The Florida Football Alliance (FFA) was founded in the mid-Spring of 2007 and officially incorporated as a non-profit entity with the State of Florida Division of Corporations on May 21, 2007. The league was the brainchild of founders Terrence Page, Christopher McIntosh, and Edrick Sweeting. All of whom remain on the FFA Board today with original board members Patricia Johnson and Paula McIntosh.
The FFA opened its inaugural season on January 19th, 2008 with four (4) games on-tap to begin an 11-week campaign that included twelve charter member teams divided into three separate divisions associated with their geographical location within the state of Florida:
Miami Magic City Bulls
Broward County Bears
East Coast Reapers
Treasure Coast Hornets
Daytona Beach Vikings
West Coast Bears
Polk County War Eagles
Fort Myers Spartans
Five (5) of the teams listed above, Bulls, Reapers, Gladiators, Spartans, and War Eagles, came over from the now defunct Southern States Football League (SSFL). The Bulls were coming off their first league championship in the SSFL. The Duval Panthers became a newly formed team after players from the First Coast Generals and the North Florida Rams merged into one organization. The Generals and Rams were previous members of the SSFL.
Of the original twelve charter member organizations, only three teams, Bulls, Reapers (now the Tri-County Soldiers), and Gladiators (now the Southwest Florida Gladiators), remain active in the league today. As of January of 2015, the Florida Falcons were still in operation and competing in the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL). After a five-year hiatus (2010-2014), the Polk County War Eagles reorganized and were set to compete in a another league of play for the Winter/Spring season of 2015.
Upon conclusion of an exciting first regular season, three teams, all champions of their respective divisions, finished undefeated and untied. A feat of which has not been accomplished in any other regular season since. However, it did mark the beginning of having at least one undefeated team in every regular season completed to date
The 2008 post-season first round playoff schedule opened with four wildcard teams: Reapers, Falcons, Broward County Bears, and West Coast Bears. They were accompanied by the East Division Champion Bulls and the North Division Champion Panthers.
The Gladiators were awarded a "bye" to the league's second round of playoffs the following week where they would take on the Florida Falcons who were 21-14 victors over the West Coast Bears in round one.
Upon claiming round one playoff victories, the Bulls and Panthers faced-off against each other in a hard fought contest that eventually resulted in a Magic City 14-10 victory.
Following a bye week, the league's signature event, "FFA Championship Weekend", kicked off on the Friday evening of May 2nd, in the beautiful City of Daytona Beach, Florida. It would eventually become a location that would play host to the event for years to come. The itinerary that weekend included a "meet-n-greet" affair on Friday evening, the Alliance Bowl Championship Game on Saturday, and concluded with the FFA Awards Banquet and All-Star Classic on Sunday. It is an event schedule that is maintained to this day.
In the inaugural Alliance Bowl Championship Game, the Bulls squared off agaisnt the Gladiators on May 3rd. The Bulls won, 30-18, claiming what would be the first of many FFA Titles to come.
By all accounts, the first season of the FFA was a great success and the league was poised to grow and improve in 2009, not only in the size of its membership, but from within the organization as well.
Highlights and lowlights of the 2008 season:
When all was said and done, the Bulls extended their consecutive games winning streak to 26 dating back to the opening of the SSFL regular season on January 13, 2007. The Orlando Outlaws however would find themselves on the opposite end of the winning spectrum by completing a regular season where they would never experience an on-field victory and thus begin a two year campaign where they would lose a league record 19 straight games. Their only taste of victory during that span would come in the way of a forfeit which was awarded on April 5th, 2008, versus the Daytona Beach Vikings.
The Bradenton Gladiators would score a league record 80 points in a single game versus the hapless Outlaws who were able to squeak-in 6 points by the time the smoke had cleared from the field. Bradenton's 74 point margin of victory along with the 80 points scored remain league records to this day.
Additionally, the Gladiators defense held their opponents to a league low 58 total points during the regular season, while by contrast the Fort Myers Spartans defense allowed their opponents a league high of 437 points. The Treasure Coast Hornets, who finished the regular season winless, scored a league low of 23 points the entire year. All three aforementioned feats are records that remain intact to date.
Posted below are the post-season results and regular season standings for 2008.
1st Round Playoffs ... 04/12/08
Duval Panthers 40, Broward County Bears 21
Florida Falcons 21, West Coast Bears 14
Miami Magic City Bulls 28, East Coast Reapers 6
2nd Round Playoffs ... 04/19/08
Bradenton Gladiators 37, Florida Falcons 13
Miami Magic City Bulls 14, Duval Panthers 10
Alliance Bowl-I Championship ... 05/03/08
Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium
Daytona Beach, FL
Miami Magic City Bulls 30, Bradenton Gladiators 13
2008 FFA Standings