November 2016 League of the Month - OMFL
For the record, the actual Super Bowl is up to like - 50 or something. That speaks of longeveity and the honing of a product that people enjoy playing, watching and being a part of. How about 69 Super Bowls? What would that say to you, Mr. League Crawler League of the Month article reader? I'd say it says a lot of the same things and if you've been playing Madden long enough, you know that kind of record is RARE in this community. As you'll read in the following article, our League of the Month for November is one of the longest running Madden Leagues out there and goes to show that a well run league can survive the test of time, leadership and change in consoles. Before I reveal who it is (officially - yes, I know you saw it in the promo image..) let me take you back to 2001 when these guys started this league. Apple was launching the ipod, George Bush was being sworn in as president, and Wikipedia was just beginning. That's how long OMFL has been doing business and just a part of the reason these guys are our League of the Month!
Looking at their website, there's a lot to see. They run two Madden leagues, 2 WWE leagues AND a FIFA league. They have a lot going on for sure and really set a great example for what leagues should aspire to. So, enough from me, let's hear from their Commish, Nate on what makes OMFL so special!
1. How long has OMFL been around and why did you decide to start the league?
First let me say thanks for picking the OMFL this month, we appreciate the efforts you and your site put to help leagues and owners. We started the OMFL in January of 2001 as a PC league. I had originally been exposed, addicted, infected (all depending on how you look at it) with online gaming and leagues through an online tecmobowl league. They would play seasons, have drafts, forums and everything. It was a great experience and once Madden made a game which allowed us to become our own servers and host leagues - I bite. It’s been a fun ride with more ups than downs.
2. So - 69 seasons? What Madden game did you start on and how many seasons do you typically finish each Madden iteration?
We started season one of January 2001 with Madden 2001. Was a great game, one of my favorites of all time until this Madden. We normally get in 5 seasons per madden cycle now-a-days.
3. What was the most difficult thing in getting the ball rolling in the beginning with OMFL? What has played the biggest role in OMFL's longevity?
I have to be honest, I’ve been really lucky to not have a difficult time getting the OMFL going through it’s many stages, including the first one. We’ve been lucky enough to find some really great guys to be apart of the league, which leads into part two of this question. The owners and great guys. I’ve stepped away from being commish 2 times and both times I handed it to some amazing guys who did a much better job with it than I was doing when I stepped away. I would say what keeps us going still is the willingness to adapt as a league to the owners who play the game and the fact that at the end of the day, we are as fair as possible with each owner equally.
4. Were you in other leagues before OMFL? How did any of those experiences play into what you guys do at OMFL?
I’ve been in other leagues during my time of running and playing in the OMFL. Those experiences helped me see the dedication of commishes and the real brotherhood which good leagues have. I also do my homework and I am constantly building relationships with commishes in our community and looking at all madden leagues (xbox and playstation) to see what other leagues are doing out there.
5. What is your favorite part of running a league?
Of course the guys. It’s really the only reason to do all of this work and put in all this energy and effort. The guys make it worth it. Secondary is a good, fair game. Nothing better than a good chest match of madden.
6. Least favorite part?
I live by the principle that everyones greatest strength is also their greatest weakness and leagues are no different. The worse part is the guys. It’s like a good relationship; when things are good there is nothing better and when things are bad there is nothing worse. The guys don’t truly understand, and probably shouldn’t, what it takes to run a really successful league. They care about one thing and one thing only - themselves. So it can be difficult when they are unable to see why certain things are done the way they are done.
7. How many people are a part of the OMFL staff? What are their roles? Have you always been the commish?
We currently have 5 guys total on the board, counting myself. We have a co-commish who helps track our history and the offseason stages. We have an FPR (Fair Play Rules) guy who watches film on complaints and follows up with owners. He is also in charge of what rules we need to add, take out or adapt. We have a scheduling guy who makes sure games are scheduled, follows up with owners, and closes scheduling threads as games are played. Finally we have an incentive plan which is offered to our owners who want to participate in extra content and we have a board member who tracks those owners and picks who should be awarded which incentive plan at the end of the season.
8. What are the two or three things that your league does best?
Best is a tough word, I am not sure we do anything the ‘best’. What we do offer owners is a safe place to come and play madden and hang out with a great group of men, a great chat program which makes it easy to find the information which you need, an updated website, daddy leagues page, forum and chat bots, game of the week videos, our weekly vodcast called press pass live, a killer pre-draft and draft show for each draft and finally to be treated fair. Guys can count on the fact they will have ample opportunities to work on game play issues and if they are willing to put in the effort then there are not many places that are better to play madden.
9. What are one or two things that OMFL is doing that people may not know about?
I would say the first would be our draft show. I do a lot of homework and work with other owners to get as much draft information as possible to share with the league. We work really hard to have a great pre-draft and draft show as we go through and talk about picks, break down drafts and bring in callers to talk about their drafts and their picks as we do our draft. The other would be the fact that we are a true community with other games which we play together. From rocket league, to fifa, nba 2k and even wwe 2k. We are always looking to add more leagues, clans and teams so that this can be a one stop shop for anyone looking for a great community to be apart of. Lastly we also offer owners to bring over one carry over madden player which they drafted from the previous madden game. So if you drafted a really great rookie in M16, put in the work to build him up and want to bring him with you in M17 - you can! Lastly, we also have an OMFL Hall of Fame which consist of past members, board members and even commishes who have impacted and help create what we are today.
10. What's next for OMFL?
Continual growth as a community and growth as a league as we look for what out there is new which we can add or what can we create to make us different. We truly try to view this as a community, not just inside our small bubble, but Madden as a whole. We just play a small role in that community and anything we can do to promote the Madden community and the guys such as League Crawler or Daddy Leagues, then we want to do that. When the community is stronger then we will have stronger members.
Who are the top three members of OMFL?
Picking 3 is pretty tough. I have about 20 who I feel are all awesome dudes and recently (the last month) we have added some new additions who are old PC’ers which we are very excited about them being apart of our community.
DucksWTD17 - Was a major piece of our league in M16 and even though he had to leave us for a while due to life, he’s been a great board member in M17 and takes on a lot of small jobs to keep things going smoothly. He’s also ranked #1 in our chat program as the most active chat participant.
Kaoticx101 - My co-commish and the largest donor to our community. If it were not for him, we would have no website. Kaoticx works 7 days a week, 16 hours a day and some how squeezes in time to play and be a great board member. He’s also #2 in our chat program.
CMurder9611 - Our board member who takes care of scheduling. He goes above and beyond playing his games to participate in extra content and make sure that our games are being scheduled and played at a fast pace.
Any final comments?
I think you hit everything pretty well. Some history of the league is that in 2002-04 when Madden PC was at its hay-day, the OMFL had 4 leagues under its umbrella. We had OMFL, OMFL2, OMFL Custom (custom teams and players) and OMFL College (you could edit teams to be college teams). We also had a waiting list of over 100 people waiting to get into one of the leagues. We’ve been around since the days of ICQ, hosted servers, rocket catches and ip to ip connections. It’s been a fun ride and we’ve learned a lot from just what we did as a league and watching other successful leagues. Anyone looking to have someone host their league, clan or team in any genre of game could contact us. We offer a website, forums, chat program, blanket rules and will even help create their logo or graphics to help them get going.
Nate LeJeune - Commissioner