Open Division Season 26 Power Rankings: Week 8

1 Royal Tightness 💙 (Royal Blue) 9 - 0

I don’t know if JC has told you, but he hasn’t lost a game in two seasons. This is despite everyone in the league telling you that Royal is very beatable. We’re all seemingly one or two plays away from knocking our undefeated king off his throne and yet…none of us have done it despite having faced some tough competition in Dark Grey, Neon Orange, and Lime. All teams who have only lost two or three games, with one of them coming at the hands of Royal.

Is this team better than last season’s champions, The Playbouys? Royal has scored about the same amount of points, 251 last season to this season’s 248. But that’s just good enough for 7th in the league, behind White (311), Neon Pink (266), Seafoam (265), Neon Orange (263), Dark Grey (253), and Black (250). Just like last season, JC has fed the ball to mostly one person - his captain, Oliver (13 TDs, 5 XPs), while handing a few breadcrumbs here and there to Steslicki (5 TDs, 5 XPs), Jordan Johnson (6 TDs, 3 XPs), and Andrew Grafton (4 TDs, 5 XPs). The defense has been solid too, snagging 11 INTs mostly thanks to JC, OJ, and Grafton with 3 each. But that’s also just good enough to be tied with Lime for 6th in the league behind Forest (17), Purple (14), White (13), Neon Orange (12), and Dark Grey (12).

The stats are good but don’t really scream unstoppable juggernaut. And Royal sometimes plays down to their opponent (escaping with wins against Urine Trouble and the Bellagi-Hos w/their backup QB). But until someone actually takes this team out, it doesn’t really matter where they rank stat wise. They’ve still got more wins than anybody else.

Most MVPs: Oliver (3)

Miss Congeniality: Daniel Betram

Unsung Hero: James F. - “for never missing a game and coming through with several key plays in close games.”

2 You Got Moss'd (Forest Green) 8 - 1

This team terrifies me. They’ve never even had a close game. The things I whisper to myself at night to make me feel better about them include the fact that they’ve only played three games against teams with a record north of .500 (White, Neon Pink, and Lime - who didn’t have their starting QB to begin the game and were missing their top two receivers). They forfeited against Royal after some straight drama nonsense vs. Vegas and then Neon Orange forfeited against them because Sanders had a wedding and I went to Coachella. #priorities

So have they really been tested? (The answer is yes, versus White, when Forest didn’t have Jim Roll or Brendan McFarland and they still won)

Let’s dive into the stats. AJ has thrown 30 TDs this season. Guess who accounted for 16 of them all on his own? If you guessed Twon, it’s because you’ve watched literally any season of flag football over the last few years. When not throwing to Twon (who also has 7 XPs), AJ can occasionally find Tom L. (4 TDs, 2 XPs), Levert (3 TDs, 3 XPs), Smiffy (3 TDs, 1 XP) Jim Roll (2 TDs, 1 XP), and Brendan McFarland (2 TDs, 3 XPs). While their offense is solid and maybe predictable, what really should scare you is this team’s defense. Forest has picked off QBs 17 times this season, best in the league thanks to AJ (5), Twon (4), Brendan (3), Jim (2), Adam Beardsley (2), and Tom (1). They’ve also recorded 14 sacks, ranking 4th in the league, led by Frenando H. (6) and Levert (3).

AJ also doesn’t give the ball away, only throwing 5 INTs, tied for 3rd fewest this season. If you really want to try to look for some kind of Achilles heel here, AJ does rank as the 4th most sacked QB this season, with 12.

So how do you beat this team? Uh… I guess play man if you’ve got the roster for it, don’t make a dumb throw as a QB because they absolutely will pick it off, and rush AJ hard and hope to god he makes a mistake.

Good luck everybody else.

Most MVPs: Twon (3)

Miss Congeniality: Jim Roll and Adam Beardsley

Unsung Hero: Levert never got back to me so I’m awarding this to Smiffy who always does everything well but doesn’t have any MVPs or Game Balls awarded to him yet.

3 Field of Creams (White) 7 - 2

I’m putting White ahead of Neon Orange because a) they’ve scored 311 points this season, best in the league and b) Oriya is still mad that I “incorrectly” made a call as a ref that gave Forest an INT a few weeks back, which took a TD away from their star rookie Randall. Maybe Oriya will forgive me now.

This offense has been rolling all season with Oriya having a triple threat of options in Kevin Hamilton (12 TDs, 5 XPs), Captain Michael Bromell (11 TDs, 3 XPs), and Randall Tainer (9 TDs, 10 XPs). If that fails, he can always just run it in himself, which he’s done 5 times. What’s even more impressive is Oriya has only thrown one INT all season for a TD to INT ratio of 28:1. He’s also never been sacked. Not one time this entire season. Nice job blockers/Oriya’s wheels.

White has had the benefit of being in an easier division, where there are only three teams (White, Black, and Dark Grey) above .500. But you play the cards you’re dealt and when White had to finally face Black and Dark Grey in a rainy doubleheader on Cinco de Mayo, they easily dispatched both teams.

While we’re handing out compliments, let’s give a shout out to this team’s defense, which ranked 3rd in INTs (13) and sacks (15) led by Oriya (3 INTs), Bromell (3 INTs, 2 sacks), Hamilton (2 INTs, 2 sacks), Graham W (3 INTs, Sean Dickson (6 sacks), and Commissioner Dawson (2 sacks).

They may have stumbled once (I’m not counting that loss vs Cardinal, with a fantastic performance from Shawn Graham filling in for Oriya), but this team has proven they’re the one to beat in their division.

Most MVPs: Randall Tainer & Kevin Hamilton (3)

Miss Congeniality: Sean Dickson

Unsung Heroes: Bromell really spread the love here, wanting Will Radcliff, Dickson, Shawn Graham (who threw 9 TDs and 0 INTs this season filling in for Oriya), and Nick Lewis to get some appreciation. That’s a supportive captain.

4 Neon My Face (Neon Orange) 6 - 2

I’ve never met a more successful pessimist than Bryan Sanders. This man goes into each game thinking he’s gonna get stomped and does nothing but put up crazy stats every season. Despite a forfeit due to travel, our star rookie Morgan being out with injury for most of the season, and never once fielding our starting squad all at the same time, Sanders still put up the third most total points in the league (230), throwing for 33 TDs, running in 5 more, while only throwing 5 INTs (tied for 4th fewest).

Turns out if you give a great QB a ton of good weapons, the entire season is gonna feel like a party. Neon Orange is one of five teams (Atomic, Neon Pink, Olive, and Purple are the others) that have 5 or more players with 3 or more TDs: Josh E (9 TDs, 8 XPs), Rob Casey (9 TDs, 4 XPs), Aaron Beck (6 TDs, 2 XPs), rookie Morgan Warfield (5 TDs, 7 XPs), and Andrew C (3 TDs, 2 XPs). Hard to defend against a team when literally anyone on the field is a target.

On defense, we’ve got a few ballhawks, including Josh E with 3 INTs, Beck with 3, Sanders with 2, and Morgan with 2. Our rush has been led by Ed J with 5 sacks and then a rush by committee system that includes rookie Javien, who may possibly lead the league in roughing the passer penalties but is developing into a great rusher, and then a bunch of old guys: me, Sanders, and Keyur.

Most MVPs: Morgan Warfield (3 - starting a dark horse campaign for rookie of the season)

Miss Congeniality: Keyur D

Unsung Hero: Keyur. Our team doctor not only does his best to keep us healthy (despite me ignoring him telling me not to play with a dislocated finger) but has also stepped in at nearly every position to help this injury plagued team manage over the course of the season. A true super-utility man.

5 Grey 4 Pay (Dark Grey) 6 - 3

Matt C. makes being a QB look so easy. I’ve never seen a guy look more nonplussed by a rush, dropped ball, INT (they don’t happen often, with just 6 on the season), etc. He just shows up to work and throws a ton of TDs (33 - tied for 4th) and can always run a few in if he needs to (5 rushing TDs on the season, tied with Sanders and AJ for 3rd most).

Dark Grey is dangerous because they’re tough to defend against when all their starters are on the field at the same time, as their QB can drop a TD to any of his targets, starting with Jared L. (12 TDs, 2 XPs), Captain Matt H. (8 TDs, 7 XPs), Lindsey W. (6 TDs, 4 XPs), Kenny J. (4 TDs, 3 XPs), and Wyatt Eck (2TDs, 5 XPs - finally a last name, this squad is like the Witness Protection All Stars).

So, let’s take a look at their defense. While this team can pick another QB off, led by Captain Matt (4 INTs) and QB Matt (3), as the season has trudged along, they’ve started to let other teams go from scoring 2 to 3 TDs against them to 4 or 5. Their season did begin a bit lopsided, with the first five games against sub .500 teams before closing it out against tough competition in Black (a 33-32 win), Royal (a 27-37 loss), and White (a 19-36 loss).

That’s not the way anyone wants to start a postseason run. However, I’ve learned over the years to never, ever count out a Matt C. led team.

Most MVPs: Jared L (5)

Miss Congeniality: Dwaylan Applewhite

Unsung Heroes: Captain Matt really wanted to give a shoutout to Lindsey W for her great season but I told him that everyone already knows how good she is. So we’re also going to give a shoutout to Travis Meuwissen for being “always reliable, always willing to pitch in wherever the team needs him, great counterpart to Dway at rush and showed what he can do at Cone this year as well – grabbing his first ever TD this week.” Congrats, Travis!

6 3-6-9, Damn Good Lime (Lime Shock) 6 - 3

After a close loss in their first game of the season against Neon Orange, Lime ran through the league like a buzzsaw until they met up with Royal (21-25 loss) and Forest (32-18 loss) in their last games of the season. Cue the Tyra Banks “I was rooting for you” gif.

Ben Hunt had himself another good year behind Center, throwing for 33 TDs, most of them to Nick Ward (14 TDs, 9 XPs) and rushing for 3 more. His other offensive stars include star rookie Dawson Currin (7 TDs, 8 XPs), Tom Hassett (4 TDs, 5 XPs), Jared Gee (3 TDs), and Captain Jorge (2 TDs). Their defense was led by Tevin M. (11 sacks), Hunt (4 INTs), Tom (4 INTs), rookie Basile Nkeng (2 INTs), and rookie Isiah Fleetwood (3 sacks).

Look at all these great rookies. Some of you other teams need to take a page from Lime and draft some of this new great talent we’ve got in the league.

Can Lime create another winning streak after a tough couple of losses? Hunt has definitely done it before and could do it again with this squad, but they’ve only beaten one team (Black) with a winning record.

Most MVPs: Nick Ward (3)

Miss Congeniality: Dawson and Jared

Unsung Hero: Isaiah Fleetwood - “for being a great teammate, nice guy, and a blocking and rushing machine.” We love to see rookies show up and become the glue that keeps a team together.

7 Blacked-Out Barbies (Black) 6 - 3

It’s honestly tough to figure out teams in this division. Just like Dark Grey, the other 6-3 team in the Pitchers Division, Black had a tough time beating opponents with a winning record. Black feasted on losing teams but saw famine when they had to face any team with a record above .500.

Doesn’t mean they can’t put up points on the board. This team ranked 6th in total points scored, with 250 and QB Austin Plier had himself a hell of a season with the second most points (231) with 34 TDs (tied for most) and rushing for 3 more. That’s a performance to be proud of. Who is Austin throwing all those TDs to? Paul Whitney (12 TDs, 11XPs), Michael A. (10 TDs) and Captain Thomas (6 TDs, 6 XPs) getting the majority.

So what went wrong? Maybe it’s the defense, who gave up an average of 4.5 TDs this season, was tied for last place with 6 INTs, and only mustered 6 sacks - tied for 3rd fewest in the league. If this team wants to make it far in the playoffs, they’ll have to put up 5+ TDs a game to do it.

Most MVPs: Paul Whitney (4)

Miss Congeniality: Kozak, Alex Arican, and Jaylan M. all tied with 2

Unsung Hero: Graham W. Captain Tom: “Graham has been our sleeper pick this season. Solid rush, good hands, and an overall fun egg to have around.”

8 Pink Pony Club 🐴💗 (Neon Pink) 5 - 4

I love this team’s name. Timely, relevant, and over the head of half the league. It’s perfect.

Okay, now onto the review: Simply put, Trainwreck kept the wheels on track this season. The man put up 241 points, best for 1st in the league and tied for most TDs thrown (34) while rushing for 3 more. Bravo, Jim.

He was able to do it by spreading the ball around to a loaded offensive unit, led by rookie Ben Tow (9 TDs, 7 XPs), Cam Burrell (7 TDs, 5 XPs), Captain Justin Parker (5 TDs), Brandon G (4 TDs), rookie JJ Richetti (4 TDs, 6 XPs), and Obie McNair (3 TDs, 7 XPs).

Despite putting up all these points, Neon Pink is still just 5-4. Why? Well, their division is stacked. Neon Pink beat up on every team with a losing record and then got bullied when they faced winning teams, losing, on average, by more than 3 TDs.

A team this offensively scary could definitely surprise in the playoffs, but they’re going to have to do something they haven’t done all season: beat a good team.

Most MVPs: Justin Parker (3)

Miss Congeniality: Star Rookie JJ

Unsung Heroes: Ben Tow - yeah he got an MVP one week but this rookie really turned out this year. Also, Obie has had a great season.

9 Blue Bombers💊 (Light Blue) 4 - 5

A very surprising middle of the road performance from this squad, only putting up 236 points, good enough for 10th place. Waggoner was Waggoner, throwing 31 TDs and scoring 230 points, tying Sanders for 3rd in the league. But this team was like a DC public school student body: chronically absent. I don’t know if Light Blue ever fielded their starting squad, with Marvin, BB, and rookie Brandon Moore all missing time.

Partly because of this, Waggoner threw over 50% of his TD passes to Captain Luis (17 TDs and 21 XPs). And don’t get me wrong, run with your best horse, but don’t beat it to death. Next up are BB (4 TDs), Marvin (4 TDs), and rookie Bryan W. (3 TDs, 5 XPs).

And while they can easily score some TDs, that defense needs to tighten up. They only notched 8 INTs and 4 sacks (2nd fewest in the league).

Waggoner has been saying all season that if they can just get their starting squad out there, they can win some games. Well, now’s your chance.

Most MVPs: Luis Cotto (7)

Miss Congeniality: Marvin Washington

Unsung Hero: Bryan W. Captain Luis: “Bryan W. is new to the league and has been huge for us. He deserves some shine.”

10 Bellagi-Hos (Vegas Gold) 3 - 6

Sucks to be in a tough conference. Despite being stacked with talent, they sit at 3-6 but with more potential than nearly any other team in the league. This is a team that lost to Royal (9-0), Neon Orange (7-2), and Lime (6-3) by a combined 12 points. They’ve never lost a game by more than 2 TDs*.

Speaking of that roster, let’s give a little bit of love to a few folks, including their QB John C (22 TDs, 9 INTs thrown, 3 Rushing TDs, 14 XPs, 2 rushing XPs, 2 INTs caught, AND a Sack), Andre Brown (10 TDs, 9 XPs, 3 INTs), Dan King (6 TDs, 2 XPs), Bryan Burke (4 TDs, 2 INTs), Captain Trey P (3 TDs, 1 XP, 2 Sacks), Jens Piferoen (2 TDs, 4 XPs), Bradley Williams (2 TDs, 3 Sacks), and Eric Green (1 INT, 4 Sacks).

I have no idea if this team will lose by 3 points in the first round or stomp every team on their way to the semifinals. If their QB can get rid of the ball quickly enough (15 sacks allowed), this team could be in business.

Do not sleep on this team.

*(with John C as QB)
Most MVPs
: Andre Brown (5)

Miss Congeniality: Bradley W

Unsung Hero: Jens Piferoen. Fun fact: everyone loves Jens.

11 The Extra Virgins (Olive Green) 4 - 5

Things Hotchkiss (32 TDs) doesn’t do: throw INTs. The man only threw 3 INTs this season, 3rd fewest in the league for any starting QB.

Things Hotchkiss doesn’t do, con’t: get rid of the ball quickly. Shocking no one, Hotch will examine every option before making that toss, sometimes allowing himself to get pressured by opposing rushers or sacked (14 times).

<whispers> try going with 2 cones and a center

Thankfully, when he’s done thinking about which book(s) to choose for one of his four book clubs, he’s got great weapons to throw to in Art H (8 TDs, 2 XPs) Captain Juan (9 TDs, 6 XPs), Brandon Recto (6 TDs, 3 XPs), supplemental draft pick Johnny Moseman (4 TDs, 4 XPs), and Benny K (3 TDs).

However, excuse me, 2 Sacks? For the whole team? What? Additionally, they’re currently tied for last place with 6 total INTs.

There are two sides to this game, y’all.

Most MVPs: Art H

Miss Congeniality: Benny K

Unsung Heroes: Malcolm Warbrick and Gideon Y.

12 My Little Foamies (Seafoam) 4 - 5

Last year, Pat Shilo threw 20 of his 28 TDs to one person (Jordan A.). This season, he’s spread that ball around a little more to THREE people: 11 TDs to both Joe Owens and Kevin Penny and another 6 to Jean Henry. That is progress, people.

Shilo had another solid season with 30 TDs, 4 rushing TDs, and only 5 INTs despite having some …personnel problems and an injury to Drew Crane that took away two of Shilo’s best offensive targets and 4 (Crane) of the total 6 Sacks the team registered this year. They also saw John Riley go down for much of the season, which helps explain the 13 Sacks the team suffered.

Seafoam just needed a little more blocking, more sacks, and fewer injuries and drama. This team wasn’t really giving out bear hugs this season, but they could use some.

Most MVPs: Kevin Penny

Miss Congeniality: Kevin Penny

Unsung Hero: Jordan Mahoney

13 The Hot Ones (Cardinal) 4 - 5

Despite losing their captain and a top offensive talent in Lamar due to a tough injury (get well quickly, Lamar!), a few things have gone well for The Hot Ones. The number one being the sizzling love affair between Cam and Honeycutt. Honeycutt has put up some gaudy stats this season (12 TDs, 5 XPs, 4 INTs) and he even threw for a couple TDs when Cam was in Ireland. The dropoff between Honeycutt and the next target is real, with Alonzo at 5 TDs and then Mike Hess, Carlos F. and Aubrie Odell each with 2 TDs.

Teams like this are almost daring you to go man against them.

The second good thing this team has going for it is that Cam doesn’t make mistakes. He hasn’t even thrown 1 INT all season. Additionally, he is absolute money when it comes to XPs. He’s thrown 20 TDs, rushed for 5 more, and has scored an XP try on 22 of them.

Finally, our sack king Chris didn’t put up numbers like last year but 6 sacks is nothing to sneeze at. Blocking against this man is a health hazard.

Most MVPs: Honeycutt

Miss Congeniality: Aubrie and Lamar

Unsung Heroes: Aubrie Odell and Honeycutt (for not getting tossed by the refs while QBing)

14 Whoral (Coral) 3 - 6

Sometimes you can look at a team and immediately figure out why it’s just not clicking. Other times, like with Coral, you’re left shaking your head. They have a solid QB (30 TDs), they have two great offensive/defensive weapons in Hofberg (10 TDs, 4 XPs, 3 INTs) and Binder (8 TDs, 5 XPs, 1 INT), one of the best rookies out of this season’s draft in Luke Keehan (4 TDs, 4 XPs, and 2 MVPs), and the most insane rush combo that any QB and their blockers have to face in Derrick Johnson (14 sacks!) and Blake Whetzel (8 sacks).

With so many of their games decided within a handful of points, I’m going to blame this on INTs (13, tied for most in the league) and a lackluster XP success rate, failing to tack on 1 or 2 after a TD nearly 60% of the time.

I will say however, if there is one sub .500 team that could surprise with a deep playoff run, this is one of them.

Most MVPs: Mark Hofberg and Captain Derrick Johnson

Miss Congeniality: Garrett Schiponi and Alex David

Unsung Heroes: Star rookies Luke and Ian M

15 Grape Sexpectations 🍇 (Purple) 2 - 7

The good: Defense. This team will pick you off. Led by Andrew Hoyler (5 INTs), Connor Wilson (4 INTs), and Cedric Russell (3 INTs), Purple is second in the league with INTs at 12. Their rush is pretty solid too, led by Brandon Tuell (5 sacks), JP Hooth (2), and Mike Osorio (2).

The bad: Tough to recover from losing your top draft pick so early and for so many weeks. Shoutout to Ocho for continuing to show up and support the team (and then being a backup QB last week).

The ugly: As a fellow blocker, I never like to call any negative attention to those of us who have the most thankless and physical job in the DCGFFL: keeping mostly small, fast angry men and large lumbering wildebeests away from our beloved and frustrating QB. But 18 sacks? Either Andrew Aldrian is spending too much time in the pocket thinking about foreign policy or he doesn’t have much blocking up front. Or both?

Most MVPs: Cedric Russell

Miss Congeniality: Brandon Tuell and Ocho

Unsung Heroes: Chris A. and Leah G. Captain Connor: “Chris is our rookie, he’s a super sweet kid that’s been playing Cone for us. He’s really gotten us out of some tough patches. Leah has alaso been an amazing asset, who plays a double header each week in playing for our team and then the women’s team. She keeps her spirits up even when she’s exhausted, and always seems to get open when we need her to. Her hands have been lethal on offense and defense.”

16 The Atoms Family 🫰🫰 (Atomic Blue ) 2 - 7

Sometimes you get what you ask for. Last season, after being on one of the highest scoring teams in the league, Aaron Billingsley decided that he too could QB in the DCGFFL. Why he decided to do it with only one blocker most of the time, I haven’t figured out. The numbers (20 TDs) haven’t quite been Hotchkian, but they do show promise as he managed to spread the ball around to all of his key offensive targets in Mark Japinga (5 TDs, 4 XPs), Shawn Boyd (4 TDs, 2 XPs), Alex Payne (5 TDs, 1 XP), Captain Tiger Ricchetti (3 TDs, 5 XPs), and Ben McEvoy (3 TDs, 2 XPs). You know how many teams in this league have five players with 3 or more TDs? Just four. This team believes that sharing is caring.

Most MVPs: Tiger

Miss Congeniality: Alex Payne

Unsung Heroes: Alex E. and Liz B.

17 Urine Trouble (Yellow) 1 - 8

I feel like this team was constructed out of the folks in the league you’d most like to go to drag queen story hour with. Just absolutely wonderful people. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to many wins this Spring. Yellow put up the second fewest points on the board (161) and boasted the worst TD:INT ratio in the league (21:13) but did nearly score on all of their extra point tries (17 out of 21)!

It’s the small things.

Focusing on the positive: welcome to the league, Kwame Uko (1 TD, 4 XPs, 2 INTs) and Craig Johnson (1 TD, 2 XPs, 2 sacks)! Each earned themselves an MVP and got to play their first season with a great QB/Captain pair and fun team. Only one team wins it all, you can only hope the rest of the teams are fun enough to bring everyone else back. I feel like Chris and Andy (and Amanda and Gordo and Nolan and Mariam, etc) are about the best welcoming committee you could want.

Most MVPs: Brian Carter and Everett W. (2)

Miss Congeniality: Captain Chris and Gordo

Unsung Hero: Luke Bede

18 Green Peen Queens (Marine Green) 0 - 8

Okay, this wasn’t y’alls year. After one hell of a rookie season, QB Nick Perovich came down to earth, throwing just 20 TDs while giving up 9 INTs, grabbing that silver ring for second worst TD:INT ratio. With those kinds of stats, you’re gonna have a rough time. Sophomore slumps are real, y’all. Hope you come back in the Fall and kill it, Nick.

Speaking of rough times, despite this being TJ Callan’s second team, he’s quickly becoming acquainted with what I call Andy Allen Syndrome. This is when you’re so good that you keep getting drafted early, often resulting in few victories. The number of wins for TJ the last two seasons? Zero (0).

What went right? TJ (6 TDs, 3 XPs, 2 INT, 1 sack), Stephen Sonon (3 TDs, 2 sacks), Ryan Winter (5 TDs, 2 XPs, 1 INT), Charlie Bruno (3 TDs), Captain Brandon (2 TDs, 1 INT), rookie Jack Loome (1 TDs, 4 XPs, 3 INT), and Vinny Varvaro (3 sacks) all deserve some love for coming to work every Sunday and hustling out there.

Most MVPs: TJ (4)

Miss Congeniality: TJ, Sonon, Loome

Unsung Hero: Zach Gillman. Captain: “Zach has made some amazing plays, he’s a team player, he’s always social, and he’s never missed a game.”