By Chris Mabry and Seth Tucker
GRAND ISLAND - NE, IFL Fans it's finally here. The schedule for the 2021 season is finally out. Before we go through the schedule, here's a breakdown at what to look for in 2021.
This upcoming IFL season will feature 12 teams. They will be divided into two conferences each with six members. All 12 teams will compete in a 17 week regular season with each club playing a total of 16 games with two bye weeks. At the end of the regular season, the top four teams will qualify for the playoffs and compete for a spot in the United Bowl.
Here are the teams playing this season:
1. Sioux Falls Storm
2. Louisville Xtreme
3. Iowa Barnstormers
4. Green Bay Blizzard
5. Bismarck Bucks
6. Massachusetts Pirates.
7. Arizona Rattlers
8. Tuscan Sugar Skulls
9. Northern Arizona Wranglers
10. Duke City Gladiators
11. Spokane Shock
12. Frisco Fighters
The season will kickoff on Sunday, March 28th, 2021, with the defending champion The Sioux Falls Storm will take on the Green Bay Blizzard at home in the Hall of Fame Game. This will be the lone matchup for that week. Following week one, every team is in action, with the first teams not taking a bye week until week three. All teams will have had their bye week by Week 16.
The Duke City Gladiators have a tough stretch of games in Weeks 4-9, playing five away games in this stretch, only broken up by a bye week in week six.
The Louisville Xtreme and Spokane Shock are the only teams to play back-to-back games against the same opponent, with the two teams playing each other weeks 10 and 11.
The Pirates and Shock each play 11 different opponents, most in the league, while the Gladiators, Barnstormers, and Wranglers each play six different opponents, least in the league.
Written By: Aaron Castete
The Spring League's 2020 Fall Season, which began Tuesday, October 27th, has been having several of their games aired on FS1. The Spring League is providing fans some entertainment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, to fill the void of College Football and the NFL's off-days. Fans across the country have given some positive ratings on The Spring League, and fans are enjoying seeing some talented players who want another shot at things.
If The Spring League can sign a deal to play on FS1 in the prime of College Football and NFL season, then why can't the Indoor Football League or National Arena League do it in the Spring, where there is ZERO football on National Television? Now is the perfect opportunity for the IFL and NAL to negotiate a deal with FS1, and promote the brand of Arena/Indoor Football on National Television yet again!
The Arena/Indoor brand is a hard-hitting, fast-paced, and thrilling brand of football. Arena/Indoor Football is like when you add seasoning to that bland dish your grandmother cooked, and boom, there is a brand new taste that you have discovered. The game would appeal to both fans of the NFL and College Football. They could even see some former players from their favorite teams, continuing their careers and grinding day by day.
So, I challenge the Indoor Football League and National Arena League front office staff members to branch out, and try to get a deal done to put their brand of football on National Television.
Written by Chris Mabry
Just moments ago, the National Arena League announced that the Ontario Bandits will be joining the NAL and will start play in 2021.
The Bandits are located in Southern California and will play their home games at the Toyota Arena which holds 9,500+ people.
The Bandits will be led by team President Pat Johnson. Johnson is a former Super Bowl Champion wide receiver and an Olympic-caliber sprinter in both high school (Redlands, Calif.) and at track & field powerhouse University of Oregon.
By Seth Tucker
LOUISVILLE - Just days after being removed from the National Arena League, the Louisville Xtreme have found a new league to call home in the Indoor Football League.
The move was first announced on the Louisville Xtreme's Instagram Page (@louxtremefb), with the IFL posting their official announcement shortly afterwards.
In the Instagram post put out by the Xtreme, Victor Cole, managing partner and general manager of the Xtreme, said that, "We are very excited to announce that we are joining the Indoor Football League" and that "The IFL is the premier indoor football league with teams ranging from coast to coast and we are more than excited to be affiliated and partnered with such a classy organization."
On October 30th, just one week ago, the NAL announced on their website that they had terminated league memberships for both the Louisville Xtreme and the Tampa Bay Tornadoes. Both had been terminated because "both teams failed to provide the league-mandated letters of credit." We have yet to see if Tampa Bay will make a move similar to the Xtreme's.
The Champions Indoor Football League board of directors has announced an expansion team located in Gillette, Wyoming for the upcoming 2021 season. With the addition of the new expansion team, it brings the total number of teams in the CIF to 8 for the upcoming season of play, with other teams based in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma & Texas. Wyoming Mustangs will call the Campbell County Arena home for the 11 game regular season schedule, with the inaugural game scheduled to kick off on March 27th.
“We have been working with Keith and his staff for nearly two years on bringing a franchise to the Champions Indoor Football League”, states CIF Commissioner Ricky Bertz. Bertz also added, “They have spent a large amount of time and resources in ensuring that their business plan is one that is built on a foundation of success. The experience that the entire organization has in this industry will help to ensure that success, the city of Gillette and the surrounding communities will have a new exciting and entertaining team to call their own that they can be proud of.”
Keith Russ, managing partner of the Mustangs shared the following comments, “We’re thankful for the opportunity provided to us by the City of Gillette and the CIF to bring this exciting and fast paced game to the state of Wyoming. For those fans who have never seen a professional indoor football game, they will be in for quite a show and leave our games thoroughly entertained. As impressed as the fans will be by the players and their athletic abilities on the football field, those same fans will be equally impressed with their actions off the field through their involvement in the community. The community will be providing these players the ability to pursue their goals and dreams of playing this game, in return those players will continuously work on giving back to community without exception”.
The Champions Indoor Football League is entering its 7th season of play in March of 2021 and will be announcing the updated schedule next week. For more information on the CIF or the Wyoming Mustangs please visit their websites at www.gocif.net or www.wyomingmustangsfootball.com.
Written by Terry Tebrugge
Champions Indoor Football announced their 2021 game schedule on Tuesday. They also announced a major change in their online game streaming for the upcoming season.
The 2021 regular season game schedule is slightly reduced from past seasons, down from 12 games for each team to just 10 (five home and five away). All member teams from the 2019 season are returning in 2021, including the Amarillo Venom, Oklahoma Flying Aces, Omaha Beef, Salina Liberty, Sioux City Bandits, and Wichita Force. Joining them is the West Texas Warbirds. Based out of Odessa, Texas, the Warbirds were to have begun play in the CIF in 2020, before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their inaugural season will now take place in 2021.
The league will utilize a four team playoff format in which the teams with the four top records after regular season play concludes, will advance to the postseason.
Also on Tuesday, the league announced that all games in 2021 will be streamed live on YouTube, officially ending the league's four year relationship with Pluto TV.
The full 2021 CIF schedule is as follows:
The Indoor Football League (IFL) added their third Arizona franchise this afternoon with the addition of Prescott Valley. The franchise will be owned by Trey Medlock. The team will play out of Findlay Toyota Center, which seats 4,810 for ice hockey so roughly the same for indoor football. The team will form great in-state rivalries with the Arizona Rattlers in Phoenix and the Tucson Sugar Skulls a little farther south. You should expect these duels in the desert to be quite heated. The team will be the sole tenant of the venue by the 2022 season upon departure of the Northern Arizona Suns NBA G-League franchise. The Suns were purchased by the Detroit Pistons and will be moved to Wayne State Arena for the 2021-22 season.
The venue has played host to a team before, the Arizona Adrenaline who were members of the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) in 2008 before suspending operations. However, suspending operations is the key phrase there as they were one of the few teams in the history of this sport to return to play. In 2011 they were admitted as members of the IFL. During their time in the AIFA they went 11-3 losing a divisional playoff game to the Wyoming Cavalry. As a member of the IFL they went 1-13. The two seasons combined including the one playoff game, the team went 12-18. However, one neat fact about their 2011 season is that they featured the first female to score a point in an IFL game when Nicole Joy did so.
By Anthony Miller
It appears that Albany will be getting an arena football team back in its city for next season. Jaclyn Cangro first reported that the owners of the Orlando Predators are working on a lease agreement with the Times Union Center. The hope is to have an Albany team in the NAL next season.
Cangro also shared a statement saying, "The Times Union Center is in negotiations with the owner of the Orlando Predators, which is interested in owning a second team within the NAL Arena Football League and they hope to start playing in 2021. The deal is not completely done yet and therefore we cannot yet confirm that this will 100% happen. However, we remain optimistic that a deal will get done in the near future and it is out hope to bring back an arena football team back to Albany. Tampa, Louisville, Orlando, Jacksonville, Baltimore, Carolina, West Virginia, Columbus, GA and potentially two additional markets besides Albany will be playing in the NAL in 2021. Many of the players who used to play in the AFL are now playing in the NAL. We hope to be able to host a press event in the coming weeks to confirm and finalize details."
Cangro was also told that Empire and Firebirds are being considered for names of the franchise. Albany last had a team with the Empire for the 2018 and 2019 AFL seasons. They made the playoffs twice and winning the last ArenaBowl last year before the league folded. More information is expected to be released in the next few weeks.
Written by Chris Mabry
As the hiatus of the IFL continues until 2021, the league is continuing to expand the league by adding another team to the league. A few months ago, the IFL revealed that Columbus was coming in 2021. Now due to the pandemic, it's been pushed back to 2022. So before I announce the new name. Here's the setup.
The press conference was held at the Columbus Zoo. A few people got up and talked for a few minutes and then the big moment. Please welcome the Columbus Wild Dogs.
Coined as one of the fearless animals in the African jungle this should be a fierce team. It will be coached by Bobby Holland and will be played at Nationwide Areana. The former home of the Columbus Destroyers who played last year. You can check out the brand new team by going to www.columbuswilddogs.com.
Welcome to the IFL Columbus Wild Dogs. See you in 2022.
By Anthony Miller
The Baltimore Brigade appear to be on the move. HMG Sports Marketing released a statement saying that the team is moving to San Antonio with the assumption that they will play in the IFL. In the process, Baltimore will get an expansion team that will most likely play in the NAL.
“We believe that this is a great move and a great business decision. From a marketing perspective, San Antonio is a military town and the name just fits. The IFL gets a major market out West and we’re excited about that, but we’re equally excited that we’ve ensured that arena football fans in Baltimore will also get a quality franchise in a new league after the shutdown of the AFL,” says Will Hanna, National Director for HMG Sports.
The statement also mentioned that Hanna will have a major stake to the team with their partners Showcase Athletics. HMG Sports purchased the equipment and the assets of the Brigade team back in June. The San Antonio franchise is committed to playing their games in 2021. There are no confirmations on whether the San Antonio team will remain the Brigade, but Hanna stated that more news will come out soon.
San Antonio is no strangers to having arena football in its fair city. Their first team was the San Antonio Force in 1992 lasting only one season in the Arena Football League. The Steers appeared for one season back in 2007 in San Antonio as part of the National Indoor Football League. Their most known arena team is the Talons who played in the Arena Football League from 2011 to 2014.
The city has had a history of being great supports of football who professional teams come in. When the short lived Alliance of American Football was around, the San Antonio Commanders would average around 25,000 fans per game. Even though the new arena team won't hit those numbers, it's safe to say that football will be popular with their residents.