Disgruntled fans and internet trolls have united in a breathtaking grumble fest. When it comes to my favorite sport, the glory, glamour, and glitz of it all is quickly overshadowed by the incessant groans and nearly constant bellowing of would be fans yelling, "Why are there so many arena leagues!?"
In fairness, they're not wrong. Whether some want to play arena rules, and some want to play indoor rules becomes a moot point when the leagues are too small to garner national television attention. Owners scramble to make enough money to justify continuing to play, in hopes of not folding. Some owners commit shady fraud: not paying players, leaving them stranded with lodging bills, etc. . ., perhaps because some of these owners thought they had enough money, only to find out their expenses transcended their wisdom.
So why are there so many leagues? Why can't league commissioners and owners get along enough to merge into a giant arena league, that captures the attention of national television studios--and fills in the gap of springless football? It wouldn't be fair of a naive, clueless fan like myself, to speculate why commissioners and owners do what they do. Until I know, I'll assume they do the best they can. Still, from the standpoint of the fan, I can't help but think all the owners of these teams would benefit financially from a national television deal. It would mean profit and sustainability for them. It would mean more money for players, coaches, staff, and perhaps a lot more hype! From many fans, there may be a resounding call to "put your differences aside." However, the fact is there are many leagues playing in 2022.
If Arena Football united in a single league with 32 teams, like the NFL, they wouldn't compete with the juggernaut league that is 102 years old, but they would achieve a relevance that would not be overshadowed by the attempts of the XFL and USFL--to give the masses some smash-mouth spring football. The image above shows what the league would look like if the Indoor Football League (16 teams), Champions Indoor Football (9 teams), and the National Arena League (7 teams) merged. With that much national attention and competition, it's hard to imagine arenas NOT being sold out weekly.
But alas, the fact is we're not there yet. In addition to the above leagues, we have the AAL, AIFA, PAFL, the AWFC, and a Texas only league that does professional arena football. Trying to keep up with all of these is akin to enduring a whiplash inducing roller-coaster. Some fans, if they could speak to the owners and commissioners of these various leagues, might be saying, "whatever your differences are, please set them aside for the betterment and progress of the game itself." Chances are, their bottom lines could all increase. But then again, I'm naive and clueless. The game still rocks my socks off!
by Ducon Williams
Written by Chris Mabry
Today, the Indoor Football League (IFL) released their schedule for the 2022 season. In the press release it revealed that a total of 15 teams will compete a 16 game regular season in 19 weeks. That means each will have three bye weeks. Also, the teams will be divided in to two conferences. In each conference, the top four teams (8 total) will advance to the playoffs.
Among the team that the IFL will feature this season are the teams that played in 2021 plus new additions in the Las Vegas Knight Hawks, Quad City Steamwheelers, San Diego Strike Force, and the Bay Area Panthers.
The 2022 season will begin on Saturday, March 12 when the Frisco Fighters travel to Massachusetts to take on the Pirates. The Fighters and Pirates meet in the league semi-finals. Frisco came up short and the Pirates advanced and won against the Arizona Rattlers.
To see the complete IFL schedule click here.
What are you most excited about in 2022?
Some might say that the 2021 Iowa Barnstormers season was a successful season season as they made the playoffs with a 6-6 record. However, they were knocked out of the first round by the Duke City Gladiators. Now, a month removed from the season the Barnstormers have decided to part ways with Head Coach Less Moss.
Prior to the 2021 season Moss was on the NAL's Jacksonville Sharks and just days before the IFL season got underway, joined the team. In a statement by the team President Jeff Lamberti said: "On behalf of the Iowa Barnstormers, we thank Les for joining us on such short notice for this season," said Lamberti. "We knew the 2021 season would be difficult as we continued to navigate through a pandemic and are appreciative of Les for his dedication to the team and season. We wish him the best in his future endeavors."
A search for a brand new head coach will now begin. Stay with Arena Football Talk for more information.
Written by Chris Mabry
As we end the 2021 IFL Regular season and we enter the 2021 new teams are starting to emerge for the 2022 season. The latest team added is the Vegas Knight Hawks.
This is all thanks to the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights who are involved in bringing the team to Sin City and the Las Vegas Raiders popularity.
This is not the only indoor football team. There have been several teams from Las Vegas. The teams were the Las Vegas Gladiators, Las Vegas Outlaws, and the Las Vegas Sting. All were successful and all played in he Arena Football League (AFL)
Mike Davis who has coached in he IFL has been named as heir head coach. Davis was the Nebraska Dangers head coach from 2011-2016. He had a 44-42 coaching record in the regular season and 4-4 record in the postseason.
The Vegas Knight Hawks kickoff spring 2022.
Tonight marks an enormous opportunity for a humble football team to claim it's first winning season since the franchise first took the field in 2017.
As members of Champions Indoor Football, the Bismarck Bucks finished their first season with 5 wins and 7 losses. While that put them in the playoffs, their road trip to Sioux City was a dismal defeat to the gun-slinging Bandits, who shot 'em up for a whoppin' 82-43 final.
Their second season was almost identical with another 5-7 record, a playoff berth, and a 81-51 loss at the merciless hands of the Salina Liberty.
The Bucks didn't stop here, as they joined the Indoor Football League for the 2019 season, where the competition stiffened even more. A 2-12 season ensued, and Bismarck didn't seem to get much interest from high-talent players.
An offseason with not much great signings had the Bucks ranked # 13 of 13 for the 2020 season. Bismarck was one of only 4 teams that got to play in 2020, and their only game was a home loss to the San Diego Strike Force, 50-36.
To Bismarck's credit, they never gave up trying to be the best they could be. The owners have stuck with Head Coach Rod Miller, and it seems to be paying dividends. The franchise had an all-time record of 12-29 entering the 2021 season, and many considered them to be the "punching bags" of the IFL. But, to the surprise of alot of fans, they are currently 7-7 in a very competitive league. They've clinched their first IFL playoff berth with a chance to secure their first ever home playoff game--if they can win at Duke City, tonight!
To be sure, they've been a mixed bag throughout the year. Some might criticize that 57 % of their wins are against one team--the Green Bay Blizzard. Winning the same team 4 times in a season of smash-mouth football is a feat in and of itself. Their other wins, however, are an impressive 61-39 win over the expansion NAZ Wranglers, a 58-22 beatdown of rival Iowa Barnstormers, where they held former MVP Daquan Neal to only 2 completions throughout the game, and...a beautiful surprise victory over the # 2 Frisco Fighters, who's only other loss is against the 10-3 Massachusetts Pirates.
Bismarck has lost 2 games each to the Pirates, the Barnstormers, and the Sioux Falls Storm, and an embarrassing loss in Tucson where the quarterback rolled his ankle on the final play of the game. It's been an up-and-down season for the Bismarck Bucks who have never been able to get their offensive groove due to 5 different starting quarterbacks throughout the season. Richard Stametti, Glen Cuilette, and Kelly Bryant (who signed with the CFL) are no longer on the team. QB Caleb Lewis has been down several weeks with an injury. Rookie quarterback, Keyante Allen, is 1-2 as the starter going into the biggest game of his career. He'll have to bring his complete A game to keep up with Duke City's #1 offense at 52.3 points per game. While Allen is coming off his best game of the season, where he threw 4 touchdowns and added one on the ground, the Gladiators have scored an IFL-high 71 points in 2 of their last 5 games.
Bismarck's defense is currently 6th in the league allowing 40.4 points per game. Duke City's defense is ranked 10th, allowing 47.5 a game. DB Malik Duncan and LB Darreon Jackson look to slow down the high-flying Gladiator offense. QB Nate Davis has thrown for about twice as many touchdowns as the 2nd place quarterback in the league. WR Dello Davis has caught 28 touchdowns this season. The Davis-to-Davis connection is lethal and the Bucks secondary is up to the challenge. To date, the Duke City Gladiators have had 3 games in which they have scored 10 touchdowns. No other team in the league has reached that in even one game.
For Bismarck fans, this seems like a daunting task for their team. If they win in Duke City, and Iowa loses in Massachusetts, then fans can have their first home playoff game since the franchise started. For Duke City, they must win, with an Iowa loss for a chance at a home playoff game, as well.
The Bismarck Bucks have already exceeded expectations, but tonight will tell where they get seeded in the playoffs. Will they win tonight for their first winning season, or will they falter? Find out tonight at 8:00 Central Time, right here on Youtube:
written by Ducon Williams
Written by Chris Mabry
Weeks after the Omaha Beef were crowned as Champions of the CIF the preparation for the 2022 season begins now. Earlier today, the league announced a brand new expansion team that will play next season. That team will be located in Denver Colorado.
The team name will come from fans who will enter their suggestions for the next week. Then in a tournament style competition (bracket format) the top 24 teams will go head to head. This Colorado team will be playing at the Denver coliseum. This arena was the destination for the first ever ArenaBowl in the AFL.
If you want to see the full announcement, click here
Written by Chris Mabry
This morning the IFL's San Diego Strike Force will announce on Facebook and other social media platforms something big. No other information has been released but when it does, Arena Football Talk will have you covered.
What do you guys think is?
UPDATE: The San Diego Strike Force are holding an open tryout on August 14. You can find more information on that by clicking here. Good luck to those who tryout.
Written by Ducon Williams
The mark of any championship team, in a professional sport, is how well they finish games. Coming into Friday night's contest at the Bismarck Event Center, the Frisco Fighters had won 6 of 7 games--and ALL were decided by one score! Alternatively, the Bismarck Bucks came into the game at 5-5, but only two of their games were determined by one score. The Fighters seemed poised for another close win as they've proven they can finish games.
The fireworks started early on when Darreon Jackson jarred the ball loose from the big paws of Manny Arceneaux, and Jackson's own brother, Malik Duncan recovered it for Bismarck. A play later, J.T. Stokes found himself in the endzone; 7-0 Bucks. That play was quickly answered when Fighter QB Jonathan Bane bombed a TD into the clutches of Mark Munson on a 29-yard airstrike. That didn't satisfy Frisco's head coach Clint Dolezel, and the result was a faked PAT attempt, when QB Jerrod Heard, the holder, ran right up the gut for 2 point. Fighters lead 8-7. Bismarck QB Caleb Lewis took a sandwich hit that sidelined him for a few plays, but the result was a 31-yard dart for a touchdown to J.T. Stokes--giving former Clemson QB, Kelly Bryant, his first IFL touchdown pass. Bucks up 13-8. Then the Fighters turned to their epic run game. A 13-yard trot for 6 from Demarcus Felton was followed soon after from the QB sneak from Bane, and Frisco suddenly seemed in control with 5:18 to go in the first half.
QB Caleb Lewis said, "hold my beer" and returned to the game for Bismarck and found newcomer WR Andre Williams for a 21-yard sideline score. After the extra point, it was Frisco's lead 22-20. New Bucks kicker Kimo Naehu must have heard of the new IFL rule that you could get two points by kicking the ball through the uprights under a minute in the half. He took full advantage by kicking it right down the center with just enough distance giving the Bismarck Bucks their first deuce in franchise history! How important was that kick? Well, going into the half tied at 22 against the Frisky Frisco Fighters is a feat of it's own.
The second half would get crazier. as both teams run games found their respective grooves. RB Demarcus Felton walked in for his second TD, but Bucks running back, Justin Rankin responded with a 1-yard TD run of his own. The missed PAT left Frisco up by a penny; 29-28. A tipped ball caused an errant throw from Jonathan Bane causing the ball to do a dying quail impersonation as it floated into the grasp of Darreon Jackson for his second turnover of the game. The result? Another beautiful TD run from Justin Rankin as he started left and did an impressive cut-back move to the right and outran James Romain's stout Frisco defense, hitting pay-dirt 18 yards later. Bucks up 35-29 with 2:17 to go in the 3rd. But, Frisky Frisco wasted no time as Bane found Mark Munson for his second TD of the game putting Frisco up 36-35 at the end of the third.
QB Lewis showed more value after his 8-yard dump pass to Justin Rankin gave the elusive running back his second half hat-trick, and the PAT put the Bucks up 42-36 with 5:24 to go. Have you ever asked yourself how much does 1 point matter in the high-scoring indoor game? It does! On the ensuing kickoff, Naehu kicks a squib kick that somehow bounces and goes right through the sure fingers of WR Marques Rodgers. He retreats desperately to the endzone to pick up the loose ball. As he does, he darts full speed to get out of the endzone, when Bismarck's DB Deion Carter met him like a freight train giving the Bucks a rouge! Add one more point, and Bismarck goes up 43-36!
The Frisco Fighters have proven time and time again, that they win ball games this close. After turning the ball over on downs, the defense held strong. Bismarck had the opportunity to extend their lead with a field goal that sailed just wide right. The aggressive Fighters offense effortlessly marched down the field, when QB1 Bane hit QB2 Jerrod Heard for an 11-yard, potentially game-tying touchdown. Down 43-42, Dolezel elected to go for the win with a 2-point conversion attempt. The Bucks D-line put pressure on Bane who threw incomplete to no one. Game over, right!? Not so fast. Malik Duncan was flagged for illegal defense, giving Frisco another try from the one-yard line with runners like Felton, Heard, and Rodgers in their arsenal. Then, Dolezel/Radabaugh did their best Pete Carroll impersonation from his infamous play-call in Superbowl XLIX. Instead of handing the rock to Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch, they ran a pick play which resulted in the Patriots picking the ball off and winning the super bowl. Rather than hand the ball off for the one-yard winner, the Fighters elected for the same pick play. Trips right, with Felton, Heard, and Rodgers. Heard picks Deion Carter, as Bane passes to Felton for the easy score....except....Bucks DB Zuril Hendrick read the play perfectly and with a full sprint and sure hands wrapped up Felton who fell down a few inches from the goal line. The attempt failed! The Bismarck Bucks have upset the Frisco Fighters 43-42 in one of the best indoor games you will ever see! This, ladies and gentlemen, is indoor football. It's a lightning fast, up-and-down, side-to-side, whiplash inducing roller coaster and you're bound to enjoy the ride!
The Fighters offense outgained the Bucks 267-186, but the Bucks forced 4 turnovers, and committed none. It's amazing the Fighters kept it this close. Of course, 5 missed field goals from the Bucks leaves alot of points off the board. Justin Rankin won player of the game for Bismarck for his second-half hat trick. JT Stokes led Bismarck receivers with 6 receptions for 69 yards and a score, but added one on the ground. Demarcus Felton finished with 11 carries for 50 yards on the ground and a pair of scores for the Fighters. WR Mark Munson led Frisco's receivers with 5 receptions for 115 yards and two scores of his own.
The Fighters fall to 6-2 on the season and will host the expansion Northern Arizona Wranglers on July 24, at 7:05 PM Central.
The Bismarck Bucks improve to 6-5 and will travel to Tucson to take on the Sugar Skulls on Saturday, July 24, at 8:05 Central time. "
Both games can be viewed live on Youtube pending Stadium's decision on their Game of the Week next week.
Written by Chris Mabry
In 2021 after being out of indoor football for seven years the Louisville Xtreme entered the Indoor Football League as an expansion team. Now after almost 2 months of playing in the IFL the team has been removed from the league.
In a article posted on the IFL website, they said the team was removed failure to meet and maintain league obligations.
“This is a regrettable situation, but as our league continues to generate positive momentum this became a necessary action,” said IFL Commissioner Todd Tryon. “We have tremendous respect for Victor Cole and his partners in Louisville and the hard work they put into developing Louisville as a viable IFL franchise. However, as we position the IFL for long-term success, it is imperative that we maintain the high standards we have set as a league.”
Louisville will be removed from the league’s remaining schedule, starting with this weekend’s IFL games. This Saturday’s IFL Game of the Week on Stadium, which was to feature the Xtreme taking on the Frisco Fighters, will now emanate from Tucson and feature a matchup between the Tucson Sugar Skulls and the Massachusetts Pirates.
Written by Chris Mabry
Last Night, the Frisco Fighters opened the Comerica Center to nearly a full house as they hosted the Duke City Gladiators. Frisco was entering 2-0 after winning on the road against the Spokane Shock and Louisville Xtreme.
As the game was going on the crowd was engaged and energetic cheering on the team in their home opener. For fans like myself in North Texas were waiting to see the Frisco Fighters as it has been over two years since the team was announced.
As for the game it was a nail biter. In the first half touchdowns and kickoff recoveries put the Fighters down 20-7. At halftime, the score was tied at 13 all. In the second half, both teams traded scores that is until the last minute of the game. Frisco quarterback Jonathan Bane began the following series with two incompletions, then completed four frantic passes to bring the Fighters into field goal range.
Crawford played the role of the hero, splitting the uprights as time ran out. The Frisco Fighters came back from being down 13 points to win the game. Now they are 3-0 with a road trip to Massachusetts to face the Pirates.
Photo curtesy of Frisco Fighters/IFL