Madden 2007

Madden 2010

NFL 2K5

Milestone Games in XBFL History

NFL 2K3

History of the XBFL

You will simply not find a more comprehensive set of rules and guidelines anywhere than what the XBFL has created.  The rules and guidelines that the XBFL has put together are paramount to the quality of gameplay within this league.  Other leagues have modeled their structure after the XBFL as it covers nearly every basis to ensure top quality gaming amongst members.  In this respect, The XBFL is the true pioneer in online league play over Xbox Live.

In your web searches, you undoubtedly have come across other online football leagues and are probably asking yourself which would be the best for you.  While there are larger and more hi-tech leagues out there, they fall prey to membership woes that come with having large rosters and multiple leagues.  In other words, the larger the league, the increased likelihood of membership problems and decreased quality of gameplay will occur.  Countless online football league operations have failed since the XBFL began back in early 2002, but we continue to progress each season.  In the XBFL, we target a specific number of players per league each season in order to reduce the the likelihood of drop-outs, discontent, and negative issues involving sim-competition.

A fairly good analogy to compare the XBFL with other online leagues is this: Would you prefer to live in a large subdivision where you may or may not like your neighbor, or, a gated community where you know the people around you pretty much want the same thing and follow the same protocol set forth by a governing body?  The XBFL is that "gated community."

Since the XBFL's inception in 2002, the League has had over 250 members, however, the turnover had been tremendous early on as individuals were either unable to honor the rules set forth by the League and quit, or they simply refused to abide by them and were let go.  Since the XBFL's very first season in 2002, this league has retained only the best, which figures to be around 10-14% of the gross membership.  Only the most reliable, dedicated, and sportsmanlike participants are invited back each season.  Many members of the XBFL have been with this league for over 10 years which is unheard of in other “premier leagues.”  Membership within the XBFL is not a given, but is considered a privilege.  The rules are fairly strict within the XBFL, however, to the true sportsman, they shouldn't be any other way.  If you have played online in random pickup games, you have more than likely experienced people who try to bend rules, don't play a realistic game of football, and/or attempt to exploit every reality flaw found in the game. This is not fun, and as a result, many hardcore (and casual) gamers turn to league play where they can hook-up with gamers who desire the same thing: sim-style football.

One of the essential requirements to participate in this league is having respect for other League members.  The XBFL seeks out quality players with some degree of skill in football games and who would be considered a "sportsman;" that is, one who personifies an individual who follows the code of respecting their competitor and League values, and who believes in setting a standard on how others should act and play during competition.  If you feel that you fit this bill, then we encourage you to visit the Registration Page and complete the membership request form.  However, we ask that you first read the Rules & Guidelines page for a more thorough description of what is expected from league members and what they should expect in return from the XBFL.

The primary focus of the XBFL is quality of membership. Because of this, the XBFL does not strive to be the biggest online football league in Cyberspace.  As a result, availability is limited within the current divisions.  In most cases when open enrollment isn't available, new registrants are placed on a standby list should an existing member leave for personal or conduct-related reasons. Standbys are called up when a team becomes available, and are then invited to join the League at that moment if they wish to.  More information on the operations of the XBFL can be found throughout this website, and it is advised that all visitors to check them out before submitting any sort of request for membership.

Thank you for visiting the XBFL, one of the longest running and most successful sim-leagues supporting the Microsoft Xbox platforms.

 
XBFL History

  1. 2002: The Commissioner is chosen for the Xbox Live first-wave Beta Tester team and experiences ridiculously un-sim-like games playing NFL Fever against other testers. One gamer in particular ran Ricky Williams in 26 out of 28 total offensive plays - sparking the idea of creating an online league for gamers who believe that video game football should be played the way it is in real life.

  2. The XBFL Commissioner works with Microsoft, Linksys and a large telecommunications company to identify the ideal router configurations to optimize gameplay over the brand new Xbox Live service.

  3. The Xbox Football League is officially formed in mid-to-late 2002 where a Yahoo! Forum is used for communication purposes.  The Website is hosted by Geocities - and an extremely comprehensive set of rules becomes the governing body that all members are to follow. NFL 2K3 is the game of choice for all XBFL competition.

  4. Demand is overwhelming from "alleged sim-gamers” and 64 individuals are selected out of over 200+ applicants for the first two seasons. Two divisions run nearly simultaneously for the first time in XBFL history. Turnover in membership is excessive as individuals are let go due to their inability to maintain the sim-code of conduct. Standout members begin contributing to the XBFL Rulebook with the identification of loopholes, cheats and exploitations found in the game - thus enhancing the overall sim-gaming experience, and camaraderie between members.  Rival leagues begin to copy the XBFL's exact format, but stern copyright notices end that quickly.  The XBFL "brand" begins to make its name known throughout the gaming community.

  5. The XBFL is recognized by both ESPN (before they were affiliated with 2K Football) and Sega of America for being one of the first and most successful online football leagues on the Xbox.

  6. At the conclusion of Seasons 1 and 2, the best sim-players from both are combined for Season 3.


  1. 2003: Demand still remains high for acceptance into the XBFL due to word of mouth and a rise to the top of popular search engines. Defectors from other online leagues join the XBFL, but the demand becomes too much to accommodate. An extensive standby list is created in the event that vacancies occur within the existing membership.  Unfortunately, demand for membership far exceeds availability.

  2. The XBFL re-designs its Website.

  3. NFL2K4 hits store shelves and despite an overly embellished running game, the XBFL has its best season in terms of quality gaming and member participation. Only one season for NFL 2K4 is played due to the flawed running game.

  4. The XBFL expands to a different sport: Tennis.  A Top Spin league is created complete with tournament schedules and a short rulebook to ensure sim-gameplay from all members.  The league lasts one year as interest eventually wanes.  Two XBFL football members participate, though one would finish the season undefeated.


  1. 2004: The XBFL adopts the online league functionality of NFL 2K5 much to the excitement of both veteran and rookie members.  New rules are needed to curb unrealistic online player trading, and much time is spent resolving Xbox Live compatibility issues with NFL 2K5 (i.e. divergence errors). While auto stat tracking is applauded, other technical issues create complications to the overall flow of Season 5.

  2. The XBFL re-designs its Website once again, and moves to a new host.  TheXBFL.com domain name is purchased.

  3. EA Sports announces their acquisition of the NFL license, thus putting an end to the NFL 2K series which the XBFL had endorsed for three years. Numerous members express their outrage towards EA Sports and declare the final XBFL 2K5 season to be their last with regard to football gaming.



  1. 2005: The XBFL announces that it will no longer conduct league play using the original Xbox console, and will be making the switch to gaming on the Xbox 360.  The XBFL takes its first season off out of protest of the inferior, and completely unacceptable Madden 2006 product delivered by EA Sports.



  1. 2006: The XBFL prepares for a new season using a Madden title for the first time.  The league Website is completely redesigned, with minor adjustments to the rules and guidelines being made to accommodate Madden 2007. The XBFL downsizes in terms of membership to ensure a quality platform from which to build upon.



  1. 2007:  The XBFL completes its fall and spring seasons with Madden 2007.   Several veteran members decline their invitation to participate in the spring season due to their dissatisfaction with Madden 2007.  Numerous "glitches" had been reported with Madden, many of which influenced the outcome of games.  A post-season satisfaction survey revealed a score of 6.0 out of a possible 10.  Many players were very critical of issues surrounding the gameplay experienced in Madden 2007.



  1. 2007-2008:  The XBFL returns to its roots by running 2K Sports' latest football title, All-Pro Football 2K8.  This also marked the first time The XBFL hosted a live draft for player selections.  Despite superior gameplay, many glitches with the "cloned" online-league Web pages (i.e. 2K hockey pages with 2K football graphics) and divergence errors detracted from what would have otherwise been a very good season.  Replay value suffered without having active NFL rosters, and interest in the Spring Season was not as strong as they were in previous years. APFB2K8 received a satisfaction score of 7.0 with the highest praise being the game's playability and customization.  Nearly all XBFL members criticized APFB's relatively weak legendary roster and noted that the "generic players" were almost useless on offense.



  1. 2008: The XBFL distributes it's annual Satisfaction Survey, but this time, seeking a greater level of detail for ways to improve the league. Members share excellent ideas across the board, all of which are taken into consideration and most of which were put into action. The XBFL re-introduces a member message board, improves the format and content of league-newsletters, and will for the second time in the league's history, manages two leagues simultaneously in the Fall to accommodate supporters of both 2K Football and Madden. The APFB League is classified as a "Dynasty League;"  Team composition is made up of past or present NFL team rosters consistent with the team being drafted (e.g. the 1998 Minnesota Vikings will have custom players created to match that roster year).  Members also volunteer their time to provide value-added services, including the appointing of a new Commissioner of Madden Operations.  



  1. 2009:  The XBFL finishes its run with 2K Sports and All Pro Football 2K8 in 2009 and announces no plans to continue supporting 2K football titles in the foreseeable future.  The XBFL Hall of Fame is finally resurrected and details the outstanding achievements of both former and current members of the league since 2002.  The XBFL issues its annual satisfaction survey and finds that members still want more of a connection with the league and their peers. As a result, a re-designed newsletter is issued on a weekly basis featuring articles written by league members - articles that include gaming predictions, summaries and highlights of league activity.  Tentative plans are made to have the Spring 2010 Season be a "Fantasy League" using EA's new online draft feature in Madden 10.

  2. The XBFL redesigns its Website for the fifth time.  Enhancements include improved archiving, navigation, and news reporting features.



  1. 2010:  The XBFL further upgrades its message board and newsletter offerings to current members.

  2. The XBFL begins its fall season late due to the series of patches and updates EA Sports was distributing to rectify a number of problems ranging from unreliable server connections to excessive player injuries.  Despite the alleged fixes, The XBFL continues to experience an unprecedented number of questionable injuries that plagued many teams throughout the regular season - most notably broken collarbones.  Many XBFL members express their displeasure and frustrations with Madden 11, prompting several to take a leave of absence during the spring season, thus reducing the number of participants considerably.

  3. More game errors are identified in Madden 11, some of which are game-breakers that negatively affect the outcome of a few games.  Several members once again express their dissatisfaction with Madden football.

  4. For the first time in league history, The XBFL continues the fall NFL season with a rookie draft and operates under an accelerated two-game-per-week schedule.  Additionally, The XBFL runs its second Fantasy Football League at the same time, also operating with an accelerated schedule.

  5. The XBFL files an official complaint against a major Web Service Provider for hosting copyrighted material owned by the XBFL and used without permission.  Just prior to legal action being taken, the Web Host removes the copyrighted material from their servers.  This marks the third time the XBFL has had to take action against copyright violators.

  6. For the first time in league history, an “unofficial champion” is declared.  Both finalists in the second annual XBFL Fantasy League are unable to complete their final game without being disconnected from EA’s servers.  After numerous attempts are made (unsuccessfully), one of the finalists concedes the title game due to him being behind in the score in a majority of their attempts.



  1. 2011:  The XBFL begins its 19th season and enlists seven “rookies” to the league, the largest number of new recruits in a single season since 2007.

  2. Six of the seven rookies are eventually removed from the league due to their inability to honor the league conduct policies.

  3. A new team drafting system is put into place that rewards tenured players based on the years of participation they’ve had in the league.

  4. Madden 12 continues to disappoint a number of veteran players, while others feel that some aspects were an improvement over Madden 11.

  5. Newsletter distribution remains unchanged from the previous year.

  6. The XBFL launches the Fantasy League nearly four months earlier than previous seasons, and runs along side the more prestigious “NFL format” league for nearly three months.

  7. The XBFL concludes all Madden 12 league activity in March and begins preparations for the league’s 10th year in operation.



  1. 2012:  The XBFL celebrates its 10th year in operation.  The XBFL was “officially” founded in January 2002 and was the very first nationally organized online football league using Xbox Live.  This milestone also makes The XBFL the longest running organized football league over Xbox Live as well.

  2. Due to declining interest in Madden Football (for a number of reasons involving flawed gameplay), The XBFL discusses expansion plans with a long-time veteran of the league to promote another competitive football offering: NCAA Football.

  3. The NCAA Football league is green-lit and officially kicks off in July 2012, approximately two weeks after the game is released.  It is managed by long-time XBFL veteran, Lord Nelson.

  4. The XBFL NCAA Football 12 league is successful and captures the interest of some existing XBFL members, as well as new recruits not associated with the league.

  5. TheXBFL.com is updated to incorporate the new league using EA Sports’ NCAA Football.

  6. Positive feedback spreads about the XBFL NCAA League, and with NCAA Football 13, operates at capacity.

  7. Using an accelerated scheduling system, the NCAA League wraps up five consecutive seasons in 2012, with more to come in 2013.

  8. 2013: The XBFL finishes its 21st and 22nd seasons, ending on a continuation of the popular fall season (NFL format) complete with rookie draft. 

  9. Three seasons ran during The XBFL’s time with Madden 13: Fall NFL Season, Winter Fantasy Season, Winter/Spring NFL Season (continuation of the fall NFL season).

  10. Two rookies from the fall season were added to the permanent roster.

  11. Quarterly newsletters received praise by members of the league and will continue for the foreseeable future.

  12. The Commissioner announces that Madden 25 will be the final season supporting the Xbox 360 console.  Future seasons will be managed using the forthcoming Xbox One.

  13. Major announcement is made at the conclusion of the 24th season where the long time XBFL Commissioner and league founder will be stepping down from day-to-day admin duties and will be turning over the position to a veteran member of the league.  Additionally, a second commissioner will be appointed to head the “pilot” Madden 25 league on Xbox One.

  14. The XBFL NCAA League runs 10 consecutive seasons with NCAA Football 13, only to finish in time for the release of NCAA Football 14.  The majority of participants remain with the league for its entire run.

  15. The XBFL Commissioners announce that there are plans to incorporate social media for both Madden 25 and NCAA Football 14 to promote the league as well as improve efficiency in distributing news and updates to fellow members.

  16. For the first time in 10 years, The XBFL hosts a full 32-man league for the fall season.  The long-standing record books are shattered, and the season concludes in one of the most exciting championship games to date.

  17. The XBFL runs its very first league on the Xbox One.  The XBFL’s Fantasy Season runs on the new next-gen console in what was dubbed as a “Pilot Test.”  Madden 25 on Xbox One was rushed to market and proved to be one of the worse Madden games to date.



  1. 2014: The XBFL makes the difficult decision to cease support of the Xbox 360 in favor of the Xbox One, thus losing a fairly significant number of veteran members for the foreseeable future. 

  2. EA Sports announces that they no longer continue development of NCAA Football games.  While XBFL members still participate in NCAA Football 14 competition, the league no longer promotes it.

  3. Open enrollments are no longer held at the start of the season, instead opting for a ‘recruits-by-referral-only” system.

  4. After 18 consecutive seasons, The XBFL closes down the NCAA Football 14 league.

  5. Due to the relatively low adoption rate of the Xbox One, The XBFL signs on seven new rookie players to the league.

  6. The XBFL runs its 24th season (NFL format) using Madden 15.

  7. Longtime veteran member Meaker wins his sixth XBFL Championship in Season 24; the second of which came with an undefeated season.



  1. 2015: The XBFL runs a continuation of Season 24 complete with rookie player draft.  The spring season is dubbed “Season 24.1.”

  2. Of the seven new rookie players that participated in Season 24/Season 24.1, only a couple are invited to return for the Madden 16 league that will start in the fall of 2015.

  3. The XBFL’s 25th season begins in September 2015.  While dubbed “Season 25,” there have actually been 28 seasons to this point.

  4. Xbox One adoption is still relatively low and a number of veteran players continue to miss out on league play.  New recruits are added to the league.

  5. The XBFL sees one of its best Madden recruiting periods since 2007 with referrals coming from all over the sports gaming scene.

  6. One of the XBFL’s biggest rookie classes takes shape for Season 25 using Madden 16.

  7. The XBFL utilizes GroupMe as its method of chat for members.

  8. The XBFL blacklists two players in Season 25 leading to their expulsion from the league for flagrant violations of the league’s conduct policies.  This is the first blacklisting since Season 2 (2003).  Blacklisting only occurs when conduct is such that it is detrimental to not only the league, but the online sports-gaming community in general.

  9. The XBFL sees its sixth different coach complete the regular season with an undefeated record; this year, from a rookie member.  The undefeated team eventually falls in the Conference Championship.

  10. For the first time in several years, two new teams make it to the Championship Game.  It is a first time for both head coaches.

  11. Coach LOCKNLOAD WEEZ wins his first XBFL Championship.  It was his first appearance in a fall season title game.

 

  1. 2016: The XBFL kicks off the Winter Season with a Madden Fantasy Football league complete with live draft. 

  2. The XBFL continues its Fall Madden 16 Season into a second season that will run concurrently with the Fantasy League.

Welcome to the XBFL, the XBox Football League - one of the very first and longest running online football leagues supporting the Xbox family of consoles.  The purpose of this League is to provide fans of Xbox football a forum where online competitors can get together and compete in an organized fashion that only league play can offer.

Why participate in the XBFL?  The founder of the XBFL has extensive experience with managing sports sim-leagues dating back to the early 90's with the original John Madden Football on Sega Genesis and Nascar Racing (Sierra/Papyrus) groups on the PC.  With the XBFL, he utilizes his knowledge and experience to provide some of the best online gaming experiences one can have with regards to playing sim-football over Xbox Live.