by Charles Thompson


MEMPHIS, TN  Whoever said, Success breeds contempt, should receive royalties for the consistent relevance of the quote. The Gridiron Developmental Football League is closing its 7th season after yet another memorable championship, watched by thousands via Facebook live. The on-field success of the GDFL is often debated but, the success of the member franchises speaks to the benefit of membership.

When it comes to semi-pro, minor league or developmental football, no league polarizes discussions and arguments quite like this one. From former staffers, disgruntled coaches, now non-existent teams and more, the vitriol aimed at the league is palpable. Each endeavors to blow the GDFL cover with baseless and factless claims. Charles Thompson, the Chairman of the GDFL, is committed to building a top notch league. He is also the first to admit that things are not perfect and there is much work to do. After Gridiron Bowl 7, Thompson continues to put the pieces in place for the GDFL to have abounding success.

The GDFL has lost several teams in recent years. What remains, is what Thompson believes is a core of committed and dedicated owners, who believe in the One Direction motto of the league. The noise from outside the GDFL family is usually indistinct and good for social media. The league welcomes the chatter. More importantly, the league welcomes the eyes, the opinions, and the hate from the fallen few, who could not survive in the humid climate of the GDFL.

Thompson chooses to focus on the teams and draws strength from them. Its the pride of the newly formed Lee County Tiger-Cats, the fire of the Marvel City Tigers and the guts of the Georgia Crush that fuel the GDFL. While detractors aim for Thompson, they miss the work supporting his platform done by the franchises within the league. The GDFL landscape changes yearly but, the league presses on. In fact, not every team can ride this ride. As old members, freelancers and associates fade into the abyss, the echoes of their discontent are the only remnant of what was once gridiron glory. #WEAREGDFL