IFFL – After a long off season the IFFL is finally back! Old rivalries have been renewed and old scores are going to be settled. We are now a third of the way into the 2018 regular season, and the course of this year is starting to take shape. In the first season since 2014 with 100% of teams returning, it should be an exciying, campaign. Over the first 4 weeks of the 2018 season, IFFL fans have already seen triumphs and upsets, division battles waged and records broken, and at the conclusion of the first section of the schedule two teams have set themselves from the pack, one based in Hawaii and the other in Venice.
Week 1 of the regular season started with the 1 vs 2 match ups in each division based on the 2017 final season standings. The Hawaiian Beach Bums at the Perth Panthers, NOLA at L.A. and the Venice Killerwhales at Scotland were all upsets, with the little brother 2nd ranked team in each division going home with the win. The 2016 IFFL runner up Chicago Red Stars also opened the season with a win after their disastrous 2017 campaign that saw them finish last in the Americas division. The VooDoo and the Crusaders each came away from week 1, not only with victories, but with record setting passing stats – 745 yards (11th all-time) for New Orleans and 743 yards (12th all-time) for Cardiff – putting the league on notice that they might have an early edge in this two-QB league.
In Week 2 most games went as predicted with only a couple of upsets. One of those upsets though was perhaps the biggest in IFFL history, with the 2017 IFFL last place Kuala Lumpur Tigers knocking off the defending champs and consigning the Perth Panthers to an 0-2 start no one was expecting in the Pacific Division. Hawaii won again, posting 724 yards of passing offense to get themselves on the all time list also. Meanwhile in the Americas, LA got its first win and New Orleans got its first loss, with all four division teams finishing the week with 1-1 records. Venice rolled to its second straight win, and started to pull away in the Europa Division, though with the quality of the two teams in the UK, nothing is certain in that division.
The results from Week 3 started to create real separation in some cases, and salvation in others. In the Pacific the Hawaiian Beach Bums shattered the league Single Game Scoring Record (295 points set by the Greek wonders in Week 12, 2015) to become the first team in league history to eclipse the
300 point mark with their 305-223 destruction of the Tigers. The Perth Panthers got their first win on the board with a crushing 242-153 victory over Australian rival the Melbourne Maulers. The strength of this victory would help Perth finish the divisional rounds in the 2nd spot in the Pacific, though Hawaii remains the team to beat. In Europa the Istanbul Lions needed an upset against the undefeated Venice Killerwhales to get on the leaderboard, but it didn’t happen, relegating them to last place in the IFFL after 3 weeks while keeping Venice’s perfect season intact. Scotland’s loss to Cardiff 135-158, in the Brexit Derby would leave the second spot in the Europa Division to Cardiff. The Americas would prove to be the tightest of all IFFL divisions after 3 weeks with each team being either 2-1 or 1-2, New Orleans and the LA Dragons in the front after 3 weeks of football.
For Week 4, the IFFL moved into the out of division part of the schedule, with big games scheduled, including the much anticipated rematch of the 2017 International Championship between Perth and Venice followed by an unexpected marquee match-up between Hawaii at New Orleans. In the Championship rematch, the IFFL’s new QB rule came into play for the first time as both of the Killerwhales’ signal callers were on a bye week. The pair averaged a combined points total of 70 points which would be good enough for a Venice victory, 214-200 over the Champs. Hawaii meanwhile, demolished the VooDoo, setting up a mouth watering Week 5 game between themselves and Venice, the League’s #1 and #2 and last remaining unbeaten franchises.
Other Week 4 action included 3 very close shootouts; Scotland outlasted Los Angeles 240-232, leaving both of them 2-2; Cardiff squeaked by Rochester 262-260 and will advance to 3-1 if the win survives stat corrections; and Istanbul gets their first win at the expense of Melborne 209-190. The KL Tigers demolished the Red Stars on their way to a 232-136 win that broke league records for passing (1st All-Time -840) and total (2nd All-Time -1451) yardage. The Tigers lead the league in both categories. With all the shootouts in Week 4, 5 teams – Kuala Lumpur (1451), Rochester (1435), Cardiff (1333), Istanbul (1281), and Los Angeles (1274) – found themselves in the record book for total yards in a single game. The IFFL will really heat up over the next 3 weeks during the out of division portion of the schedule, where the men will be separated from the boys, and the boys will start thinking ahead to 2019.