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. The league is the second highest tier in indoor/arena football behind the Arena Football League (AFL), and has operated continuously under the same name and corporate structure longer than any other current indoor football league, considering that the AFL's 2009 season was cancelled and the original league filed for bankruptcy that year. IFL players earn a minimum of US$200 per game played (before taxes). The season is typically about 14 games long, plus playoffs of two or more rounds.
|Indoor Football League|
|Current season, competition or edition:|
2019 Indoor Football League season
Indoor Football League logo
|No. of teams||10|
|Iowa Barnstormers (1st title)|
|Most titles||Sioux Falls Storm (6)|
The league was formed as a merger between the Intense Football League and United Indoor Football, 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) 54–42.
Of the 17 teams involved in the two previous leagues, 14 carried over to the new organization's 2009 season. An additional three 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 71–62.
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 25 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 24 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 43–34.
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 $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 nine 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 was the first season the IFL utilized roster restrictions which call for all teams to carry no more than seven 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.
Project FANchise, a group aiming to create a professional sports team where fans help run the day-to-day operations, announced they would operate a new team, 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 also bought 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 are located outside the IFL's regional territory. They subsequently announced their charter membership in an entirely new league, the National Arena League
After the 2017 season came to a close, the website for the Colorado Crush was shut down with no formal announcement on the franchise's future. Project FANchise, who also ran the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, had announced they would start their own league and left the IFL, with both teams going up for sale. On July 12, 2017, the Spokane Empire announced that they would be suspending operations effective immediately.
On July 25, 2017, the IFL announced that only the Arizona Rattlers, Cedar Rapids Titans, Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers, and Nebraska Danger had committed to play for 2018. However, expansion clubs and current member clubs had until September 1 to commit to the 2018 season. On August 30, the Sioux Falls Storm announced that they had joined Champions Indoor Football for 2018 after winning six consecutive championships from 2011 to 2016. The Storm was shortly followed by the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.
The IFL then added the Bloomington Edge and West Michigan Ironmen from the CIF on September 12. The CIF apparently then attempted to sue the IFL, Edge, and Ironmen for leaving the CIF after the two teams had already signed league affiliation agreements with the CIF for 2018. The IFL then threatened to sue the CIF, Storm, and Nighthawks in return despite neither former IFL team signing an affiliation agreement with the IFL for 2018. The CIF then retracted their lawsuit with the IFL but also removed the Storm and Nighthawks from their 2018 schedule. After the IFL meetings in October 2017, the Storm returned to the IFL but the Nighthawks had to suspend operations. While the CIF did drop the lawsuit against the IFL, it filed for an injunction against the Edge and Ironmen teams from participating in the IFL for breaking the terms of their signed affiliation agreements. A temporary injunction from participation in the league was granted on January 31, 2018, with the court ruling determining that both teams had been offered bribes from the owner of the Arizona Rattlers to break their contract with the CIF. The schedule was revised in February for the six participating teams stating the Edge and Ironmen were to return in 2019.
During the season, the Cedar Rapids Titans' ownership announced the team was for sale with hopes of selling to new local ownership. In June 2018, it was announced that the Titans had been sold to Roy Choi, a California-based businessman, with the intentions of keeping the team Cedar Rapids but would rebrand the team.
In August 2018, the IFL announced that the expansion Tucson Sugar Skulls, owned by Rattlers' coach Kevin Guy, were joining the league after being rumored to have joined the CIF. On September 7, the IFL announced that the Quad City Steamwheelers would join the league from the CIF. The Cedar Rapids team announced their rebrand as the Cedar Rapids River Kings on September 22. On October 5, the Bismarck Bucks of the CIF announced their move to the IFL. On November 19, the IFL announced another expansion team, the San Diego Strike Force, owned by the new Cedar Rapids owner Roy Choi to bring the league back up to ten teams. The addition of the Sugar Skulls and Strike Force gave the Rattlers geographic rivals, reducing that team's travel expenses in a league otherwise centered in the upper midwest.
|Arizona Rattlers||Phoenix, Arizona||Talking Stick Resort Arena||15,505||1992||2017||Kevin Guy|
|Bismarck Bucks||Bismarck, North Dakota||Bismarck Event Center||10,100||2017||2019||Rod Miller|
|Cedar Rapids River Kings||Cedar Rapids, Iowa||U.S. Cellular Center||5,700||2011||2012||Mark Stoute|
|Green Bay Blizzard||Green Bay, Wisconsin||Resch Center||8,600||2003||2010||Corey Roberson|
|Iowa Barnstormers||Des Moines, Iowa||Wells Fargo Arena||15,181||1995||2015||Dixie Wooten|
|Nebraska Danger||Grand Island, Nebraska||Eihusen Arena||6,000||2010||2011||Pig Brown|
|Quad City Steamwheelers||Moline, Illinois||TaxSlayer Center||9,200||2017||2019||Cory Ross|
|San Diego Strike Force||San Diego, California||Pechanga Arena San Diego||12,000||2018||2019||Burt Grossman|
|Sioux Falls Storm||Sioux Falls, South Dakota||Denny Sanford Premier Center||10,678||2000||2009||Kurtiss Riggs|
|Tucson Sugar Skulls||Tucson, Arizona||Tucson Convention Center||8,962||2018||2019||Marcus Coleman|
The United Bowl is the IFL's championship game. It has been played every year since 2009. The current United Bowl Champions are the Iowa Barnstormers, who won their first United Bowl championship in 2018. The Sioux Falls Storm won six straight United Bowls from 2011 to 2016.
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.
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. The 2017 class included wide receiver James Terry, head coach Robert Fuller and defensive lineman Cory Johnsen.
The 2010 Indoor Football League season is the second season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The regular season began on Friday, February 26 and ended on Saturday, June 19. In March, the Indoor Football League took control of the Alaska Wild team and was to operate the team until a new owner was found or the season ended. In May, after nine games, the team suspended operations. After 3 weeks of playoffs the season ended with the 2010 United Bowl on July 17 where the Billings Outlaws defeated the Sioux Falls Storm.2011 Indoor Football League season
The 2011 Indoor Football League season was the third season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The regular season began on Saturday, February 19, 2011, with the Kickoff Classic game, and ended on Sunday, June 12, 2011. After 3 weeks of playoffs, and one week off, the playoffs ended with the 2011 United Bowl on July 16 where the Sioux Falls Storm defeated the Tri-Cities Fever 37-10.2012 Indoor Football League season
The 2012 Indoor Football League season was the fourth season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The league lost nine teams but gained back three teams. The three new teams were the Cedar Rapids Titans, New Mexico Stars and the Everett Raptors. The season kicked off on February 19, 2012, when the Chicago Slaughter beat the Bloomington Edge 50–34. 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.2013 Indoor Football League season
The 2013 Indoor Football League season was the fifth season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Playing with nine teams in two conferences spread across the United States, the league's regular season kicked off on February 15, 2013, when the Sioux Falls Storm beat the Green Bay Blizzard 64–41. The season ended on June 15, 2013, with the visiting Sioux Falls Storm defeating the Texas Revolution 52-38.2014 Indoor Football League season
The 2014 Indoor Football League season is the sixth season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Playing with nine teams in two conferences spread across the United States, the league's regular season kicked off on February 21, 2014, when the reigning league champion Sioux Falls Storm played host to the Nebraska Danger. The regular season ended 17 weeks later on June 21, 2014, with the Nebraska Danger visiting the Texas Revolution.2015 Indoor Football League season
The 2015 Indoor Football League season was the seventh season of the Indoor Football League. Playing with ten teams in two conferences spread across the United States, the league's regular season kicked off on February 28, 2015, when the reigning league champion Sioux Falls Storm travelled to the Bemidji Axemen. The regular season ended 16 weeks later on June 20, 2015, with the Green Bay Blizzard visiting the Iowa Barnstormers. The playoffs were held in two rounds with the top two teams in each conference facing off in a conference championship game followed by the winners of those games meeting in the United Bowl.2016 Indoor Football League season
The 2016 Indoor Football League season was the eighth season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Playing with ten teams in two conferences spread across the United States, the league's regular season kicked off on February 20, 2016 and ended on June 24, 2016. The playoffs were held in three rounds, with the top seed in each conference receiving a first-round bye as the second and third seeds face each other in the conference semifinal (both division winners had automatic bids, and the third seed was a wild card), with the winner of that game facing the top seed in a conference championship game followed by the winners of those games meeting in the United Bowl.2017 Indoor Football League season
The 2017 Indoor Football League season was the ninth season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Playing with ten teams in two conferences spread across the United States, the league's regular season kicked off on February 16, 2017, when the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles hosted the Nebraska Danger. The regular season ended 18 weeks later on June 18, 2017, with the defending league champion Sioux Falls Storm visiting the Iowa Barnstormers and the Wichita Falls Nighthawks visiting the Nebraska Danger. The playoffs were held in two rounds, with the top two seeds in each conference playing against each other in the conference championships. The winner of those games met in the United Bowl.American Arena League
The American Arena League (AAL) is a minor professional indoor football league that began playing in 2018. The league was initiated by a merger between Arena Pro Football (APF) and the Can-Am Indoor Football League (Can-Am), although it claimed only the APF history after the former Can-Am founder left the league. Teams from both leagues, new teams, and later teams from Supreme Indoor Football and National Arena League constituted the new league for its inaugural season.American Indoor Football
American Indoor Football (AIF) was a professional indoor football league, one of the several regional professional indoor football leagues in North America.
The AIFL began as a regional league with six franchises on the East Coast of the United States in 2005; after a rapid, and largely failed, expansion effort in 2006, most of the league's remaining teams jumped to the new AIFA (the rest joined the short-lived WIFL). The AIFA expanded throughout existing territory and, in 2008, expanded into the Western United States. The league legally divided into two entities to allow for a partial merger with the Southern Indoor Football League, which resulted in all of its Eastern teams merging into the SIFL and the AIFA only maintaining its western teams. The league's western component, which remained separate of the merger, had indicated it would play as the AIFA West for the 2011 season but ceased operations January 2011. The league announced it would be relaunching as American Indoor Football in time for spring 2012. After the 2016 season, the AIF ceased operations with the former AIF owner stating his support for the recently created Arena Developmental League.
The last market with a direct connection to the original AIFL was Erie, Pennsylvania. Erie's team, the Explosion, joined other regional leagues when the SIFL disbanded after the 2011 season.Continental Indoor Football League
The Continental Indoor Football League (CIFL) was an indoor football league based along the Midwestern United States region that played nine seasons from 2006 to 2014. It began play in April 2006 as the Great Lakes Indoor Football League (GLIFL). It was formed by Jeff Spitaleri, his brother Eric, and a third member, Cory Trapp, all from the Canton, Ohio area.
The league was originally called the Ohio-Penn Indoor Football League, but then executives decided to increase the league's appeal to the entire Great Lakes region. Initially, the league was relatively successful, having a cumulative attendance of over 75,000 in the inaugural regular season. However, the league, like other indoor football associations, was plagued by folding franchises and unenforceable policies throughout its existence. For example, the 2006 champion Port Huron Pirates were found to have been paying some of their players over the league salary cap. 2007 saw several teams fold during the season, and during the 2008 season, the league's most successful team, the Rochester Raiders, moved to another league due to frustration over the failure of the league to provide notice of an opponent's forfeiture, resulting in lost ticket and advertising revenue. The league also failed to return the Raiders' owners' emergency fund deposit, which was collected specifically to protect against such occurrences.The CIFL is among several indoor football leagues that maintained a mostly regional operation, with most of its teams clustered in the Midwestern United States. Teams went back and forth between the CIFL and the other regional leagues, as well as the Indoor Football League (a national league of similar caliber), over the course of the league's history. Prior to its disbanding, the CIFL claimed itself to be the longest continually operating current indoor football league in the United States, noting that older leagues such as the Arena Football League and American Indoor Football had suspended operations at least once since the CIFL's founding.
In July 2012, the CIFL changed ownership for the first time in its history, when Jeff Spitaleri sold the CIFL to Indoor Football Incorporated, which included Rob Licht, Jim O'Brien and Stuart Schweigert. The group also owned the Saginaw Sting. The new ownership of the league sought to help current teams brand their product better, as well as look to expand the league, but its primary goal was to have competitive franchises.Indoor American football
Indoor American football is a variation of American football played at ice hockey-sized indoor arenas. While varying in details from league to league, the rules of indoor football are designed to allow for play in a smaller arena. It is a distinct discipline and not be confused with traditional American football played in large domed stadiums, as is done by some teams at the college and professional levels.Indoor Football League (1999–2000)
The Indoor Football League (IFL) began in 1999 as an offshoot of the troubled Professional Indoor Football League. Keary Ecklund, the owner of the Green Bay Bombers and Madison Mad Dogs, left the PIFL after its first, financially troubled, season to start his own league. Unlike the PIFL, the IFL was an "entity league"; teams were owned by the league and franchised out to management groups. NFL Hall-of-Famer Kellen Winslow was brought in as commissioner. The league was successful enough for a major expansion in 2000. Expansion was done regionally to cut down on travel expenses. Hence, the majority of the teams were in the Midwest. Their championship game was known as the Gold Cup.
Midway through the 2000 season, the Topeka Knights changed management and nicknames and became the Kings. After the season, the entire league was purchased by the Arena Football League's Orlando Predators. Two teams, the Lincoln Lightning and Peoria Pirates, as well as many players, became a part of their developmental ("farm") league, the AF2. The Wichita Warlords were rebranded the Wichita Stealth. Other teams resurfaced with new names in the Indoor Professional Football League (which consisted of the remnants of the PIFL that Ecklund left in 1999) and the National Indoor Football League.National Indoor Football League
The National Indoor Football League (NIFL) was a professional indoor football league in the United States. For their first six years, the league had teams in markets not covered by either the Arena Football League or its developmental league, AF2, however, that changed briefly with their expansion into AFL markets such as Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles, and AF2 markets such as Fort Myers and Houston. The league folded in 2008.Professional Indoor Football League
The Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) was a professional indoor football league that played four seasons from 2012 to 2015. Like the Lone Star Football League, the PIFL was mainly composed of teams formerly part of Southern Indoor Football League (five former SIFL teams and one expansion team in total). Despite the name, this PIFL had no connections to the original Professional Indoor Football League.San Diego Strike Force
The San Diego Strike Force is a professional indoor football team based in San Diego, California. It is a member of the Indoor Football League and began play in 2019 at the Pechanga Arena San Diego, in the city's Midway district. It is owned by Roy Choi, who also owns the IFL's Cedar Rapids River Kings. It is the second professional football team in San Diego that began play in spring 2019, after the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football, more than year after the departure of the NFL's San Diego Chargers in 2017.
The Strike Force is the third indoor team to play in San Diego, after the San Diego Riptide of af2 (2002–2005) and the San Diego Shockwave of the National Indoor Football League (2007). The team may have planned on being called the San Diego Lightning, as the organization's original email addresses and internal website links used that name. The team announced their colors and staff on December 17, 2018.Southern Indoor Football League
The Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) was an indoor football league based in the Southern and Eastern United States. The most recent incarnation of the league was a consolidation of an earlier league of the same name that was formed by Thom Hager along with Dan Blum, Robert Winfrey and Dan Ryan in 2009 and the American Indoor Football Association, which traces its roots to the founding of the Atlantic Indoor Football League in 2005. The SIFL broke up into three regional leagues after the 2011 season.Tucson Sugar Skulls
The Tucson Sugar Skulls are a professional indoor American football team based in Tucson, Arizona. They are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL) since the 2019 season as an [[expansion team]. The play their home games at Tucson Convention Center's Tucson Arena. The team are led by owners Kevin & Cathy Guy and Ali Farhang. Kevin Guy also serves as head coach and general manager of the Arizona Rattlers of the IFL.Ultimate Indoor Football League
The Ultimate Indoor Football League (UIFL) was a regional professional indoor football league that began its inaugural season on February 18, 2011 as the Ultimate Indoor Football League before playing as the United Indoor Football League in 2012, then switched back to "Ultimate" for the 2013 season. After the 2014 season, the league merged with X-League Indoor Football.
Indoor Football League (2019)
Professional gridiron football leagues in North America