By Matthew Slinn, Images by J.R. Lawless
Hello SFL community! Today I sit down with two rookies, one in the offensive side of the ball and the other the defensive, both playing for the Madison Lynx. The Lynx have thrived in the run up to the playoffs, winning 5 straight before succumbing in Week 8 to the Annapolis Navigators – also a playoff team. Derek Majors and Nate Haul both played in that game. Tonight, we here their thoughts…
Slinn: So lads, I usually open up these interviews by asking each player to give their unique story about how they found the league,but I’ve come to realise that most who find the league were never actually looking for it in the first place. So, I’ll rephrase the question. Please tell us, how the SFL found you.
Majors: (Grins) Well, actually, I was looking for other sim leagues to be a part of. Then, it just so happen the first page that popped up on Google was the Simulation Football League. I checked it out and instantly got hooked.
Nate: I was flipping through my sports channels right around the time other sports leagues like the NBA, MLB and others were being cancelled, due to the pandemic, and on a Sunday afternoon I came across Eleven Sports and FTF. I caught a game, then I joined and the rest, as they say, is history! (Laughs)
Slinn: It always amazes me that there are so many different stories about joining the league (my own is once again, different from yours) and yet they all end in the same way. “I got hooked“. Did either of you spend any time as a non-contract last season? Also, whether you did or didn’t, what made you come to the decision of the position you are playing in the minors?
Majors: I’ve been a part of the league since the last few weeks of Season 13, so it feels like forever! I didn’t sign on because I wanted to build my guy all the way from the bottom. I wanted him strictly as a QB since that’s the position I play in reality as well. So, I just sat back,learned the game, continued to check in and wait for my opportunity to show what I can do.
Nate: I did not spend any time as a non-contract during Season 14. I didn’t join until Week 14 of the season so by the time I signed on, it was time to join a minor league team and get situated with my position. The reason I joined as a Free Safety is because I felt it was a major position to play on defense to help stop the opposing team’s passing game, and I wanted to immediately “make an impact”
Slinn: It’s always interesting to see the mental journey someone took to deciding on what position they want to play, and it’s nice to see you guys have been in the league for at least a few months! About the draft, how confident are you that you will be drafted at your primary position, and if not, are there other positions you may want to help at team out in?
Majors: I’m very confident. I hope to not have to sit around for too long to hear my name called, but of course anything could happen. It’s just gonna be exciting to finally be in that moment.
Nate: Despite talking to three teams and having 2 of them tell me I’m on their draft board, I’m still not very confident on getting drafted at my primary position, just because my stats aren’t as high as I’d like them to be. I’ve put in builds to be a CB for defense and a WR for offense. Just looking to get drafted so I can help a team out in any way possible!
Slinn: That’s an interesting take, especially by yourself Nate. How much do you think stats weigh into a GM’s decision to draft a rookie, compared to build and off the field personality?
Nate: Well, as much as build and off-field personality are both important, I think GMs and coaches are looking for someone who will also help them win games. But as much as I’m hard on myself, you’ll find I’m my own worst critic (smiles).
Majors: I agree with Nate. I can come off as someone with a big ego but I couldn’t honestly care less if someone thinks of me that way. My job is to win games and teams should always pick the player that gives them that best chance.
Slinn: On the point of teams who may be interested, are there any teams who caught your eye early? Teams that stand out for any partucular reason?
Nate: I’ve been in touch with Tulsa as one of the three teams I’ve talked to. As you know, Coach DeMoura (our Madison coach) plays for their defense, and I’d love to be on the same team as him if given the opportunity.
Majors: I like the Gladiators. They’re a great organization. They have a young team that’s up and coming, led by a tough defense. A rookie QBs dream; could make the job a lot easier no doubt. I’ve been in contact with them more than anyone.
Slinn: Tulsa are a well established team and I’ve always loved watching them play. St. Louis have excellent owners and are on the up it seems, based on last season. You’ve chosen excellent teams. Moving back to the SFLm. What has it been like being part of Maddison?
Nate: It’s been great! Our coaches always put us in positions to win each game, and the group of guys we have on our squad is second to none. I’m for sure gonna miss playing alongside them once I move to the next level.
Majors: I’m going to miss it for sure. The coaches have worked so hard up to this point. The locker room has a great group of guys. I hope to see them all in the pros at some point, hopefully get to play alongside a few of them again, but thankfully we still have a few more weeks to continue this run.
Slinn: It’s great that you are enjoying the locker room. It’s the cornerstone of a great team. Are there any team mates you are looking forward to being on a team with in the SFL? Or, players who you like the idea of facing?
Nate: I’d like to face Derrick (Majors) one day (Laughs). As far as playing alongside someone on defense, I can’t really pick one. We have a great and talented D and it’d be awesome to play alongside any of them, honestly.
Majors: I embrace any kind of competition, so there’s no one in mind specifically. But one of my favorite guys I like to watch is WR Siege Falco. He reminds me of AJ Green for some reason!
Slinn: Falco certainly is one of the premier receivers in this league. I’ve personally championed his quality ever since he was drafted. I guess I have one final question for you guys before we wrap up. Obviously Maddison have been a roll and are heading to the playoffs. You got a prediction for the SFLm championship game? The score and who you want to play?
Majors: It doesn’t matter who we play. We’ll be ready for whoever it is.
Nate: We will play in the Championship game and I’m with Majors on this one – we’ll be ready for whoever our opponent is.
Slinn: Both of you, thank you for your time and I wish you the best of luck with Maddison and in the SFL draft!
What a great interview with a pair of fantastic rookies. All the best to them and the Madison Lynx in the SFLm playoffs, coming very soon. If you thought that this was the last of my ‘Rookie Rendezvous’ articles, think again. I have been flooded with offers and I’m humbled by the response. More are certainly to follow over the coming week. Peace be with you, until next time.