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Written by Bryant Dynasty, Jack Brown, Matthew Slinn and ‘Special Guest’ Jeff Gagne

Images by Jonny Law

Rank
Team
Record
(Movement)
Recap

1

Denver Nightwings
11-1
(-)
The Denver Nightwings(11-1) are heading into the Season 15 SFL playoffs as the #1 seed and rightfully so closing out the Season 15 atop the Power Rankings. The Nightwings took care of business against the Tulsa Desperados, 37-3, in their last regular season home game with home field advantage locked. QB Josh Miller and MVP candidate finished the day going 33 of 49 for 380 yards, a score and 2 interceptions. HB Jarrod McChesney was kept in check toting the ball 18 times for 65 yards. The Nightwings defensive front were a wrecking crew with DE Marlon Marshall pulling in 3 sacks and 2 for DT Dez Troyer. CB Matt Papineau lasered in on 3 of Denver's 5 interceptions. Primed and ready for the playoffs, Jeremy Vega and co are sitting pretty with a bye this week.

2

Baltimore Vultures
9-3
(-)
The Baltimore Vultures (9-3) punched their playoff ticket to the Season 15 playoffs with a 44-27 over the Arizona Scorpions. Eliminating the Scorpions playoff hopes in the regular season finale Baltimore will play on as favorite to be a championship contender. Rookie QB Jack Wigmore did most of the heavy lifting completing 30 of his 39 attempts for 338 yards and 3 TDs. The Vultures secondary picked off AZ QB Ashley Jackson 3 times on the day. Rookie 1st round pick CB Ben Stackinpaper took back a pick to the house and earned himself DPOTW honors. Baltimore finishes their Season 15, fourth in the playoff standings but second in the Power Rankings, enjoying a bye week.

3

Sioux Falls Sparrows
9-3
(1)
The Sioux Falls Sparrows ended the regular season by being exactly who we know them to be - a smashmouth team that is carried to success on the back of Colin Hart and a great defence. There didn't need to be any 'Week 12 trickery' with the game plan, no trying to confuse the upcoming playoff opponent. There would be no point. We know what Sioux Falls are going to do and they are unquestionably great at it. Speaking of that, Colin Hart ended the season with a bang. The veteran running back couldn't be stopped by the normally stout Gladiators defence, rushing for over 200 yards and over 4 touchdowns on the day - quite possibly his best performance of the season. Julian Tyree wasn't particularly sharp, but he didn't need to be, because the defence also stepped up. They dropped Vasquez four times and managed to accumulate a whopping 13 tackles for loss, including 6 for stud linebacker, Nick Fargo. We don't know yet who Sioux Falls will play in the quarterfinals. What we do know is that Colin Hart is at the top of his game. Stop him if you dare.
4
Jacksonville Kings
8-4
(2)
The Jacksonville Kings won at home against the Charleston Predators, but it wasn't enough to secure them a bye through the Wildcard round of the playoffs. The Kings have closed out the season in uneasy fashion, coming through when it mattered most but stumbling a few times along the way. The Predators presented another potential trip hazard, but thanks to some strong defence and a good performance from Jared Willis, Jacksonville stayed on their feet. Willis rushed well on the day, failing to cross into the endzone but making 126 useful yards on a day where he was heavily used. Christian Christiansen did find the endzone twice (which proved to be the difference) but also turned the ball over 3 times, something that is becoming a worrying trend for the experienced QB. Hale and Norwood were laregely bottled up, which will see them keen to make amends against Houston in the Wildcard game. The Kings are favourites, but the Hyenas carr with them some offensive bite. Jacksonville will need to hang tough if they want to avoid succumbing to their opponents' jaws.
5
Mexico City Aztecs
8-4
(-)
The Mexico City Aztecs (8-4) are going into the Season 15 playoffs with an explosive 47-10 victory over the Las Vegas Fury . Decidedly clinching their bye week and fifth seed at home in Estadio Azteca, the Aztecs were carried by HB Phoenix Jones taking his 13 carries for 199 yards and 3 scores. He also pulled in a receiving TD. This performance put an exclamation point on his move from fullback on the offseason. CB Jack Napier pulled in 2 of the Aztecs 3 interceptions. Finishing the season 5th in both the Power Rankings and playoff seeding, the Mexico City Aztecs and owner Ramos Lynn have earned an extra week of planning with a bye.
6
Louisiana Revolution
9-3
(3)
Not the way the 2 seed wanted to head into the playoffs, but the Strom have been tough at home. The team will take some time to rest, to begin their game plan and get back on track of the coming playoff game that will matter most. Possible, maybe even likely, league MVP Reggie Streeter and QB Pichler will have a lot of the limelight. However the young OL and D for this Revolution team should soon join them in that lime light. They are young, they are hungry and will likely play most of their playoff games at home. The league should be worried about going into Louisiana.
7
Vancouver Legion
7-5
(3)
My my my, That was certainly a way to make a splash into the SFL playoffs. Vancouver came in on a bit of a bubble for making the illustrious SFL Playoffs and came in to play off against Houston. Should be simple, win by one point and you’re in, right? Well, Vancouver got that one point. Then multiply that one by 63 times. Yes, 63 times. To make the single largest thrashing in SFL history 76-13. Now that isn’t the only statistic to make your head spin, but here are some other stats: Tom Pepper threw for 563 yards and 6 Touchdowns making a strong case for OPOTY. Alongside Robert Redford gaining 3 touchdowns off less than 150 yards. On top of that you can also throw in a pick 6 that ruined the chance of the perfect 69 points in an SFL game. Vancouver had something to prove, and well, I guess they proved it. Now they take their fearful offense back to Canada Field and this time they invite the defending champions in the Atlanta Swarm coming in at the 10th seed. Gone be a fun game no matter who wins.
8
Florida Storm
7-5
(1)
Washed up. Dead. Done. Stick a fork in them. I’m sure Florida heard and remembers all this from early in the season. It’s hard to not think they were sitting there with a smile on their face just waiting to get their turn to speak. Well Florida, we hear you now. Florida is near unstoppable at home, they beast Lone Star in a thriller the last time they faces and they are gaining steam at the right time. Atlanta was everyone’s sleeper playoff pick, but it’s dangerous to be napping on Florida right now too.
9
Atlanta Swarm
6-6
(1)
The champs are on the ropes. One year removed from winning it all they must go on the road to face Vancouver to keep their playoff hopes alive. That is a tall task this weekend, but you know the team is up for it. Lead by likely Offensive Rookie of the Year QB Bryant Dynasty Atlanta has turned what some thought may be a rebuild season and turned it into a playoff bid. Once you make the dance, anything can happen and we know these guys know how to handle the playoff pressure.
10
Lone Star Glory
7-5
(2)
It was an up and down first year for the young Lone Star team. They have had to get creative to win, but win they have. Lead by a killer QB and RB tandem? Well Ace and Ike are growing, but I think the real Stars here are a TE and FB. Is this 1960? TE Williams and FB Collier create mismatches at positions defensives normally scheme to stop last. If they can keep finding creative ways to move the ball and get the ball to bounce their way on defense they are a unique team to face. They have a tough match up this weekend but the future is bright for Lone Star.
11
Arizona Scorpions
5-7
(-)
In its second season as a franchise the Arizona Scorpions (6-6) narrowly miss the playoffs again. The Scorpions couldn't keep up with the perennial powerhouse Baltimore Vultures ending their season with a 44-27 defeat. In a "Win and You're In" scenario heading into the last of the regular season games, QB Ashley Jackson couldn't find that little bit of magic, ending her Season 15 campaign with a 23 of 31, 293 yard, 2 TD and 3 INT performance. LB Joey Tropicana lead the way on defense with 11 tackles. Owner Eddie Gauge and his Co-Gms will look to retain their core and build off of Season 15 to make their SFL playoff dreams come true.
12
Fort Worth Toros
5-7
(2)
In what was a rivalry game that proved fairly irrelevant to the rest of the league, the Fort Worth Toros proved who has adapted to SFL life the best out of the expansion teams, with a convincing 26-3 defeat of the Portland Fleet. There isn't really too much to say about the game. Fort Worth's defence found it easy to stifle Portland's toothless attack, the secondary was aggressive and got plenty of turnover ball and Xander Gold had a calm and effective game. What is more interesting to talk about, is the future for this franchise. I expect the Toros will retain most of it's players in what will be a 3 season project, which will stand them in good stead for a playoff push. Why? The defence. Fort Worth have mastered the art of defence already. All they need now, is the offense to show it's quality more consistently. Do that? You're in the post-season.
13
Houston Hyenas
6-6
(4)
Dang, what a tragic way to end the season for Houston. You know, they were actually primed and ready to go for the playoffs, just needed a simple win over the Legion and they were in, even if they lost, just don’t botch it against Vancouver and things would be okay. But botched it they did. Conceding 76 points in one of the most embarrassing defeats in league history. Kentez Johnson threw for a touchdown… alongside 8 interceptions. The last being a pick 6. Things just did not end well for the Hyenas this year and it’s a dang sha-wait, they actually made it into the playoffs? No way, you gotta be yanking my chain. You lose by 63 and still make it in? Well dang. Looking onward, the Hyenas come in at the newly christened 11 seed in the SFL playoffs, playing against a Jacksonville team ready to fight after tackling the Predators. Hopefully at the minimum that game gave them an additional spot of rest.
14
Charleston Predators
5-7
(1)
In the end, the schedule was just too much for the battling Predators to overcome. The 7-17 loss sealed the fate for Charleston, and they will not be returning to the playoffs, something I'm sure the whole organisation is unhappy about. Charleston may be watching the playoffs from their living rooms, but there is plenty to be optimistic about. To go near .500 with by far the toughest schedule in the SFL shows guts and determination. The defence is stout (turning over the Kings 3 times in Week 12's game) and T.D Drew remains a good QB in this league. If the Predators can keep this group together, and get lucky with the schedule next season, we could see them back in the post-season quicker than you can say 'Swearingen'.
15
Las Vegas Fury
4-8
(-)
The Las Vegas Fury (4-8) end their Season 15 on a low note, falling to the Mexico City Aztecs, 47-10. In what could ultimately be his last game as the QB of the Fury, Tom Ramen struggled mightily turning the ball over 3 times and completing only 19 of 34 pass attempts and a TD. LB Day Drewery led the way with 8 tackles on a defensive unit that wasn't able to record any sacks or turnovers. The possibility of losing Tom Ramen and family lingers for Las Vegas as he makes a bid for an expansion franchise. The Fury offseason will be a roller coaster so make sure you're tall enough to get on and stand in line.
16
Queen City Corsairs
5-7
(-)
A storied team, who had a very down year by their standards. In reality they were maybe 1-2 wins away from making a playoff bid. However, to their standards, it just seems like they had an extremely down year. They did face some changes in their front office heading into the years, so it may have been like the growing pains Denver went through last season. How can they correct the ship heading into season 16 and will they retain a lot of their veteran plyers who may be staring at retirement very soon?
17
Carolina Skyhawks
5-7
(-)
The Eggplant is going to Raleigh! Man, for how long that rivalry has been going on, that eggplant must be nothing more than mush at this time. But even then, the two teams came in with nothing necessarily to play for but put on one fine show. The Skyhawks were outgunned on offense but only by 20 yards. Now granted with that in mind, Carolina still put up 435 yards on the day and QB Sully Richardson had a fantastic day at the office with 5 touchdowns to just 1 interception. With Heath McDaniel Jr getting a lot of the love with 170 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. The man put on an absolute clinic. But alas, yet another Skyhawks season sputters to a stop with another year sitting on the outside looking in. At this point, it’s almost like clockwork that Carolina ends up like this. Just gotta keep chugging and hope things improve in the offseason.
18
St. Louis Gladiators
5-7
(-)
After what has been an up and down season for the St. Louis Gladiators, they finish with a 5-7 record and a sour taste heading into the off-season after a 7-39 thrashing by the Sioux Falls Sparrows. Some might say that the Gladiators took this game off as their playoff chances were slim to none, but if I know that team, they didn't - they just had a bad day at the office. Quarterback Javier Vasquez had a fairly subdued game to end his first season, stifled by an elite Sparrows defence, who also managed to keep Kairo Martinez under 2 yards per carry. With such meek offensive production, it was always going to be tough for the St. Louis defence, constantly facing up to the juggernaut that is Sioux Falls' running game. A 22-0 deficit at the half tells you all you need to know, and the less we talk about that performance, the better. All in all, I think the Gladiators have had a decent, if underappreciated, season. To make it to a 5-7 record with a completely new offense full of rookies is quite an achievement. To tell the truth, the future has never looked brighter for the Gladiators franchise.
19
Tulsa Desperados
3-9
(-)
The Tulsa Desperados (3-9) have taken a lot of lumps in Season 15 and their finale wasn't the last one they'll be dealing with. Embarrassed on the road by the #1 Denver Nightwings, 37-3, the Desperados could not overcome their mistakes on the road. QB Deacon Nickens went 27 of 46 for 252 yards. It was his 5 interceptions that hurt the Desperados the most. Rookie FS Ezekiel Love totaled 10 tackles and secured one of teams two interceptions on the day. The rebuilding process for Tulsa has already begun as Nickens is now a free agent. Tulsa goes into Season 15 having lost their last 5 games looking for a fresh start.
20
Portland Fleet
2-10
(-)
Well, Portland, don't say we didn't root for you. I was ecstatic when you got your first victory, gutted when you got your second (for survivor pool reasons) and I'm happy the season is over and you can look to the future, which has plenty of bright spots in it. We won't cover the game vs Fort Worth too much (Matt South threw too many picks and the defense had to carry most of the load, resulting in a loss) but I want to mention some of the stand out players this season. The linebackers, as predicted, have been the strength of this team. Mel Davis, Frank Champion and Aman Takess have balled out and all of them probably deserve All-Star consideration. Connor Weston has been a bright spark in a lifeless offense. Vandelay and Valentine have shown flashes at receiver, but Weston has made excellent plays throughout the season (keep hold of him). Finally, the young secondary has been great at times. Chris Stach especially, has had a great Season 15 and looks like a steal in the making. Keep those chinstraps up and sail on Portland. Things can only get better.
21
London Knights
2-10
(-)
London once more concludes towards the bottom of the league table, finishing for the second season in a row at 2-10 and this time settling into the 4th overall pick position behind the two upcoming expansion teams and Portland. But for their final game of the campaign there were some upsides to look at. They managed to out gain Carolina with a whopping 455 yards on the day, showing the promise the offense of London can have if they just kept pushing forward and retained some players which at this very early point of the offseason for them it looks like they are. Angus MacLaine is having some genuine promise and is a stable franchise QB for London. Already have half the issue sorted. Also Robert Merrill if built right can be a solid long term solution. The team if they play their cards right have a very bright future ahead. Hopefully this offseason will be the start of something great for the Knights.
22
Chicago Wildcats
4-8
(-)
The playoff hopeful Chicago Wildcats have seen the wheels just come off the bus. Dominating, and I mean dominating teams early they looked like they were locked in for a top 6 playoff seed. However, internal drama seems to have quieted the roar as they now face a large exodus of players in what is now their offseason. It looks like their fall from glory will be fast, and they will look to pick up the pieces heading into next season trying to build again on their early season 15 success.