IFL Looks To Expand in 2023

Indoor Football League to Add 2 Teams for 2023 Season

According to some sources within the Indoor Football League, the IFL will be adding two more teams after the 2022 season. This in turn will take the league from fourteen teams that don’t divide up evenly when looking at the divisional level. In every sense of the analytics, having sixteen teams would only aid the IFL in terms of standings. Let’s talk Indoor Football League Expansion.

Already Confirmed

One of the teams is rumored to be the Columbus Wild Dogs. The Columbus Wild Dogs is a franchise that had hoped to relaunch in the IFL in the 2022 season. However, due to lingering Covid19 restrictions, they decided to delay the event one more calendar year to the 2023 season.

Columbus, or the company operating the team rather, in December of 2021 severed ties with its previous owners. So far there has been no official word from the IFL as to whether or not this affected the long-term health of the franchise.

Rather than launch and build teams from scratch, the IFL prefers prebuilt franchises from other leagues. This is a tried and true model that the IFL is following. Indoor Football League expansion has been a topic of discussion lately in online forums. Could it be due to the two teams IFL is looking to add in 2023?

I would assume that given over a full calendar year to clear up this issue they should be able to make the 2023 launch date work. As of right now though, there are more questions than answers about the Wild Dogs Franchise. This in turn only opens up more questions about the vetting process by the IFL ownership when it comes to adopting teams.

This team name was picked to bring attention to the African Painted Dog. The African Painted Dog is considered to be an endangered species with 7,000 members left. Including the 17 that are housed at “The Wilds”. The 10,000 acre conservation center owned and operated by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Moving on to some speculation

So far the league has yet to announce the second team. However, I’m going to put on my tinfoil cap and connect some dots. Rumors had been abound in 2021 about Colorado bringing back their old AFL and later IFL team name and franchise.

The Colorado Crush name was aimed at sparking nostalgia to the former John Elway-led team. The original Crush ran from 2003-to 2008. They played in the Arena Football League, the godfather of Arena Football as we know it. This ownership group is similar to what I could see long-term if the USFL ever decided to bring back the Denver Gold.

It included John Elway, Pat Bowlen, and Stan Kroenke three powerhouse figures in sports. A Hall of Fame QB, and two NFL owners. Kroenke also owned the Pepsi Center the arena they played in at the time. Now known as the Ball Arena.

The AFL version of the Crush managed to show up in the playoffs every season following their first season. They would ultimately win two division crowns in 2005 and 2006. They wound up winning the Arena Bowl in 2005 to top off this six-season stretch of their Arena Football League run. Following the 2008 season, the Crush was dissolved and Elway joined the Broncos in a Vice President Role.

Colorado Ice (Colorado Crush 2.0)

Starting off life as the Colorado Ice. Real Estate mogul Danny DeGrande applied for an expansion franchise. The United Indoor Football League awarded him a franchise for 2007.

It took them four seasons to make it over a .500 season, despite two playoff trips in 2007 and 2009. Following just under a decade as the Colorado Ice in multiple leagues, they decided to rebrand as the Colorado Crush. This name change occurred in 2016, just before Project Fanchise stepped in and purchased the team.

This ownership group also operated the Salt Lake Screaming Eagles, the first-ever Fan Controlled Franchise. Known as Project Fanchise at the time, they purchased the Crush and operated them for the 2017 season. This included the Fan Control model they had added with the Screaming Eagles Franchise.

Project Fanchise announced prior to the 2018 season, that they had decided to abandon both of their IFL franchises in pursuit of a bigger goal. This new goal was rather large. Instead of a franchise, they wanted a league. The Fan Controlled Football League. They simply weren’t happy with the way the IFL was limiting what they could do with their proposed Fan Control model.

So why would the Crush come back for another run? Simple, yet another Colorado-based ownership group has taken up the pursuit of an IFL franchise. Naturally trying to play off of the fan base that still rides with the Colorado Crush name, they had come out and said fans voted to reuse the Crush name once again in 2021. However, following that announcement the Crush camp has gone silent. Could it be that they have now turned their focus to the 2023 season?

In a recent IFL group poll it was found that 28% of fans suggested that Denver/Colorado is the perfect location for an expansion team in 2023.

Last Word on the Expansion

Ultimately when announcers are talking about the Indoor Football League expansion in games, there has to be a belief within the IFL, that this will happen. If not why speak about it on live broadcasts? With fourteen teams suiting up in the 2022 season, it would make sense to add two teams in 2023. This would allow for even-numbered divisions at four teams and four divisions. Very similar to the way we see the 32-team NFL broken up. Logistically it would make much more sense for the league to make this move to sixteen teams. The only question remaining now is, who will emerge next to the Wild Dogs as the second expansion team?

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