National Arena League

The National Arena League (NAL) is a professional indoor football league that began play in 2017. It consists of six teams based in the East Coast of the United States.

National Arena League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2019 National Arena League season
National Arena League
SportIndoor football
Founded2016
Inaugural season2017
CommissionerChris Siegfried
No. of teams6
Country
  • United States
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia
Most recent
champion(s)
Carolina Cobras (1st title)
Most titlesJacksonville Sharks & Carolina Cobras (1 title each)
Official websitenationalarenaleague.com

History

Origins

In June 2016, Columbus Lions' owner Skip Seda and father Keke Seda founded a league called the Arena Developmental League (ADL) in the wake of several years of minor indoor leagues folding. The league was announced to begin play in March 2017 and, while not affiliated with any other leagues, intended on developing players to be looked at by scouts in the Arena Football League (AFL), Canadian Football League (CFL), and National Football League (NFL). In their introductory press conference, the league announced former AFL, af2, and CFL head coach John Gregory as its first commissioner and former AFL and af2 head coach Chris Siegfried as director of football operations.

Charter teams began being announced in July 2016 with the Columbus Lions and Lehigh Valley Steelhawks joining from the defunct American Indoor Football.[1][2] On July 21, the High Country Grizzlies announced their ADL membership after initially being announced as an AIF expansion team.[3] On August 11, the Dayton Wolfpack were announced as the league's fourth team.[4] On September 13, the ADL added the Georgia Firebirds from the AIF as the fifth team.[5] On September 21, the league announced its sixth team to be from Highland Heights, Kentucky, owned by Northern Kentucky Professional Indoor Football LLC headed by W. Leland Bennett III. Bennett was one of the owners of the Northern Kentucky Nightmare, a travel team that played in the AIF the previous season, but no name for the ADL team was announced and the franchise was removed from the league when the league later changed names. In October, the ADL added the Anderson Gladiators from Anderson, South Carolina, but were removed from the league in November due to arena lease issues.[6] On October 17, the Corpus Christi Rage announced it had joined the ADL (although the ADL did not confirm until October 28).[7] On October 20, the ADL announced that the Fort Myers area-based Florida Tarpons were joining the league.[8] However, the Tarpons would also withdraw from the league on November 10 to join the upstart Arena Pro Football.

National Arena League

On November 18, 2016, the league announced it had changed its name to National Arena League. As part of the change in name, the league management was also restructured so that it was no longer managed by Lions' owner Skip Seda, but was instead managed by all member teams equally. Later that day, the league added a former Arena Football League team, the Jacksonville Sharks. On November 30, the league added the Monterrey Steel from Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, becoming the first American indoor/arena league to house a Mexican team as well as the first in fifteen years to house a team from outside the United States.[9] In order to satisfy the Sharks' contract with their arena, they were given eight home games in the 12 game season. To balance the uneven scheduling, the Corpus Christi Rage and Dayton Wolfpack each only were given five home games while the other five teams each had six. This was changed again when the Wolfpack apparently never were able to secure an arena lease, despite announcing they would play at the Nutter Center and signed players were reporting on social media that all players had been cut. As of February 20, 2017, all Wolfpack home games were cancelled.[10] During the season, league took over operations of the Firebirds,[11] Rage, and Wolfpack. The Sharks would go on to finish with an 11–1 record and win the inaugural championship game over the Lions. The Rage and Wolfpack folded at the end of the season.

During the first season, the league announced the first 2018 expansion team in the Jersey Flight of Trenton, New Jersey.[12] During the summer league meetings, the NAL conditionally approved ownership groups in Boston, Providence, Richmond, and Orlando[13] with an expansion application deadline of August 15, 2017. The Richmond Roughriders, formerly of Arena Pro Football, confirmed the next day that they were finalizing their NAL expansion requirements.[14] However, on September 13, the Roughriders announced they were joining the American Arena League instead.

On September 28, 2017, the NAL announced on their Facebook page that the Jacksonville Sharks, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, Columbus Lions, and Jersey Flight had all signed three-year NAL membership agreements and committed to play in the league until 2020. The Monterrey Steel could not commit for 2018 citing the 2017 Central Mexico earthquake. The Georgia Firebirds could not commit due to an ownership transition, but failed to obtain an arena lease. Despite the initially announced August 15 deadline, the next confirmed expansion team was announced in November as the Massachusetts Pirates based out of Worcester, Massachusetts. In the expansion announcement, the league also mentioned adding teams in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Portland, Maine, but no mention of the other previously conditionally approved teams in Boston, Providence, or Orlando.[15] The Carolina Cobras were announced in Greensboro on December 4 and the Maine Mammoths on December 5, with both teams owned by National Sports Ventures, and organization led by NAL executive Rob Storm and Atlanta businessman Richard Maslia[16] and includes Sharks' owner and expansion chairman Jeff Bouchy.[17] The Monterrey Steel and the expansion Jersey Flight would be removed from the league for failing to meet the minimum league obligations prior to the release of the 2018 schedule.[18]

2018

In October 2017, commissioner Gregory stepped down and was replaced by the director of operations, Chris Siegfried.[19] The 2018 season began on April 7, 2018. All three expansion teams fared well, with the Cobras winning the league championship, the Pirates finishing the regular season in first place, and the Mammoths ending the season on a five-game winning streak. However, the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks finished the season winless and the owner announced he was trying to sell the team, while the Mammoths were also announced as looking for local ownership.

2019

The league announced its first addition of the 2019 season in the New York Streets with plans to play at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York, in December 2018.[20][21][22][23] A revived Orlando Predators team, owned and coached by players from the former Arena Football League team of the same name, was added on January 17, 2019. After failing to reach an agreement with local ownership, both the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks and Maine Mammoths announced they had suspended operations for the season.[24][25]

Staff

Teams

Map of teams

Current members

Team Location Arena Capacity Founded Joined Head coach
Carolina Cobras Greensboro, North Carolina Greensboro Coliseum Complex 7,000 2017 2018 Billy Back
Columbus Lions Columbus, Georgia Columbus Civic Center 7,573 2006 2017 Jason Gibson
Jacksonville Sharks Jacksonville, Florida VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena 13,011 2009 2017 Siaha Burley
Massachusetts Pirates Worcester, Massachusetts DCU Center 14,800 2017 2018 Anthony Payton
New York Streets[26] White Plains, New York Westchester County Center 3,000[27] 2018 2019 Rick Marsilio
Orlando Predators[28] Orlando, Florida Amway Center 17,192 2019 Doug Miller

Former members

  • Anderson Gladiators (Anderson, South Carolina) – Initially announced as an expansion team for the ADL's inaugural 2017 season but were later removed by the league. Announced to join Supreme Indoor Football instead but never played.
  • Corpus Christi Rage (Corpus Christi, Texas; 2017) – After four games, team operations were taken over by the league and folded at the end of the season.[29]
  • Dayton Wolfpack (Traveling team; 2017) – Originally announced to play out of Dayton, Ohio, the owners failed to secure a lease and all home games were removed from the schedule. League ran the team as a traveling team using various semi-professional units based out of Georgia.
  • Florida Tarpons (Estero, Florida) – Played in American Indoor Football's final 2016 season and was announced as an ADL member on October 20, 2016. Announced they had joined the new Arena Pro Football for the 2017 season instead.
  • Georgia Firebirds (Albany, Georgia; 2017) – One of the initial teams in the ADL that had played in the AIF; the NAL took over operations of the team during the 2017 season. After the season, the league announced that the team was changing ownership but could not commit to the 2018 season until the new ownership obtained a new arena lease. In November 2017, the Firebirds were removed as league members.
  • High Country Grizzlies (Boone, North Carolina; 2017) – Originally an AIF expansion team, one of the first ADL teams announced. Left after the 2017 season for the newly formed American Arena League.[30]
  • Jersey Flight (Trenton, New Jersey) – An announced 2018 expansion team that was removed from the league prior to the release of the 2018 schedule. Team then announced they would play in the American Arena League.
  • Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (Allentown, Pennsylvania, 2017–2018) – One of the first two teams announced in the ADL and then played the first two NAL seasons. The team suspended operations after the ownership failed to find a buyer to operate the team for the 2019 season.
  • Maine Mammoths (Portland, Maine, 2018) – Expansion team in the 2018 season owned by National Sports Ventures, a company that includes league expansion chairman and Jacksonville Sharks owner Jeff Bouchy. After failing to secure local ownership, the Mammoths suspended operations before the 2019 season.
  • Monterrey Steel (Monterrey, Nuevo León, 2017) – Played the inaugural 2017 season as an expansion team; could not commit to the 2018 season and were removed from the league.
  • Northern Kentucky (Highland Heights, Kentucky) – An unnamed team created from the former travel-only team that played in the AIF in 2016 was initially announced as an inaugural ADL team. Team was removed when the ADL changed names to the NAL.

Championships

Year Champion Runner-up Score
2017 Jacksonville Sharks Columbus Lions 27–21
2018 Carolina Cobras Columbus Lions 66–8

References

  1. ^ Lions owner Seda establishes new Arena Developmental League, Dana Barker, Columbus Ledger-Inquirer, July 7, 2016
  2. ^ "Steelhawks Announce Arena Developmental League Affiliation". OurSports Central. July 19, 2016.
  3. ^ "Grizzlies Announce New Affiliation". OurSports Central. July 21, 2016.
  4. ^ "Dayton Wolfpack Announce Intentions to Join ADL". ArenaDL.com. Arena Developmental League. August 11, 2016. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  5. ^ "Georgia Firebirds to join Arena Development League". The Albany Herald. September 13, 2016.
  6. ^ "Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report". OurSports Central. November 7, 2016.
  7. ^ "Ceremony held for new Corpus Christi Rage arena football team". KIII. October 17, 2016.
  8. ^ "League to Welcome Former Two-Time Champion Florida Tarpons". ADL. October 20, 2016. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  9. ^ "NAL Goes International". NAL. November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  10. ^ "NAL's Dayton Wolpack set to become a travel only team". Arena Football Talk. February 20, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  11. ^ "WEEKLY SPORTS LEAGUE & FRANCHISE REPORT". OurSports Central. May 22, 2017.
  12. ^ "JERSEY FLIGHT FOOTBALL, INC. Announces kick-off of the Jersey Flight Arena Football Team". Gloucester City News. March 10, 2017.
  13. ^ "NAL Announces Teams for 2018 Play - Northeast Bolstered by Expansion". NAL. July 20, 2017.
  14. ^ Brandon Russell (July 21, 2017). "Richmond Roughriders officially announce NAL Expansion". Last Word On Sports.
  15. ^ "Indoor football league plans to put expansion team in Portland". Portland Press Herald. November 15, 2017.
  16. ^ "Maine Mammoths, arena football team, calls a halt after one season". Portland Press Herald. February 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "Mammoths to bring arena football to Portland". The Forecaster. December 5, 2017.
  18. ^ "NAL SET TO BEGIN PLAY IN APRIL - League Schedule to be Released This Week". NationalArenaLeague.com. December 13, 2017.
  19. ^ "CHRIS SIEGFRIED ANNOUNCED AS NAL COMMISSIONER John Gregory Steps Down Following Successful 2017 Season". NAL. October 9, 2017.
  20. ^ Neil Best (December 18, 2018). "New York Streets announced as new arena football team". NewsDay.
  21. ^ Carron J. Phillips (December 18, 2018). "As the first black sports owner in NY history, Corey Galloway bringing arena football back to the city". New York Daily News.
  22. ^ Peter Schwartz (December 19, 2018). "Schwartz on Sports: Corey Galloway, owner of the NY Streets". New York Sports Day.
  23. ^ Nancy Haggerty (December 20, 2018). "Pro arena football to debut at County Center in spring; owner hopes for multi-league playoff". The Journal News.
  24. ^ "Maine Mammoths Suspend Operations for the 2019 Season". OurSportsCentral.com. February 5, 2019.
  25. ^ "Lehigh Valley Steelhawks to go on hiatus for 2019 arena football season". The Morning Call. February 14, 2019.
  26. ^ "The National Arena League Comes to the Big Apple". NAL. December 13, 2018.
  27. ^ "THE STREETS' HOME IN WESTCHESTER IS HISTORICAL, INTIMATE AND LOUD". New York Streets. February 20, 2019.
  28. ^ "Predators Return for the 2019 Season". NAL. January 17, 2018.
  29. ^ "Another indoor football team bites the dust, Rage calls it quits after going 0-9". KRIS-TV. June 15, 2017.
  30. ^ "High Country Grizzlies Leave NAL; Join AAL". Last Word on Sports. September 20, 2017.

External links

2017 Jacksonville Sharks season

The 2017 Jacksonville Sharks season was the eighth season for the professional indoor football franchise and first in the National Arena League (NAL). The Sharks were one of eight teams that competed in the NAL for its inaugural 2017 season

The Sharks played their home games at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Led by head coach Mark Stoute, the Sharks went undefeated through eight games and then Stoute was fired. Siaha Burley was immediately hired as his replacement after serving as the offensive coordinator of the Arena Football League's Cleveland Gladiators.

2017 National Arena League season

The 2017 National Arena League season was the inaugural season of the National Arena League (NAL). Playing with eight teams spread across the eastern and southern United States (with one team in Mexico), the league's regular season kicked off on March 17, 2017, when the Columbus Lions hosted the Jacksonville Sharks and lost 41–56. The regular season ended 14 weeks later on June 17, 2017, with the Sharks hosting the Monterrey Steel and the Lions visiting the Georgia Firebirds. The playoffs were held in two rounds, with the top seed hosting the fourth seed and the second seed hosting the third seed, with the winners of these games facing in the 2017 NAL Championship hosted by the highest remaining seed.

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.

Carolina Cobras (NAL)

The Carolina Cobras are a professional indoor football team in the National Arena League (NAL) and that began play for the 2018 season. Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, the Cobras play their home games at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.The Cobras is the third indoor/arena team to call Greensboro home, following the Greensboro Prowlers of the af2 (2000–2003) and the Greensboro Revolution of the National Indoor Football League (2006–2007). A previous team called the Carolina Cobras played in the Arena Football League from 2000 until 2004. The AFL Cobras played three seasons in Raleigh and two in Charlotte before folding. Aside from the name, the NAL Cobras franchise has no connection to the AFL Cobras.

Columbus Lions

The Columbus Lions are a professional indoor football team based in Columbus, Georgia and a founding member of the National Arena League (NAL) for the 2017 season. The Lions were founded in 2006 as an expansion team of the World Indoor Football League (WIFL). After the WIFL went under in 2007, the Lions joined the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) where they played for two seasons. When the AIFA broke apart, the Lions joined the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL). The Lions joined the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) in 2012 when the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) teams split up into two new leagues. After the 2015 season, the PIFL broke apart, and the Lions joined American Indoor Football for 2016.

In their first 12 seasons, the Lions have compiled a regular season record of 100–47 with division championships in 2009, 2011 and 2016. They have made five championship appearances: in the 2010 season where they defeated the Louisiana Swashbucklers in President's Cup II, in 2015 when they defeated the Richmond Raiders in PIFL Cup IV, in 2016 where they defeated the West Michigan Ironmen in the AIF Championship game, in 2017 when the Lions lost to the Jacksonville Sharks 21–27 in the inaugural NAL Championship, and in 2018 with 66–8 loss to the Carolina Cobras.

Dayton Wolfpack

The Dayton Wolfpack were a professional indoor football team and a charter member of the National Arena League (NAL) in its inaugural 2017 season. Originally to be based in Dayton, Ohio, the Wolfpack had announced their home venue as the Nutter Center but apparently failed to reach a lease agreement. The Wolfpack were then listed as a traveling team by the NAL.

The Wolfpack would have been the sixth indoor football team to call Dayton home, following the Dayton Skyhawks of the original Indoor Football League (1999–2000), the Dayton Warbirds/Bulldogs of the National Indoor Football League (2005–2006), The Marshals also of the NIFL (2007), the Dayton Silverbacks of the Continental Indoor Football League (2011–2012) and finally the Dayton Sharks also of the CIFL (2013–2014).

Georgia Doom

The Georgia Doom are a professional indoor football team based out of Macon, Georgia. They play their home games at Macon Coliseum. They started as a midseason road team filling in for the folded Dayton Wolfpack in the National Arena League in 2017 before becoming a charter member of the American Arena League in 2018.

They are the third indoor team to play in Macon after the Macon Knights in af2 (2001–2006) and the Macon Steel of American Indoor Football (2012).

Georgia Firebirds

The Georgia Firebirds were a professional indoor football team based in Albany, Georgia, and played their home games at the Albany Civic Center. Previously, the Firebirds played as an outdoor football team in various semi-pro leagues before going indoor. The Firebirds joined American Indoor Football (AIF) for the 2016 season but the league folded after one season. The Firebirds then joined the new National Arena League (NAL) for the 2017 season.

The Firebirds were the third indoor/arena football team to call Albany home, following the South Georgia Wildcats of af2 (which played in Albany from 2005 until the league folded in 2009) and the Albany Panthers of the Southern Indoor Football League and later the Professional Indoor Football League (which played from 2010 until 2013, winning the 2011 SIFL and 2012 PIFL championships).

High Country Grizzlies

The High Country Grizzlies were a professional indoor football team that began play in the 2017 season. Based in Boone, North Carolina, the Grizzlies played their home games at the George M. Holmes Convocation Center on the campus of Appalachian State University.

Jacksonville Sharks

The Jacksonville Sharks are a professional indoor football team based in Jacksonville, Florida, playing their home games at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Beginning in 2017, the Sharks began play as charter members of the National Arena League (NAL). They were members of the Arena Football League (AFL) from 2010 to 2016 and won the championship of their division in the first four seasons of their existence.

The Sharks joined the AFL for the 2010 season, following the league's complete reorganization the previous year. In their inaugural season, they set the league record for most regular season wins by an expansion team, winning twelve of their sixteen games, and ranked third in the league in ticket sales and average attendance. They advanced to the 2010 AFL playoffs, claiming the South Division title. In their second year in the league, they advanced to the ArenaBowl XXIV, defeating the Arizona Rattlers 73–70, for the first AFL Championship in franchise history. The Sharks left the AFL after the 2016 season and joined the NAL.

Lehigh Valley Steelhawks

The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks were a professional indoor football team based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Steelhawks began play as an expansion team in the Indoor Football League (IFL) in 2011. The Steelhawks moved to the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) in 2013, where they made their only championship game appearance to date, losing PIFL Cup III to the Nashville Venom. The team joined American Indoor Football for the 2016 season after the PIFL folded, which lasted one season before that league also folded. They joined the National Arena League for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The Steelhawks are the Lehigh Valley's second indoor football team, following the defunct Lehigh Valley Outlawz of the Continental Indoor Football League (2005–2008). Both teams played their home games at Stabler Arena. The Steelhawks played their home games at the PPL Center.

The owner of the Steelhawks was Glenn Clark, but sought to sell the team following the 2018 season. After failing to find new ownership for the Steelhawks, the team suspended operations before the 2019 season.

List of Jacksonville Sharks seasons

This is a list of seasons completed by the Jacksonville Sharks. The Sharks are a professional indoor American football franchise in the National Arena League (NAL), based in Jacksonville, Florida, and plays its home games at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. The team was established in 2010 in the Arena Football League (AFL) until it left the league after the 2016 season. Until 2014, the Sharks won their division in every year. The team reached ArenaBowl XXV in their second year of play, in which they won the league's championship on a game-winning touchdown as time expired. The team won the NAL Championship in its first season.

Maine Mammoths

The Maine Mammoths were a professional indoor football team that was a member of the National Arena League (NAL) for the 2018 season. Based in Portland, Maine, the Mammoths played their home games at the Cross Insurance Arena. The Mammoths are the first professional indoor or arena football team to call the Portland or Maine home.

Massachusetts Pirates

The Massachusetts Pirates are a professional indoor football team and a member of the National Arena League (NAL). The team is based in Worcester, Massachusetts, and play their home games at the DCU Center.The Pirates are the third indoor/arena team to call Worcester home, following the Massachusetts Marauders of the Arena Football League (1994) and the New England Surge of the Continental Indoor Football League (2007–2008)

Monterrey Steel

The Monterrey Steel was a professional indoor football team and a charter member of the National Arena League (NAL) that played in the 2017 season. Based in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, the Steel played their home games at Arena Monterrey.

The Steel were the first team from Mexico to play in an American arena/indoor football league, as well as the first team from outside the United States to play in one since the Toronto Phantoms of the Arena Football League (2001–2002).

New York Streets

The New York Streets are a professional indoor football team based in the New York metropolitan area. They are owned by Corey Galloway and are members of the National Arena League (NAL) starting in 2019. They play their home games at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York.

Orlando Predators

The Orlando Predators were a professional arena football team based in Orlando, Florida and member of the Arena Football League (AFL). The team was most recently owned by Orlando Predators LLC, a company owned by David A. Siegel, and played its home games at Amway Center.

The team was founded in 1991 as an expansion team of the AFL. The team advanced to the playoffs 19 consecutive seasons between 1992 and 2011, becoming the ArenaBowl champions in 1998 and 2000 during that span. The team suspended operations after the 2016 season. A new organization led by former Predator Kenny McEntyre obtained the Predators branding and relaunched the team in the National Arena League for the 2019 season.

Orlando Predators (NAL)

The Orlando Predators are an announced professional indoor football team to be based in Orlando, Florida, as an expansion team the National Arena League for 2019. They are owned by Kenny McEntyre and Nate Starling and will play their home games at the Amway Center.The Predators are marketed as a revival of the Orlando Predators, who played 25 seasons in the Arena Football League from 1991 to 2016. McEntyre, the team's co-owner, and Doug Miller, the head coach, are both former players with the AFL incarnation of the team. McEntyre and Starling acquired the Predators trademarks in late 2018 after the previous owner allowed them to lapse.

National Arena League
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