Written By Anthony Miller
The IFL is following in the footsteps of many professional sports leagues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press release, the league announced it would be canceling the remainder of the 2020 season. The league added as the reasoning being too many unknowns with COVID-19 and when sports would be allowed to play again.
IFL Commissioner Todd Tryon responded by stating, "This is a decision we take very seriously, and it comes as a result of extended, thoughtful discussion among our Board of Directors. Because there are so many critical unknowns that are out of our control, we feel as a league we would be best serving the health and stability of the IFL community by taking a proactive approach and focusing our talents and our resources toward preparing for a breakout 2021 season. The health and safety of our players, coaches, staff, and fans is our top concern."
The league also announced that the board of directors approved of extending the 2021 season to 16 games. Their decision behind the move was to add more value to the fans and their sponsors.
The season was able to only produce two total games back on March 7th and 8th. The Quad City Steamwheelers took care of business on the road by beating Cedar Rapids River Kings 54-39. San Diego was the other road team having success on the road as the Strike Force defeated the Bismarck Bucks 50-36.
It was suppose to be a big season for the league as they were adding four teams to the season. The Spokane Shock were being brought back to arena football for the first time since 2017. The Duke City Gladiators was joining the IFL after being in the CIF from 2015 through 2019. Two new franchises joined the league with the Oakland Panthers and the Frisco Fighters.
Tyron wanted to make sure the league was made to protect their staff and players. "The IFL remains committed to the safety and well-being of our players, our team and league staff members, our fans, and our corporate partners. During this extraordinary time in our country, we have all been impacted, and we believe that it will take all of us working together to return to a semblance of normalcy. With that stated, I am extremely proud of how our IFL teams have taken prominent leadership roles within their respective communities to provide assistance and hope to those who need it most. We will continue those efforts as best we can and we will work directly with our local governments and healthcare providers to help in any way we can in the midst of these difficult times."
Despite the season being cut well too short, the expansion of 16 games will bring some excitement to the 2021 season. The league currently has 13 teams, but more additions could be on the way with a new 16 game season happening. With the AFL out of the picture, it appears that 2021 could be the year to see if the IFL becomes the top arena football league around.