Who are the Florida Mayhem?
Who are the Florida Mayhem? They are the quiet crash of confetti mimicking the autumn leaves which are painting the Toronto skyline.
They are the stubborn will to stand on your own two feet and chase your dreams as the world burns around you. They are players, coaches, staff, and children who curled up at night and wondered, "Hmm, maybe someday."
Today, they're something more. They are immortal. They are gold. And they've resolved the greatest esports story ever told. Just who are the Florida Mayhem?
Are you convinced now? The Florida Mayhem are the most well-coached team this year. The Florida Mayhem houses the most complete tank in Overwatch history in Ham "SOMEONE" Jeong-wan.
The Florida Mayhem are world champions. While all eyes were locked in on the dominance the Atlanta Reign had shown throughout the regular season and into the Midseason Madness and the name recognition that the Houston Outlaws housed, it would be Florida to rise to the occasion.
And it was always going to be Florida. Hindsight clarifies just how their dominant near-sweep to the 2023 title was. First, they were always going to be a playoff lock. With a roster as well equipped and adding pieces like Sung "CH0R0NG" Yoo-min and Choi "MER1T" Tae-min there was never a question that the Florida Mayhem would make playoffs.
Next, the game state of the 2023 Overwatch League playoffs was that of chaos, where teams were scrambling to sign new tank players and DPS alike. The meta is, was, and always will be a gamble in this esport, and that was further solidified this weekend.
All reports had Zarya and Genji seeing significant playtime, further backed by some of those late-stage roster moves. It was this fluidity, this storm of ideas and creativity, that the Mayhem felt at home.
All season long, they've been well-versed with the standard compositions considered to be good, but they've also been the team with the ace up their sleeve. They quite literally had been preparing, likely unknowingly, for this scenario all season.
A new patch hits, things are thrown for a loop, and while everyone is looking for what they should do, the Mayhem derail the whole show. Art has a very strange way of persisting. Mistakes can create beauty, meanings can be found in the most minor of details, and names matter.
It only feels right for this league and this team that in a period of chaos, it is the Mayhem to flourish and climb to the summit.
They say that the best revenge is to succeed. With the Mayhem's journey, players and all, it's safe to say this is the ultimate dish best-served cold. Forgettable after two seasons, the Mayhem, in a number of alternate realities, are easily the worst Overwatch League franchise through the front half of its history.
2018 saw Florida escape certain doom as the 0-40 Shanghai Dragons couldn't help but take the brunt. The following year, they didn't have anyone to cushion their fall, but that despair served to catalyse their future.
The Mayhem found a shocking step-up in 2020. Stamping a triumphant evolution with a second-place finish during the May Melee as well as a top-four finish in the regular season, they established themselves as a team in the mix within North America.
This position would be called into question with their tank troubles that plagued them throughout 2021, but as Overwatch 2 ushered in a new era, so too did it usher in newfound confidence for the franchise from Florida.
2022 saw the Mayhem don the mantle of a true playoff team with impressive performances all season long. It was here that their championship core would take shape and continue into the year they'd waltz to a world title.
For a team that started six years ago with a -78 map differential and a record of 7-33 to becoming a team that dropped two maps in their pursuit of mastery, the Florida Mayhem are what dreams are made of.
Esports faces a reckoning but could collectively learn something from the Florida Mayhem. Two years of unadulterated tire fires is enough for one organisation to make serious developments.
Promoting Albert "yeHHH" Yeh to the General Manager position was what made Florida's 2023 season possible.
It was that move that allowed for 2023 Coach of the Year winner Jordan "Gunba" Graham to helm this success story, and that trend of detail-oriented selection is seen throughout all forward-facing members of the team. Past that, the Mayhem never stopped iterating.
Not because they needed it to survive, they could have easily just kept afloat and played the status quo. They showcased some middle ground between playing to their own team's strengths and being adept enough to pilot what's already been discovered as good.
They are a blueprint for whatever comes next in competitive Overwatch. They are a blueprint for what makes Overwatch such a compelling game. And they are a blueprint for what esports teams can strategically become with a little ingenuity.
However, today, we wonder if the Florida Mayhem feel satisfied. A journey six years in the making, culminating in the relief of victory. All the practice, all the sacrifices. The time away from loved ones and moments missed. All for this.
To not just claim to be the best or be relegated as a team that could've done great things, but to rest on their throne physically, looking out into the crowd and allowing it all to sink in. All those fans, tears in their eyes.
Your teammates, friends, and family who always believed. Even your peers applaud out sympathetic excitement or sheer respect. This wasn't easy. You made everyone proud. Let that rush, those emotions and that excitement wash over you. You did it.
Deep down, you know now who the Florida Mayhem really are. While they are champions, they've written a more than wholesome story and a blueprint for success in an industry in turmoil, they stand as something more now as competitive Overwatch stands on the precipice.
From nothing to something. From no one to SOMEONE. And from bus driving to high-fiving. Who are the Florida Mayhem? The Florida Mayhem are the world's best Overwatch team.