Indoor Football League
Current season, competition or edition:|
2017 Indoor Football League season
Indoor Football League logo
|No. of teams||10|
|Sioux Falls Storm (6th title)|
|Most titles||Sioux Falls Storm (6)|
The Indoor Football League (IFL) is a professional indoor American football league created in 2008 out of the merger between the Intense Football League and United Indoor Football. For the 2015 season, the league had ten teams. The league is the second highest tier in indoor/arena football behind the Arena Football League (AFL). IFL players earn a maximum of US$250 per game played (before taxes). The season is 16 games long, plus playoffs of two or more rounds.
Formation of the league
The merger which formed the new IFL was announced the day before the 2008 National Indoor Bowl Championship, a game which pitted the champions of the two leagues against each other. The Sioux Falls Storm (United) defeated the Louisiana Swashbucklers (Intense) 54 to 42.
Of the 17 teams involved in the two previous leagues, 14 carried over to the new organization's 2009 season. An additional 3 teams came over from the CIFL and two expansion teams began their life in the new IFL. In the United Bowl, the Billings Outlaws (Intense Conference) took the league championship by defeating the RiverCity Rage (United Conference) by a score of 71 to 62 in the 2009 United Bowl.
After losing two teams to attrition after the end of the 2009 season, and a third in January 2010, the IFL then added another nine franchises to boost its membership to twenty-five for the 2010 season. Three of the new teams were expansion franchises. Two moved over from the Southern Indoor Football League and Continental Indoor Football League. After playing nine games of the 2010 season the Alaska Wild suspended operations, leaving only twenty-four teams to finish the year. In the United Bowl, the Billings Outlaws (Intense Conference) took the league championship by defeating the Sioux Falls Storm (United Conference) by a score of 43 to 34.
Seven new teams were added to the IFL for the 2011 season. Some of these were new expansion teams, and others moved to the IFL from the AIFA. The IFL also lost nine teams during the offseason, bringing the total number to twenty-two for 2011. In the United Bowl, the Sioux Falls Storm (United Conference) took the league championship by defeating the Tri-Cities Fever (Intense Conference) by a score of 37-10.
For the 2012 season, the IFL switched to a two-conference format with no divisions, due in large part to the loss of all the Texas-based teams (except the Allen Wranglers) to the newly formed Lone Star Football League. The Wranglers brought attention to the league for offering a US$500,000 contract to unemployed wide receiver Terrell Owens to become the team's part-owner and wide receiver. Owens accepted the contract. ESPN3 carried Owens's debut game against the Wichita Wild. The front office of the league saw changes as well, as Commissioner Tommy Benizio resigned. The league appointed assistant commissioner, Robert Loving, as the interim Commissioner.
On October 12, 2012, the Bloomington Edge announced that the team had been sold to the owners of the Bloomington Blaze hockey franchise and would relocate to the new Champions Professional Indoor Football League for the 2013 season. On January 21, 2013, the league announced that the owner of the Cheyenne Warriors died and that the team would not be entering the league this season as planned.
The league added the Minnesota-based Bemidji Axemen to expand to 10 teams but the Chicago Slaughter were sold and changed leagues, returning the IFL to 9 teams for the 2014 season. In February 2014, the league announced that it would return to Montana in 2015 with the new Billings Wolves franchise.
On July 27, 2014, Iowa Barnstormers president Jeff Lamberti hinted at joining the league by telling a local TV station that the franchise will explore "all options" in the off-season of their continuance to play, including leaving the Arena Football League and going to the IFL for 2015. They joined the IFL in August 2014, becoming the fourth active AFL/af2 franchise to leave for the IFL since the Texas Revolution (formerly the Arkansas Twisters), the Tri-Cities Fever and the Green Bay Blizzard. (The Revolution have since left the IFL for Champions Indoor Football.)
This will be the first season the IFL utilizes roster restrictions which call for all teams to carry no more than 7 players with three or more years' experience in Indoor/Arena football. For the second consecutive season, an AFL team was strongly rumored to join the IFL, as Spokane Shock owner Nader Naini said on August 10, 2015 that he was considering all options for the team. On September 1, the Shock officially joined the IFL, becoming the fifth active AFL/af2 franchise to leave for the IFL since the aforementioned Barnstormers, Fever, Blizzard and Revolution. The Shock, however, would have to enter the IFL under a new identity as the Arena League announced on October 12 that they would retain the rights to the Shock logos and name, possibly for future use by another franchise in the state of Washington. The team subsequently held a name-the-team contest, which resulted in their new identity as the Spokane Empire.
On September 9, the Minnesota Havok (based in Mankato) were announced as an IFL team. However, on January 29, just four weeks before the 2016 season was to kick off, the Havok were terminated by the league for failing to meet operational standards.
On November 25, the Minnesota Axemen folded due to the team "Not fulfilling their commitments to the league." Commissioner Mike Allshouse called the move a proactive one to prevent the team having to fold mid-season.
On June 30, 2016, the IFL announced that the Tri-Cities Fever franchise would be dormant, but in good standing with the IFL, for the 2017 season.
Project FANchise, a group aiming to create a professional sports team where fans help run the day-to-day operations, will operate the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles in Salt Lake City. A fan vote determined the team's name and logo, and select fans will have access to player personnel decisions and in-game play calling. Project FANchise would also buy the Colorado Crush in October and began operating the team in the same manner.
During the 2016 season, the Billings Wolves' website was hacked, was never completely fixed, and was non-operational for months. Several former staff members claimed that the team had folded after the completion of the season. On October 24, 2016, the Wolves announced they had left the IFL because of state regulations and failing to find new ownership for the team.
On October 17, 2016, the IFL announced it had added the Arizona Rattlers, previously of the Arena Football League, for the 2017 season. The Rattlers are the third team in three consecutive seasons to leave the AFL for the IFL. The league rejected the bid of another former AFL franchise, the Jacksonville Sharks, who were located outside the IFL's regional territory.
Map of Teams
Left for another league
- Abilene Ruff Riders – Left IFL after 2010 season, now defunct.
- Amarillo Venom – Left IFL after 2011 season, now a member of Champions Indoor Football.
- Bloomington Edge – Left IFL after 2012 season, now a member of Champions Indoor Football.
- Corpus Christi Hammerheads – Left IFL after 2010 season and later a member of Southern Indoor Football League, Lone Star Football League, Ultimate Indoor Football League, and American Indoor Football. Team is now defunct.
- Lehigh Valley Steelhawks – Left IFL after 2012 season and was later a member of the Professional Indoor Football League, American Indoor Football, and National Arena League.
- Louisiana Swashbucklers – Left IFL prior to inaugural season, now defunct.
- New Mexico Stars – Left IFL after 2012 season and later was a member of the Lone Star Football League and American Indoor Football. Team is now defunct.
- Omaha Beef – Left IFL after 2012 season, now a member of Champions Indoor Football.
- Saginaw Sting – Left for the Ultimate Indoor Football League after sitting out the 2010 season. Later played in the Ultimate Indoor Football League, Continental Indoor Football League, and American Indoor Football. Team is now defunct.
- Sioux City Bandits – Left IFL after 2010 season, now a member of Champions Indoor Football.
- Texas Revolution – left IFL after 2014 season, now a member of Champions Indoor Football.
- Wichita Wild – Left IFL after the 2012 season, now defunct.
- West Texas Roughnecks – Left IFL after 2011 season, now defunct.
- Alaska Wild – Team suspended operations nine games into the 2010 season. The coach and multiple players left to play elsewhere and the team no longer had money to continue the season.
- Arctic Predators – Originally announced as 2010 IFL member, but stalemate between ownership group and head coach led to lease difficulties; IFL franchise moved and became the Kent Predators. (A different team with the name Arctic Predators then became a member of the American Indoor Football Association.)
- Arizona Adrenaline – Ceased operations before the end of the 2011 season. Some games were played with a replacement team.
- Austin Turfcats – Was not in IFL for 2011 season.
- Billings Outlaws – Owner suspended the 2011 season and never returned.
- Billings Wolves – Owner could not find a buyer for the team after the 2016 season and did not return.
- Bricktown Brawlers – Ceased operations before the end of the 2011 season. Final games were played with a replacement team.
- Chicago Slaughter – Left IFL after 2013 season to join Continental Indoor Football League, but never played in it.
- El Paso Generals – Owners attempted to sell the team and after 2009 season and never returned.
- Everett Raptors – Team folded after 2012 season.
- Fairbanks Grizzlies – Owner suspended the 2012 season and never returned.
- La Crosse Spartans – Owners suspended the team and started the Cedar Rapids Titans. The team failed to find new ownership in 2011 and never returned.
- Maryland Maniacs – Owner suspended the 2011 season and never returned.
- Minnesota Axemen – Membership terminated in 2015 by the league due to franchise's failure to meet league obligations.
- Reading Express – Took 2013 season off and never returned.
- Richmond Revolution – Owner suspended the 2012 season and never returned.
- RiverCity Rage – Owner suspended them to focus on the Omaha Beef.
- Rochester Raiders – Owner suspended the 2011 season and never returned.
- San Angelo Stampede Express – Owner suspended the 2011 season and never returned.
- Tri-Cities Fever – Team went dormant after the 2016 season with the franchise remaining in good standing with the IFL, but the current ownership has no plans for a return.
- Tucson Thunder Kats – Team joined the AIFA West before being officially accepted into the IFL but ended up suspending operations in November 2010 due to financial losses instead.
- West Michigan ThunderHawks – Owner suspended the 2011 season and never returned.
- Wenatchee Valley Venom – Owner suspended the 2012 season and never returned.
- Wyoming Cavalry – Owner ceased operations in September 2014.
- Binghamton – Owner suspended the 2012 season and never returned.
- CenTex Barracudas – Originally announced as a 2009 IFL member but then was not included in 2009 alignment.
- Cheyenne Warriors – Owner died shortly before 2013 season began and team suspended IFL operations prior to first season They played a few games in the DIFL, and shutdown entirely in May 2013.
- Everett Destroyers – Originally announced as a 2009 IFL member but then was not included in 2009 alignment.
- Frisco Thunder – Originally announced as 2009 IFL member but then announced they would take season off while Dr Pepper Arena was being renovated and never returned.
- Minnesota Havok – Announced for 2016 season but were terminated by the league one month prior to the season for failure to reach minimum operational standards.
United Bowl Championship
The IFL continues to use the "United Bowl" name originally used by United Indoor Football. The UIF used this name before they merged with Intense Football League to form the Indoor Football League. The UIF held United Bowl I, II, III, and IV in 2005 through 2008, with all four being won by the Sioux Falls Storm. Although the name "National Indoor Bowl Championship" was used for the 2008 contest between the UIF and the Intense Football League, the "United Bowl" name continues to be used for the combined league's championship instead.
2009 United Bowl
The 2009 United Bowl featured the Intense Conference champs, the Billings Outlaws, against the upset-minded United Conference champs River City Rage. The game became a scoring onslaught at the start of the 1st quarter with each team scoring touchdowns. The Outlaws defense snagged a pick in the 2nd quarter which led to another offensive touchdown and a commanding two score lead by halftime. The Rage fought back though, recovering an onside kick at the beginning of the 3rd quarter and driving the ball the length of the field for a touchdown. That would be the closest the game would get for the Rage. The Outlaws would put up just enough points to keep a comfortable lead throughout the fourth and after recovering an onside kick in the last minute of the game, the Outlaws kneeled the ball and took home the crown with a score of 71-62 in a loud, sold-out Rimrock Auto Arena.
2010 United Bowl
In the 2010 United Bowl, the Billings Outlaws of the Intense Conference took the league championship by defeating the Sioux Falls Storm of the United Conference by a score of 43-34 in front of a sold out crowd in the Billings Sportsplex (a training facility, used by the Outlaws after their arena suffered storm damage during the Fathers Day Tornado).
2011 United Bowl
2012 United Bowl
The 2012 United Bowl was a re-match from 2011 and was once again won by the United Conference champion Sioux Falls Storm when they beat the Intense Conference Champion Tri-Cities Fever 59-32 on July 14, 2012.
2013 United Bowl
2014 United Bowl
2015 United Bowl
For the fifth consecutive year the United Conference champion Storm won the league title with at 62-27 victory over the Intense Conference champion (Nebraska Danger). It was Sioux Falls' 9th title in franchise history.
2016 United Bowl
For the sixth consecutive year the Untied Conference Champion Storm won the league title with a 55-34 victory over the first year Intense Conference Champion Spokane Empire on July 23, 2016. It is Sioux Falls' 10th title in franchise history.
Hall of Fame
The Indoor Football League Hall of Fame was established in 2014. The inaugural 2014 class of inductees included quarterback Terrance Bryant, radio sportscaster Rich Roste and former IFL Commissioner Tommy Benizio. The 2015 class included quarterback Chris Dixon, running back LaRon Council and defensive back/kick returner B.J. Hill. The 2016 class included linebacker Mark Blackburn, defensive back Lionell Singleton and Colorado Ice/Crush owner Tom Wigley.
- "IFL Elects Commissioner". www.keloland.com. KELO-TV. September 18, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
- Deacon, Joe (October 12, 2012). "Bloomington Edge sold to Blaze owner, changing to new league". Bloomington Pantagraph. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
- Zimmer, Mike (February 19, 2014). "Billings Wolves to bring indoor football back to Billings in 2015". Billings Gazette. Billings, Montana. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Barnstormers May Leave AFL, Join Different League, John Sears, WHO-TV website, July 27, 2104
- New IFL roster regulations coming in 2016, Mike Leischner, KWSN website, June 17, 2105
- Shock weighing options for future league affiliation The Spokesman-Review, August 10, 2015
- "IFL Announces Addition of Spokane Shock". Indoor Football League. September 1, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
- "Minnesota Havok Join IFL". Indoor Football League. September 9, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- IFL Issues Statement on Minnesota Axemen, IFL website, November 25, 2015
- , by Mike Leischner, KWSN Website, December 3, 2015
- "IFL Issues Statement on Tri-Cities Fever". OurSports Central. June 30, 2016.
- "Billings Wolves suspend operations; team could return in 2018". MontanaSports.com. October 24, 2016.
- "IFL Announces Addition of Arizona Rattlers". IFL. October 17, 2016.
- LSFL Welcomes West Texas and Amarillo
- Board approves return of indoor football
- Swashbucklers Leave IFL for new SIFL
- Saginaw Sting Named 6th And Final Team For UIFL, 2011 Season Now Set For Kick-Off
- Sioux City Bandits will leave IFL
- IFL Takes Necessarry Action In Anchorage
- Outlaws get forfeit win
- 2011 IFL Schedule Announced
- Early in the game, SportsQuest is falling behind
- Owner shuts down IFL's River City
- Tucson Thunderkats suspend operations
- Venom to sit out 2012 season
- "IFL Announces Revised 2013 Schedule". Indoor Football League. January 21, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
- Nowlin, Jack (June 1, 2013). "Do Cavs have a future in Casper?". Casper Star-Tribune. Casper, Wyoming. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- Riley, Alex (June 1, 2013). "Cheyenne Warriors have ceased operations". Wyoming Tribune-Eagle. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- "HALL OF FAME". goifl.com. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
- "IFL Honors 2016 Hall of Fame Class". goifl.com. June 18, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
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