The Read Option: Red Reign
The answer is emphatically, unquestionably solidified.
As the Baltimore Vultures once again took a ticker tape shower at the end of an SFL season - a fifth such confetti-drenched afterparty in six seasons - the question of whether they are the greatest dynasty in SFL history became clearer.
No longer is there debate about if they are a dynasty. The third championship in four seasons during Season 18 put that question to bed. No longer is the debate about whether they were among the greatest, but rather the undisputed top of the all-time SFL food chain.
Weighing dynasties of different generations is great fodder for sports talk shows. It’s an imperfect, skewed practice like trying to compare apples and orange pilons. While the e-landscape has shifted over these first 20 seasons, it is becoming harder and harder to talk their place on top of the heap out of existence.
They have won in so many ways. The Wigmore-led offense is efficient and deadly. The defense boasts some of the best all-time at all three levels. Even the special teams has the all-time leader in field goals made - as well as Giovanni Bolt’s memorable return touchdown in Season 15 to boast about.
The Season 20 version seemed to be destined for greatness from their first play from scrimmage.
Quarterback Jack Wigmore hit Mac Chimah on a 78-yard touchdown toss on their very first play to open the season. The rest of the SFL was playing catch up ever since. The score was mere moments after the team received their Season 19 title rings - barely a few minutes after it started to make an impression on Vulture fingers.
An impression, however, it did surely make.
Intrigue did follow them in the late stages of the season as three losses left the door of doubt open just a crack. Falling to the fourth seed, they would need to win a home game against a quality quarterfinalist and two road games this time around to get the trophy.
Baltimore 45, London 16.
Baltimore 30, Atlanta 21.
Baltimore 42, Arizona 27.
There would be no controversial penalty in overtime this time around. There would be no last second kick needed or heart-clenching fourth quarter sweat to break. The Vultures swooped in and picked apart three talented teams.
The landmark fifth title also comes as the official end of the APF era in the SFL. As Season 21 awaits to usher in the new game model, Baltimore’s victory creates additional intrigue as to how they can transition to the 4K23 version.
With the new era comes new playbooks, new AI to weigh, a new need to sim, a new way to consider the competition. While it is incorrect to say teams are starting over from scratch, Season 21 marks the greatest change in some time that all must adjust to and give time to let their talents play out.
Whatever happens from here on out, however, much of the history of this league is now written in red and black ink. Perhaps the timing inspires hope that 27 other squads have a chance to outwit, outbuild and outlast the Vultures in the new era.
In a handful of weeks, the Vultures will likely start Season 21 finding what little finger space they have left to add another ring and attempt to continue this dynasty. Whatever the new era looks like in Baltimore, Maryland, will they be a formidable foe ready for the next challenge?