. Baltimore flies into town for week 6, and if the Vultures are not prepared, they'll take a nose-dive into the deep marshlands of Charleston's Fort Moultrie Memorial Stadium.
5
Jacksonville Kings
3 - 2
(▼ 4)
Sorry, Jacksonville. We didn't realize the power we were wielding when we ranked you all first last week. Getting taken down by New Orleans wasn't what any of us had in mind, but hey - there's plenty of bright side! The Kings were ranked first last week for a reason, and even the best of us stumble now and again. Quarterback Christian Christiansen is ranked 3rd overall in total yards, and each receiver on the team has at least 3 touchdowns. Their defense is tied for fourth place in total touchdowns allowed. Frank Goodin's squad down in Duval county might have slipped up in a game nobody expected them to, but nobody around these parts is counting them out yet. I'd expect the Kings to roar back even harder this week against the Sparrows. Otherwise, it might be more than their pride that's could get hurt.
6
Queen City Corsairs
3 - 2
(▼ 1)
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. This being the Simulation Football League, Queen City's heartbreaker of a 30-33 loss against the reigning champs in Denver ultimately does count... in the loss column. The Corsairs, by the numbers, should have won the game, with an astounding 133 more passing yards than the Nightwings, and by all accounts, they did have them, until the end of the game. AJ Caswell's sea legs were apparent, as he ended up throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, but because he couldn't stop slinging the ball downfield. Stephen Hacker continues to make a case for MVP with 222 yards on 10 catches, as well as a pair of touchdowns. And if I don't say something about Kappa Jones' 100-yard pick-six, I've been told Ray will hunt me down, so there's even that! Again, though, while the Corsairs played a valiant 44 minutes of football... see the first sentence. These swashbucklers will be at home next week when they hope to secure a W against the Carolina Skyhawks. Better make sure though - close won't cut it.
7
Mexico City Aztecs
2 - 3
(▲ 3)
Mexico City was clearly tired of their three game losing skid, as it came to an explosive close this week back in Estadio Azteca against the London Knights. For all their faults in previous weeks, the Aztecs changed up the pace with no turnovers of any kind this week. They kept a close lead for three quarters before taking off in the fourth, showing why Matt Willson is the reigning MVP (while also capturing him Offensive Player of the Week honors). Fullback Phoenix Jones' star continues to burn bright, as he and Ray Bentley each notched a rushing touchdown. The Hall of Famer was the only Aztec to score twice in a game that featured eight - yes, eight touchdowns. Toward the end of regulation, even a non-contract player got in on the action, taking one of the six interceptions from Angus MacLaine back to the house. So after such a stellar performance on both sides of the ball, what's next for Mexico City? A date with destiny in the mountains of Denver - the first time two Championship MVPs have faced off before. Beware, though, Denver - the Aztecs are always looking to add another feather to their penacho.
8
Chicago Wildcats
3 - 2
(▲ 3)
Me-ow! Chicago looked like a team in control last week, on the road in the deserts of Arizona. Quarterback ET King had one more INT than he did TD, but thanks to a combined effort from Cory Carter, Ash Odom, and Anthony Cece (Special Teams Player of the Week), it never mattered. King can also thank his stout defense out of the Windy City, as the Wildcats held the Scorpions to 3 for a majority of the game. Five picks spread across two safeties and a cornerback isn't something to thumb your nose at - especially when matching up against a defensive guru like Eddie Gauge. Chicago remains on the road this week as they trade desert sand for beach sand, hoping to make a stir of things in Florida against the Storm. The Wildcats have a good thing going, and considering their city's nickname, Storm winds might not be enough to bring these 'cats down.
9
Sioux Falls Sparrows
3 - 2
(▲ 1)
Well, Sioux Falls took our EVER SO GRACIOUS Valentine's Day gift and must've mishandled it or something as the Sparrows came home only to get beaten by the now 4-1 Charleston Predators 27-17. The Sparrows ever since their 3 game win streak to start the season off just… haven't looked as good since. Tyree threw 2 picks (one of which went for a pick-six by rookie Josh Riese) and his only passing TD came in absolute garbage time against the Preds. On the whole their offense just couldn't get anything going. The bread and butter of their offense (constantly feeding the ball to Colin Hart) just kind of failed them and the offense rarely got any sort of momentum. The few times they did it would end in a pick or just a stall out. Sioux Falls now just looks like a store that's been driven into by an 18 wheeler. However, we here at the Power Rankings HQ (aka Ray Bentley's Dark Dungeon [EDITOR: Hey! I installed track lighting, thank you]) are a lenient bunch and recognize that not all teams can be their best. Downside for Sioux Falls? It doesn't get any easier this week, traveling to Jacksonville to play a Kings team looking to take some anger out on an unsuspecting team… the Sparrows shouldn't let it be them, or else they'll be out of this Top 10.
10
Tulsa Desperadoes
3 - 2
(▲ 3)
Tulsa is a rather quiet team in Discord chat and even on the field to a certain extent. With two rather unpleasant losses coming in weeks 2 and 3 for the Desperados. However since then they've put forth some rather convincing wins. The most recent of that bunch came in Tulsa against the Skyhawks of Carolina. Although the scoreboard may have made the game look decently competitive, the stats do not. Especially in the second half once Tulsa took control. Tulsa put forth a whopping 90 more yards on offense than Carolina did and nearly doubled the Skyhawks through the air. After losing Ashley Jackson over the off-season to Arizona, the Desperados picked up veteran of the league Deacon Nickens who has morphed himself into a solid albeit not world shattering signal caller. They also got Sonzo Robinson who is currently in the Top 5 in yards per carry in the league with the least amount of touches of players in that strata. On the whole, Tulsa plays it right down the middle, win where ya need to win, then on to the next. They got a shot to do it this week against a London team that once again got shell shocked across the pond. Will they win and improve their streak to 3? Only time will tell.
11
Denver Nightwings
2 - 3
(▲ 1)
Dang it, Denver! Can you please make up your mind on whether you want to be a good team or not this season? It's making our jobs at the Power Rankings team way harder than it has any right to be! After getting shellacked in Vice Wars against Las Vegas (notice how you haven't seen them yet? yeah…) the Nightwings came home to Snowden Stadium to play host to the Queen City Corsairs, looking to add another win in their quest for the buried treasure at the SFL Championship Game. But the Nightwings put a snag in QCC's plans. 4 snags, to be exact. In the form of interceptions by the Nightwings secondary with Ayden Davis returning one of the four for a pick 6. It was the Denver Defense that set them apart from the Corsairs and allowed them to celebrate a 3 point win in the mile high city that week. Statistically speaking Denver's offense just isn't looking that amazing, with the only high flyer being HB Jarrod McChesney sitting with the 6th most rushing yards league wide. With Al Lewis so far netting 5 sacks on the defensive side of the ball. With all that in mind, is Denver still a good team or a bad team? They got Mexico City, a team used to high altitudes, coming up from South of the border to play. If the Nightwings pull out the win, they'll see themselves more than likely back in the Top 10.
12
Florida Storm
2 - 3
(▼ 3)
While I was writing this, a brand new episode of Fumble Dimension dropped from SB Nation and it got me thinking that, to a certain extent, we here in the SFL are living in our own Fumble Dimension - especially when it comes to Florida. To put it bluntly, it just seems like Mighty had outgamed himself and the league has caught up to the Storm. The "No HB" model Florida has been running with for most of their franchise history (especially during their dynasty era) has not seemed to pan out as well this season. Cochran as it stands, in spite of having the 4th most passing yards this season so far, has the league's 3rd worst QBR at 64.3. Tied for the 4th most interceptions at 13… with only 4 passing TDs to boot. None of Florida's WRs have Mich to speak of either. Now this would be fine if they had a run game to fall back on oh wait, they only have a FB who has 1.6 YPC. That isn't effective. This was all put on display against Atlanta where the Storm netted just 1 TD against the Swarm. If there is something to build off of though, the Storm's defense is ferocious and looks to continue to be among the league's best units. But you need offense to win a 4th ring around here.
13
St. Louis Gladiators
2 - 3
(▲ 5)
What's the reverse of "oof?" Last season, St. Louis was the unhappy recipient of a storied Power Rankings writeup, as they were shut out in almost back-to-back weeks. This season? St. Louis just took the Las Vegas Fury to the cleaners. Then another cleaner. Finally, just to make sure, they brought them back to the first cleaner again. What happened!? The Vegas defense couldn't stop the first overall pick from the Season 14 Draft, Jonny Pichler, as he sliced and diced his way around the field for 4 total touchdowns and 379 yards - 54 more yards than the Fury had all night. Diesel Dawson carried the weight too, crossing the plane twice himself. Defensively, the Gladiators were clicking as well, picking off Tom Ramen four times and helping stymie Robert Redford's run game. Here's where things get interesting: St. Louis is rightfully feeling pretty good about themselves after this game. Vancouver is currently undefeated, and ranked first in Power Rankings. Curse of First, anyone? We'll just have to wait and see!
14
New Orleans Pharaohs
2 - 3
(▲ 5)
I've tried very hard, since the inception of the New Orleans Pharaohs, to only use one or two 'mummy' puns per season. Yet here we are, the Pharaohs having just taken out the top-ranked Jacksonville Pride, and I just used up my mummy pun on Zero Guarantees. Curse of First, indeed! What else, then, can be said about the monster performance that shut down their similarly-colored foes from the Sunshine state? Xander Gold had more passing yards (with 14 less completions!!) than Jacksonville had in total. Reggie Streeter almost doubled his Kings counterpart with 100 yards on the dot. This offense is crushing it onfield. Defensively? New Orleans has the most prolific tackler in the game right now with Tank Bennett - as long as the rest of the secondary steps up, we could very well be seeing the rebirth of the City on the Delta. They've just swapped Horus for gumbo, po' boys and excessive scorelines. So far, so good, N'awlins.
15
Las Vegas Fury
2 - 3
(▼ 8)
In my entire career here at the Beat Team, never have I seen a team tumble so far in the middle of the season. Then again, never have I seen a team embody the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well as Vegas has. Just when you think they're about to take a respectable win and push further into the top ten, along comes St. Louis with a bulldozer. Yeeesh! Tom Ramen and Robert Redford helped send the teams into their locker rooms at halftime with a single-point lead, but then forgot to return for the second half as the Gladiators hung 27 more points on top of their original 16. There's still hope yet; Ramen is a top 10 quarterback going by QBR, and with the offense under the steady tutelage of Steven Mullenax, the Fury will find themselves on the scoreboard for the rest of the season. Will their defense, led by Max Jackson and Merrick Itera, step up next week against a wounded Seattle Tyrants team? Sin City is hoping that they can start flying again, and a solid win against the Tyrants might be just the way to do it.
16
Seattle Tyrants
1 - 4
(▼ 2)
So close, and yet, so far! The Tyrants fall a couple spots this week after a doozy of a game against the still-undefeated Vancouver Legion, holding the Eternal Frost to a season-low score of 27 points. That's one way to find the silver lining in the loss, which now puts the Tyrants near the bottom of the standings with a record of 1-4. If it helps, though, Seattle's defensive plan held Vancouver running back Sudo Nakai to a hilarious 29 total rushing yards, but they weren't able to cause any turnovers. Meanwhile, former MVP candidate Jacques Luyindula tossed 5 to the Legion. The Tyrants looked much better this week against Vancouver than they had the week prior, but looking better is one thing, notching wins are another entirely. If they want to make it back to the postseason, whose light gets dimmer with each passing week, they're gonna need to right the ship, and quick. Fortunately for the Tyrants, they stay home to host the Las Vegas Fury next; both teams are in search of answers for their season. Will the Tyrants be able to find it before the Las Vegas flies away with it?
17
London Knights
2 - 3
(▼ 1)
At this point in the season, the London Knights are the definition of average. In Week 6 they will be playing at home for a chance to reach .500 and have not strung together multiple wins, OR losses, at any point this season. Their play rocks back and forth like a lost ship on an open sea. The cause of this mysterious ebb and flow? The Knight’s 7th ranked offense forced to carry their 20th ranked defense. And the real killer? The Knights boast the worst TO differential in the league at -13. Look, there are a lot of things to like about this London team, namely their proficiency in the passing game. But until the coaching staff can find ways to mask this unit’s ineptitude defensively, I don’t think we will be seeing them much higher than 17th on this list moving forward. And I hope that isn’t the case.
18
Houston Hyenas
1 - 4
(▼ 3)
Ouch. Saying Baltimore’s near 40-point shellacking of Houston on Tuesday was a tough loss would be a massive understatement. Not much went right for the Hyenas this week, as most of their points came in garbage time. The glaring issue for this franchise in Season 14 has been the QB play. Johnson currently sports a 5 to 20 TD/INT ratio through five weeks of play. The coaches must do a better job of putting him in a position to make plays and not turn the ball over. The defense has been doing their part, thanks to guys like DBs Brady Clark and Everett Garrison who have a combined 9 INTs and a defensive TD each. The offense must limit costly turnovers that put their defense in bad positions and also usually their opponents into scoring range. There is still time to get back on course, but the overall efficiency of this unit must be improved.
19
Arizona Scorpions
1 - 4
(▼ 2)
Tough sledding for the Scorpions on their maiden voyage. What was supposed to be a decent season for Arizona has slowly turned into anything but. Houston, the only team the Scorpions have managed to defeat all season, sit just above in these here power rankings at the back of the pack. The coaches and players in the Arizona locker room must hold their heads high, put the past behind them, and seriously game-plan for the remaining seven weeks of the season. One piece of advice: try to get DJ Moses II more heavily involved in the offense. The guy is a beast and can help take the pressure off of QB Ashley Jackson when effective. Here’s to hoping these guys can turn things around in the desert.
20
Carolina Skyhawks
1 - 4
(-)
Let’s focus on the positives. The Carolina defense has the 3rd most takeaways of any team in the SFL right now which helps net the franchise as a whole +5 in the TO differential column. WR Harish Prasad is doing a decent job anchoring the offense and helping keep games close when he can stay healthy. The glaring bright spot for the Skyhawks is clearly current DPOY front-runner CB Zane Doty. His league leading 9 interceptions (1 returned for a TD) and respectable 31 tackles on the season has helped keep his team competitive in any game they play in. Coaches have begun game planning specifically around this guy has he has created an island all to himself in the secondary. Carolina Brass should be proud of these players that they are coaching and focus on how they can help their stars play even better football as the season progresses.