Can the Madison Radicals Bounce Back from a Mediocre Season?

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Photo used with permission from Tim DeByl, Madison Radicals Facebook

Conner Derr

The state of Wisconsin has been blessed with good sports teams as of late. The Packers, Bucks, Brewers, and Badgers Athletics all have been good, if not great, for the last decade. Little do people know, there is another great team in Wisconsin, and they are the Madison Radicals.

In 2018, the Madison Radicals won the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) championship. That was their first championship, and it was well overdue. The team was formed in 2012 but played their first season in 2013, and they have won their division every single year up to 2018. They were a force to be with heading into the 2019 season, with a combined regular-season record of 76-10 between 2013 and 2018. At the preseason power rankings, they were second on that list, only behind the New York Empire. To say the 2019 season was a disappointment is an understatement. The team finished with a record of 6-6, by far the worst record they have ever had, and missed the playoffs for the first time. The reason was that “we hadn’t worked hard enough after the 2018 championship. We lost the chip on our shoulder” says Tim DeByl, the GM and Head Coach of the Madison Radicals.

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Since the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19, the team has to look forward to the 2021 season. Tim DeByl spoke about the league’s plan for a 2021 season, assuming there wasn’t a cure for COVID-19 yet. He said, “The AUDL has been updating us monthly in the 2021 season. They hired a new Chief Medical Officer, Christina Chung, to work on protocols for the 2021 season. It’s not clear we will be able to have a regular season, but the league is working on a bunch of options for 2021 including a bubble concept.”

The league has made some drafts for some protocols, according to DeByl, for the teams to follow if there were a 2021 season. Some of those protocols are…

  • If you had COVID-19 you must get checked out by a doctor before returning to the field (cardio issues)
  • All players must fill out a contact form and current health questionnaire before practice or game
  • Temperature checks at every practice or game.
  • Masks must be worn when, not on the playing field

Half of the players from the championship-winning season are planning to return for the 2021 season. After the mediocre 2019 season, Tim DeByl says “[In 2021] we want to get back on the field and prove we are a top team in this league. [And the] players became rededicated to the idea of making it back to Championship Weekend”. The 2021 season will be tough though, as they will struggle to make a good team dynamic because coaches and players won’t be able to spend much time together before the season. The other teams in the Central Division have gotten better, except for the Detroit Mechanix as they have lost 38 games straight, meaning they have not won since April 29th, 2017. The team that Tim DeByl believes will be the most challenging team to face is the Minnesota Wind Chill, who are sixth in the AUDLs power rankings for the early 2021 season. 

The upcoming 2021 season is crucial to the Madison Radicals dynasty, as being able to bounce back from a humiliating season is proof that the team is committed. The Patriots won the Superbowl in the 2001-2002 season, then went 9-7 to miss the playoffs in the 2002-2003 season. And guess what they did in the 2003-2004 season, they bounced back to go 14-2 and won the Superbowl. The Madison Radicals hope to replicate what the, arguably, best team in football did and maintain their dynasty for years to come.