Regional Football League
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Regional Football League
Regional Football League
Most recent season or competition:
1999
RFL99.jpg
SportAmerican football
Founded1997[1]
Inaugural season1999
Ceased1999
CommissionerJohn "Gus" Bell[1]
Ron Floridia[2]
No. of teams6
CountryUnited States
HeadquartersFramingham, MA[3]
Mobile, AL[2]
Last
champion(s)
Mobile Admirals
(1999)
TV partner(s)none

The Regional Football League (RFL) was an American football league formed to be the self-styled "major league of spring football." Established in 1997, the league played a single season, 1999, and then ceased operations.

History

The RFL season was designed for spring-summer play with teams based primarily in the Southern United States. The debut season was originally slated to begin in March 1998,[4] however this was delayed by a year.[5] The league adopted rules consistent with professional football of the era, with some exceptions:[6][7]

  • running clock until the last two minutes of each half
  • one offensive player allowed to be in motion towards the line of scrimmage at the snap
  • ball placed at the 20-yard-line for extra point attempts
  • receivers only need one foot in bounds to complete a catch

The league's inaugural (and only) season was 1999, where each of its six teams was scheduled to have training camp and two preseason games in early April, followed by 12 regular season games; a postseason would follow in July. The league held its first regular season games on April 17, 1999.[8] Financial constraints forced the league to reduce player salaries at the end of April, due to low attendance at games.[9] In late May, the league announced that the regular season would be shortened by three games, with the championship game held in late June.[10] Ultimately, the league only played an eight-week regular season. Near the end of the shortened season, the league cancelled a contest between New Orleans and Ohio, and Shreveport forfeited a game, both due to financial concerns.[11] Four teams qualified for the playoffs,[12] and on June 20, 1999, the Mobile Admirals defeated the Houston Outlaws, 14-12, in the championship game, RFL Bowl I, which was played at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.[13]

RFL rosters were limited to 37 active players and five practice squad members with salaries in the range of $30,000 to $65,000 per player and team salary caps of $1,500,000.[3] Players who had been with college football programs of the region such as Jason Martin (Louisiana Tech), Stewart Patridge (Ole Miss), Raymond Philyaw (Northeast Louisiana), Marquette Smith (Central Florida) and Sherman Williams (Alabama) were signed to RFL teams in the hopes that fans would turn out to see former local stars. Patridge, playing for Mississippi, was the all-RFL quarterback,[14] while running back Williams was the league MVP with Mobile.[15]

The first commissioner of the league was John "Gus" Bell, who was succeeded by Ron Floridia in May 1999.[2] The league did not secure a television contract, and only one game was ever televised--the May 8, 1999, New Orleans Thunder at Mobile Admirals contest on WHNO,[] a mainly-religious television station in New Orleans.

Despite some efforts made to resume play for a second season, the league folded after its shortened 1999 season. The announced beginning of the XFL for 2001 precluded any realistic chance of the league resuming operations.

Teams

The league's six charter members were announced on November 12, 1998.[16] They participated in the league's only season, which ran from April to June 1999.

Source[18]

Regular season

  vs. HOU vs. MISS vs. MOBL vs. N.O. vs. OHIO vs. SHRV Forfeit Overall Win pct.
HOU -- 1-0 0-2 1-0 2-0 2-0 -- 6-2 .750
MISS 0-1 -- 1-1 1-1 1-0 1-1 -- 4-4 .500
MOBL 2-0 1-1 -- 2-0 0-1 1-0 -- 6-2 .750
N.O. 0-1 1-1 0-2 -- 0-1 0-1 -- 1-6 .143
OHIO 0-2 0-1 1-0 1-0 -- 0-1 W 3-4 .429
SHRV 0-2 1-1 0-1 1-0 1-0 -- L 3-5 .375

Notes:

  • In the seventh week of the regular season, a contest between New Orleans and Ohio was cancelled by the league.[19]
  • In the eighth and final week of the regular season, Shreveport was unable to play in their home stadium.[20] The league rescheduled their intended opponent, New Orleans, to play at Mississippi,[21] and when Shreveport did not travel to play at Ohio, they were assessed a forfeit.[11]

Playoffs

Semi-finals
June 12
RFL Bowl I
June 20
      
1 Mobile 35
4 Ohio 14
1 Mobile 14
2 Houston 12
2 Houston 27
3 Mississippi 3

Games were hosted by the higher-seeded team.

Projected expansion teams

Proposed for the 2000 season,[8] which was not played.

Dallas and Monterey, Mexico were originally eyed for expansion, but dropped at the initial stages.

Further reading

  • Kantor, Stuart (1999). "Are You Ready for Even More Football?". footballresearch.com. Retrieved 2019.

External links

References

  1. ^ a b "Transactions: Football". The Des Moines Register. March 4, 1997. p. 12. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b c McCloskey, John (May 7, 1999). "Knights stay focused despite RFL changes". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. p. 23. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  3. ^ a b Rubin, Adam (May 7, 1997). "League considers Shreveport team (cont'd)". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. p. 26. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Rubin, Adam (May 7, 1997). "Pro league considers football in Shreveport". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. p. 21. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Regional Football League pushes start back to '99". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. December 2, 1997. p. 20. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Knights Fact Sheet". Remember the RFL. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ Gater, Harold (April 24, 1999). "The Leagues". The Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. p. 32. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ a b Vernellis, Brian (April 17, 1999). "RFL opens season tonight". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. p. 27. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  9. ^ McCloskey, John (April 30, 1999). "Knights, league slice salaries to survive". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. p. 1. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Admirals' season cut". Pensacola News Journal. Pensacola, Florida. May 27, 1999. p. 41. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  11. ^ a b McCloskey, John (June 7, 1999). "RFL to begin playoffs without Knights". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. p. 15. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  12. ^ Goolsby, Henry (June 9, 1999). "Pride relishes change to apprehend Outlaws". The Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. p. 23. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "Roller coaster ride ends with championship for Admirals". Pensacola News Journal. June 21, 1999. p. 5D. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Eight Pride players make All-RFL team". The Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, Mississippi. June 25, 1999. p. 31. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "Sherman still shakin' it up". June 23, 1995. Retrieved 2017 – via Google News.
  16. ^ "League". Remember the RFL. Retrieved 2019 – via Google Sites.
  17. ^ a b Richards, Joey D. (May 27, 1999). "Santa Fe's Wylie finds a football home with the Outlaws". The Daily News. Galveston, Texas. p. 17. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Beginning of the Knights' Reign". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. April 17, 1999. p. 28. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  19. ^ "Knights fall to Houston". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. June 1, 1999. p. 14. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  20. ^ Pugh, Jason (June 4, 1999). "Knights cancel Saturday home finale". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. p. 17. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  21. ^ Goolsby, Henry (June 4, 1999). "Pride, RFL try to adjust". The Times. Shreveport, Louisiana. p. 17. Retrieved 2019 – via newspapers.com.

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