WORLD LEAGUE/IFFL – The Association‘s two global leagues, the old-line World League, and the brash upstart IFFL are both holding their drafts this week. The World League commenced their 7th annual players selection event Sunday night by wire communique, with each organization drafting from the confines of their individual dark and smokey war-rooms around the world, and expected to last through the weekend. The younger and and more extravegant IFFL, however has made a name for themselves in the Association by holding big, showy events – from their lavish off-season awards galas, attended by not only team and league officials, but also by multiple heads of state, to their two-week Championship Expositions held globally in cities that don’t even host league teams – and this year’s draft event will be no different. Scheduled for Saturday, the league has nonetheless booked New York City’s Radio City Music Hall for the entire week with concerts, events, and parties scheduled all week long.
From their founding, the IFFL has cut their teeth on trolling the older, more established World League. After the World League began featuring their team’s cheerleaders in their weekly dispatches in 2015, the IFFL responded in 2016 by releasing a calendar titled “Our Cheerleaders Are Hotter Than Yours“; in 2016 there was the hacked email scandal, when the World League issued an official complaint with the Association, accusing the
IFFL of attempting to poach World League teams in an expansion bid, the IFFL responded by covering up any and all plans to expand – as if they had an informant within the World League – only to wait a season before convincing the 2015 World League Champion Los Angeles Dragons to jump leagues and become a part of the 2017 IFFL expansion. So in this vein, it was another public relations coup for the IFFL Sunday night. When the World League’s City of Champions drafted NFL rookie phenom Sasquan Barkley 1st overall in the WFL draft, he was interviewed live from New York where he and his entourage were attending an IFFL hosted private showing of Broadway hit Hamilton.
Last spring, the World League announced that they would be updating their schedule formula in the offseason. Always slow and cautious when it comes to rules changes, the new formula adopted by the WFL will see the minor change of moving one of the out-of-conference match-ups that teams play to an in-conference opponent, and moving all of the in-conference games to the back of the season. In a typical move toward one-upsmanship, – and again, almost as if they had somebody working inside of the World League – the IFFL also announced a pending change to their schedule formula. The younger league, however chose to totally revamp their scheduling, switching to a double round robin format for division games, and pairing non-division opponents based on prior season rankings.
The IFFL Commissioner took to the stage last night just before a special Penn and Teller performance for league players and coaches to announce the 2018 11 week IFFL regular season schedule live from New York City to members of the press and an international television audience. As reported earlier by IFFL Media insider Ian Snapperport the season kicks off in prime time with the defending IFFL Champions Perth Panthers hosting the Hawaiian Beach Bums at the newly renovated Optus Stadium. With the world watching and foreign dignataries planning to be in attendance, Perth has scheduled a who’s who of vocalists to perform the national anthems of all 7 of the countries with teams in the league, and fireworks are expected before, during, and after this high octane match up.
Hawaii at Perth is the first of the Week 1 divisional games with the Dragons hosting the VooDoo and the Claymores hosting the Killerwhales. These 1 vs 2 match ups from the 2017 season standings will set the tone of the first Divisional section of the draw (weeks 1 to 3) where each team plays the other teams in their division. While all eyes will be on Perth, LA and Scotland to see if they can retain their positions as leaders in the club house, IFFL fans will also be keeping a close on the rebuilding teams like Chicago, Melbourne, and Istanbul that finished last in their divisions.
The middle, out of division portion of the schedule (weeks 4 to 6), will make or break the teams looking to contend for the IFFL title. Week 4 kicks off with the much anticipated Championship rematch between Perth Panthers and the Venice Killerwhales. With Venice hosting the match at Italy’s second oldest stadium, the boutique Pierluigi Penzo, the Killerwhales are expected to start as warm favourites. Will they get revenge for last years crushing Championship defeat? In this section of the draw each team will come up against out of division teams from the top or bottom half of those divisions, including juicy match ups like the Claymores at the Dragons and Hawaii at New Orleans. This section of the draw will also allow improving teams such as the KL Tigers, Melbourne Maulers, and Istanbul Lions the chance to get much needed wins on the board.
Week 8 is the total points round from 2017 and sees the second Championship rematch, with Venice once again facing off against their nemesis, the Perth Panthers. The LA Dragons, after winning World Bowl IV – WFL’s League Championship – in 2015, hosting World Bowl V in 2016 and then jumping leagues to become the top scoring IFFL team in 2017 will host the Claymores at the Colosseum for the second time. At the opposite end of the points table we will see the Red Stars travel all the way to Istanbul to play the Lions and close out the round.
Weeks 9 to 11 sees each team back in its division to close out the regular season. In a repeat of weeks 1 to 3 each team will play a divisional rival once more to determine the divisional crowns. (View Full Schedule Here)
With the IFFL‘s 2018 schedule now officially released, all attention turns to the the draft. Scheduled for Saturday afternoon, local time, the Los Angeles Dragons will be selecting first. Once more, true to their flashy image, the league has moved the event from Radio City to Yankee Stadium where they’ve booked U-2 to perform a league sponsored benefit concert for IFFL franchise Hawaii’s fans, dealing with the recovery from Hurricane Lane. Draft picks are set to be announced from the stage in between songs. The World League draft, meanwhile, slugs on, into the second round now, as clubs try to shore up their dynasty rosters and reverse their fortunes. New franchise Youngstown Mafia replaces 2016 Champion Dacusville Devils as the league’s smallest home town shifts from South Carolina to Ohio, while powerhouses like 2017 Champion Scandinavia, England, London, Mexico, and Buenos Aires all will try maintain their dominance. The IFFL is always a tight league, and a lot can change in 12 months. The 2017 Championship teams of Perth and Venice finished 4th and 9th respectively in 2016. Conversely, the 2016 Championship runner up Chicago Red Stars plummeted from 2nd to 9th is the course of one season. No team has ever been back to back champions either, while 5 of the current teams have all played in at least one Championship Exposition (Scotland, Perth, Venice, New Orleans, Chicago). Expect another hotly contested race for the crown in 2018, and may the best team win.