Each month, AF turns the spotlight onto one of the Association’s Registered Teams, presenting an in-depth profile of the franchise, its coach, and all of its historical accomplishments. If you’d like to see your team profiled, the very first step is to visit the Team Registry Page. Registering is free and only takes about 5 minutes. Once registered, your team name and logo will be locked up, meaning no other team in an AF League or Tournament can use it, and it’ll also appear, ranked against other registered teams on the AF Team Register.
This Month’s Team:
Chicago Red Stars
The Chicago Red Stars are a first year franchise in the IFFL, but as a rookie team, they kicked off their inaugural season with a bang. The Red Stars are coached by Dan “The Polish Rifle” Mayhoff, and joined the IFFl in the summer of 2016, replacing the international league’s Seattle franchise. After divisional realignment, they were placed into the newly formed IFFL North Division along with the Cardiff, Scotland, Charleston, and Venice clubs.
On Opening Day of the 2016 season, the Red Stars had the unlucky draw of opening their IFFL career against the defending 2015 International Champion Venice Killerwhales. The Stars beached the Whales 253-225 in a statement win heard round the league. Led by their star QB duo, Rodgers and Luck, Chicago scored over a hundred points at the quarterback position alone, including 7 total touchdowns from the pair and over 70 points, individually, from Luck; the win was just a single point shy of the week’s high score, and watermarked at number 17 all-time in the league’s record books.
The slaughtering of whales in Week 1 was starting to look like beginner’s luck over the next 5 weeks as Chicago won just one more game through Week 6, including two division losses vs Cardiff and Charleston. They began to turn things around in Week 7 with a 255-158 stomping of the expansion Cape Town Broncos. They would lose only one game over the remainder of the season, and posted victories that included a second victory over Venice for the sweep, a 275 point day vs Perth – good for #6 on the all-time single game records list, and 200+ point victories over both the eventual North Division Champs (Cardiff) and League Champions (Charleston) to close out the regular season.
Despite a 2-4 start in the first half of the season, Chicago closed the second half with a 6-1 record to finish 8-5. That tied as the second best record in the league. The Perth Panthers, who Chicago had demolished 275-193 in Week 8, finished 9-4 and captured the South Division title, while the Cardiff Crusaders matched the Red Stars with an 8-5 record, beating them out for the North Division crown on a points tiebreaker. The Red Stars’ record, though, was good enough to secure for them the league’s Standings Wild Card slot, and they entered the post season as the #4 seed in a 4 team playoff that is seeded by total season points. That meant they would be forced to play the league #1 seed, division rival Cardiff who had outscored them on the season by over 300 total points.
The IFFL playoffs consist of two, two-week cumulative points matches, the Wild Card Round and then the Championship. In their Round 1 match vs the Crusaders, Chicago jumped out to an early lead in Week 14, posting a 192-119 advantage. The second half of the match was much closer, and Cardiff outscored Chicago 141-128, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the first half advantage the Red Stars enjoyed, and the final score of 320-260 would send the Red Stars to the International Championship in their inaugural season.
In the Golden Gate International Exposition, the IFFL’s 2016 League Championship, things went exactly the opposite way for the Stars. Despite solid performances from their kicker and defense and a 347 yard, 5 touchdown, 73 point day for Red Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the rest of their offense just couldn’t get off the ground, their entire line-up of RBs, WR,s and TEs accounting for just a combined 43 points, or just 6.1 average points per position, and they entered the half trailing Charlestons Franchise Playerz by a score of 178-239. In the Week 17 final half, Chicago attempted a rallying comeback, and bested there opponent at a rate of 171-134 with another 70+ point outing for their star QB, but the rally wasn’t quite enough, leaving them to lose the Championship by a final score of 349-373.
The Chicago Red Stars finished their inaugural, 2016 season as the IFFL Runner-Up, with a 9-6-0 record (including post-season) for a solid .600 win percentage. Just one season old, the franchise now has the #3 record for the League’s all-time season points total and owns the #6 (275), #14 (255), and #17 (253) League record for single game points; off to a very good start.