Written By Josh Farnsworth
Images By Frank ‘The Franchise’ Wade
8 Burning Questions
I’ve figured it out: stuck on an airplane.
Outside of “in the shower”, waiting for a plane to leave its gate, so yours can pull up, may be the perfect place to ponder the mysteries of the universe. Why do we exist? Is life a dream? Does BDG Hollewood tornado-spin-move when walking on a busy sidewalk full of people coming in the opposite direction? You’re not going anywhere until that flight to Charlotte backs out of the gate and…you know…flies to Charlotte. On the runway from my connecting flight, I sat and wondered about many of the burning questions in the SFL that have been stoked in my head. In no particular order of importance, here are my eight burning questions as we enter April…
#1 Will Baltimore go undefeated?
This is the second straight season the SFL community has been approaching the final few weeks and wondered if the Vultures will pull off an undefeated record. They, once again, are the total package of balanced offense, sideline-to-sideline blanketing defense, reliable special teams and formidable coaching. Baltimore stubbed their toe last season on the threshold of history – falling to London in the final week to miss out on 12-0. Their schedule is not an easy one to close out Season 18. This weekend, they travel to DC for perhaps their hardest challenge remaining. For the final two weeks, they are at Arizona and vs. Queen City, who gave them a heck of a game just a handful of weeks ago. All eyes on perfection once again.
#2 Can Otis Boudreaux break the FG record?
The all-time, season-long field goal kicking mark is close to going down. The specialist with the thunder foot has 31 field goals made on 32 attempts – three made FGs shy of Amanda Moyer’s 34 set in Season 16. The Revs are on the road against Jacksonville and Tulsa before heading home to finish the season versus St. Louis. Otis made two field goals in the Revs earlier contest against Tulsa this season. Still, predicting how many field goal opportunities a team may get is difficult. My secondary question (this doesn’t count as a “burning” question; more of a “toasty” question): Will the Revolution players be rooting for the record to go down or is it too weird to cheer against scoring touchdowns? Not sure the sideline will erupt in happiness if the team drives the field and gets stopped on third down, but, who knows? Your move, Louisiana. Good luck, Otis.
#3 How many defenders will break double digits in sacks?
As far as trends go for Season 18 in the SFL, this is the one that jumps out to me the most. Sacks seem to be down. What do we attribute this to? More offensive linemen on teams leading to better pass protection? Quicker and tighter passing game plans? Are all defensive linemen feeling bad for haunting quarterbacks’ dreams all these years? No. But it’s still a mystery. The league leader this season is Taqwuan Hale with 9.5. It stands to reason he will get the half needed. Max Night and Chris Andrews have eight each. Outside of these three, it could take a big night from a handful of others. Hale is on pace to finish with 12, which would be the lowest sack leader since at least Season 9 and perhaps ever. For some more context, 10 had double digits last season with the leader at 19.5. Season 16? Thirteen broke the 10-sack mark. Get to that QB, DLs.
#4 What game do we all need to circle on Week 13?
Florida at Jacksonville. Not too many people outside of the purple-and-gold locker room gave the Kings much of a chance to finish with hope of the playoffs – much less be in contention for a division crown and potential first round bye. The Kings have won 3 of 4 and a win would do wonders for padding their postseason hopes. As for Florida, the team that has reached the title game two seasons in a row, sit in the unfamiliar spot of needing to win down the stretch to avoid falling out of Cam’s neatly formatted playoff scenario grid of happiness. Oh, and this Battle of Florida is always fun anyways. #5 What game do we all need to circle on Week 14? Atlanta at Tulsa. Both teams are in a fight to make the postseason. I expect both to have postseason – win or be stuck watching your rivals play instead scenarios. That, despite the fact each team is scurrying a little here down the stretch. It was hard not to pick Vice Wars, no matter what the circumstances would be, I can’t. While a division title being on the line may have been better, this is the game. Circle it. In pen.
#6 Is Warren Murray an MVP candidate?
I tend to gravitate towards no, just because he will only play six total games by season’s end. It would be hard to reward him with the MVP trophy only suiting up half the time. But, wow, is this question harder than it looks. The running back who was only seen on Houston Hyena highlight reels of seasons’ past signed with Baltimore as a replacement for the departing Jimmy Hazard and has stormed onto the scene: 22 carries, 87 yards, 1 TD 18 carries, 184 yards, 5 TDs 17 carries, 153 yards, 3 TDs Yikes. At this rate, he’s on pace for 18 rushing touchdowns – which could lead all of the SFL by the time sand runs out of the Season 18 hourglass.
#7 Can Josh Rowe be stopped?
#8 …Um, are you going to elaborate on your answer to Question 7?
Fine. No, no one seems to be slowing down this Hyena defensive back. With 12 INTs and a record-setting four taken back for touchdowns, he seems to be the frontrunner for Defensive MVP. He has just as many catching touchdowns as formidable WRs in the SFL such as Gabriel Manning, Deezer Powell and Eagle Mondavi. His 298 INT yards are more than some quality pass catchers this season, including Optimus Cline, Benji Mattson and Cade Stephens.
Wow. Just wow, Josh.
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