As Champions Indoor Football definitely has a new feel to it. Smaller league, two divisions, expansion franchises. But the changes impacts the players as well, creating an odd question for CIF fans: who is the top quarterback of the league? This is a big question as quarterbacks are always a household name, regardless of which league they’re in. That plays into marketing of the team, the stability and success of your offense, a role often attached to locker room leaders and much more. The CIF lost some of their best slingers as teams left the league. In Bismarck, the team used multiple quarterbacks, so that one isn’t as big of a deal. The other team to jump to Indoor Football League, the Quad City Steamrollers, definitely took with them a great player in EJ Hilliard. He was six yards shy of 2,000 in the air with an amazing 48-5 touchdown to interception ratio. He added another 12 scores on the ground.
It is unclear what Kansas City will do for next season, but they aren’t on the CIF schedule. That means their QB Donovan Portiere will not be immediately in the league either. The Phantom led the league in completions, attempts and yards per game last season. His knock was that he also led the CIF in interceptions as well. Liam Nadler statistically was not the best quarterback in the league, but helped lead his Sioux City Bandits to the championship game last year. He was signed by the Jacksonville Sharks in the NAL and will be going heads up for the starting gig against last year’s IFL stat leader Jake Medlock. With those studs gone, we start identifying who is the best remaining quarterbacks under the assumption that the teams will retain their top quarterback. Let’s start with the CIF champ Caleb Holbrook. He threw for 2,756 yards, the most of any quarterback in the league. The former OPSU Aggie has only one multi-interception game in the CIF, but lost five of nine fumbles last season. Holbrook definitely has a recognizable name and won numerous Offensive Player of the Week awards before winning a championship with Duke City. He has won a lot too, but there are rumors that he may retire after winning it all last year. His retirement would be a big blow to the Gladiators and the CIF. Another potential quarterback headliner is Salina’s Derrick Bernard. When taking out Portiere, Hilliard and Nadler, Bernard becomes a top three quarterback statistically. Bernard is a quarterback of momentum. When he’s at home and the Liberty is winning, he is one of the league’s best. Bernard completed 61.7 percent of his passes in wins compared to just 43 percent in losses. At home, he had a 6 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio. That shrunk down to 2 to 1 on the road. The flip on that is that he has a star personality. The guy makes the game fun, positively reacts to the fans and seems to know what it takes to promote the sport at this level. He is easily one of the most marketable players in the CIF and to see how he fits into the promotion of the Liberty next season will be exciting in its own way. But I think the star that they have right now comes from the Amarillo Venom. Nate Davis took home first team all-CIF last season at the quarterback spot, finishing 203-373 and a league leading 56 touchdowns. The former Ball State Cardinal and San Francisco 49er, had some ups and downs in his professional career, but seems to have found a home in Amarillo. Davis is one of the rare players in indoor football as he stuck with the Venom as they transitioned from the Lonestar Football Conference into the CIF. However he hasn’t won a championship since that league jump, and only made the Champions Bowl once. Once again, this is based on the assumption that these players will return and that no new stars are signed with another team in the league. The sky is the limit in the CIF, a perfect place for the league to find their star.