Southern Indoor Football League is born

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mickel Ponthieux

Thom Hager, the owner of the Louisiana Swashbucklers, announced on Tuesday that the Southern Indoor Football League will officially open the 2009 season with teams from Austin, Texas Houma, Louisiana to begin the inaugural season.

One of the teams that will be joining the SIFL will be the Lafayette Mudbugs.

“For the first time we will be able to play Lafayette in professional sports,” Hager said.

In addition to Lafayette, markets from Houston, Austin, Pasedena, Houma, and Galveston will play in 2009. The franchise from Pasedena will be known as the Texas Titans and Austin will be called the Turfcats.

There is a possibility that two other teams will play in the first season of the SIFL if they sign letters of intent before league meetings on December 6-7.

The first season will be a 12-game regular season schedule beginning the week after Easter. The playoffs will consist of a semifinal round and a championship game.

Game times will be moved up to 6:30 p.m. with games played on Saturday night and the option of Monday nights during the summer.

Hager also announced the members of the SIFL league office. Dan Bloom will be the commissioner and the head of the officials. Robert Winfrey was named operations director while Dan Ryan will hold the office of director of communications. Former Swashbuckler general manager Scott Blanchard will manage the teams’ websites and assist in promotions. And Hager is the league president to round out the five-person administration of the SIFL.

At the league meetings in December, Bloom will reveal the rulebook that will be used in the SIFL. Hager said that the rulebook would be a simple one.

“We want to make sure the rules are simple enough that the officials don’t have so many judgment calls,” said Hager on the rulebook. “It’s going to be like the NCAA with an indoor tweaking.”
Commissioner Bloom said that Hager has the right idea in business model of the SIFL.

That model is on a regional footprint to produce cash flow in a team’s local franchise to help that team grow to prevent from folding.

“It seems that teams fail for two reasons,” Bloom said. “One teams travel too far, and two the expenses are too high.”

After the league meetings, a schedule will be released in December.

Hager is looking at six more franchises to join in 2010. Markets in Waco, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Tampa, Lakeland, and Birmingham are preparing to join the SIFL. When these teams join, the SIFL will be divided into a west and east division.

For more information on the Southern Indoor Football League, go to their website at www.southernifl.com.