2001: The Little Ones Leave the Nest
The big news to start this year was the suprising and overwhelming 7 votes that approved the expansion of the league for 10 to 12 teams. This provided the opportunity for Lil' Larry Guidi and Tommy-boy Kuenzi to leave the tutelage of their current co-owned teams (SQUONK and Young Guns respectively) and venture into the SFFL world on their own.
This latest expansion required a significant realignment of the structure of the league. The previous North and South Divisions became Conferences each with an East and West Division. The scheduling was also changed such that all teams play their divisional foes twice (4 games) and all others only once (9 games).
The other significant change for 2001 was the addition of Team Defense and Special Teams to the mix. The details of this and other proposals -some accepted, some rejected for 2001 can be found here. So with a draft date of September 1st, the 2001 the league began:
But not without another last minute frenzy! Approximately one week before the draft, the longtime SFFL franchise Hackers expressed a desire to bow out gracefully. The indicated they would playout the season but would prefer to bow out at the beginning if a replacement could be found. All worked out well as Jim Sargeant and the Dynamic Duo joined the once again newly expanded SFFL!
|Northeast Division||Owner||Northwest Division||Owner|
|Elephants||Ander Babar||Destroyers||Larry Guidi|
|Dynamic Duo||Jim Sargeant||Eager Beavers||Dave Daigle|
|Rough Riders||Chris Clark||SQUONK||Sam D'Angelo|
|Southeast Division||Owner||Southwest Division||Owner|
|Private's Parts||Bob Sikorski||Fighting Lounge Chairs||Len Swiat|
|TigerSharks||Tom Kuenzi||Invaders||Eric Palmer|
|Young Guns||Ron Mazur||THRAK||Kevin Papendick|
At the halfway point and a few facts are clear...
The new four division format landed with mixed results. In the Northeast, the Rough Riders got off to the early lead, but the upstart Dynamic Duo narrowed the gap to just one and a half games at the season mid-point. This race appeared to be starting to heat up.
In the Northwest division, the Eager Beavers cruised to an easy 6-1 record and a smooth 4 game lead over the quickly fading SQUONK.
Private's Parts amassed an impressive 7-0 record and a comfortable 3 game lead over a very strong Young Guns team that struggled at times. Even so, the divisional playoff could erase that lead in a heartbeat. And the new TigerSharks? Well they were 4 games back, but got lots of attention for their weekly (weakly?) performance on the Waiver Wire.
The Southwest found the Invaders with a comfortable 2 game lead over the Fighting Lounge Chairs who appeared to simply be an "also ran" placeholder.(klp 10/30/01)
The run down the stretch and this year's playoffs proved to be quite the wild ride. In the Northeast the Rough Riders held off the Dynamic Duo for the division championship, but neither team was considered a contender in the playoffs.
The Northwest division saw the Eager Beavers continue their dominance while the Destroyers began one of the best comebacks of the year. Heading into the playoffs, the Beavers were considered the obvious front runner for the Northern Conference title.
Meanwhile in the Southeast, Private's Parts continued their roll until dropping two of their last three. With the big winning streak behind them, they seemed poised to make a serious title run. But not so fast said the Young Guns who chunked out some big wins and heartbreaking losses but still stayed in the playoff picture.
In the Southwest, the Fighting Lounge Chairs also staged a major comeback in the second half of the season. They finished deadlocked at 8-5 with the Invaders, but the division title went to the Invaders after working through a number of the tie-breaker rules. And with that, it's off to the playoffs!
A last minute change was made to switch the first round of the playoffs from divisional centric to conference centric. In the Northern Conference the Destroyers dumped the Rough Riders 100-86, while the Dynamic Duo clobbered the Eager Beavers 115-47 in a major upset.
In the Southern Conference the Invaders edged out a tough Young Guns team 72-71. And Private's Parts continued their dominance by dropping the Fighting Lounge Chairs 90-49.
The Northern Conference championship pitted two PUNK-ASS ROOKIE's -Dynamic Duo and the Destroyers in a battle to see who would be the first rookie team to make it to the championship. In the end the Dynamic Duo came out on top by a 90-65 margin.
The Southern Conference championship provided an appropriate dichotomy as it featured two former league champions, the Invaders and Private's Parts. Once again, Private's Parts continued down their road to destiny with an 81-66 victory.
The 2001 Cross-Dressed Championship will live as a major milestone in the progression of the SFFL. In a stunning upset, the Dynamic Duo beat the favored Private's Parts 97-79. Not just any upset, but a wily veteran whacked by a PUNK-ASS ROOKIE! And so it goes...the seventh SFFL season ended with a controversial outcome, but a definative one none the less. Winners and loser alike all looked forward to 2002...(klp 1/7/02)