IFFL – Rumors swirled like wildfire in last year’s fantasy preseason when emails surfaced that seemed to indicate the IFFL were in illegal cross-league talks with – at the time – the defending World League Champion Los Angeles Dragons about swapping leagues to the IFFL. World League officials even launched a formal complaint against the rival league while IFFL spokesmen denied the allegations in the strongest terms. As the draft season came and went, and the Dragons remained in the WFL, the rumors seemed to die down. Then, in a bombshell move this off season, the Los Angeles franchise announced that they were, in fact, moving to the IFFL for the 2017 season.
Coming off of a successful 2016 campaign where they finished third overall and just missed a shot at playing in World Bowl 5, being hosted in their home town of Los Angeles, the Dragons left a promising roster behind in the dynasty World League for the fast-paced roster and scoring settings of the redraft IFFL. The World League has been surprisingly quiet about one of their star attractions being poached by their rival league, while the IFFL has been business as usual as they finalize an expansion to 12 teams and a new 3 division alignment, debuting the Europa, Americas, and Pacific Divisions, along with 4 other new franchises besides the Los Angeles group. The Dragons replace the loss of 2016 Champion Charleston Franchise Playerz and will join 2016 league runner-up Chicago Red Stars, Mexico City Warriors, and New Orleans VooDoo in the American Division. Cardiff, Scotland, and the 2014 IFFL Champion Venice Killerwhales will anchor the new Europa Division along with the expansion Istanbul Lions. The loss of teams in New Zealand and South Africa along with the league expansion leaves the 2016 South Division Champ Perth Panthers as the only returning team in the newly formed Pacific Division, joined by the expansion Melbourne Maulers and the replacement franchises Kuala Lumpur Tigers and Hawaiin Beach Bums. UPDATE: Shaking up the league even further, on the eve of the draft, the Mexico City Warriors franchise announced a relocation and name change, becoming the Rochester Grizzlies to begin play in the 2017 season.
The league’s 2017 draft order was determined by total points in the 2016 regular season, with the Cardiff Crusaders and their 2655 points securing the first overall draft position, but there were 5 open spots for the new teams to be placed into: draft positions 2, 9, and 10 – vacated by the departing teams; and spots 11 and 12 from the league expansion. On Tuesday of this week, the league awarded those draft positions by lottery to the new franchises (results below). With the IFFL draft scheduled for Sunday, September 3 at 11:00am EDT, the 2017 season is set to kick off, and along with the expansion from 10 teams to 12, the IFFL will roll out a new, expanded playoff format this season. The top 2 teams from each of the 3 new divisions will now play a Divisional Championship game in Weeks 12 and 13 with the winners advancing to the semi-finals along with a Wild Card spot that will be awarded based on regular season total points.