Commish's Dev Blog #3: Home Stretch

by Cameron Irvine

It's been a month since my last update and this one feels more like a self-motivator than anything else. All of our teams have done what they can to make their transitions smooth. The stadiums are in. The uniforms are in. The players are signed. Where the difference lies between the SFL and others, is what's about to happen next: execution.

Over the next three weeks, the league will completely transform. We'll crown a new SFLm Champion and we'll reform that league for the 4K23 transition soon after. We'll release a mod full of team and league-built textures so that everyone in the league can finally play as one. We'll release a roster file that has every player, every piece of equipment, every attribute accounted for. We'll transform broadcasts into our look for Season 21, which you can see a sneak peak of in the video below. We'll put the finishing touches on our 2023 Convention in Cincinnati at the end of the month. We'll accept all new playbooks, all new formations, all new ways to play the game. And it all sits in front of me, ready for me to complete. There are no more days off, only the marathon to the finish line. It's about time. Let the games begin.

With a renewed attitude that we touched on in Dev Blog 2 across the league, the SFL ports over 97.7% of roster spots to user players from last season, despite losing a team to inactivity, prior to the 108-pick Rookie Draft coming up this weekend (July 8-9), which will bring our SFL user base to exactly 746 players. Once we crossed the 400 player threshold, we knew we would need to automate our progression process to handle future growth. We responded by launching our player portal in 2021. Our first season of our automated player portal, we had 483 players participate (Season 16). Three years later, the league has grown by 55%. 

The sky isn't falling as long as there is execution and these next few weeks will show just how much we've grown in the last three years. It's one thing to be playing with your makeshift roster and sharing videos of gameplay, showcasing one exhibition at a time, saying 'we'll get to that later in the development process'. Well, it doesn't get any later than the final week of that dev cycle, which by the way, is approaching the one-year mark.

As I sit on reflect on all that it took to get to this final week, it's been a whirlwind. We're doing something no one has achieved. It's so exciting! I think it will feel most real during our first red zone block of Week 1, with four games airing simultaneously. All the new uniforms, all the new stadiums, all the new strategizes - we've been a league for 20 seasons. But in that moment with so many brands represented at once, it will feel like something even greater. 

I'm sure there will be bumps, i'm sure people will proclaim death at the first sign we're showing vulnerability. Deep breaths, it won't be perfect. Something will go wrong despite thousands of things going right. Everything is going to be OK...because we have each other. We have time, we have passion. We have a work ethic like no place else. We chase greatness here, because there's no other way to live. Not in my head. There's more to do, we'll add new partners, we'll enhance texture quality. We'll get all the nameplates, get all the faces. One step at a time.

Greatness is right in front of us this month. For our rookies, for our teams, for our league. Let's grab onto it and never forget what it's supposed to feel like.