Tuesday, May 17, 2011

EFL holds league meeting to finalize plans for 2011 season

EFL holds league meeting to finalize plans for 2011 season

EFL Communications – May 15, 2011

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The Empire Football League (EFL) front office along with all nine member teams and league officials met in Saratoga Springs, Sunday afternoon to finalize plans for the 2011 season. The meeting, held by the league's front office, discussed new rules with EFL officials, a possible All-Star game and a leave of absence by the Vermont Ice Storm. The EFL season is scheduled to kickoff with a four-game slate on Saturday, July 9.

With roughly over 50 people in attendance, including coaches, owners, referees and league personnel, teams voted on possible rule exceptions for the upcoming season. Consistent with the new rules adopted by the National Football League (NFL) in 2010, the league accepted the rule that kickoffs will be moved from the 30 yard line to the 35 yard line. In addition, any kickoff that travels 30 yards or more before going out of bounds, will be placed on the 35 yard line, instead of the 40. The EFL rejected the rule to protect umpires by positioning them behind the offensive backfield. EFL umpires will assume their normal position behind the linebackers on the defensive side of the ball.

The most discussed rule was the "Tom Brady" rule, where defenders are not allowed to lunge at the quarterback's lower leg if they are already on the ground. By a unanimous vote, the league decided to reject the rule, citing that the language of the rule was confusing and could possibly cause problems in the future.

During the second-half of the meeting, Glens Falls presented a proposal to develop a postseason All-Star game. The Greenjackets presented a plan to honor players and coaches after the season with an end of the year celebration. This event would include a festival type of party and banquet accompanying the game. Detailed plans are being developed that will further refine this project.

The most noteworthy business of the afternoon was the leagues acceptance of Vermont's request for a one year leave of absence. Citing the departure of key veterans and not enough interest from new players, the Ice Storm requested a year off from the league. As it turns out, Vermont had all of the other requisites to compete in 2011 except for player interest.  This point was well understood by the league and as a result the request was granted. Vermont is still a member of the EFL, but they will not compete in 2011. Open dates created by Vermont's absence will be filled with games against non-league teams.

The adjusted eight-team league will go forward with the previously created 12-week schedule, with all teams receiving two bye weeks. There will be no league games played over Labor Day weekend.

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