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

We so badly wanted to crown a new No. 1 in the Power Rankings this week. However, it was not possible for us to pull the trigger. Look on the bright side: we do have a very new-looking top 10 to break down. As for your favorite team, see below and share your thoughts: [email protected] is the place.

A man of integrity…Many SFL athletes take the political high road (wait, what?) – Joking, of course. When players are asked about “setting or breaking records,” publicly, they pull for whatever is best for the SFL, or root for whatever young upstart is trying to mark their names into the record books. Privately, they burn for the opposite. Before we get into things, though, we’d like to share something!

MAJOR MILESTONE:

The SFL Beat Team would like to recognize #80 Demond Simien, aka D.R. Sim, now in his 10th season, as becoming the first Wide Receiver in SFL history to reach 12,000 yards. Congrats to THE Houston Hyena!

Half of Season 14 is over…Now, let the dissension commence!

Rank
Team
Record
(Movement)
Recap

1

Vancouver Legion
6 - 0
(-)
Another week gone, another week closer to death. Or, if your name is Andy Hamilton, another week closer to winning an SFL championship. Vancouver remains in the top stop for the 2nd consecutive week following a 37-13 trouncing of St. Louis. At the halfway mark of the season, the undefeated Legion team, and some of their players, are on pace to make SFL history. Some examples include: Vancouver is on pace to net 224 points by the end of the season, which would surpass the previous record of 189 held by the Alaska Storm from Season 11. On offense, RB Sudo Nakai has a potential to best the previous yards per carry average record for a single season, which currently sits at 8.1 YPC. Defensively, LB Brian Craven is on pace to set new records for assisted tackles and forced fumbles. And I won't even start on QB Tom Pepper's MVP-esque numbers through six weeks. Long story short, Vancouver has played exceptionally well through the first half of season 14. The question is and will always be, how long can they sustain that success? Looking back at last fall, the team that consistently held the top spot in the standings throughout the latter half of the season eventually won the whole kit and caboodle. Can the Las Vegas Fury finally implement the curse of first in Week 7? Stay tuned.

2

Atlanta Swarm
5 - 1
(▲ 1)
Close, but no cigar. The Swarm are itching to make it back into the top spot after playing 2nd fiddle to the last remaining undefeated team for two straight weeks now. Only having lost to the formidable Vultures in Baltimore a few weeks back, Atlanta has seemed like the team to beat all season. Unfortunately, the Swarm won't get the opportunity to test their might against the Legion in the regular season, but there is a very good chance they will face off in the Season 14 playoffs. The immediate future holds a weekend trip across country to the home of the Tyrants in what should be a high scoring affair. Expect to see the two-headed offensive juggernaut that is QB Marcus Dunhill and RB BDG Hollewood light up the scoreboard as they have all season, putting up gaudy offensive numbers on every opponent they have faced going back to Week 1. As impressive as those two have been, they both, as does their team, rank only 2nd in their respective position pools through 6 weeks; 2nd to the QB/RB duo of none other than the Vancouver Legion. One or two more key offensive performances by this group and we may very well be seeing some new names adorning the top spots on the stat sheets come March.

3

Charleston Predators
5 - 1
(▲ 1)
The Predators reach their highest rank of the season ahead of Week 7 with an impressive, and rather surprising, performance at home against the Vultures. Whoever said defense wins football games, they were right (at least about this). Charleston is 2nd to only Queen City in points allowed per game, yards allowed per game, and TD's allowed per game. Their defense is 8th in takeaways and have wildly only allowed two passing touchdowns on the season! What the Predators may lack on offense, they completely make up for in the other two phases of the game. Linebacker Jack Brown has been anchoring the Black and White's best unit, and leads the team in tackles and forced fumbles. With a home match-up with the visiting Hyena's on deck, CHS should be in a prime position to hang on to their #3 spot in the power rankings, and perhaps even advance higher depending on how the teams above fare in their respective contests this week. My humble prediction is that the Predator's not only win this week, but their defense slides into the #1 spot after facing a weak offensive team such as Houston while the Corsairs face a much higher octane team in the visiting Aztecs.
4
Baltimore Vultures
4 - 2
(▼ 2)
Tough loss for Baltimore. Although they were on the road against a fellow 4-win club, many an SFL fan placed their proverbial bets on the Red and Black to fly out of the Carolinas victorious. Alas, such was not the case as the Vultures ultimately lost a hard fought battle with a final score of only 16-13; the offense seemed stuck in neutral for most of the game and kicker Shark Tarkington was responsible for more points than any other player on the Baltimore roster. The good news was that the defense was still holding tight, allowing only one touchdown and remaining in the top 3 defensively in the league. Strangely enough, the Vultures seem to have one of the most brutal schedules out of any other team this season. Outside of New Orleans, Baltimore's list of opponents are all either previous Season 13 playoff teams or current Season 14 powerhouses. I personally commend this team and the coaching staff for sustaining a winning record while going through the gauntlet this winter. The Vultures must fly even further south this winter, or at least this week, to sunny Jacksonville to take on a fearful Kings team that has been prowling around the Top 5 in the power rankings all season. If the defense can hold and QB Mike Dazzo can pick his game up from last week's pedestrian outing, these birds should have no issue scavenging a W in Florida.
5
Queen City Corsairs
4 - 2
(▲ 1)
Two weeks ago in Week 5, the Corsairs had a gnarly time navigating through the icy seas, losing to Denver. They soon found themselves keeping the course in Week 6, sailing away with a win verse Carolina. Normally, it is Owner, Erik Barkley’s offense that keeps this team afloat, but against the Skyhawks, it was the Queen City Defense that kept this ship from taking on too much water. The pirates won 13-6, buy stealing the football from Carolina’s QB Sully Richardson, four times. Privateer and free safety Christopher Dodd picked off two passes, while Master Sea Rovers Nene Ferris and Nacho Sicario, corners, checked-in with one apiece. Nevertheless, it was the nastiest Scoundrel of ‘em all, candidate for Defensive Player of The Year Jeff Duffy (defensive end) with three more sacks. Duffy continues to rule the defensive seas around the league, amassing 14.5 sacks in just 6 games. It might not be possible to reach the record set back in Season 11, set by Alex “Big Sexy’ Dominguez with 38.5, but Duffy is putting his himself with some of the best, all-time Sack Masters in the SFL. The Criminals of New York host Mexico City this week at ConPro Field. They better batten down the hatches or the Aztec warriors will be the ones who hornswaggle the treasure and their way to a win. Dead men tell no tales…Could the scallywags be walking the plank this week?
6
Chicago Wildcats
4 - 2
(▲ 1)
The Wildcats have come back “roaring” louder than ever after getting embarrassed 46-10 in Week 2 at Queen City. Chicago has ripped off four straight wins and put themselves back into the middle of the playoff hunt at the halfway point of the SFL season. Owner/Coach and tight end Shann Varner has the ‘Cats looking legit with a record of 4-2. If it was not for a last second, Deacon Nickens hail mary pass to Khoury Jones in week 1 at Tulsa, they’d be inside the top five of the Power Rankings with a record of 5-1. The defense is absolutely the real deal. On the road for their last two wins, they’ve held the Arizona Scorpions and the Florida Storm to scoring 13 points each, allowing only one touchdown in both games. Linebackers Blake Craize and Clint Hendershot continue to search and destroy opposing team’s running backs, with Craize leading the team in total tackles at just over 11 per game. Rookie D-Linemen Raymond Jones III and Gerald Giudicessi have been the leaders of the defensive front with Giudecessi’s four sacks and Jones’ 5. In the secondary, safety Greg Gaines has contributed with 5 interceptions and corner, Jessie Vick has picked off four. This team is very-well rounded and when these Wildcats use their senses of hearing and sight, this Chicago club has no limits when they’re on the hunt. St. Louis and the overall number 1 pick of the Season 14 Draft, QB Johnny Pichler come to town for Week 7. The Gladiators had better wear their armor and bring their shields, because these Wildcats are ready to pounce.
7
Mexico City Aztecs
3 - 3
(-)
The Aztecs are .500 – question is, are they the team with three wins, or are they the team with three losses? For sure, over their last two games, they are the team with two straight wins over London and Denver. Mexico City has exploded for a staggering 80 points combined over that span and the offense is trending in the right direction. Hall of famer, QB Matt Wilson has been “muy bueno,” throwing for 8 touchdowns with only 1 interception, and completing 79.25% of his pass attempts. K. L. Barrett has broken-out in the past two as well, corralling 10 receptions for 173 yards and 4 TD’s. The run-game with Ray “Big Wheels” Bentley has been rolling on all cylinders combining for 209 yards and three touchdowns, and Tight End Mike Daggs has contributed with 10 catches for 137 yards and a TD. Defensively, they need to tighten things up. Giving up four scores to London and three to Denver isn’t what Owner/Head Coach, Ramos Lynn enjoys, but seeing 8 combined interceptions from the secondary over that span has been outstanding for him to watch with Jeffrey Daggs leading the way by intercepting half of them. Lynn is famous for putting together game plans, sacrificing linebackers and devouring opponents in the middle of Estadio Azteca. He takes his team to visit the Corsairs, and his mythology is about destruction. Week 7 could be the decisive game for this .500 team. Will they be the victorious conquistadors, or will they be the ones who are sacrificed in the Queen City?
8
Sioux Falls Sparrows
4 - 2
(▲ 1)
The Sparrows of Sioux Falls must have read last week’s Power Rankings article written by names we will not mention in this column…Who could it have been? Ray Bentley! The thought of being in Bentley’s Dark Dungeon is horrifying. Thankfully, the Sparrows weren’t blinded by his newly installed track lighting as it was the source to guide them out of the gloom and avoid dropping three straight games. Certainly, they did not want to fly out of the Top 10 of the Power Rankings and decided to peck away at beating the Jacksonville Kings on the road, 23-13. Sioux Falls’ game plan was keeping the arm of King’s QB, Christian Christiansen off the field, and indeed they did. Possessing the ball for over 10 minutes more than Jacksonville, the Sparrows flew and (ran) circles around the sleeping Lion’s defense. The backfield combo of Colin Hart and Jaylin Wells dominated the game, compiling 40 carries for 235 yards and three touchdowns. The Offense totaled 430 yards, converted 13 of 18 (72%) third downs, and moved the chains an incredible 21 first downs. The Pharaohs, coming off a week 6 loss in Houston, pack their war vessel and sail up to meet the Sparrows for Week 7. Sioux Falls is a tough team to beat at Liberty Park, and New Orleans (2-4), better be looking to come back to life, looking kill the two birds (Hart & Wells) with one stone, or they will be the ones up the creek (or headed down the Falls) without a paddle.
9
Tulsa Desperadoes
4 - 2
(▲ 1)
The Desperados have been running roughshod over the league so far this season, highlighting once again just how dangerous a bunch of banditos they are when they’re being meaningfully guided from contest to contest. Dion had his squad in great form as they traveled across the pond to the UK and laid a L on the defending Knights in convincing fashion, 30-13. Next week, they’ll be looking to corral the visiting Denver Nightwings who have been flying a bit erratically this season though they’re clearly still a threat to any band of rustlers they come across.
10
Jacksonville Kings
3 - 3
(▼ 5)
The Kings fall quite a few spots this week after dropping what most of us considered a pretty safe bet in their homestand against the visiting Sparrows of Sioux Falls. Losing by 10 at home is never a good look for any team in the SFL, but it’s particularly damaging when you’re trying to solidify yourself in the playoff picture and your opponent is equally motivated. Unfortunately, the savanna of Jacksonville doesn’t get any more hospitable for the Kings, as they take on the dirty birds from Maryland next week. Dropping 2 home games back to back would be considered a definite disappointment for the Floridian royalty, and the Vultures are definitely circling this opportunity to knock off a rival Power 7 team this weekend in a potential Play-off preview for this this post-season.
11
Seattle Tyrants
2 - 4
(▲ 5)
My, how a simple coaching change can affect the morale and heart of a team, right?! Crash Combs stepped back onto the sidelines last week and it showed immediately, as the Tyrants looked truly terrifying for the 1st time this season against the visiting Fury of Las Vegas. In what was a statement game for the visitors who were coming off an unexpected loss the previous week, the Tyrants never let the opposing team get comfortable en route to a convincing statement game of their own as they chased the Fury team bus out of their park, out of SEA and almost all the way out of the west coast in a 30-13 victory. With the Atlanta Swarm next on the menu, this weekend’s game will mean a lot for SEA in the standings and will make a significant argument for their more permanent placement in the Top 10 if they’re able to outpace the Swarm.
12
Denver Nightwings
2 - 4
(▼ 1)
A very unpredictable season continues for the Nightwings, as they suffered a 12-point loss at home last week to the Aztecs after getting everyone’s hopes up with their fantastic performance against BAL earlier in the season. They still have plenty of snow to plow off their path back to the summit they claimed last season, and they’ve got an equally hard-to-pin-down Tulsa team ready to defend their standings in the Power Rankings at home this weekend. This Tulsa game will be a real bellwether for both squads, as it could elevate the Desperados past the gate-keeper status and vault them into the “contenders” conversation.
13
Florida Storm
2 - 4
(▼ 1)
How quaint! Usually when we are halfway through the SFL season, we are talking about how Florida will be barreling their way to another title or at least to a home playoff game. This season, however? It seems like they'd be lucky to get a home wildcard game if they even crack the Top 10. Yeah, it hasn't been the best for Florida. We highlighted more of the systemic issues facing the Storm in last week's write-up, and if you want a more comprehensive diagnosis from some kid who has never coached a game before, read that. This week brought more of the same from S14 Florida. With a rather anemic offense and a good defense. Cockren threw for a little over 200 yards with a TD and no picks to boot. JW Doyle even had a run go for more than 10 yards! Which for a fullback ain't something to scoff at. The defense continues to be one of the league's top units, currently 4th in PPG and 5th in YPG. In my honest opinion, the defense can win them a decent number of games. As Charleston showed us past season, you can't just defend your way to the playoffs.
14
Las Vegas Fury
2 - 4
(▲ 1)
Ya know, sometimes the gambling lifestyle just calls upon you to come back. Las Vegas embarked on this two week hoping to come away with a win or two while doing some soul searching. Instead they got outscored on the two weeks 73-30 and dropped the most in SFL Power Rankings history. The more recent of their two was a trip up north to Seattle, possibly to catch a wife of those fish they sell or something. Instead they got thoroughly beaten 30-13 and put up just a mere 14 total yards of rushing. Which would have been the fewest outside of when FLORIDA DANG IT only rushed for 8 in Week 2. Las Vegas on the whole got outgained by nearly double to a Seattle team who hasn't looked like the world beaters they once were. Still, they rise this week, partly thanks to the performances of other teams. Hopefully Sin City will be able to get things back on track, and soon.
15
Houston Hyenas
2 - 4
(▲ 4)
It's never easy to go back out on the field after getting a big old 50-burger dropped on ya. Houston, after doing just that was actually able to recover from it pretty well, and ended up beating the New Orleans Pharaohs to the tune of 23-17 in an admittedly very sloppy affair which 9 interceptions total from both Kentez and Xander. Kentez got the minority of those interceptions at 4… however, that isn't exactly a statistic to brag about. Johnson as a whole honestly hasn't had much to boast about if anything. So far, he has just a mere 5 TDs to 24 INTs and a season QBR of 41.1. This sets him on the unfortunate track to having the worst season for a QB in SFL history - worse, even, than Andrew Rastelli! This leads Houston to basically be ultra reliant on Warren Murray for their offense. Which I mean, hey, he's good. Currently 9th in yards and tied for 3rd in season TDs. But it's just, you need to have A passing game to back that up. It doesn't have to be spectacular, but it has to be there. Houston's life doesn't get much easier though, as they play host to Charleston, arguably the league's best defense, and they look to make life hell for the Hyenas.
16
New Orleans Pharaohs
2 - 4
(▼ 2)
Oh hey look, it's the other team involved in Pickfest 2k20! This team it's the team that threw the majority of the INTs! After pulling off possibly the biggest upset of the season last week over Jacksonville, New Orleans looked to spread their reign of terror over Houston in Week 6. It didn't work. The Pharaohs went in with a decent shot to win the game but then Xander just decided to throw 5 INTs which pretty much completely derailed their offense and let their defense get gassed. However I don't want to make it out to be like Gold is a bad QB. He's actually been having himself a decent season overall. Topping the league in passing yards and is middle of the pack in QBR. With Yasin Clifton coming in second in the league in YPR. New Orleans certainly isn't bad. They just seem to have had luck. This week they look to improve it against a Sioux Falls team also hot off beating Jacksonville. Can the Pharaohs win the Kingslayer bowl? Only time will tell.
17
St. Louis Gladiators
2 - 4
(▼ 4)
Here we were, all ready to tout our ability to read the tea leaves with some CURSE OF FIRST claptrap, with a close game in the first half against the undefeated Vancouver Legion. Then I fell asleep on the couch, drooled all over myself, and when I awoke, what a self-made mess I had to clean up! The Gladiators are definitely smarting from that one this week, as a 13-37 loss isn't anyone's cup of tea. Things, unfortunately for the Gateway City squad, could get even hairier next week as they travel to another Midwestern town, Chicago, to try and unseat the 4-2 Wildcats. There have been growing pains in the first season for Jonny Pichler, but consider the bright side: he only threw one pick against the vaunted Vancouver defense, and he was putting on a show the week before against the Vegas secondary. St. Louis' defense is going to need to find an answer for the ET King - Ash Odom - Mike Improta backfield trinity if they hope to put another W in the books. Shields up, Glads - this upcoming coliseum battle could be fatal.
18
London Knights
2 - 4
(▼ 1)
At home. Coming off a decent-scoring loss to the Aztecs. Hosting a team that has a 2:3 TD to INT ratio. What, exactly, went wrong with the gameplan to serve the Knights a loss at home against the Tulsa Desperados? Well, first off, see that ratio up there? Turns out, it's far better than 1:6, which is what London quarterback Angus MacLaine posted against Tulsa - having a high-value receiver like Gabriel Manning doesn't help that, either. The game might have been close in the first quarter, with each team holding the other to a field goal, but it started to get away from the Knights soon after. Defensively, London has the pieces to put together a nice unit, but over four out of the last eight quarters of football. If the Knights want to see improvement out of their rebuild, that's a great place to start. Unfortunately, it seems like their final score of 13 belied the luck they've been having of late. Pip pip, and cheerio, lads!
19
Arizona Scorpions
1 - 5
(-)
The Scorpions went down to Georgia
They was lookin' for a win to eat
Down in The Hive
Fightin' for their lives
But came up short and just got beat

Silver linings, folks. Ashley Jackson didn't toss a single interception to the Swarm, they had more time of possession than Atlanta did, and their 3rd down conversion rate ended up looking pretty nice if I say so myself. Silver linings do not a boon in Power Rankings standings make, however, and so the Scorpions continue to hold steady at 19th. Arizona heads home this week to try and fend off an uneven Florida Storm team, who themselves just suffered an ignoble loss. With the bright spots from the game against Atlanta this week, perhaps the Scorpions will be in prime fighting form to take on the Storm. Tails are raised, ready to sting - hopefully they won't get blown away.
20
Carolina Skyhawks
1 - 5
(-)
Carolina is the unfortunate winner of Scoragami this week, as the only team to suffer a loss against an opponent who scored exactly 13 points. As there were 7 games with a team scoring 13, this is an interesting stat, but it doesn't do much to help the struggling Skyhawks. Sully Richardson's line isn't doing him many favors, giving up 3 sacks and helping the Corsairs rush him into 4 interceptions last week. Logan Jack couldn't get anything going on the ground, further stymieing the ability of Carolina to get into enemy territory. The Skyhawks aren't down for the count, though - just look at burgeoning defensive superstar Zane Doty and kicker Wally Herman. With Doty's ball-hawking skills and Herman's accurate boot, Carolina was able to put 6 on the board where 0 would have been before. They host the 18th-ranked London Knights this week, so be on the lookout for a high-flying defensive performance from the squad in red.