27 – Thursday mailbag

Sad news as the Shotguns have been forced into giving a forfeit for their scheduled match against the Bulls, meaning that the FFL season has just one game left! Hard to believe it’s over already, although the end of the FFL season means the beginning of the playoffs, so it’s not all bad news. So I’m going to fall short of my pre-season goal to watch 20 FFL games, however with playoffs included I’ll still hit 22 for the season.

The other news is that the planned FFL breakfast tailgate is going to be shifted to lunch. You’ll find all details here : http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/event.php?eid=180445828670625. Don’t forget to confirm your attendance as soon as possible so we can get organised! We want to get as many people there as possible, and of course we’ll have the Tribes v Gators game to watch afterwards as the Tribes go looking for consecutive win number 48. Nothing better than watching a football game in nice weather with good company!

Games this weekend

@ Ostend – 12:00 – Brussels Bulls v Limburg Shotguns

Since 2000 : Bulls 2, Shotguns 0

Last match : April 17, 2011 – @ Leopoldsburg – Bulls 53, Shotguns 0

Unfortunately the Shotguns have forfeited this game, I guess because they’ve run out of players. It’s a sad way to end the season but let’s hope they can use the lessons that they’ve learnt to become better in the future!

@ Ostend – 15:00 – Gent Gators v West Flanders Tribes

Since 2000 : Tribes 9, Gators 0

Last match : April 11, 2010 – @ Anderlecht – Tribes 29, Gators 9

Any team will have a tough time of it in Ostend against the Tribes, and it’ll be no exception for the Gators. A win for Gent would leap them up into 5th place, as they hold the tie-breaker over Antwerp, while a loss will leave them in 7th. On the other hand, a Tribes win will give them their fourth straight perfect regular season.

Gent are scoring just 6 points per game, leaving them last in the league. They are going to want to control the clock, keeping the Tribes defense on the field for as long as possible, and that means they’ll have to run the football well, and complete a lot of their passes, even if they are short ones. Also a lot of responsibilty will fall on the Gators special teams, especially their punt and kickoff teams, because they can’t allow the Tribes returners to give their team good field position. Also a couple of good returns from Gent won’t hurt the situation at all.

I’m sure that the Tribes will want to spread the ball around and get a lot of people involved in the offense, both on the ground and in the air, and give their home crowd something to cheer about. Their defense will look to control the dangerous playmakers of Gent and try to smother their running game and go for their third shutout of the season.

Man v Machine

So far I have 17 and the computer has 13, meaning I can’t be beaten by the machine, so score one for humanity!

This week I have : Tribes by 34

The computer has : Tribes by 29

Mailbag

Benedict Verheyen, West Flanders

“Just a thought on forfeited games, the game gets a 50-0 score. This could affect the play-off chances of teams, but this year this isn’t the case. In the future we might have 2 teams that are in the sprint for a play-off spot where point difference might be important. If this is then decided by another team’s forfeit and an automatic 50 point in favour, i don’t think that’s fair. So maybe 50 points is too much ? Or are there any tiebreaking rules to deal with this?”

Well, I don’t think it would have that much of an effect. The first tiebreakers are head to head games and then points scored in those games. Next after that is head to head and points scored against the team ranked just below the two (or more) tied teams. So it would have to be that the team who gave the forfeit was ranked just below the tied teams, making it even more unlikely. It may not be fair if it ever came to that, but it’s also not the fault of the team who “wins” by forfeit.

Patrick Brady, Brussels

“I wonder what are the odds that we could have a night game under the lights in Berchem next year? That’d be pretty cool.”

Indeed it would! Maybe have the first game at 4pm and the second at 7pm or something. Depends on ground availability and such I suppose.

There have been a couple of polls flying around on facebook, the first was who the Belgian Champion will be this year. I picked the Tribes as I refuse to pick against them until anybody can show that they can win against them. But I’d say that this year is definitely the least likely that they’ll win since 2006, when the Tribes actually came out of nowhere having missed the playoffs the year before. The threats from our nation’s capital are stronger than ever before.

The other poll was about the future of the BFL and how we see it going forward. I like the idea of Xavier Van Cauter – one national division and then two regional divisions under that, however I don’t think that’s on the cards. I think this was the sort of thing that the FFL wanted to hear months ago at the brainstorming sessions. Speaking of that, when are we going to hear what’s actually going to happen next year? Having said that, I know that our president is rather busy with preparations for the Belgian Bowl, so I’ll let him off for now!

Outro

Monday will be a review of the tailgate and the game in Ostend, but after that things get tricky. I’ll see what I can do about a preview of the BFL Wild Card playoff games on Thursday.

The plan is to reveal the All-FFL team on Monday, May 30, because there will be no football to review from the day before. I’m not exactly sure how this will be done but I think I’ll write something up about each player and I’ve been collecting photos which will be put into a gallery online as well as I doubt y’all will know all the players in the team by name. Hopefully I’ve done a good job.

As the Belgian Bowl takes place on a Saturday, I’ll let you know what the schedule will be with the columns that come after the game as I’m not sure yet myself. By the way, the Belgian Bowl itself is less than a month away, so I hope you’ve all got your tickets. It’s going to be one big celebration of American Football in Belgium, and as we’re all a part of that, we should all be there. And anyway, I want to have a group photo taken with my readers as a souvenir of my 2011 FFL season! Hopefully see you guys in Ostend on Sunday, don’t forget about the tailgate, I have a good feeling that the food is going to be excellent! Until next time.

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19 Responses to 27 – Thursday mailbag

  1. Lesley says:

    It is indeed a shame that the Shotguns had to finish on a low. I wish them alot of strenght in builing their programme futher and hope that a junior team will sprout from this…Dale does this mean you will have vegemite for lunch too ?

  2. PJ Brady says:

    Dear schedule makers, please give the Bulls a 7pm home game vs. the Tribe next year. Theres nothing like an exciting game under the lights!

    • Chubby says:

      Not if it’s on Sunday and you have to work the next day 🙂

    • John says:

      We’ve been asking teams for a couple of years now if they would like to play fe on Saturday evening!
      We can off course only host those games at fields with the necessary facilities, ie ‘lights’.
      One (1) team reacted, being the Bulls who would be able to host such a game. Sadly, none of the other teams did react to the proposal, so…. off the board untill someone brings this up again at a meeting.

      • Lesley says:

        Not only that but in general teams do not like playing on saturday with work etc…And I am not so sure that we, the Bulls would have a field available on saturday evenings…But yeah…Let’s try to get that done…

  3. Nelson says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_Football_League

    I’ve been putting relevant information on wikipedia about the BFL. Other people have help complete the topic aswell, but i would like to make an appeal for older information beyond 2008/2009 to put on wikipedia.

    This way we can have an complete overview of the sport’s history!

    if you could make an appeal to all the fans to complete the wikipedia page, that would be wonderful!

    you don’t have to mention my name in particular, i do it for the sport!

    Nelson

  4. John says:

    Tribes didn’t come out of nowhere in 2006.
    Still under the name Izegem Redskinds, the team/organisation was slowly but steadily build starting 1993 and gained it’s first national titles in 2000 and 2001.
    In 2002, then West-Vlaanderen Tribes just missed out on the final due to a narrow loss vs Tigers… who became the national champion that year. The coaches and board had decided to focus on youth and give new players who committed a shot over those who figured they didn’t need to practice. A decision that resulted in 3 difficult (building) years… and the rest is history! 😉

    • Chubby says:

      Very true and I believe the coaches, and board at that time deserve to be mentioned. I started in 2001, after the title that year so I went through all the changes.
      Taking a decision to give youth players a shot coming out of 2 championship years (back to back) was very courageous and in hindsight, visionary.
      In the first place, I’m taking about John himself (One of the best contain DE I know), Luc Verhoest (W-Ting was his favorite offense), Harve Heuvicq (great play caller and top-down management style coach).
      Further more the brothers Willem (never-will-stop-playing-dinosaur) and Pieter (excellent G) Demunck stayed and had the patience to teach the young players how to play.
      Later on we had other players stepping up to coach but these people I mentioned, are the driving forces behind the change that took Tribes where they are today.

    • dalehousden says:

      But you see John, that is coming out of nowhere 🙂 I didn’t mean that they didn’t exist before that, I just meant that they hadn’t made the playoffs for a while. It was a surprise the Tribes won in 2006 – it had been all Diamonds the couple of years before that. Of course you know all that, just trying to elucidate for everybody else 😉

  5. John says:

    One more ‘history’ lesson (phew, there’s so many).
    The idea of creating a kind of ‘elite’ division with ‘top teams’ (based on quality criteria rather than w/l records) and a kind of ‘development’ division with those who had other priorities to focus on (building their organisation fe) already was launched way back in 2000!
    A little later though LFFAB was created (2002) and as a result, the Flemish teams also formed the FFL. Accepting the ‘Belgian reality’, grouping the teams into a FFL and a LFFAB conference has proven to be the most logic system of all the ones we’ve tried since our first season way back in 1987.
    And indeed, on FFL side, at meetings, brainstorm sessions,… the issue of reverting to another system has never come up again, or just very briefly. It’s a topic that only seems to live with a few on forums.

  6. Sven says:

    The regular season being almost over I would like to congratulate some people:
    First of all the entire FFL organisation and the teams for a great season
    Secondly the Shotguns for a great first season in the league ending (almost certain) on the sixth place with 2 winning games and scoring 90 points! Don’t let anybody tell you guys otherwise! This was a great first season.
    Third the Bulls coaching staff: Curtis and Gus leading us to the playoffs.
    Last but not least Dale with this great blog: objective and fun to read.
    Keep them coming Dale and ask for a spot on the FFL website?
    I for one will be on your snapshot occasion see you there.
    Sven

    • dalehousden says:

      Thanks Sven 🙂 I won’t be asking for a spot on the FFL website for two reasons. One – the website is in Dutch. I could write something for it if there was something to write, but it wouldn’t be this. Two – The reason this blog has been so popular is because the people appreciate that I’m not associated with anybody. I’m the boss 😉
      I’ll have to write all my thankyous at a later date, when there’s not so much football to talk about, because it’s gonna be a long list 🙂

      • John says:

        It would be FFL asking Dale!
        But as Dale already elaborated, this is his blog and that’s how we like to keep it.
        BUT:
        – we do share the links on our facebook Page, AND
        – if Dale keeps up his amazing work, we most likely will share it on the FFL website as well

        And I don’t know if Dale already knows, but he’s one of our special invitees at this years’ Belgian Bowl 🙂

    • Lesley says:

      Sven …Where were you last year !!! its the Shotguns second season …Did I hit you that much on the head lol

  7. John says:

    Seems I forgot to answer one more question.
    Yep, pretty busy with – amongst others – this Belgian Bowl thing.
    Still, the 2012 is on our minds.
    First things first though: halfway June BFL/BAFOC/LFFAB/FFL presidents will gather for a second time this year and talk about…. lots! 🙂

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