The Saginaw Sting was a professional Indoor Football team based in Saginaw, Michigan. The team was most a member of American Indoor Football, they began play in 2008 as an expansion team in the Continental Indoor Football League and moved to the Indoor Football League for the 2009 season. They suspended operations for the 2010 season before becoming an inaugural member of the Ultimate Indoor Football League; the following season they were re-joined the CIFL under new ownership. The team has since moved to the AIF; the owners of the Sting were Rob Licht and Jim O'Brien. The Sting played their home games at The Dow Event Center in Michigan, they are one of only a few teams to win a championship in multiple leagues. The team began play in 2008 as an expansion team in the CIFL; the original team owners were Mike Johnson, Mike Trumbull, Esteban Rivera, who owned the Kalamazoo Xplosion. The team was led by former Michigan State quarterback Damon Dowdell, who led the league in passing yards and completion percentage.
Nick Body was Dowdell's favorite target, leading the league in receptions and touchdowns. Despite their offensive numbers, neither player won Offensive Player of the Year or the CIFL MVP; the duo led the Sting to a 10–2 regular season and a playoff berth. On June 29, 2008, the Sting defeated the Xplosion 41–37 to win the CIFL Championship Game. A number of Sting and Xplosion players indicated at the end of the 2008 season that wages were in arrears from the owners; this led to an investigation of Johnson in his role as Sting General Manager. Trumbull, owner of Triple Threat Sports in Battle Creek, Rivera, a Battle Creek police officer, have offered a deal to split ownership of the two teams, with Trumbell and Rivera owning the Sting, Johnson receiving the Xplosion. Trumbull and Rivera have indicated that they plan for the Sting to move to the new Indoor Football League; the Sting looked to have put together a promising team with the re-signing of QB Damon Dowdell, signing 2007 CIFL MVP, WR/RB Robert Height, but the team fared poorly on the field in the IFL.
Prior to the 2011 season, the team was purchased by Mike Esposito. Esposito announced that the team would play in the newly formed Ultimate Indoor Football League, which Esposito was the league's commissioner, he hired Stuart Schweigert as the Sting's Director of Player Development. The Sting went on to win the Ultimate Bowl, with quarterback Tommy Jones setting several UIFL passing records and claiming the Ultimate Bowl's MVP honors. On November 11, 2011, the Sting were acquired by Rob Licht and Jim O'Brien; the new ownership announced the same day that they would be moving the team back to the CIFL. On December 29, 2011, the Sting announced that 2011 interim head coach Vince Leveille would return as the full-time head coach for the 2012 season, but just 11 days before the team's first game, Leveille stepped down as the head coach, citing that his full-time job made him unavailable to do both. Defensive Coordinator Fred Townsend took over as the team's head coach. With an 8–0 record, the Sting returned to the CIFL playoffs for the first time since 2008, when they won the 2008 CIFL Championship Game and finished the season as the Atlantic Conferences's #2 seed.
In the 2012 CIFL Championship Game, the Sting defeated the Dayton Silverbacks 35-7, to win the CIFL championship. The title for the Sting was their 3rd in the last 4 seasons of playing; the Sting's first move in its quest for a title defense in 2013 was re-signing head coach Fred Townsend to a 3-year contract extension. The Sting progressed to the 2013 CIFL Championship Game. With less than a minute to play, the team found itself on its opponent's nine-yard line down by one point, but due to the team's placekicker being suspended the previous week had nobody capable of kicking a 24-yard chip shot, they were forced to attempt a touchdown. They failed, giving the Erie Explosion a perfect season. In June 2013, the Sting agreed to terms with the CIFL to return for the 2014 season; the Sting won their first eighth game of the season to advance to 8-0, but during that game the Sting lost quarterback A. J. McKenna to injury; the following week the team lost 2013 league MVP, C. J. Tarver to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
The loss of those two key players became noticeable when the Sting lost their final regular season game to finish 9-1. Just one day before the Sting's first playoff game, head coach Fred Townsend announced his resignation. Line Coach James Perry II was named the teams interim head coach. In October 2014, the Sting announced; the Sting announced the hiring of Greg Wasmer as the franchise's new head coach. After a 0-2 start for the Sting, Wasmer was fired and owner Stuart Schweigert was named the head coach of the Sting. On August 23, 2015, the Sting announced that they would rejoin the revived CIFL, which became a member of the Indoor Football Alliance. After months of no new teams joining the CIFL, the Sting re-joined the AIF for the 2016 season but were removed from the AIF schedules in early 2016 and appears to have disbanded without any official announcement. Owner Jim O'Brien has stated that they suspended operations due to league instability but plans to return for 2017; the following is a list of all Sting players who have won league awards The following Sting players have been named to All-League Teams: QB Tommy Jones, A. J. McKenna RB DeShawn Hayes WR LaVaughn Macon, C. J. Tarver, Daryl Gooden OL Eric Brim, Steve Michalek, Josh Peck
Arena football is a variety of indoor gridiron football played by the Arena Football League, China Arena Football League, Champions Indoor Football and others. The game is played indoors on a smaller field than American or Canadian outdoor football, resulting in a faster and higher-scoring game; the sport was invented in 1981, patented in 1987, by Jim Foster, a former executive of the National Football League and the United States Football League. The name is trademarked by Gridiron Enterprises and had a proprietary format until its patent expired in 2007. Due to the patent, other indoor American football leagues that launched following the popularity of the original AFL developed variants on the arena rules. Three leagues have played under arena football rules: the AFL, which played 22 seasons from 1987 to 2008 and resumed play under new ownership in 2010, AF2, the AFL's erstwhile developmental league, which played 10 seasons from 2000 through 2009, the CAFL, which began play in 2016 but is not directly affiliated with the AFL.
While attending the 1981 Major Indoor Soccer League All-Star Game on February 11 at Madison Square Garden, Jim Foster came up with his version of football and wrote the rules and concepts down on the outside of a manila folder, which resides at the Arena Football Hall of Fame. Over the next five years, he created a more comprehensive and definitive set of playing rules, playing field specifications and equipment, along with a business plan to launch a proposed small, initial league to test market the concept of arena football nationally; as a key part of that plan, while residing in the Chicago area, he tested the game concept through several closed door practice sessions in late 1985 and early 1986 in nearby Rockford. After fine tuning the rules, he secured additional operating capital to play several test games in the MetroCentre in April 1986, the Rosemont Horizon Arena in February 1987; the next critical step for Jim Foster was securing a network television contract with ESPN and an initial group of key national corporate sponsors including United Airlines, Holiday Inn, Wilson Sporting Goods, Budget Rental Car, Hardees Restaurants.
As the league's founding commissioner he established a league office with a small staff in suburban Chicago, with addition of some much needed additional investor capital, was ready to launch the Arena Football League. On June 19, 1987, the Pittsburgh Gladiators hosted the Washington Commandos in the first league game after a two-week training camp for all four charter teams in Wheaton, Illinois. AFL football operations and training was overseen by veteran college and pro head coach, Mouse Davis, the father of the famed "run and shoot" offense; the other two 1987 teams were the Denver Dynamite. As the AFL grew into an established league with close to 20 teams, it defined itself as a major market pro sports product and welcomed commissioner C. David Baker. In the early 2000s the league appeared to have financially strong team ownership including NFL owners, as well as major names in the entertainment world, for a while, a weekly Sunday afternoon broadcast on NBC starting the week after the Super Bowl, during the stadium-played game's off season.
The growth and establishment of the AFL as a major market league spawned a developmental league that Foster helped co-found, a minor league called Arena Football 2, in 2000. The league was set up to operate in medium size markets around the U. S. where it enjoyed growth under the guidance of af2 president Jerry Kurz. Many other people have started their own indoor football minor leagues; these leagues do not technically play arena football or use the proper name "Arena Football", a registered trademark, because of the patent on the rules that Foster obtained in 1990. The other two partners were Chicago based lawyers Bill Niro and Jerry Kurz, who in early 1987 joined Foster to help secure the patents on the Arena Football game system and re-establish the Arena Football League in early 1990 as a franchised league after removing a small group of limited partners for multiple breaches of the limited partnership agreement, the basis for operating the AFL during the 1988 season; the patents expired in 2007.
The trademarks only cover the words "arena football" in immediate succession. Arena football is played indoors, in arenas designed for either basketball or ice hockey teams; the field is the same width and length as a standard NHL hockey rink, making it 55% of the dimensions of a regular American gridiron football field. The scrimmage area is long, each end zone is deep. Depending on the venue in which a game is being played, the end zones may be rectangular or, where necessary because of the building design, rounded; each sideline has a padded barrier, with the padding placed over the hockey dasher boards. The goalpost uprights are 9 feet wide, the c
Fort Wayne Freedom
The Fort Wayne Freedom was a professional indoor football team based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The team was most a member of the Continental Indoor Football League, but began play in 2003 as an expansion team in the National Indoor Football League known as the Fort Wayne Safari; the Freedom were the original indoor football team. After four years of being the only indoor team in Fort Wayne, the franchise folded and the Fort Wayne Fusion was established as part of the AF2 in 2007. After a failed year in AF2, the Freedom came back in 2008 with new ownership and continued through the 2009 season. In 2010, another indoor team, the Fort Wayne FireHawks, replaced the Freedom in the CIFL; the owner of the second version of the Freedom was Bill Fahlsing. The Freedom played their home games at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne; the original Fort Wayne Freedom was a professional indoor football team. They were most a member of the United Indoor Football league, played their home games at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.
In 2004, the Freedom set the single game record for attendance at 10,225. # = set single game indoor football attendance record with 10,225 fans.2004 stats do not include a NIFL playoff games with the Show Me Believers and at Ohio Valley *** The 2005 season was the best season in franchise history. This was the first year in the UIF, the team moved to the association, after two years in the NIFL. Finishing a league-best 14-2, winning the UIF Midwest Division. In the first-round of the UIF playoffs; the Tennessee Valley Raptors upset Freedom 57-22. As Matt Land left the Freedom to become head coach at Tri-State University in NCAA Division III; the Freedom selected offensive coordinator Dan Pifer to be their new head coach. Pifer would serve as the offensive coordinator for NCAA Division III Tri-State renamed Trine, under former coach Matt Land, he had worked as an assistant coach at the University of St. Francis, an NAIA institution, NCAA Division II Hillsdale College in Michigan. Pifer was a high school assistant and played quarterback at the University of California in Pennsylvania.
After completing its fourth year of football, the assets of the Freedom were sold to Jeremy Golden, who moved the franchise to AF2. Meanwhile, leaders with United Indoor Football did find an ownership group that sought a lease with Randy Brown and the Memorial Coliseum. Brown opted to go with the AF2 franchise; the team had been rumored to move to AF2 for quite some time, Coffey sold the assets to Golden on November 10, 2006. Golden had applied for and was awarded an AF2 franchise, but because only the assets and not the Freedom's corporate entity were sold, the Fort Wayne Fusion AF2 franchise is not a continuation of the UIF team. In October 2007, the group Fort Wayne Sports Partners owned by Todd Ellis, John Christener and Mike McCaffrey, adopted the name Freedom as a new franchise in 2008. Only the name, some players from the 2003–2006 teams were associated with the original franchise.. The team announced that Eddie Brown, who had coached the Fusion the season before, would be the head coach for the Freedom, who would be joining the Continental Indoor Football League.
Since the Fusion ownership had failed mid season in 2007, Brown and McCaffrey made majority owner Todd Ellis guaranteed them both that if the team ran into financial trouble they would not be responsible for any of the unpaid bills. The teams poor financial history left every part of owning the franchise more difficult as far as ownership of the team's turf; the team's new ownership showed signs of financial trouble right away, as they were banned from the CIFL in January 2008, for failing to pay league dues. These troubles made Brown and McCaffrey question the ownership, Ellis fired them both, replacing Brown with Willie Davis Jr. and McCaffrey with himself. The Freedom were able to work out a deal with CIFL Commissioner, Jeff Spitaleri, paid their $22,500 league fee, which removed the ban and allowed the team to join the CIFL in 2008. In September, 2008, the Freedom announced that former Freedom Assistant GM Brad Harris had been hired as GM. Head coach Matt Land returned for the 2009 to coach the team for the full season.
In 2008, the team's head coach for the 2005 campaign, was asked by team co-owner William Fahlsing to lead the team for the final four games of the season when original head coach Willie Davis, Jr. was fired the morning of the May 17 game against the Chicago Slaughter. With only 15 minutes of practice, Land's second term began with a 41-33 loss to the Slaughter, despite a solid performance by the Freedom defense. In 2009, the Freedom struggled financially. Toward the end of the 2009 season players were not paid promptly and not at all. Team Co-owners Bill Fahlsing and Mark Chappius were forced to ask for public support to help get the team through the season. Despite the financial issue with salaries, the players continued to play for the Freedom and won the Eastern Conference Championship over the Marion Mayhem but lost the 2009 CIFL championship game to the Chicago Slaughter; the Freedom Force is the official fan club of the Fort Wayne Freedom. Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2009 Continental Indoor Football League season.
History of sports in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Continental Indoor Football League
The Continental Indoor Football League 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, it was formed by Jeff Spitaleri, his brother Eric, a third member, Cory Trapp, all from the Canton, Ohio area. The league was called the Ohio-Penn Indoor Football League, but executives decided to increase the league's appeal to the entire Great Lakes region; the league was 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, 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 failed to return the Raiders' owners' emergency fund deposit, collected to protect against such occurrences. The CIFL is among several indoor football leagues that maintained a 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, 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 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.
The Great Lakes Indoor Football League was founded in 2005 by brothers Eric and Jeff Spitaleri and their friend Cory Trapp. The league's first franchise accepted was the Lehigh Valley Outlawz, who joined in late June, 2005. During the league's first season, it cost a new owner a $15,000 franchising fee, with a capped salary of $5,400 per team, per week, with no player earning more than $300 per game. While trying to attract teams, the league agreed to arena contracts before securing owners in efforts to attract owners in those specific market areas, they reached agreements with markets in Danville, Battle Creek, Rochester, New York, Port Huron, Toledo and Marion, Ohio. Of those markets, the league was able to sell ownership to four of them. In December, it was finalized that the league would begin with six teams in their inaugural season, with teach team playing a 10-game season over a 12-week span. On April 7, 2006, the league held its first games with the Battle Creek Crunch hosting the Port Huron Pirates and the Rochester Raiders hosting the New York/New Jersey Revolution.
The Crunch were defeated 62-22 by the Pirates, the Raiders defeating the Revolution 71-13. The league's first playoff format was a 4-team set up with the #1 seed hosting the #4 seed, the #2 seed hosting the #3 seed; the semifinals featured a pair of blowout games, with Port Huron and Rochester advancing to Great Lakes Bowl I, to be played at McMorran Arena as Port Huron was the #1 seed on July 22. The Pirates were able shut down the Raiders' offense for most of the second half earning a 40-34 victory for the Port Huron, thus completing the first undefeated season in league history. At the conclusion of the first season, the league put together an All-Star Game at Stabler Arena, where they split up three teams each for an East vs. West matchup; the West dominated, with a roster full of Port Huron's championship team. The 2007 season brought big changes, as the league changed its name to the Continental Indoor Football League, saw the league expand to 14 teams with only the Crunch not returning.
The league suspended operations in October 2014, when the league's five remaining teams, the champion Erie Explosion, the Saginaw Sting, Marion Blue Racers, Chicago Blitz and Northern Kentucky River Monsters, either suspended operations or joined other leagues. Shortly thereafter, the league Web site redirected to American Indoor Football's. On August 23, 2015, it was announced that the CIFL would return for the 2016 season and the Explosion and Blue Racers will return to the CIFL as a result. However, the league disbanded again that fall after no other teams agreed to join the revived league. Field Size – 50 yards long by 25 yards wide, with end zones a minimum of 5 yards in depth. Fields may vary in size due with CIFL permission. End zones may be rounded due to hockey board configurations. Padded dasher board walls around the entire field. Goal
Rock River Raptors
This page is for the Continental Indoor Football League team, for the National Premier Soccer League team based in Rockford, see Rockford Raptors. The Rock River Raptors were a professional indoor football team based in Illinois; the team was most a member of the Continental Indoor Football League. The franchise was established in 2000 as the Tennessee Valley Vipers, a charter member of af2; the franchise was based at the Von Braun Center in Alabama. In 2005, the franchise moved to United Indoor Football as the Tennessee Valley Raptors, to accommodate the Vipers' af2 return to Huntsville, as which point the team owner Art Clarkson announced that the franchise would relocate to Rockford. Coincidentally, Rockford was the site of the first-ever Arena Football game in 1986; the Owner of the Raptors was Art Clarkson. The Raptors played their home games at Rockford MetroCentre in Illinois. In November 2004, owner Ark Clarkson announced that the team would be leaving af2 and would be joining the newly formed United Indoor Football due to what Clarkson claimed as the af2 not performing its obligations to the team operators to meet increasing financial demands on the teams.
The financial demands on the af2 member teams were such that since the league was founded in 2000, numerous teams had gone out of operation. They worked to make the league more financially viable and responsive to the needs of team operators, but were unable to get the organization to change, as well as changing their name to the Tennessee Valley Pythons. Clarkson wasted little time naming Dick Adams, as the team's head coach. In late January, the team changed their name to the Tennessee Valley Raptors, after the af2 objected that the Pythons would spark people to become confused with the former af2 Vipers. On October 1, 2007, the Raptors announced they would not play in the UIF in 2008. Eighteen days they announced they would move to the CIFL to begin play there for the 2008 season. Raptors website Raptors' 2005 stats Raptors' 2006 stats Raptors' 2007 stats Raptors' photos
The Rochester Raiders were a professional indoor football team based in the Rochester, New York area. They played their home games at Bill Gray's Regional Iceplex in Rochester; the Raiders were a member of the Continental Indoor Football League from 2006 to 2008 and the American Indoor Football Association for two exhibition matches in 2008. In 2014, the Raiders played as a member of American Indoor Football; the Raiders played in the CIFL championship game twice, both times against the Port Huron / Michigan Pirates. They lost to Port Huron in 2006 but defeated Michigan in 2007. Rochester finished the 2008 regular season undefeated at 12–0; the Rochester Raiders were founded in 2006 as a charter member of the newly created Great Lakes Indoor Football League. The Raiders derived their name from a local flag football team. There have been a small number of fans concerned with copyright between the team's logo and the National Football League's Oakland Raiders. However, since the Rochester team never plays in California, this is not believed to be of real concern.
The Raiders were one of two 2006 teams in the GLIFL that held a television contract, at the time with WBGT-CA, a local low-power station. Games have since been moved to Time Warner Cable SportsNet; the Raiders' first home venue was the ESL Sports Centre in Brighton. The team's 2006 roster featured Syracuse University standout wide receiver Maurice Jackson, quarterback Matt Cottengim, Darius Smith, in January 2006, they signed 2-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XXVI Most Valuable Player Mark Rypien to a one-game contract. Rochester went 8–4 under head coach Dennis Greco during the 2006 regular season and advanced to the postseason. However, they would fall to the Port Huron Pirates by a score of 40–34 in Great Lakes Bowl I, the GLIFL championship game. After the season, the Raiders moved from the 2,500-seat ESL Sports Centre to the 5,000-seat Main Street Armory in downtown Rochester. In 2007 the Raiders' only season in the Armory, they finished the regular season with a 10–2 record under new head coach Eddie Long, good for first in the Atlantic Division.
In the playoffs, Rochester won the CIFL championship by defeating the previously-unbeaten Michigan Pirates 37–27 in the CIFL Indoor Championship Game on July 28, 2007. Mike Condello was named the game's Most Valuable Player; the game was held at the Blue Cross Arena due to a pro wrestling show, being held at The Armory. The Raiders moved to the Blue Cross Arena full-time beginning with the 2008 season. Rochester kept most of its championship-caliber core together, re-signing quarterbacks Mike Mikolaichik, Matt Cottingem, Omar Baker; the team added tight end / defensive end TJ Cottrell, wide receiver Darryl Fragger, running back Felix Joyner, defensive lineman Steve Fleming, running back / wide receiver Mark Bly and linebacker Brenton Brady by way of free agency. The mix of holdovers from the 2007 club with players from free agency proved to be a winning combination as the team was wildly successful in 2008, they won their second straight division title. However, the Raiders withdrew from the CIFL playoffs on June 8, 2008, after the Flint Phantoms failed to show up for a Sunday afternoon game.
The team immediately moved to the American Indoor Football Association, played two exhibition matches there, but announced a move to the Indoor Football League instead. Speculation among fans and league personnel on CIFL message boards is that some Raiders players will play with the new af2 team in Buffalo, New York—which shares ownership with the Raiders—starting in 2009; as part of the deal, Thurman Thomas, the other investor in the Buffalo af2 team, will acquire a share of the Raiders. In December 2009, Rochester businessman Bob Bartosiewicz sold his majority share in the team to minority owner and team founder Dave McCarthy, McCarthy announced that the team would be playing its 2010 home games at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, which has 2,164 seats—the lowest seating capacity of any IFL team, lower than the previous arenas they used in the GLIFL and CIFL. On April 23, 2010, McCarthy announced. On June 5, 2010, the Raiders hosted the first outdoor IFL game against the Chicago Slaughter at Marina Auto Stadium.
The Raiders won that game 43-36. In November 2010, the Rochester Raiders announced its cessation of operations. Professional indoor football would return to the city in 2013, with the announcement of the independent Roc City Thunder taking up residence in the city. For the 2014 season the Rochester Raiders began play in the American Indoor Football League. After announcing plans to return to the Main Street Armory, a scheduling issue prompted the team to instead return to Bill Gray's; the Raide
2008 Milwaukee Bonecrushers season
The 2008 Milwaukee Bonecrushers season was the 1st season for the Continental Indoor Football League expansion franchise. The franchise made an immediate splash in Milwaukee when it announced former Green Bay Packer Gilbert Brown signed a three-year contract to be the team's first head coach. However, the optimism faded when Brown announced he was resigning from the position after just three games on April 8, 2008. Much of the team's staff and many of the team's players left at the same time, raising eyebrows among the Milwaukee media and fans; the Bonecrushers finished 2008 with a hodgepodge of players and coaches, winning just one game, a 51-46 road contest against the Muskegon Thunder featuring a 26-yard touchdown run by Bonecrushers' quarterback Brian Ryczkowski on the final play of the game. The rumored reasoning behind the exodus of many of the original members of the franchise was the team's inability to pay its bills or personnel; this was confirmed when a judgment was entered against the Bonecrushers in favor of Challenger Industries, the company that sold the team its game field AstroTurf, in the amount of $29,539.29 on October 15, 2008.
Challenger resolved its claim against John Burns, one of the owners of the Milwaukee Bonecrushers, prior to the matter going to trial