The Independent American Football League kicked off its inaugural season last year in 2018 and quickly gained popularity. Heading into 2019, the league is the largest of its kind in the country at 41 teams and recently changed its name to the Inter Active Football League, and for good reason.
The IAFL is on the cutting edge of improving this level of football with their upcoming release of StatMaster Semi-Pro, developed by IAFL President of Information Technology Dave Holt.
So what exactly is StatMaster?
“It’s an app that’s going to allow the different teams in our league to keep track of stats. Very easily, they can input stats for their team,” Holt told Developmental Football USA.
Every team has at least one of them – a guy that loves the game, but maybe isn’t athletically gifted enough to be a serious piece of the puzzle on the field, or maybe just a guy that just has strong interest in the game in a role besides a player.
“He can be the statistician and use an iPhone or Android to keep track of his teams stats in an easy-to-use interface,” Holt said.
This isn’t Holt’s first gadget or electronic contribution to football. Some old timers may recognize him as the creator of the first Macintosh football game in 1985 called Mac Pro Football.
“I’ve made simulation games and it allows fans in whatever particular genre, college or NFL, it allows fans and their buddies to fill out game plan sheets, then they enter that information into the program and it gives the results of the game to them,” Holt said. “I’ve had literally thousands of leagues use these and it’s turned out pretty big.”
After developing his craft longer than most people at this level have been alive, Holt’s latest gadget could truly revolutionize this level.
“I’ve been making these kinds of products since then,” Holt said. “I got in touch with (IAFL Founder) Tracey Rico and we started talking and I’ve been working on this app. Not only does it allow you to keep track of states per game, but it will allow you to do per season, lifetime and keep record books.”
In addition to keeping stats, the app will also allow fans to get more involved with the game itself, by calling plays.
“It looks like it’s going to be ready this week and there’s going to be more to talk about on this app, this is just ground floor,” Holt said. “I can’t release everything about it, but when we do, it is really truly a game changer.”
Organization and structure have been the Achilles heel of this level of football forever, but adding live stats can certainly help teams curb themselves into a more respectable product.
“This is a game changer for this level,” Holt said. “It allows teams to have what professional football has and one of the things that makes professional football what it is, is very good stat maintenance.
“When you look at an NFL game, you’d have no idea of how many people it takes to keep track of all the stats. Semi-pro can’t afford that, so i wanted to make it where an individual or a couple of them would be able to maintain stats for their teams.”
So how will one guy be expected to successfully keep live stats? A feat that typically takes a team of people.
“I try to think outside the box and think about the lowest common denominator,” Holt said. “That’s been the key to everything I’ve done and by doing things like that, I make it simple for people to use. When you look at an app, developers will use controls and tools they get out of the box to build something. Having programmed as long as I have, I’ve developed my own kind of tools and just made it easier to do things that one time, there was going to be like 25 different key presses for one play – can you imagine one guy trying to do that for one play? I’ve managed to get that down to about nine and that’s manageable.”
Its size, quality and almost daily live updates have already made the IAFL stand out among leagues at this level, but StatMaster has the potential to completely blow the roof off of the future of this league.
“We’re here to make the IAFL as good as we can,” Holt said. “We’re not in competition with the other leagues, but this will make us stand out, the fact that we have this organization.
“The thing about having an organization of this magnitude, there’s a lot of things this is going to do. What we want for the Inter Active Football League is to have organization, to have an app that gets rid of a lot of the work that an owner might do, or the commissioner of a league might do and it would allow on the team level for things to be more organized and I think we’re definitely headed down the right direction.”
Having less on an owner or commissioner’s plate allows for more time to tend to all the other items on their agenda, which should mean an increase in quality across the board.
“I love doing this stuff,” Holt said. “I’m a Christian man before everything – that’s how I live my life – and to be a part of semi-pro and help these young men and have a tool that these organizations can use, and not only that but to help mentor them in how to live life. God is the only thing that’s going to change this country.”
With any new gadget, there will be a learning phase as teams around the league learn to use it, but once they do – look out!
“There’s going to be a certain amount of, ‘hey, let’s do this right.’” Holt said. “This is important for the league. If you get in there and try to give someone too many yards or something, we’ll catch that eventually. If you get two guys side by side on their phones, checking one another, it makes this a piece of cake.”
Holt, 62, has seen this level change over the course of several decades, but hasn’t given up hope on what it could become.
“The thing with this level is there are a lot of good athletes,” Holt said. “Back in the 1960s, they would give pro guys a run for their money. Since then, the quality of athletes have changed that much. What I would like to see is for communities to embrace the teams, for them to clean up and be as professional as possible.
“What I have taken is the gift God has given me and taken that to help organize these leagues. If it weren’t for my supportive wife, Emma, I would not be able to spend the time it takes to make something like this happen. Semi-pro is huge and just a little organization, this little app can go a long way. I’m not a greedy person, I’m not out there trying to get rich off anyone. Tracey and I are the best of friends, he is an incredible human being and I couldn’t have gotten together with a better person to do this with.”