ATLANTA The Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) is heading towards the playoffs this weekend to cap off the start-up league’s premier season.
Fan Controlled Football is a 7-on-7 league with the premise of the fans making all of the decisions. In the beginning, fans pick their favorite team out of the four options. The majority vote decided upon the team names, logos, jerseys and rules.
The fans also call the plays in real time. On the FCFL app, fans have eight options of what play to call on offense, and the play the most fans selected is chosen. The players have microphones in their helmets, and are told what the fans have selected in a matter of seconds.
Throughout the season, fans develop a “fan IQ” which determines how much weight their votes hold. They increase fan IQ by selecting successful plays and participating in other polls.
The league separates itself from other sports leagues by letting the fans have a voice. Fans have been complaining about officiating, so the league put out a poll letting the fans decide if the referees should be penalized or replaced. This way fans are not sitting on the couch yelling at coaches or referees on TV.
The four teams are the Zappers, the Glacier Boyz, the Beasts and the Wild Aces. Owners include comedian Bob Menery, rapper Quavo, ex-NFL player Marshawn Lynch and current NFL players Austin Eckler and Dalvin Cook. Fans are also given the opportunity to own shares in the team.
Fans voted on the “choose your own adventure” format for the playoffs, which means the team with the best regular season record gets to select their first opponent. The Beasts had the best record at 3-1, so their fans would choose who the Beasts will play in the first round.
First round of the playoffs is set for Saturday March 13. Games are streamed on Twitch at 4:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Bob Menery, owner of the FCF Zappers, has done a lot in terms of getting attention for the league. He has been more invested in growing the league than other owners, which shows through social media promotion. The Zappers have about 37,300 followers while the other three teams have just more 30,000 followers combined.
Menery has also helped gain exposure for the league by recruiting marquee players. Former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel is headlining the Zappers, as well as former NFL star, Josh Gordon. Signing these big name players has led to more media recognition for the FCFL.
Startup football leagues, such as the Alliance of American Football (AAF) and Xtreme Football League (XFL), have struggled in the past This first season of the FCFL is crucial in determining the success of the league.