China’s 2015/2016 AFLC Playoffs Schedule & Format Released

With all teams in the AFLC (American Football League of China) fighting for early season position in the 2015 season, they now have a clearer view of what lies ahead as the league announces the playoff structure, with the first round of playoffs on Saturday November 14th, followed by the 2nd round on November 28th, with a 3rd round on December 12th before the National Final on Saturday, January 16th 2016.

China - Nighthawks win 2014 title

The Shanghai Nighthawks won the 2014 AFLC title

This year, the playoffs will have a 10-team berth, meaning that all teams in the league will feature in at least one post-season game this year – the top 6 teams will avoid the first round of playoffs though, meaning that the bottom four teams from the season will still have a chance at the title, but will have a longer road to get there. In each round, the highest seed for each game will be the hosts and get the advantage of home field.

Commenting on the playoff structure, AFLC league commissioner Chris MacLaurin said

“The AFLC leadership committee decided that this year’s playoff structure would be more inclusive of teams who may not have performed well in the first few weeks of the season. Thus, all teams have the opportunity to benefit from the playoff buzz, showcase what they’ve learned after a season in the league and compete in a win-or-go-home game scenario.”

China - playoff structure

In describing the criteria for choosing between tied teams, he added:

“In order to settle any issues with teams with a tied record, the new tie-breaker scenario that will apply to the entire season is as follows” (in order of priority):

1. Head-to-Head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the teams)
2. Best won-lost-tied within a team’s division
3. Strength of victory (Winning percentage of teams beaten)
4. Strength of a team’s schedule (Winning percentage of all teams played)
5. Point differential (with a maximum of 21 points net difference)
6. A coin toss between teams (if everything else is identical)

When asked about the timespan of the playoffs and heading into January, MacLaurin added:

“This year’s playoff dates extend the season so that there is more time dedicated to preparing and promoting AFLC teams, while also leading up nicely to NFL’s Super Bowl 50 game and Chinese New Year”.

China - game poster

After 3 weeks, the top teams in the North are the Shanghai Warriors and the current champions, the Shanghai Nighthawks – both with a 2-0 record – while the South division is currently being led by the Hong Kong Cobras, by merit of having one extra game played (3-0), with the Hong Kong Warhawks the only other team with a perfect record (2-0). The two teams face each other in week 4 on the 17th October in a widely anticipated match.

If the playoffs were to happen tomorrow, the current standings would be:

1. Hong Kong Cobras
2. Hong Kong Warhawks
3. Shanghai Warriors
4. Shanghai Nighthawks
5. Guangzhou Tigers
6. Shanghai Titans
7. Chengdu Pandamen
8. Guangzhou Apaches
9. Chongqing Dockers
10. Hong Kong Combat Orcas

To find out more about football in China, continue to follow American Football International, and also look for ‘Life in the Huddle’, available via the WeChat app for iOS and Android.

Allan was the Presenter and Co-Producer of Gridiron TV for 4 years, and also spent 10 years playing football in the UK, both at university & adult level, with 107 combined games in his career (on offense, defense and special teams). Allan is now