Welcome everybody to the 2013 version of the FFL Blog. There’s only a couple of weeks until the new season begins so there’s lots to talk about, but let’s begin with an old favourite.
The top 5 FFL games not to miss this season
5. Leuven Lions v Puurs Titans, February 17, 15pm, Puurs
Here’s an interesting game on the first weekend of the season. Neither team managed to win a game last year, but I’m sure that they’re both expecting a whole lot more in 2013.
Will the Titans be able to load up on offense to take the pressure off their defense? The Lions haven’t had a winning season since 2004 – because this season will be so short, no team can afford to start slowly. Last year the teams fought out a draw, so that’d be pretty unlikely to happen again.
4. Gent Gators v Izegem Tribes, March 24, 12pm, Berendrecht
As far as my stats go, the Gators haven’t ever beaten the Tribes. This year they get their chance in Berendrecht, a place where they’ve had a decent record. How will Izegem get along without the boys from the coast? If it takes too long to find their new identity, they could struggle in games like this.
3. Antwerp Diamonds v Izegem Tribes, May 5, 15pm, Izegem
The rivalry continues! Not only that, but this is the final game in the FFL regular season. Could it all come down to this for a playoff spot? Let’s hope so.
2. Antwerp Diamonds v Brussels Bulls, February 17, 12pm, Puurs
Can they do it again? The Diamonds shocked us all by beating the Bulls in the regular season final, and then again in the playoffs on their way to the Belgian Bowl. The Diamonds actually hold a sparkling 6-1 record all time against the Bulls. I’m sure though that the boys from Brussels will be out for some revenge.
Adding to that, this is the first game of the season.
1. Brussels Black Angels v Brussels Bulls, March 10, 12pm, St Agatha
Speaking of revenge, it was a most unexpected loss by the Bulls to the Diamonds last season that cost the Black Angels a playoff spot and ended their post-season streak at 11 (a league record). The last two matches between these two teams were played at The Swamp and finished 0-0 and 7-0 – this game will be played on the speedy fieldturf at the home of the Bulls, so we can expect a whole load more offense. Which team will win the battle of Brussels?
The FFL Fantasy Football Challenge
Something new for the 2013 season is a little battle between myself and Klaas Allosserie. Starting March 3, we’ll each be picking one QB, one WR/TE, one RB and one defensive player each week. We can only pick one player from each team, so we’re going to have to be very impressed if we’re going to pick you!
You can all start making your “That’s why you pick me” videos now!
Because of the fact that there are only games at one location each week this season, I can take all the stats myself. Work is being done on a much improved stats machine (thanks to Benoit Lagae) and I’ll find a better way to display them rather than just throw them on facebook like last season.
So all I ask of you (especially the coaches) is please try to limit/avoid player number changes. Also if I could get a copy of a game sheet from each team so I have all the names and numbers then that would be rather helpful as well. I’ll contact you individually as well but just know that it’s on again this year, and it’ll be bigger and better (and easier to use) than it was before.
I think this year could be very interesting because every team has something to play for.
Antwerp – They want to show that they deserved everything that they got last year, and to try and go that one step further.
Brussels Black Angels – After missing out on the playoffs, they’ll be wanting to play in the post-season.
Brussels Bulls – After being upset in the semi-final last year, they’ll be out to go the whole way this season.
Gent Gators – Playoffs are the goal, so they’ll need to win one or two more games than the two that they’ve won each of the last two years.
Izegem Tribes – What will they be able to bring without the guys from Ostend? The Tribes have the longest current playoff streak (7 years) and will be looking to extend that.
Leuven Lions – They improved their defense significantly last year, and will be looking to score a few more points and win some games.
Puurs Titans – They’ll want to show that they’ve gotten over last year and get back to playing winning football.
So whose motivation is strongest? What’s great is that we don’t know yet, we’ll have to wait until the season starts before we find out. All teams have their goals and not all of them can be met, which should make for some great football.
– So the Belgian Bowl is going to be in Izegem this year. Good news for me, as I can walk to the game. There’s a decent amount of parking just a hundred metres away, so I think this is good for the fans too. Because there’s a running track around the field, there’s plenty of room to put in seating and tents for the catering as well.
– I know that there are a few excellent photographers out there, and many people are asking for some photos in the blog, so maybe we can work something out.
I asked who the most surprising team in the FFL is going to be. You have spoken, and the winner is the Leuven Lions! A lot of people are expecting Leuven to improve on their 0-5-1 record from last season.
Another top 5
I’m all for improvement around the league, so here’s my top five Gameday areas that need to be improved heading into the 2013 season.
5 – Players and coaches yelling for “Offside” against the offense
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. If the offense moves before the ball is snapped, it’s a “False Start”. Offside is a completely different thing. Next person who gets this wrong is automatically going to be the C’Mon Man of the week.
4 – Third down conversions
The Lions led the league in third down conversions last year, going 16/54, that’s 30%. League average was a dismal 27%. Let’s get the chains moving!
3 – Punting
Stop throwing the ball in the air before you punt it. Stop dropping the ball with both hands at the same time. Kick it high when punting with the wind and low when against it. This is all extremely basic stuff that just doesn’t get done properly.
2 – Attendance
I’m going to try and figure out the attendance per game this season too. I’m looking for a big improvement in this most important area in 2013.
1 – The passing game in general
Here’s a stat for you. Last season, the FFL combined for 29 touchdown passes and 66 interceptions. Perhaps teams are passing too much when the players themselves aren’t capable of doing so.
Rumour has it
That the All-FFL team might just mean a little bit more than it did in the past. More news as it comes to hand.
So that’s just about all from me for now. Leave your questions, comments and suggestions either here or on the facebook group (The FFL Blog Extra) and I’ll see what I can do about a Thursday edition mailbag. Until then