The Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) is the largest minor professional football league in the country with over 140 teams including teams in Canada. The championship format of the league is set up much like the NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournament. 32 teams make the playoffs, 16 per side, with all division winners earning an automatic bid with the next eight spots in each conference going to the teams based on records and tie-breakers where they apply. The Chambersburg Cardinals won their 13th minor league football title and first GDFL title in 2011 defeating the Oklahoma Thunder in Atlanta, GA last October. The loss snapped the Thunder’s 53-game winning streak, their franchise’s first loss since it began operation in 2009. Total Sports Coverage covered the 2011 GDFL National Championship game. The Carolina Warriors out of Charlotte, NC were the 2010 GDFL National Champions.
The GDFL is embarking on its third season of operation and with that came expansion in 2012. The GDFL went West adding teams in California and Nevada and formed an affiliation with the LCFL. In light of this expansion the GDFL West/LCFL champion will face the GDFL’s Xtreme/Impact Conference winner to determine the 2012 GDFL National Champion. This will only be for the 2012 season due to the difference in scheduling as far as the GDFL West/LCFL and Xtreme/Impact Conferences are concerned. The GDFL West/LCFL teams kicked off their season this past weekend, March 24th, whereas the GDFL’s Xtreme and Impact Conferences will not open their season until June 2nd. Going forward into 2013 the LCFL naming rights will be obtained fully by the GDFL as a member and not affiliation and the schedules will align to begin in June of 2013.
The league office consist of President and CEO Charles Thompson, Vice President of Operations Tracy Harden-Scott , Xtreme Conference Director Reggie Davis and Impact Conference Director Kendrick Johnson. Each division within the GDFL will have a Director of Operations who reports directly to the league office on all matters and will be named at a later date.
President and CEO Charles Thompson said about the outlook on the 2012 season. “I feel pretty good going into 2012, we’ve met all of our current [business] goals and now we are working toward making 2012 a success.” Thompson added, ” As far as football we are strong, we have added several minor league champions from other leagues as well as those teams we’ve added out West through our affiliation with the LCFL. Bringing these teams into the GDFL gives it another dynamic on the landscape of minor league football and we feel we can crown a true minor league football champion.”
So why is the GDFL something people want to be apart of after only three years of operation? “The national presence of the GDFL is a major attraction to our league. Teams and franchises want to be apart of a league with a national presence, organized with goals and have a solid working business plan in place that in turn will allow everyone to succeed in the business of minor league football”, Thompson stated.
With the football competition on the field and business model that was on display by many in the league last season, especially by the National Championship game participants in the Chambersburg Cardinals and Oklahoma Thunder, the future is looking bright for the GDFL.