Your greatest strength is love. Your greatest weakness is fear.
– Harbhajan Singh Yogi
|TEAM||Record||O. Rank||D. Rank||PF||PA||Point DIFF.||Power Score||Schedule Strength||Title Odds|
Keep looking at that unblemished record that AK is sporting this late in the season. It really is a testament to their team culture and leadership. AK keeps churning out wins like Coca Cola pays dividends. One might wonder how AK keeps showing up with the same intensity on every single play. It’s easy to look at their talented roster and think that’s the reason. It’s easy to look at their QB and say he’s the reason for their success. What really puts AK on top is their unrelenting drive to succeed. They play full speed on offense and defense. They even take pride in practice. Could their unrivaled success be limiting their need to adjust when faced with adversity?
Every now and then, things get better in some people’s lives seemingly overnight while others’ lives are stuck in neutral like a 4*4 struggling against unforgiving sludge. One might think it’s pure luck or even a series of coincidences. But we feel understanding and accepting your limitations and formulating a viable plan for improvement goes a long way to becoming your very best. This wholly explains what has happened with the Gators. They were a good but not great team the past couple of seasons. Their leadership ran a SWOT analysis and formulated a plan to ascend the SAFL hierarchy. And boy has that plan worked. They’ve added not one, but two viable QBs. They’ve added a more dynamic element to both sides of the ball. We see it all coalescing into an absolute monster. We can imagine the Gator’s architect pulling out a cigar at the end of the season and quoting the great Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith: “I love it when a plan comes together”. The Gators’ leadership is their greatest strength and it’ll be its fall if it doesn’t make necessary adjustments in the unforgiving atmosphere of the playoffs.
Not everyone can do what PrimeTime has done this season. They have taken on a new persona, a new attitude. Out are the virginal Underdogs hoping to win. In are the menacing PrimeTime expecting to win. In is a new QB with a rifle arm, allowing the most underrated player in the league to man the D and make spectacular plays on O. In are two of the most athletic players in the league. PrimeTime has transformed on the fly and kicked down the door holding them out of the inner circle of elite teams. Like the peasantry in aristocratic France, PrimeTime’s refusal to wait for things to get better has become a thorn in the side of the SAFL haute bourgeoisie. PrimeTime is trying desperately to win. Will they act like the nouveau riche when it’s time to pay the bill.
The Browns are a team in transition. They have brought in some unique talents. They have suffered some long term injuries, especially to all league talents. Yet they continue to churn out wins and an offense that only stalls when their QB feels generous. This team is experiencing a lot of stress with new faces, injuries, and complacency set in. The league probably doesn’t care though. And many are predicting the walls starting to crumble on this dynasty. That’s to be seen and this team has always stayed mentally strong. Their captain has kept this team afloat when many other teams break apart under similar circumstances. We’d like to see this team at full strength even for just one game so we can see in how many ways their offense can score and in how many ways their defense can be scored upon. This team is defined by their leader and we think they’ll be competitive as long as he’s at full strength.
Each season there is one team in the league that intrigues more than most. It’s not necessarily because they are the best or even the worst. They are intriguing because they bring a unique perspective to the game we play. Cobra Kai after suffering through the worst season in league history has put together a team that has a legitimate chance to win it all. They have one the best, most accurate QBs in the league and runs one of the most dynamic offenses in the league that is both innovative and complex. So who gets the credit for this surprising turn around. It has to be team management that valiantly withstood the wheels coming off just a season ago and now are one of a handful of teams with a legitimate chance to win it all. Cobra Kai does have injury and attendance concerns. So the outlook isn’t all rosy. Cobra Kai has a chance to go from worst to first. And stay there.
Life is seemingly unfair. Sometimes, you do the right things – eat your vitamins, say your prayers, listen to self-help gurus – but don’t see the results. The Elites did what every team should be doing when faced with existential crises; they recruited and got better. They put in work over the offseason. They are the nicest team in the league. But they’re only incrementally better on the surface. The Elites may think that is their full potential; a middling to lower-tier team. We beg to differ. This team after some questionable experimenting early on the season has begun to get a good idea of what works so we think their level of play will get better. The Elites’ refusal to cater to pressures of whim positively reflects who these guys are and what they’re about. This team is going to win and they’re going to win with their brand of football. The Elites will try to show us all it possible to win with humility and togetherness. The question becomes will they know when its time to be more assertive?
Every season we hear a similar story about the Bandits. They are tough and gritty. Those things are very true and haven’t changed since the inception of this team. Gritty and tough are a direct reflection of this team’s leadership. Their attitude about full effort for the entire game is what defines their essence. The Bandits last year started extremely slow and proceeded to play well enough to almost make the finals. This year the trend has reversed. They started strong but are now reeling having lost 5 in a row. Does this mean they are going to fall out of the standings and not make the playoffs? We don’t think so. We think they make the playoffs and true to form pull off an upset. What makes one strong doesn’t leave when the going gets tough. It merely is covered up as a protective mechanism. It is up to each person to pull off the cover once again. We don’t doubt the Bandits one iota. We don’t doubt their abilities, nor their ability to roll off the cover.
Some things go together. Like peanut butter and jelly, steak and fries, pizza and soda, and Savages and donkeywork. The Savages don’t like it when things are easy. Things must necessarily be difficult for them to thrive. The Savages were within inches of the Finals last year. Rather than bring back the whole band, they went full mitosis on the league. It would’ve been easier to win with the same cast of characters from last season, but that’d be the easy way, the anti-Savages way. To add insult to injury, they lost their star QB for weeks. What they didn’t lose were their recalcitrant selves. Some things just never leave you. So here we are with the season 80% complete and the Savages with two wins, yet is there anyone who wants to play this team when things matter? We don’t think there are any sadists in this league. The Savages rely on their resiliency and will try to snatch the trophy with their irrepressible attitude which may or may not take them down before they have that opportunity.
Keep calm and carry on. That’s the Renegades mindset. Do you think they care about their current record? Only to the extent that it enables them to enter the tournament. This is a team that has shown tremendous guts by playing all out with limited resources. They Are running on fumes in the second half but they keep trying. Do you think that any team that’s not respecting the game will want to play this team? If they do it’s because they have early vacation plans. The Renegades are lead by one of the OGs of SAFL and in some estimations, the best pocket passer in the league. This guy knows the league and knows everyone’s weaknesses. The Renegades’ experience this season has been akin to those shipwrecked on a remote island. Instead of panicking they have rallied around each other. That’s the essence of this team: togetherness, self-confident. This team will rise with their leader but only if they don’t hide behind their sorrow.
In the annals of SAFL, no team has exhibited an unbridled enthusiasm like these guys. They have faced an unrelenting set of circumstances that would make even the most ardent football lover question playing. The Thunder haven’t had consistent QB play for any decent stretch of time. This team stays together because they have the one thing we all wish we had in abundance: love; love for each other, love for the game, and love for the opponent. This team has enough talent to ascend the ranks, but they haven’t been consistent in getting their reps in. Their play this year is improved in many facets of the game and that’s mainly due to their participation in summer scrimmages. The Thunder are on the cusp but they haven’t been able to bring it all together simultaneously. It’ll happen, only because their leadership is too intelligent not to figure this out. But they’ll have to pay a price for this success in terms of compromising their relationships. Are they willing to pay that price?