OFL Football

The Off-Season Football League (OFL) was founded in 1982 as a Salary Structured, 12-team, play-by-mail APBA league by Harvey Delery, Sr. Fresh off a successful inaugural season the OFL expanded to a 16-team league for its sophomore year in 1983. Two years later the League was rocked with a mid-season exodus of seven of its Coaches, including its Founder. The remaining Coaches resurrected the OFL and it emerged stronger than ever to start the '86 season.

We've never looked back since, perhaps adding credence to the proverbial "no pain, no gain". The original two-conference format with 6 teams each was realigned, following the '83 Expansion, to two conferences, each with two divisions, comprised of 4 teams per division. For the 1999 season the League again expanded, adding one team to each of the four divisions. With the OFL about to Kickoff it's 39th season in April 2020 we've evolved to a 20-team League requiring members have a passion for completing a 16-game weekly schedule.

As our name implies, the OFL season is played during the NFL's "off-season". Our regular season runs from April thru July with each team playing four games each month- with a 2-week window to accommodate the Memorial Day & July 4th Holidays. Two division winners & two wild-cards from each conference make the playoffs and they compete from August thru the Fall for the bragging rights that go along with wearing "A Ring" as OFL Super Bowl Champions.

To earn that coveted title an OFL owner musters all his GM skills to prepare for an annual Rookie Draft, signing players to contracts, bidding on players in Free Agency, combing the waiver wire for untapped nuggets, and all the while trying to squeeze out a payroll within the limits of his team treasury. Sandwiched around all those other activities we offer trading from August thru the 2nd week of March. Building and maintaining a competitive football team is a year-round hobby in the OFL that demands balancing player contract demands against a finite amount of money. No, the OFL does not impose a "salary cap" in the sense the NFL does. We have a much better system! There is a fixed sum of money that flows into the OFL coffers each year and if your players demand larger chunks of it, well then, you're going to have to give up something in the way of draft picks or players to acquire that extra cash.

Every player is under contract for 1 to 5 years. When that contract expires he goes thru Free Agency, yet owning teams have the right to match any Bid, if they can afford it. Teams earn money three basic ways: The largest chunk, 40% worth, is earned with punctual compliance with year-round deadlines. When you're late you suffer from a unique double-edged sword. Not only don't you earn your deadline Bonus, we whack your team treasury with a Fine to boot! Another 35% is earned based on your W-L record & divisional finish in comparison to your peers in the other 3 divisions. So going "into the tank" near the end of dismal season, while bolstering your draft position, will cost you in your Financial Season Award. Each team's final 25% is absolutely guaranteed thru a TV Contract Award. (Sound familiar?) Teams can also earn an additional 10% with contributions to the OFL's Newsletter, which by all objective standards is "the best darn Newsletter you'll ever read." It averages about 15 pages. Since August of 2000 we’ve been emailing it to league members, and the previous issues are always available on our slack site.

Contributions to the monthly Newsletter are eagerly sought from every Coach. Each enjoys the same rights & privileges as everyone else. Coaches are encouraged to submit articles of interest, as well as amendment proposals and each has the right to vote on all league issues. You'll not find an “Executive Council", nor "Rules Committee", that screens (censors?) fresh ideas or requires "preliminary approval", in the OFL. Not now, not ever. Some of out best rules & policies were born the efforts of our newest Coaches

Fielding a team with a legitimate shot at the playoffs year in and year out takes a lot more skill in the OFL than just knowing the nuances of "Action PC" and assembling as many 8, 9 & 10 rated players as you can. We employ strict Major Fatigue that essentially limit the RB's, QB's & Receivers to their actual effectiveness for that season. At the same time we offer generous roster flexibility rarely found in organized leagues that allows you to field a team fitting your philosophy. Our season is a full two years behind the NFL's so GM's do have the luxury of 20-20 hindsight, with many of their personnel decisions. (Our 2020 season that starts in April uses the 2018 NFL team disk.)

That can be just as much a blessing as a curse the day of the Rookie Draft, though overall, NFL Draftniks will love the opportunities the OFL Rookie Draft offer you. Should you prefer George Allen’s "Future Is Now" school, no problem. You're afforded the ability to trade away those draft picks for proven veterans, and there is always Free Agent bidding to lure Mercenaries to your team. Whatever works best for you is all that matters, and most importantly what provides you with the most fun & enjoyment, within your available time.

We began as an APBA Board league in 1982, evolved to Board/Computer in 1993, moving to APBA Computer only in 1996 which greatly reduced the workload. Beginning with the 2000 OFL season we switched from APBA to Action PC. Play it face-to-face, live via the Internet.

Twelve of our current Coaches have been with us for at least 5 full seasons, with ten of those enjoying 10+ years of service, including one since 1986 and one Original Member. That stable core of experience shines brightly throughout the entire OFL format. From our trademark Salary Structure & Free Agency to our immensely effective manner in which rules are discussed and voted upon and our informative newsletters to our new Slack Site communication abounds.

Eager to tackle the demanding, yet very satisfying, task of owning an OFL franchise? Sincerely interested in becoming a Backup Coach in the event that any vacancy opens up? The OFL is always on the lookout for mature, honest, responsible, football enthusiasts seeking a long-term relationship that stresses fun & friendship foremost. Most of the long time members have met face to face even if they live in different countries! We're not just another Action PC Football League. Since 1982 we've been a cornerstone for others to emulate. We offer it all.

If sharing the challenges & rewards unique to the OFL's format, which require you to be a complete GM & Coach, are what you've been searching for, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact our Commissioner, Colin Swanston at colinswanston@gmail.com