Written by Chris Mabry
As we are weeks away from the start of the 2022 Indoor Football League season, the IFL has announced that they have removed the Spokane Shock from the league due to lack of Payment.
In a press release by the league, the IFL said "Due to multiple issues in the Spokane market, including a dispute with the arena, the IFL board of directors have terminated the Spokane Shock effective immediately.
“This is not an ideal situation to say the least; you never want to see a member going through issues in such a public way. We felt it was necessary to move on from the Spokane market and adjust our schedule accordingly.” said IFL Commissioner Todd Tryon. “We have so many positive things we are experiencing in our league and as unfortunate as this situation is, we will get better as we move forward.”
Going forward, the 2022 IFL season will feature 14 teams divided into two conferences (7 in each).
East Conference: Bismarck Bucks, Green Bay Blizzard, Frisco Fighters, Iowa Barnstormers, Massachusetts Pirates, and Quad City Steamwheelers
West Conference: Arizona Rattlers, Bay Area Panthers, Duke City Gladiators, Northern Arizona Wranglers, San Diego Strike Force, Tucson Sugar Skulls, and Vegas Knight Hawks.
The teams will play a 19-week regular season with the top four teams in each conference (eight total) will make the playoffs.
To see the complete revised 2022 schedule Click Here!
The season kicksoff March 12 2022 when the Pirates take on the Fighters.
.As many fans know, the world of arena/indoor football can be an unpredictable carousel of changes. Teams come and go, switching leagues, changing logos, uniforms, venues. Some pop up for a season and fold--while others don't make it through a full season.
With that said, there are some burning questions about a few teams in particular, that I'm dying to learn about.
# 1 - Delaware Bull Sharks
At one time, they had announced on social media that the Delaware Bull Sharks were preparing to play in the AAL for 2021. Covid affected a lot of things, but if their social media is any indication, they have no intention of ever coming back from it. I hope I'm wrong. It would be great to have a professional team out of the colony of Delaware.
# 2 - Music City Fire
This team seemed to be legit after they played the only AAL game of 2020, before everything shut down. The expansion team traveled to Muskegon and shocked the arena world, upsetting the West Michigan Ironmen 47-37! There was excitement in Nashville and abroad for what this team would bring going forward. Then....Covid, then........crickets. They had a few Facebook posts prior to '21 as if they'd play another season in the AAL but didn't play at all. Who knows what became of them?
# 3 - New York Streets
The New York Streets played the 2019 season in the National Arena League. They didn't have ideal conditions, by any means: a shorter field, a crook stealing Carolina Cobra player belongings at halftime. They played in a city where there are too many other options for entertainment, and to say they averaged 500 fans a game would be generous. They managed a 4-12 season, and though owner Corey Galloway intended for the team to be around for a long time, perhaps the expense of operating became a deterrent, and the team vanished.
# 4 - Cedar Rapids River Kings
Cedar Rapids started play in 2012 under the name of "Titans". They had ups-and-downs, and great success at times. In 2018 the team was put up for sale and California-based businessman Roy Choi purchased the team with intentions of keeping them in Cedar Rapids. They rebranded to the River Kings, but lost 14 of their last 15 games. After the covid shutdown killed their momentum and Roy Choi's casinos were closed, his revenue wasn't sufficient to float his 3 teams. It appears that Cedar Rapids was the victim considering his other two teams are California-based like he is. However, no one from the River Kings organization made any kind of an announcement as to what happened.
HOWEVER, the helmets, uniforms, and trademark are out there somewhere. If anyone knows who owns them, please reach out to me. I want to see about buying the assets and trademark and bringing the team back!
# 5 - Fargo Falcons
Throughout 2019 and parts of 2020, there were many social media posts from the Fargo Falcons about possibly joining a league. Their intentions seemed to play an independent schedule to start out in Fargo, building a fan base and brand, and thus have greater value to the leagues. Their last post was November of 2020 when they announced their independent schedule had been cancelled. It had been their second or third schedule they cancelled and perhaps got discouraged with how hard it is to field a team. I await with eager anticipation to hear from them again, but they appear to be dead birds at this point. Y'all tell me it ain't so!!!
# 6 - Jersey Flight
The team appeared to be doing well when they joined the National Arena League for the '21 season. They played well at times, finishing with the same record as Jacksonville Sharks. Well, 2-6 isn't saying much, but were in the playoff hunt in their last game. They had roughly 200 fans a game, if even that. They hadn't agreed to play in NAL for '22 and were soon after announced as a member of the newly-formed Arena Professional Football League (APFL). However, the league threw us fans a screw ball when they released the schedule and the Flight were nowhere to be seen. The Jersey Ballaz were present on the schedule, but after personally calling the Jersey Flight, they've confirmed that the Flight aren't playing and they didn't rebrand. The Ballaz is someone new. But what has become of the Flight and will they ever come back?
# 7 - Louisville Xtreme
Most owners have learned the hard way that you don't make money fielding a professional arena team; you lose it. Those who have grown comfortable with that idea, have found ways to minimize their losses and come back year after year. The Louisville Xtreme came out of nowhere, and were scheduled to play in the AAL in 2020, but Covid. Then, they were going to play in NAL in 2021, but no LOC. They joined the IFL, rented the KFC Yum Center for around 30K a game, and couldn't get enough fans to come make up the difference. As a result, Game 6 on their schedule was postponed before the IFL ended their partnership with them mid-season. Did they lose too much money that they just gave up trying in another league somewhere? Who has heard of them since?
# 8 - Colorado Stampede
Before the start of the 2021 season, a team called the Colorado Stampede started posting on social media that they would play professionally in '22. Some people asked when they'd announce a league and venue. They replied "Keep rounding them up! Announcement coming along with season ticket information!" That was May of 2021. They haven't posted since and those I've talked to are as clueless as I am, as to what their doing.
# 9 - Colorado Team (CIF)
It was announced in '21 that the CIF would have a team from Colorado playing in the league in '22. The team kept fans very involved in letting them vote for the team name. In early September, the Denver Dynamite seemed to have the most votes from what the fans could tell. The team planned to announce the team name at a special event, but the CIF suddenly released their '22 schedule and the Colorado team wasn't listed. One source confirms that the person that was going to fund the team pulled out the funding, making it a pipe dream for them to play. Will this Colorado team ever see the field? One can hope, right!?
# 10 - Ontario Bandits
Scheduled to play in the NAL for 2021, the team was signing players and seemed rich enough to travel to the East Coast for all of their road games. When it came close to the season, things weren't ready to proceed and they went dormant for '21, a week before the season started. The NAL maintained hope that Ontario would get things organized enough to join the league later, but they never made it on the schedule for '22--casting doubt that they ever will. It's puzzling that a team that seems to have the money hasn't made it on the field yet. Whatever happened to them?
While this may seem like a complaint, I mean for it to be a statement of gratitude. Seeing how difficult it is to even field a team, and the subsequent expenses that follow, I'm extremely grateful for the teams that come back year-after-year and give us fans some high-octane smash-mouth Spring football to enjoy. Thank you, especially to the owners that know they'll lose time and money by having their team play for our enjoyment. I only hope they get enjoyment, too!
Written by Ducon Williams
Have you ever rode on a roller coaster? The ups-and-downs, curves, turns, side-to-side, whiplash inducing effects can leave one reeling, frightened, or. . .exhilarated! Being an adult male, I'm not really in tune with my feelings to let you know what I think about it. However, watching this roller-coaster of an offseason in professional arena/indoor football has been nothing short of entertaining. I've laughed; I've cried; was frustrated, angry, elated, joyful, and everything in between. Having this many emotions in such a short amount of time, has made me question if men are capable of having periods. The theatrics and suspense of this frustrating offseason leaves me to say one thing to the fans: "Get yer popcorn ready!"
From the photo above, you'll see 3 champions from a year ago, 3 expansion teams, two that have been removed from a previous league, and a slew of teams that couldn't finish a season a year ago. Here's a quick sum up of some of the offseason moves:
American Arena League sells to Jersey Bearcats owners AJ Roque and Jermaine Sanders. Of the 13 AAL teams that played in 2021, only one is still in the AAL. The Jersey Bearcats. AAL Champion North Texas Bulls joined a new regional league called the Arena Football Association (AFA), which includes another champion in the West Texas Warbirds. Joining the 6-team league are the Amarillo Venom, Texas Jets, Rio Grande Valley Dorados, and Magnolia State Spartans.
Arguably the AAL's best team last year, the Charlotte Thunder started their own league, called the Arena Professional Football League. AAL teams West Michigan Ironmen and Pennsylvania Union have joined them as well as the Carolina Cowboyz, and the previous National Arena League partner, the Jersey Flight.
The Tampa Bay Tornados rebranded to the Cyclones and started the American Indoor Football Alliance. Mississippi Raiders joined along with the Carolina Predators, the Las Vegas Kings, and the St. Charles Bandits (previously St. Louis).
Out West, in the American West Football Conference, the Yakima Canines were removed from the schedule and replaced by the travel team, the Washington Elite. Champion Tri-City Rush returns and will hold matchups versus the Idaho Horsemen, Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks, Oregon High Desert Storm, and the expansion SoCal Red Tails, in addition to the Elite.
Two leagues with 6 teams, and two leagues with 5 teams. One has to wonder what will become of the Wichita Force, since they've been removed from the Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league. My speculation? They join the AFA, who has two other CIF escapees. Relatability has a curious power.
Early predictions? Stay tuned. First game out of the gate will have the Arlington Longhorns visiting the SouthWest Kansas Storm on February 27, 2022!
by Ducon Williams
Written by Chris Mabry
After falling one game short of the United Bowl in their official first year in the IFL, the Frisco Fighters are making changes to their ownership group.
Today, on the Frisco Fighters social media pages, the team announced that they have partnered with the Dallas Stars to become the new owners.
The 2022 season officially begins March 12, 2022 when the Fighters take on the Pirates.
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