From scoring changes to award more points for yardage, two new expansion teams, the league's first general manager and old records falling by the wayside, the last ten years have seen plenty of changes in the YFFL. As the decade comes to close, Steve Dugas looks inside the numbers to determine which teams and players ruled the aughts.
When it came to postseason success, few teams could compete with the Snapdragons during the past decade. The Dragons appeared in the playoffs six times (tied with the Chickens) and amazingly made it all the way to the Super Bowl on five of those occasions. The Dragons were also the only team to win more than 1 Super Bowl during the decade (pending the results of Super Bowl XVII). With a shot at a fourth title this season, the Dragons are The Team of the Decade.
|TEAM||DIVISION TITLES||WILD CARDS||CONFERENCE TITLES||SUPER BOWLS|
Regular Season Records
The Chickens seem like a no-brainer when it comes to regular season dominance over the past decade. However, the final tally is much closer than you'd realize. The Dragons, Thugs and Huskers were all within just 6 wins of their total mark of 77. The Chickens also only mustered a single 10+ win season, which trailed 8 other teams, including the 52-win Memphis Brothers. With that said, you could never count the Chickens out during the decade. They sported both the best winning percentage and tied for the most number of winning seasons, finishing above .500 in 9 of the last 10 years.
|TEAM||WINNING PCT.||RECORD||10+ WIN SEASONS||WINNING SEASONS|
Big, bold and brash, the Chickens were no strangers to posting eye-popping numbers during the 2000's. They broke the 80-point mark in a game 6 times, including the league's first 100+ point effort during Week 10 in 2004. They would go on to score an incredible 867 points that year (66+ points per game), only to fall to the Merry Men 84-66 in one of the greatest YFFL games ever played. The Chickens broke the 700-point barrier two other times during the decade on their way to becoming the most intimidating team of the decade.
* In the ultimate year of the "Peyton Manning Curse", Manning threw for 44 TDs but couldn't get the Dragons into the playoffs. The decade's leading scorer was traded the very next year and the Dragons went on to three more Super Bowls. Manning hasn't been back since.
All-Decade Team (Total Points)
Drafted 5th overall in 2001 behind Michael Bennett, Garrison Hearst and Trent Green, few people realized that LaDainian Tomlinson would be the most dominant player of all-time at his position. While LT2 is finally starting to slow down, his 1,038 points at the RB position are nearly twice as many as his closest active competitor and his 222 point campaign in 2006 has been bested by only 4 other players (all QBs). That's why Tomlinson is The Player of the Decade and anchor of this all-star squad.
All-Decade Team (Season)
You'll find many familiar faces on this team as the All-Decade Team above, with one notable exception. A solid yet unspectacular performer his first four years in the league, Priest Holmes burst onto the scene in 2002 to score a then-record 190 points to lead the 12-1 Huskers (arguably the best single-season team of all-time) to a Super Bowl title. Holmes was notoriously absent from the Super Bowl lineup due to injury, but that doesn't take away from the heavy lifting he did all season long with 22 total TDs and nearly 2,000 combined yards.
|QB||Peyton Manning||2004||Dragons||3628 yds Passing, 44 TDs||286|
|RB||LaDainian Tomlinson||2006||Chickens||1324 yds Rush, 470 yds Rec, 28 TDs||222|
|RB/WR||Priest Holmes||2002||Huskers||1322 yds Rush, 634 yds Rec, 22 TDs||190|
|WR||Randy Moss||2007||Buddies||1129 yds Rec, 17 TDs||134|
|WR||Terrell Owens||2007||Chickens||1249 yds Rec, 14 TDs||122|
|TE||Antonio Gates||2004||Chickens||703 yds Rec, 11 TDs||84|
|K||Adam Vinatieri||2004||Refugees||28 FGs, 34 XPs||124|
|UT||Shaun Alexander||2005||Merry Men||1388 yds Rush, 52 yds Rec, 22 TDs||174|