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[1] 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.

Southern Indoor Football League
Most recent season or competition:
2011 SIFL season
SIFL
SportIndoor football
Founded2008
FounderThom Hager
Inaugural season2009
CEOThom Hager
CountryUnited States
Most recent
champion(s)
Albany Panthers
Related
competitions
American Indoor Football Association
Official websiteSouthernIFL.com

History

2009 season

Based in Texas and Louisiana, it had five teams for its inaugural season. The Acadiana Mudbugs, Austin Turfcats, Houma Conquerors, Texas Hurricanes, and Louisiana Swashbucklers are the teams that comprised the first season. The 2009 SIFL staff included Commissioner Dan Blum, Director of Operations Robert Winfrey, Director of Communications Dan Ryan, Director of Quality Control Bryan Shoemaker and Director of Creative Services Scott Blanchard. The first round of the playoffs had #1 Louisiana defeating #4 Houma, and #2 Austin defeating #3 Acadiana. The inaugural SIFL season concluded with the President's Cup Championship Game which saw the Louisiana Swashbucklers defeat the Austin Turfcats 59-38.

2010 season

The second season of the SIFL played with five teams. The loss of the Austin Turfcats, Houma Conquerors, and Texas Hurricanes were countered with the addition of the Albany Panthers, Columbus Lions, and Greenville Force. The Lafayette Wildcatters, who changed its name from the Acadiana Mudbugs, and the Louisiana Swashbucklers returned for the 2010 season. The 2010 SIFL staff included Commissioner Dan Blum, Director of Operations Robert Winfrey, Director of Communications Matthew Hester, and Director of Quality Control Bryan Shoemaker.

2011 season

After the 2010 season, the Greenville Force was dropped from the SIFL. With the exit of the Force, the SIFL added the Alabama Hammers, Houston Stallions, Mobile Bay Tarpons, Rio Grande Valley Magic, and Trenton Steel for the 2011 season. At the same time, the Abilene Ruff Riders and Corpus Christi Hammerheads made the move to the SIFL from the IFL. Gary Tufford (Known as the League Killer) took over the reins of the league as Commissioner and over extended the SIFL into the 16 team league that would compete in the 2011 season.

On November 9, 2010, the SIFL announced its merger with the East Division of the American Indoor Football Association, adding the Carolina Speed, Erie Explosion, Harrisburg Stampede, and Richmond Raiders.[2] It was thought that the Fayetteville Guard would also move to the SIFL but another sports marketing group from Fayetteville announced it would field a new team from the Fayetteville market independent to the Guard.[3] This brought the league total to 16 clubs. In March 2011 it was reported that sports management company Fanteractive was acquiring the league (as well as owning the Trenton and Fayetteville teams), with plans to make it "interactive" by giving fans a voice in team decisions.[4]

The Lafayette Wildcatters suspended operations the day before the 2011 season started[5] and the Mobile Tarpons folded roughly a month into the 2011 season.

Breakup

A June 2011 New York Times article noted the league's instability.[6] In September 2011, the majority of teams in the SIFL broke off to join two new leagues, the Texas-based Lone Star Football League and the Southeast-based Professional Indoor Football League. The remaining three teams were claimed by the revived American Indoor Football Association. The SIFL itself has mostly been silent since July 2011, and its Web site was taken down several months later.

Former teams

Timeline

Champions

President's Cup

Year Winner Loser Score
2009 Louisiana Swashbucklers Austin Turfcats 59-38
2010 Columbus Lions Louisiana Swashbucklers 68-13
2011 Albany Panthers Louisiana Swashbucklers 69-48

Award winners and notable players

2009 SIFL Award winners

  • MVP: Kimmie Lewis (Acadiana)
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Wilridge (Louisiana)
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Kimmie Lewis (Acadiana)[12]
  • Special Teams Players of the Year: Tommy Hebert (Louisiana) and Darric Wallace (Austin)
  • Lineman of the Year: John Paul Jones (Louisiana)[13]
  • Coach of the Year: Darnell Lee (Louisiana)[14]
  • Franchise of the Year: Louisiana Swashbucklers[15]

2010 SIFL Award winners

  • MVP: Cecil Lester (Albany)
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Chris McCoy (Columbus)
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Damian Daniels (Columbus)[16]
  • Special Teams Player of the Year: Trey Crum (Columbus)
  • Lineman of the Year: Franklin Lloyd (Columbus)
  • Coach of the Year: Lucious Davis (Albany)
  • Franchise of the Year: Albany Panthers[17]

2011 SIFL Award winners

  • MVP: Adam DiMichele (Erie)
  • Offensive Player of the Year: Kevin Concepcion (Erie)
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Damian Daniels (Columbus)
  • Special Teams Player of the Year: Craig Camay (Trenton)
  • Coach of the Year: Gerald Dockery (Houston)[18]

References

  1. ^ Ponthieux, Mickel (2008-11-19). "Southern Indoor Football League is born - Sulphur, LA - Southwest Daily News". Sulphurdailynews.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  2. ^ "SIFL and AIFA Announce Merger - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  3. ^ "New indoor football team coming to Fayetteville". FayObserver.com. 2010-11-30. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  4. ^ Kitchenman, Andrew (March 14, 2011). "Getting fans out of seats, and behind bench". NJBIZ. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-22.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Lafayette Wildcatters Not Fielding a Team This Season | KATC.com | Acadiana-Lafayette, Louisiana". KATC.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  6. ^ Tanier, Mike (June 27, 2011). "Staying in the Game on Football's Fringe". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-22.
  7. ^ "SIFL finds new team to replace Florida Kings". The Houma Courier. May 27, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  8. ^ Cassandra McAboy. "End of the line for Mobile Bay Tarpons? Coach Willie Gaston says team didn't make last game". al.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  9. ^ "Erie Explosion joins new league | GoErie.com/Erie Times-News". Goerie.com. 2011-08-27. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  10. ^ a b c d e RGV Magic Get Arena League Of Their Own by Clay Williams (2011-09-13). "RGV Magic Get Arena League Of Their Own : Sports". ValleyCentral.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  11. ^ Michael Mancuso / The Times of Trenton. "Trenton Steel throw in the towel (with video)". NJ.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
  12. ^ "Kimmee Lewis named 2009 SIFL MVP - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. 2009-07-25. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  13. ^ "LA's Jones Named SIFL Lineman Of The Year; SIFL Names Fans Of The Year - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. 2009-07-22. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  14. ^ "Lee Named SIFL Coach Of The Year". southernifl.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-07.
  15. ^ "SIFL Lists 2009 Front Office Winners". 2009-12-04. Archived from the original on 2009-12-04.
  16. ^ "Lester and Daniels Top List of 2010 SIFL Award Winners - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. 2010-07-13. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  17. ^ "Lions, Panthers Rivalry Resumes This Saturday - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  18. ^ "Sifl Names 2011 MVPs, Coach of the Year - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
2011 SIFL season

The 2011 Southern Indoor Football League season was the SIFL's third overall season, the first since its merger with the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA), and the last before its breakup into three regional leagues.

Abilene Bombers

The Abilene Bombers were a professional indoor football team. The Bombers played their home games at the Taylor County Expo Center, in Abilene, Texas.

Alabama Hammers

The Alabama Hammers were a professional indoor football team based in Huntsville, Alabama. The team played in the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) from 2012 to 2015. The Hammers originally began play as an expansion team in the Southern Indoor Football League in 2011. The Hammers are the fourth indoor football team to play at the Von Braun Center; these were the Alabama Vipers of the AFL (2010), the Tennessee Valley Vipers of the af2 (2000–2004 and 2006–2009), and the Tennessee Valley Raptors of the United Indoor Football league (2005). The owner of the Hammers is Southern Sports Entertainment, LLC. The Hammers play their home games at the Von Braun Center. Their name comes from the Yellowhammer, the state bird of Alabama.

Albany Panthers

The Albany Panthers were an indoor football team based in Albany, Georgia. The team joined the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) during their inaugural season in 2010. When the SIFL folded, the team joined the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) in 2012. The Panthers' home games were played at the Albany Civic Center until 2014.The Panthers were the second indoor/arena team to play in Albany, following the af2's South Georgia Wildcats which played from 2005 until the league shut down after the 2009 season. In February 2014, the team was kicked out of their home arena by the city manager after claims they defaulted on their lease. The franchise is currently looking for a new home.

Augusta Colts

The Augusta Colts were a professional indoor football team based in Augusta, Georgia. The team played their home games at the James Brown Arena.

Augusta Mavericks

The Augusta Mavericks were to be an indoor football team which will begin Southern Indoor Football League play in 2011. Based in Augusta, Georgia, their home games will be played at the James Brown Arena.

The Mavericks are the third indoor/arena team to play in Augusta, following the af2's Augusta Stallions (2000–2002) and the Augusta Colts (known as the Spartans in 2006–2007) which played in the American Indoor Football Association and the World Indoor Football League from 2006 until suspending operations indefinitely in 2008.

Austin Turfcats

The Austin Turfcats were a professional indoor football team based in Austin, Texas. The Turfcats were a member of the Indoor Football League (IFL) during the 2010 season, after being a charter member of the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) during their inaugural 2009 season. The Turfcats played their home games at Luedecke Arena at the Travis County Exposition Center. This was Austin's fourth attempt at an indoor football team; the prior three were the Indoor Professional Football League's Texas Terminators (1999), the National Indoor Football League's Austin Knights/Rockers (2002–2003), and the Arena Football League (later af2's) Austin Wranglers (2004–2008) (the former two of which played in Luedecke Arena before the Turfcats).

Charlotte Speed

The Charlotte Speed were a professional indoor football team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The team was to have become a member of the Professional Indoor Football League, but their membership was revoked before the 2013 season started. The Carolina Speed began in the American Indoor Football Association where they played from 2007 thru 2009 in Concord, North Carolina. After sitting out the 2010 season, the Speed came back in 2011 and played in the Southern Indoor Football League. The SIFL folded after the 2011 season, and the Speed did not play in 2012. The owner was Eddie Littlefield. The Speed played their home games at Cabarrus Arena in Concord from 2007-2009 and at Bojangles' Coliseum in Charlotte for 2011.

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.

Fayetteville Force (SIFL)

The Fayetteville Force is the former name of a professional indoor football team in the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL). They debuted in the SIFL following the SIFL/AIFA merger and played home games at the Cumberland County Crown Coliseum.

The Force set the record for the largest single-game losing margin and points allowed in the history of indoor football – in any league – following a 0 – 138 loss to the Erie Explosion on May 21, 2011.The AIFA entered into an asset purchase agreement of selected assets of the Fayetteville Force from Fanteractive, LLC the Force's parent company but the AIFA did not purchase the corporation that was operating the Force. Under the agreement the AIFA retains the Force name, logo, likeness, playing equipment and the artificial turf. The AIFA guaranteed that it would play the remaining four Force games with the Southern Indoor Football League. On November 17, 2011, a new franchise was announced Cape Fear Heroes that began play in the 2012 season of part of a new AIF.

Harrisburg Stampede

The Harrisburg Stampede were a professional indoor football team based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Stampede participated in several different leagues over their history: the American Indoor Football Association in 2009 and 2010, the Southern Indoor Football League in 2011, American Indoor Football in 2012 and 2013, and the Professional Indoor Football League in what became their final season of play in 2014. The team suspended operations on December 30, 2014.

The Stampede played their home games at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center for their first five seasons. In 2014, they played in the Giant Center in nearby Hershey.

The "Stampede" name alluded to the team's original home venue, which hosts the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show, and the team's colors were blue, black and white.

Houma Conquerors

The Houma Conquerors were a professional indoor football team and a charter member of the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL). Based in Houma, Louisiana, the Conquerors played their home games at the Houma Terrebonne Civic Center. This was Houma's second attempt at an indoor football team following the National Indoor Football League's Houma Bayou Bucks. The Bucks also played their games at the Houma Civic Center from 2002 to 2004.They began play in the SIFL's inaugural 2009 season and lost their first five games, all but one by double digits. Despite a poor 1-7 start and numerous off-the-field distractions, the Conquerors finished with two wins in their last three games, earning the team a spot in the SIFL playoffs. In January 2010, the team announced they would suspend play for the 2010 season, but potentially return for the 2011 season.

Houston Lightning

The Houston Lightning were an indoor football team which was to begin Southern Indoor Football League play in 2010. Based in Houston, Texas, their home arena was announced as the Reliant Arena.

The Lightning were to be the second indoor/arena team to play in the city of Houston, and the fourth to play in the Greater Houston area. Previously, the city had the Houston Thunderbears (previously known as the Texas Terror) of the Arena Football League from 1996 until 2001. In addition, Greater Houston was previously home to the Texas Copperheads of the National Indoor Football League and later af2 from 2006 until 2008 (in the NIFL, the team was the Katy Copperheads), as well as the Katy Ruff Riders of the Intense Football League from 2007 until the team moved to the Indoor Football League and the city of Abilene after the 2008 season.

The Lightning's logo is one of the few in American sports to contain a verse from the Bible; the verse cited is Isaiah 40:31: "They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint." (NAB)

On March 10, 2010, the Lightning announced that they were suspending operations, claiming that the arena (unnamed in the announcement) had reneged on a lease agreement, and that there wasn't time to find an alternate home.

Lafayette Wildcatters

The Lafayette Wildcatters were a professional indoor football team based in Lafayette, Louisiana and a charter member of the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL). They played their home games at the Cajundome, the Wildcatters are Lafayette's second attempt at an indoor/arena football team following the af2's Lafayette Roughnecks, the Roughnecks folded after their single season of 2001.

In their inaugural season, the Wildcatters were known as the Acadiana Mudbugs, they were the only team to start out 3–0 and locked up the #3 seed for the SIFL's first ever playoffs. On July 18, 2009 the Mudbugs lost 56–49 to the Austin Turfcats in the playoff semifinals in the SIFL's first overtime game.

The Wildcatters began their 2010 season with a 44–28 loss to the Greenville Force. Four days later, head coach John Fourcade was let go and the team signed former AFL coach Skip Foster to lead the team.

The Wildcatters canceled their 2011 season due to the lack of having sufficient Workers Compensation Insurance. By the time their announced return of 2012 had come, the SIFL had broken up.

Lone Star Football League

The Lone Star Football League (LSFL) was a regional professional indoor football league that played three seasons from 2012 to 2014. All of the LSFL's charter teams were based in the state of Texas, with five teams coming from the Southern Indoor Football League, three from the Indoor Football League, plus one expansion team. The LSFL played three seasons to completion before merging with the Champions Professional Indoor Football League in August 2014 to form Champions Indoor Football.

Mobile Bay Tarpons

The Mobile Bay Tarpons were a professional indoor football team in the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL). Based in Mobile, Alabama, the Tarpons were to play their home games at the Mobile Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds.

The Tarpons were the third indoor football team to play in Mobile, after the Mobile Seagulls of the Indoor Pro Football (2000) and the National Indoor Football League (2001) and the Mobile Wizards of the af2 (2002).

After four games in its inaugural season, there was a change in ownership of the club. The rumored new owners, Global Sports Group LLC, planned to move the home arena from the Mitchell Center to the Mobile Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds. But when the ownership papers that were supposed to be provided to the group by the SIFL were not delivered by the deadline set, Global Sports Group backed out of taking ownership of the team. Other SIFL teams scheduled to play the Tarpons were credited with wins by forfeit. The Tarpons became the second club from the SIFL Gulf Conference to become dormant in the 2011 season, following the Lafayette Wildcatters going dormant the day before the 2011 season was to start.

Richmond Raiders

The Richmond Raiders were a professional indoor football team located in Richmond, Virginia the Richmond Coliseum as their home arena. The Raiders began play in the 2010 as an expansion team of the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA). The Raiders moved to the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) when the Eastern Division of the AIFA merged with the SIFL in the winter of 2010, beginning SIFL play in the 2011 season. After just a single season in the SIFL the Raiders, along with four other members of the SIFL, became the charter members of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL). The team was then a member the PIFL from 2012 to 2015.

Texas Hurricanes

The Texas Hurricanes were a professional indoor football team based in Beaumont, Texas and a charter member of the Southern Indoor Football League which began play for the SIFL's inaugural season.

Previously known as the Texas Pirates and playing out of South Houston, Texas, the Hurricanes got their new name, ownership, and temporarily moved to College Station, Texas on June 17, 2009 for 3 games. It was then announced on November 9, 2009 that the team would be relocated to Beaumont, Texas.

Trenton Steel

The Trenton Steel was a professional indoor football team that began play in the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) in the 2011 season. The team suspended operations December 27, 2011. The Steel were based in Trenton, New Jersey, with home games played at the Sun National Bank Center.

Southern Indoor Football League
Teams
Arenas
Seasons
Northern Division
Southern Division
2017 expansion
Seasons
See also
Professional gridiron football leagues in North America

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