BREAKING - Louisville to join IFL Nov 6, 2020 12:58:15 GMT -8
Post by David on Nov 6, 2020 12:58:15 GMT -8
November 6, 2020 --
LOUISVILLE, KY - In a surprising announcement, the IFL announced on Friday that the Louisville Xtreme would join the IFL for the 2021 Season.
As the United States awaits in anticipation of breaking news for whom will be the upcoming President of the United States, the Indoor Football League dropped breaking news that the Xtreme will join the league for the 2021 Season.
"We are very excited to announce that we are joining the Indoor Football League," said Victor Cole, the Xtreme's General Manager & Managing Partner stated in the team's press release. "The IFL is the premier indoor football league with teams ranging from coast to coast and we are more than excited to be affiliated and partnered with such a classy organization."
The announcement of the Xtreme to the IFL comes one week after the National Arena League, the indoor league that the Xtreme were originally set to join for 2021, terminated the team's membership. According to the NAL's press release, the Xtreme and the expansion Tampa Bay Tornadoes were dismissed due to both franchises failing to "provide the league mandated letters of credit."
According to IFL Commissioner Todd Tyron, adding the Xtreme was a bolster up to the league's geographical footprint. "Louisville fits our current and future blueprint perfectly," stated Tyron in the press release. "With the leadership of Victor Cole, as well as team president and home-grown legend Chris Redman, we are excited to partner with the Louisville Xtreme."
Pending no additional financial issues, the Xtreme are slated to play in the 2021 IFL Season, playing its home games at the iconic Freedom Hall arena. The team's head coach, Mark Stoute, is a long-time veteran of arena and indoor football, having recently served as the head coach of the Cedar Rapids River Kings in 2019.
Founded in 2012 as the Kentucky Xtreme, the franchise was founded by owner Victor Cole, a former veteran of the Kentucky Air National Guard and semi-professional football wide receiver/defensive back. The franchise began its life as members of the Continental Indoor Football League in 2013 before suspending operations midway through the 2014 CIFL Season. The team ceased operations before re-launching in 2015 as members of the Minor League Football Alliance (MLFA). After reaching the MLFA Championship game, the franchise went dormant until it returned in 2017, changing its name to the Louisville Xtreme. After several years of pursuing a new league, the Xtreme were accepted into the American Arena League (AAL) for 2020, but withdrew before playing a game due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On July 22nd, 2020, the Xtreme was named an expansion franchise for the 2021 NAL Season. Two days later, former Baltimore Ravens QB Chris Redmond was announced as the team's new president and had join the team's ownership group. Eventually, the NAL would terminate the Xtreme's on October 30th, resulting in the IFL's newest expansion team a week later.
The Xtreme are the second arena/indoor football team to call Freedom Hall home, having previously been the home to the Louisville Fire of the af2 (arenafootball2) that played from 2001-2008. The Fire amassed a 59-69 record over eight seasons with four playoff berths. The Fire's best season came in 2005, when Louisville amassed an 11-5 record, won the American Conference Championship and earning a berth in ArenaCup VI. Louisville would fall to the Memphis Xplorers, 63-41.
Every professional sports league suspended their seasons following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. For some leagues, such as the National Basketball Association and National Women’s Soccer League, it was temporary. For others, it was to look to what would be the following season; as was the case with the IFL. The IFL was the first indoor football league to announce it was suspending the season, an announcement which was made on March 13. It officially cancelled the season a month later. The league concluded just two games prior to the cancellation.
The Massachusetts Pirates announced they were making the jump from the National Arena League; a move which extended the IFL to the east coast for the first time. The league also has added the Northern Arizona Wranglers, an expansion team located in the
However, the league slate has taken a hit as it was announced that the Cedar Rapids River Kings and San Diego Strike Force would go dormant for the 2021 season. While the long-term fate of the River Kings is unknown, the Strike Force are planning a return to the league in 2022. Last month, the Oakland Panthers announced they would go dormant for 2021, though they plan to return the following season. All three of those teams are primarily owned by California businessman Roy Choi. Former Super Bowl champion Marshawn Lynch also holds a stake in the Panthers.
Recently, the IFL took another hit as the Quad City Steamwheelers announced on October 23rd that the franchise would go dormant in 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in the state of Illionis. The Steamwheelers, named after the long-time af2 franchise that played from 2000-2009, intend to return in 2022.
Prior to what would have been the 2020 season, the IFL had added expansion teams the Spokane Shock and the Frisco Fighters. Additionally, the Gladiators announced their move to the league from Champions Indoor Football. The Gladiators had won the prior two CIF championships before making the move.
Due to the pandemic, it is possible that IFL teams' arenas may be empty, or have limited numbers of fans during the 2021. Those details will be worked out by the league and its teams leading up to the season, which is expected to start sometime around February or March.
The IFL returns the Arizona Rattlers, Bismarck Bucks, Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers, Quad City Steamwheelers, Sioux Falls Storm and Tucson Sugar Skulls. The expansion Columbus Wild Dogs have joined the league and will begin play in 2022. The Nebraska Danger shut down following the 2019 season in search of new ownership.
The IFL stretches across the country from Spokane, Washington to Worchester, Massachusetts. The league will enter its 12th season in 2021. The addition of San Antonio brings the league to 13 teams for 2021; up from the 10 which comprised the league in 2019.
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