November 17, 2021
The Simulation Football League presented by APM Music concluded its 17th season Saturday November 6 when the Baltimore Vultures survived the Florida Storm 28-23 in an epic 17th SFL Championship Game. While Baltimore finished the season, there were plenty of storylines that developed in the months that led up to the big game. Here’s a look-back at Season 17 in 1,000 words.
New feature: Automated contracts and progression
With a growing league comes more challenges and the SFL solved those challenges by building an automated portal for players and teams to submit, sign and adjust contracts and helped players more seamlessly progress their player throughout the season. It turned into a great success and is paving the way for further team and roster expansion in the coming years.
Free agents steal headlines
Quarterback Jonny Pichler and wide receiver Mike St. Green took their talents to London and their moves paid off. Mike St. Green posted career-high numbers while Pichler led one of the top passing offenses in the league and the Knights to their first playoff trip in franchise history. Marcus Dunhill came out of retirement and posted the 4th-most passing yards in the league with his new team – Jacksonville.
Queen City returns to winning ways
The Corsairs once won four of the league’s first 8 championships and were playoff regulars, but had been in a funk over the past few seasons. Enter in new Head Coach Chris Comisac, new General Manager B.J. Loveless and a handful of other new pieces and Queen City leaped out to a 6-0 start and eventually set the league record for best turnover differential in a season: +21. While they were ousted in the first round of the playoffs, Queen City’s future hasn’t been this bright for a while.
Charleston’s new ownership takes team to new heights
The Predators had only won a single playoff game in franchise history and that was all the way back in Season 10 with initial owner James Richards. Since moving to Charleston, the team was unable to make the postseason but once, losing in the quarterfinals to Sioux Falls. When the team was sold to Preadtor long-timers Jack Brown and Johnny Bravo in the off-season, Brown and Bravo brought in new Head Coach Jacob Clear and Charleston not only made the playoffs for the first time in South Carolina, but won a playoff game and nearly upset Florida in a close 14-17 defeat. The Predators best season in franchise history only has them trending up. Speaking of Richards…
A topsy-turvy season in Los Angeles
After hiring Richards in the off-season as the Lycans new head coach, Richards lasted just three weeks before tensions grew to unbearable levels. Despite the turmoil, Los Angeles rallied thanks to new coach Ryan Yoseph and the rest of the front office to make the playoffs for the second-straight season since Tom Ramen and Rachelle Colston purchased Chicago. A postseason win still alludes the team though after falling in the Wild Card round to Charleston. The decision to turn things around came at …
The SFL Convention returns – this time to Houston
It was great seeing people – many new faces – again at the SFL Convention and this time the league welcomed a record 82 guests to League City, Texas (just south of Houston) for a memorable 2021 Hall-of-Fame class, an incredible live viewing experience in the South Shore Harbour and Resort amphitheater, great memories poolside and plenty of moments never to be forgotten. Bryant Dynasty joins the Convention’s longest-flight club as he and his family visited from Hawaii to take in the festivities.
Arizona improves again
For the fifth season in a row, the Arizona Scorpions improved their record and went further in the bracket, making it to the semifinals where they were also edged out by the Storm in a nail-biter. Since purchasing the franchise from Oklahoma City, Arizona has gone from 4-8 to 5-7 to 7-5 and winning a playoff game to 8-4 this season, defeating London in the Wild Card round and upsetting Atlanta in the Quarterfinals.
They were just that close
Mexico City led Baltimore by nine points with less than two minutes to go, but was unable to reach its first Championship since Season 9. Baltimore scored a touchdown recovered an onside kick and scored the game-winning field goal as time expired to win 45-44 – a blocked extra point from earlier in the game becoming the difference. The Aztecs do now hold the record for most consecutive playoff appearances – with 11. Portland was in playoff positioning much of the season but lost three of four down the stretch – all to eventual playoff teams – and is still looking for their first postseason trip.
The heartbreak kids
The D.C. Dragons had a season unlike any other, losing close game after close game all season long. The Dragons – who have plenty of Championship experience in the front office led by Jermaine Smith and Steven Mullenax – have yet to find their footing since the team returned to the league, but are getting closer. The Dragons lost games by 3 (in OT), 6, 6, 3 (in OT), 3 (in OT), 2 and 4 but took out their frustrations in the last game of the regular season by blasting Queen City 31-13 to finish 3-9.
And of course … the Champs
The Baltimore Vultures dominated the SFL in Season 17, setting the SFL record for top point differential in a season (+201). Giovanni Bolt tied teammate Troy Loshaw for most interceptions in a season (15) and Alvin Mack earned the most interceptions ever for a linebacker (6). Despite all these achievements, Baltimore was tested plenty – needing overtime to beat Portland, losing to London in the final week of the regular season, having to comeback against Mexico City and trailed 14-3 in the Championship Game to the Storm, who now hold the record for most Championship Game appearances in league history with 5 (3-2). But the Vultures stuck together and now co-owner Thomas Paterniti has tied Queen City owner Erik Barkley for the most Championship wins by an owner in league history (4).
What will Season 18 have in store? We’ll find out in 2022.