Video by Bryant Dynasty, Article by Christian Christiansen and Graphic by Jonny Law
SFL Teams Through the Years
As with each passing season from summer to fall and fall to winter, change is an ever marching presence in our lives. The Simulation Football League is not immune to change, and over the years as seen plenty of it. When it comes to the teams of the leagues you have seen them relocated, change branding, and even be added as brand new expansion teams. It can be important sometimes to stop and reflect on the past in order to truly appreciate the present. Standing here in Season 15, we take a brief look back at where the teams in the league began to help us understand where they stand today.
Three teams with histories that officially date back to the league’s inauguration remain. The Queen City Corsairs were originally known as the New York Knights, but relocated to Buffalo, which team owner Erik Barkley lives nearer to, in Season 5. Both identities have multiple championships to their name and would have one of the more respected histories all on their own, put them together and it’s probably the most iconic team in the SFL. Similarly, the Skyhawks have gone by numerous identities over the years. They were an inaugural team going by the name of the Kailua Wyverns until Season 3. They moved 12 miles southwest to the nearby Honolulu and changed their name to the Legends. This lasted until Season 5 when they became the Carolina Skyhawks that we know and love today. The last inaugural team, the Oklahoma City Renegades, managed to maintain its original brand until Season 13 when Michael Irvine sold the team to Eddie Gauge, who rebranded to the Arizona Scorpions.
Several teams joined the league in the “Late Pre-Progression” era. Most of these teams have been remarkably stable in their identity over the course of their existence. First, Ramos Lynn founded the Sante Fe Gorillas in Season 5 before moving the team to Mexico City in season 8 and rebranding to the Aztecs. Similarly to the Corsairs, this city was located nearer to the team owner. In the American southeast, native Floridian Frank Goodin founded the Tallahassee Pride in Season 5. Similar to many aforementioned stories, he eventually moved the team to Jacksonville, the city he lived in season 14, and renamed the team the Kings. That same season, Jacen Tyree and Demond Simien founded the Sioux Falls Sparrows and Houston Hyenas, respectively. Their team identities have remained relatively unchanged since its founding. Two seasons later, Max Paul founded the Storm. He moved the team from Alaska to his home state of Florida, specifically St. Petersburg, for Season 14. As a part of the same class, Mark Chisholm founded the Atlanta Swarm, while the team of Duane Schindler and Colin Douglas founded the St. Louis Gladiators. Their team identities remain as such. The next season, Andy Hamilton and Shann Varner founded their own stable brands, the Vancouver Legion and Chicago Wildcats, respectively. Greg Corkey founded the San Antonio Vaqueros in Season 9. Jeremy Vega bought the team two seasons later, moved them to Denver (another case of a team being located near its owner). This transaction officially connects the two franchises in the eyes of the league, much to the dismay and denial of their current owner. And finally, we have the Lone Star Glory. They are the latest iteration in what is probably the most complicated and fickle franchise in league history. Under Steven Mullenax, the team was founded as the Dallas Law in season 5, before changing their team name to the Ruffnecks in Season 7 and the Lobos in Season 11. The team came under Crash Combs’ independent control in Season 13. He moved the team to the Pacific-Northwest (of which he was from, of course) and named them the Tyrants after his first choice, the Predators, were used by another team that changed their brand earlier in that offseason. In the most recent offseason, Combs sold the team to Charles Dougherty and Wally Herman, who, of course, moved the team to Charles’ hometown and named them the Glory.
The final distinct era of teams in the “Progression Era”. Teams founded during this era have largely been characterized by stability in their identity. The Season 10 class of teams the London Knights, Tulsa Desperados, and Indianapolis Red Devils. Liam Crowter’s Knights and Dion Hawkins’ Desperados have been under one identity since their origin. James Richards founded the Indianapolis Red Devils in Season 10. He rebranded the team to the Spitfire and brought in Alan Armatys as co-owner in Season 12. When Armatys gained independent ownership over the franchise the following season, he moved the team to Charleston and named them the Predators. Our next team, TJ Cags’ Baltimore Vultures were founded in Season 11 and are officially a different franchise with a completely separate identity from Cags’ previous team, the Baltimore Crabs. Meanwhile, Jon Bond founded the Las Vegas Fury also in Season 11 and the team has retained the same brand since. Our final Season 11 team is Aaron Arrington’s New Orleans Pharaohs, he sold the team to Gerald Smith in Season 15, who rebranded to the Louisiana Revolution. Finally, in Season 15, Jacob Bouvette and the partnership of Nacho Sicario and Stephen Hacker founded the Portland Fleet and Fort Worth Toros, respectively.
The growth and evolution of the league have been tremendous to experience. The foundation that was set by these past and current teams is now allowing for more and more teams to join the league allowing more and more people to go from couch to player. This same stroll down memory lane just 5 seasons from now could be just even more amazing. Never forget your past, but don’t let it hold you back from your future! Congratulation and good luck to all of these franchises in Season 15 and beyond!