Heading into the ninth season of the league, and fifth under commissioner Bryan Hathaway, the preseason had just about as much fireworks and controversy as the regular season did...and that is saying a mouthful. The season almost didn't happen at all as the NFL and it's players association were in a lockout and didn't cut a deal until the last minute. Thankfully, Hathaway had a plan in place and DOL was alive and well once again.

As is the case with the ever-evolving league under Hathaway's watchful eye, DOL took on many new changes in 2011. Most notably of which being the addition of PPR to the league (points per reception). A vote was taken pre-season by all of it's members and was in a dead lock tie before Will Spencer cast the deciding vote and PPR became a reality in the league. As seen in the below picture, league reaction to PPR was mixed:

Hathaway also instituted a well-received face lift to the league, turning it into a "magazine" format (D.O.L. ILLUSTRATED), where each of the stories and articles were delivered via the Message Boards. More work was needed to be put into the league on a weekly basis, but in Hathaway's eyes, nothing was too much for what he's built and molded these past five years. The biggest addition came in the form of a new league website to house records, trophies and information (the one you are reading currently). www.dolhalloffame.com was sanctioned, issued and came online 7/18/2011. The commercialization of the league also continued as several ads featuring the likeness of team owners graced several magazines and billboards. (One example can be seen below).

With Jim Waters exiting the league in 2010 and the defending Shirts division champion, Chase Norton heading into the military, two spots needed to be filled and Stephen Whitson and Nelson Knowles were the guys who received the call to the big leagues. Rookies have notoriously had a great deal of luck their first season in the league, and this year was absolutely no exception with at least one of the two.

With the new guys in place, Hathaway took the pulse of the league and made a call to fellow founding fathers Jacob Jordan and Will Spencer. The subject: Revamping of the draft order. With Hathaway's proposal, the Draft Order would no longer be random as has been the case in the past, but would be based on the previous year's finish. Defending Champion Taf Bentley spearheaded an effort to stop the legislative process, but it was to no prevail and the draft order was set based on 2010 results and Jonathan Creel was awarded the first pick of the 2011 draft.  With much debate, Creel took what turned out to be a fantastic choice in Aaron Rodgers--who went on to lead the league in Fantasy Points for the season. In a league first, two members did not show up for the draft as "scab drafters" had to be called in to replace Ashton Jernigan and Stephen Whitson.

Hathaway also saw a need for representation of each conference/division (Shirts and Blouses) and appointed presidents to each side and unionship for it's members. Weston Lunsford was appointed president of the Blouses and Troy Jordan was appointed president of the Shirts division. Both were reaffirmed by a league vote for the 2012 season.

The off-season was full of parties, magazine covers and children being born for the defending champion Taf Bentley. After finally getting over the hump and winning his first league championship in 2010, Bentley began to shift focus to the new season and his new team..."Death Penalty". Comparisons have always been drawn between himself and league legend Will Spencer as the greatest of all-time, but championships have always been the divider. Being the league's first repeat champion since Spencer in 2003-2004 would definitely lessen the gap and put Bentley in that conversation. As was the case with Weston Lunsford in 2010, coming off of his first championship, Taf rocked hard out of the gate. Jumping out to a 9-0 start, Bentley not only tied the single season winning streak set by Hank Hullett in 2009, but also set the all time Winning streak at a very impressive 16. But the streaks came to an end in Week 11 as Hathaway handed Bentley his first loss of the season. Despite the media's focus on the "streaks", the Bentley camp had to refocus quickly as he still faced an onslaught by fellow division member Jonathan Creel who was also sporting a very impressive record for the season and was just 1-game out with 1-game left for the Blouses Division Championship. A win in week 12 sealed the deal for Bentley and he set yet another goal he had laid out for himself and not previously accomplished... a division championship and a #1 seed heading into the playoffs as well as breaking rival Will Spencer's previously thought 'un-reachable' record of  "Most Points Scored in a Single Season" that had been in place since 2006. Spencer pleaded with the league to add an asterix to the record books due to PPR, but league officials decided against it, also taking into consideration that Spencer had more games to work with and less teams in the league as well when he set the precident. This would later be added back to the record books in the form of a "Dead Record." Bentley would later find himself in the center of the most controversial playoff game in league history that would shake the very essence of D.O.L.

Hathaway, Bentley and Troy Jordan all reached the pentacle 50 career wins and were all three recognized accordingly.

Aaron Rodgers led Creel and "On Like Ndamukong" to his best season of his career, winning 9 games and receiving a 3rd seed heading into the playoffs. But, It was the second running back position and a season best performance by Hank Hullett and his "BELICHICK urself B4U REXurself" squad in the quarterfinals that ended Creel's dream season two games early.

Sliding in under the radar was league legend Will Spencer. Usually at the forefront of league controversy and news, Spencer has been completely out of the limelight since his last championship in 2006, fielding a less than impressive 21-29 record through 2010. But 2011 proved to be Spencer's comeback tour as he posted 9 wins with his "Wilfork for Food" and made a return trip to the Championship Game, coming up just short and recording his first "FINALS" loss in his illustrious career. He did however end the season with a new piece of hardware for his trophy case, a "SHIRTS" division championship.

Controversy and rivalries were the story of the season in 2011. The feuding between Weston Lunsford and Taf Bentley accelerated to an all-time high, beginning with Lunsford naming his team name "Taf Infection". The league decided it was best for the yearly bout between Lunsford and Bentley to be deemed a full-fledged league-sanctioned rivalry and it became just the fourth of it's kind. (this was later revoked as the rivalry was voted dead in 2013).

Two league fines (the first in league history) came down to two teams. The first came in the form of $10,000.00 for some controversial comments made by league founding father, Jacob Jordan over newly appointed Blouses division president, Weston Lunsford at his press conference. Jordan put in the appropriate paperwork and seceded from the division, being swapped for long-time shirts member, Bob/Zane Lowe for the 2012 season. The second fine was handed down to the Lowe family for a Twitter comment (posted below) in which he criticized the league. Lowe later issued an apology via a press release from Lowe Inc.

More controversy arose in Week 6 as the vote for the 2012 league manager was taking place. Hank Hullett received some growing support before he was hit by an un-named "sex scandal". Some photos were released to media outlets TMZ and E! and Hullett issued a formal apology and withdrew his name from the race. With Hullett eliminated from the ballot, Hathaway won the re-election in a landslide. (example of one of the TMZ released photos below):

The season ended in what would be one of the most debated endings in league history.

Following one of the best games in league history, in the quarter-finals of the playoffs, emotions were at an all-time high as Troy Jordan and his "I Wanna Crushmore" squad had pulled off one of the biggest upsets ever, knocking Taf out of the playoffs and ending his season early. Commissioner Hathaway had not more than entered his penthouse office of the D.O.L building when a disturbing and controversial piece of paper (pictured below) would come across his desk.

This showed a seemingly illegal transaction had taken place between Ashton Jernigan and Troy Jordan after the trade deadline. As shown, both had appeared to simultaneously drop and add each others players in a matter of seconds. After much deliberation from league officials and founding fathers it was deemed the transaction, albeit frowned upon, was never stated in the rules as being "illegal". This sparked much controversy throughout the league as official's hands were all but "tied" on the subject. As the scores and playoffs played out, Bentley would have in fact repeated as league champion--Hathaway instituted the "Troy Jordan Amendment" to Rule VI to keep this from happening again and issued a statement that a waiver wire option would be added in 2012.

This opened the window for the Cinderella story of the year. Going into Week 12, rookie Stephen Whitson, sitting at #7 in the league went head to head with league veteran Hathaway with the winner taking the coveted 4th BYE in the playoffs. Whitson took the win and never lost again, cruising to a huge 144-97 win over league legend Will Spencer in DOL BOWL IX, also earning him the Rocky Balboa Comeback of the Year award.

Whitson's win marked the first time a rookie has won the championship and despite the landmark victory, a dark shadow still lays cast over the 2011 season.

But with league popularity soaring, a bounce back in 2012 was almost certain.

2011: (ESPN)
League Name: D.O.L
1. The Whitsonian Institute- Stephen Whitson (6-6)
2. Wilfork For Food- Will Spencer (9-3)
3. I Wanna Crushmore- Troy Jordan (5-7)
4. BELICHICKurself B4U REXurself- Hank Hullett (6-6)
5. Death Penalty- Taf Bentley (10-2)
6. Faulk Yo Couch- Ashton Jernigan (5-7)
7. On Like Ndamukong- Jonathan Creel (9-3)
8. Belligerant Midgets- Bryan Hathaway (5-7)
9. Bumblebee Tuna- Jacob Jordan (5-8)
10. Taf Infection- Weston Lunsford (2-10)
11. Brady Gives Woodhead- Nelson Knowles (5-7)
12. Who Rasharded?- Bob/Zane Lowe (6-6)
Blouses Division Champion: Death Penalty
Shirts Division Champion: Wilfork For Food

(Regular Season Only)
Most Points Scored: 165- Death Penalty (Week 3 vs BELICHICKurself B4U REXurself)
Least Points Scored: 43- I Wanna Crushmore (Week 9 vs Death Penalty)
Most Total Points Scored: 1545- Death Penalty
Least Total Points Scored: 1002- Taf Infection