We are only a few days away from the start of our 11th season here at A7FL but things are just getting started.
With simultaneous seasons going on in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, MD the league has never been bigger, the talent pool has never been greater.
Later we will sit down with the captains of The U Bates & Marcus on what is to come for the U with the bombshell news dropped earlier this week, the head honchos Sener Korkusuz and Ryan DePaul as well as Union City advocate and Chiefs leader Andrew Pallotto Jr. as he discusses Beef Bowl 10 and the future of the Chiefs organization
But first, lets break down a very interesting off season since the last time we saw the teams on the field.
The 2015 season of A7FL was designed to be the biggest yet and it did not fail to live up to its hype. The Cobras became an official squad and one to reckon with beating several talented New Jersey teams including introducing us to probably the best player in the entire league and the #1 pick in last years All Star game Tyrell Addison. The U became the third team in history to win back-to-back titles, the Chiefs outlasted a very strong BIC team on the craziest play in football since the Stanford v. Cal game and of course PA still sucked. Despite the Beef Bowl being sloppy due to more than just the torrential downpour that ensued the 10th season of A7FL was nothing short of stellar.
With the Spring season over and teams going back to the drawing board, the offseason set some pretty big debates throughout and leading up to the fall tournament. With many of the Bombers and Savage both wanting to play but not having enough numbers on either side to truly compete the two merged together to create another power team that seemingly is carrying into this seasons A7FL year. The Chiefs for the first time didn’t have that big of a presence on the field like they have in years past. Although they normally don’t enter the fall under the Chiefs moniker players from the organization normally take to other teams and with the exception of just a few players the Chiefs for the most part made sure to take off and gear up for 2016.
With both the U and the Chiefs out, the Savage and Bombers with faults of their own BIC finally got over the hump and picked up their first Chip defeating Boom Beach in the Fall Finals. But they didn’t do it with out scrutiny losing several players as starting QB CJ made the decision to go back home to The U, starting defensive end Andrew Levine and often criticized WR Terry Roland made their way to the Chiefs among some other key losses.
The calendar hit 2016, the ball dropped, and the celebrations continued into January for BIC coming of their Fall Chip and The U coming off their second straight Beef Bowl and while those two teams were celebrating other teams were working hard and making moves to compete with these two juggernauts.
The Warriors surprised many in 2015 making it to the playoffs and traveling to Baltimore almost escaping with the W against a very solid Hit Squad team. If they had, they would have been the only New Jersey team to record a victory in the state of Maryland. But even with all the good they did last season they knew they needed to make moves to boost the foundation they had made for themselves. Enter the Thrashers who for the first time in several years decided to bring the Purple back under the guidance of Jonathan Soltis. However, after two very solid performances by both squads in the fall they both knew they were still pretty far away from competing with the big four (Chiefs, U, BIC, Boom Beach) and decided to merge teams, a decision that literally couldn’t have been better.
The Purple City Warriors now have more talent than they know what to do with. They replaced an A7 vet in Pelayo with another in Corey Hammond and they added Keith Morrison and Washington with Kevin Ishola, Bobby Newman and Big Moe (no not that one). Defensively they have Saul Cruz, Big Angry, with one of the top contenders for this years Defensive Rookie of the Year in Coffman. The best thing these two teams could have done was to merge and they did just that.
The Rebels also saw themselves on the end of a merge when they brought on several pieces from the Championship U teams including Jim McKnight and several of the Wolfpack including leader and captain Joker. While their merge isn’t really going to turn heads as they still have a significant issue at QB with both Keelz and the former Geek Squad QB Berto fighting for the full time position the team should continue to be competitive. Steve Knight will still lead that defense to the ball as one of the most dynamic players on the defensive side but with deficiencies in the secondary the Rebels may continue to have their hands full.
Although history usually proves to go against the nature that new teams could truly compete in this league both Spanktown and The Bullies are looking to make a name for themselves this season.
The Bullies are making their return after several seasons on the shelf. Lead by captain Rob Chandler and Pat Puchalski the Bullies are looking to bring back the hard nosed football they were once known for to a league that seemingly have forgotten where it once came from.
Spanktown on the other hand is taking their very first turn at Spring football. Competing in the Fall season they didn’t fair well but were competitive and strong enough to stick around with some of the best teams in the league. Led by an explosive QB & WR combo Marcel Chapman and Robert Brown add a major 1,2 punch to the league. Chapman has great vision and the ability to accelerate through the line if he needs to. Not incredibly fast but enough football intangibles to make any defender miss in the open field. Brown on the other hand is a pure monster. With an incredible mixture of both power and speed Brown has all the intangibles to be great in this league. Defensively Tyler Schulz and Ruben Pierre make for a very solid pass rush while defensive backs Darius Pearson and Christopher Crossman look to lock down the air waves.