Pittsburgh Riverhogs to join SFL in Season 23

by Cameron Irvine

The Simulation Football League is proud to announce the inclusion of the Pittsburgh Riverhogs for Season 23, who will play their inaugural SFL game at the 2024 SFL Convention in League City, Texas, a home familiar to team owners Cory and Butch Mennor. Pittsburgh joins Albuquerque and Nashville being awarded expansion bids and will carry over their respective histories in the minor league. Pittsburgh is the third team to ever be promoted through expansion under the league's new minor league ownership structure.

Pittsburgh will replace San Diego, who announced earlier this week they are suspending operations after facing significant challenges outside of the league with its team staff. The team hopes to return to the SFL in the future, once it has an opportunity to restructure.

The league is still finalizing its team roster for Season 23 and a finalized divisional alignment will be made public once that process has concluded.

Pittsburgh joined the SFLm as a new team last season and finished the abbreviated season 5-3, losing to the Nashville Tempo in the loser's bracket final, one game short of a SFLm Championship appearance. The league will be entering its ninth season this May, of which Pittsburgh's minor league roster will take part along with the seven other SFLm teams from last season. The Riverhogs will continue their minor league program through the conclusion of the 2024 SFLm season in December, as will any SFLm ownership group called to lead SFL teams in the Summer 2024 campaign. 

"My brother Butch and I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity for the Pittsburgh Riverhogs," said owner Cory Mennor. "First, we want to thank Cam Irvine and the league for providing us with this opportunity. We would also like to thank all of those who have provided us guidance over the past few seasons and for helping us create this amazing franchise. We can’t wait to show what the Riverhogs can bring to the SFL."

Cory Mennor and his brother Butch have spent eight seasons in the SFL, playing for Charleston and San Diego respectively this past season. The two have four all-star appearances between them as players and in their short stint as owners have partnered with multiple Pittsburgh-area businesses in less than a year to spread the word about the franchise. Cory Mennor assists the league's statistics department, responsible for all of the stat-tracking and roster management on the league's website. The team has undergone stadium and uniform upgrades in the off-season and produced some top talent defensively this SFL draft including Portland's Bubba Brusier, Minnesota's Jubilee Marsh and San Diego's RC Puff.

"The Mennor's have stayed patient and steady through this process and have rose to be a quality organization in such a short time," said Commissioner Cameron Irvine. "They're everything a league could want in leaders. They will have a team believing in no time and I have no doubts that when the going gets tough, this team is always going to overcome. It's great to see more of a presence in the northeastern part of the United States where the league has not had a lot of teams over the years. It bodes well for growth in that region."

The Mavericks have had two different ownership groups in six seasons since joining as an expansion team in Season 16, going 32-54. San Diego still has a shot at the postseason, but could ultimately miss out after winning its first playoff game in franchise history just last year.