SFLm reveals five new organizations, readies for season
The Simulation Football League presented by APM Music continues its long-term growth strategy with the announcement of five new ownership groups in SFLm, joining the previously announced Albuquerque Atoms, Lexington Miners and Philadelphia Cougars. Joining those franchises will be the Bossier City Steamers, Chicago Warriors, Nashville Tempo, Pittsburgh Riverhogs and San Jose Flight.
These eight teams will compete in the 8th season of SFLm, kicking off Friday November 10. In the new schedule format, the eight-team league will play a round-robin schedule in two groups of four to determine playoff seeding. All eight teams will qualify for the playoff, with seeds 5-8 needing two wins over seeds 1-4 to advance, while the higher seeds need just one first round victory to advance. More on the new previously released schedule structure for the league can be found here.
The groups for regular season round-robin play will be determined Monday during 'This Week in the SFL' live on SFL YouTube. The league will be interacting with the chat to determine which teams will be in which group. 16 applicants applied for the five remaining spots, 10 were named finalists last week. Commissioner Irvine and Deputy Commissioner Rastelli spent the week interviewing all finalists and reviewing submissions.
"This was the most rigorous process for determining our next great leaders that we've ever had in the SFL," Irvine said. "We did this to set us up for future growth and a better product for when newcomers enter our league as players - that is our number one priority out of team leadership right now. There was a lot of passion put into these bids and a lot of time and effort went into them. Ultimately, the bids that failed to secure a spot are set up for future opportunities and made these decisions very difficult, while the winners now set their sights on the upcoming seasons and the growth potential of their organizations."
Let's meet the newest organizations competing in SFLm this November:
BOSSIER CITY STEAMERS
Bossier City is owned by Frank "The Franchise" Wade. Wade has been a part of the SFL Draft process as a panelist and a mock draft expert for the last six seasons and has helped a number of teams and players over the years. He is currently a part of the Alamo City Artillery organization that successfully signed more players to their team than any other this off-season. He, along with "Gunny" McGuire will be heading up operations in Bossier City.
"A local to Bossier City - a town closely connected with Shreveport in northwest Louisiana - Wade embodies what the SFL is all about - helping players succeed," Irvine said. "A high school coach, Wade is familiar with this necessary trait to help individuals reach the next level. Wade first came to me about his team in January of this year, the day we announced the mod would be released. His efforts inside his stadium, with his uniforms and his brand are apparent. He's learning from the best in Alamo City and I look forward to see how he does in his first leadership role within the SFL."
Bossier City will take over the current Annapolis roster.
"The people of Bossier City/Shreveport are very thankful for this opportunity to bring football back to the area," Wade said. "We have had World Football League, CFL, the AFL2, the AFL, the IFL and now the SFLm. There is a rich history and tradition here and we as an organization hope build on that legacy. My staff and I are excited of the athletes coming in and the direction the league is going. Let’s Roll with Steamer Football!"
Chicago is owned by TJ Harper, Ty Ptak and John Fullerton - three staples of a Seattle organization that has compiled a 6-2 record so far this season. Ptak spent his last four seasons in the minor league with the Albuquerque Atoms as their quarterback and owned the Minnesota Spartans in the WAFL, a league ran by SFL leadership prior to the SFL's first season in 2013. He currently serves as Seattle's Head Coach, while Harper serves as the team's General Manager.
"This bid showed their ability to pivot, adapt and enhance its vision over a short period of time and has put in some of the most work of any team out there to this point," Irvine said. "When it was time to get professional, they got professional and showed tremendous growth in a short period of time. Stability and a commitment to excellence is not easy to find and we found that with the Warriors."
Chicago will take over the current Ottawa roster.
"Today, we stand here humbled and elated to have been accepted into the Simulation Football Minor League," said Chicago's Board of Leadership. "This is a dream realized, a culmination of countless hours of hard work, dedication and passion for the game we love. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the league's leadership for this incredible opportunity. We recognize the honor and responsibility that comes with this acceptance. It's a privilege to be a part of this community. Since the relocation of the Wildcats to Los Angeles, Chicago has been without a team in the SFL. We are excited to get involved and give the people of Chicago hope. To our fellow teams and competitors, we look forward to the battle ahead, the friendships formed and the the shared love of football."
The Nashville Tempo is owned by Danny Carmichael, James Walters and Tanner Hendrix. Carmichael and Hendrix are current players in San Diego, while Walters is a part of the D.C. Dragons staff and was the former Head Coach of the Madison Lynx. Carmichael played on Walters' Lynx squad last season prior to being drafted by the Mavericks.
"Walters has been a staple in the SFL and SFLm for many years - everywhere he's been he's won," Irvine said. "Any bid he is a part of is boosted and needed to be taken seriously. Carmichael had a vision and passion to learn and build a SFLm team unlike any other and that passion was apparent once introduced to us. Hendrix has been a part of the SFL for nearly six years and has become a stable force in his own right. This was a bid impossible to leave behind."
Nashville will take over the current Madison roster.
"We as the Nashville Tempo ownership group would like to thank Cam, Andrew, and the league as a whole for the opportunity," said Tanner Hendrix. "We are beyond excited for the opportunity to help grow not only the SFLm but in turn the SFL as well. We are ready to get started and show the league and other SFLm teams what we can do!" #KEEPTHETEMPO
The Pittsburgh Riverhogs are owned by Cory and Butch Mennor. The Mennors previously were a part of the Houston HeadHunters staff. Cory is back in Charleston now, while Butch plays in Indianapolis. Cory's input more than 1,000 box scores into the SFL's website over the last few years, allowing all players in both leagues to enjoy building a career through production. Two Pittsburgh area natives, the Mennor's strong ties to the area will set the franchise up for success.
"The Mennor commitment to the SFL has first shown through the 2021 Convention in Houston and has only grown over time," Irvine said. "Like the other bids before them, most of the work put on display was their own and knowing Pittsburgh can do anything they put their mind to is a necessary trait among our franchise leaders. I can't wait to see what they do with the opportunity."
Pittsburgh will take over the current Tacoma roster.
"Butch and I are extremely excited to be granted this opportunity by the league," said Cory Mennor. "Though it may be a new path for us both, we know that with the backing of the amazing staff we have in place, this franchise will be absolutely phenomenal! We absolutely cannot wait until the season opener to show everyone how dangerous the Riverhogs will be!
SAN JOSE FLIGHT
Yes, the San Jose Flight are back in the SFLm, joining Albuquerque and Lexington as legacy brands that will continue into the future. Similar faces head the ownership group, led by Art Vandelay and Aaron Goodin. Goodin is another up-and-comer of the Seattle organization, while Vandelay continues his coaching prowess in Florida.
"Going into this process, San Jose came later to the table, but in speaking with Art and Aaron, seeing the work they put together in a short amount of time - the bid became that much more impressive," Irvine said. "The commitment to alumni, the passion they showed for the SFL, the minor league and their responsibility to keep the San Jose organization going really stood out. To continue without San Jose, simply would have been a mistake and their updated branding is the perfect representation of all their years of success."
San Jose will continue with the Flight roster.
"Aaron and I are extremely excited to continue the tradition we've established through the last several seasons," Vandelay said. "We are thrilled for our alumni and are eager to represent them and the SFLm with the same passion and commitment that has sprouted so many talented and worthy players. We're back baby!" #FLIGHT4LIFE
With this announcement, the league also announces it will not renew the London League Affiliation Agreement for Winter 2024 or beyond and plans to play with 27 teams next season. It will expand to a 28th team when the regular season expands to 14 games in Summer 2024. These eight franchises are the only teams who qualify for that 28th spot. All future SFL expansion teams will come from SFLm applicants, who have already endured a much stricter process for ownership.
"The organization failed to provide planning for the future and after the efforts shown by SFLm applicants, there was no justification for continuing to hold the spot," Irvine said. "We've had no engagement from the organization in two months and there is no brand, stadium or uniform set in place. We have to move on. There are higher priorities for the league right now than expansion, like improving the quality of our mod and building the capital necessary to enhance our future. I look forward to strengthening our current and future team lineup in the coming months."