Columbus Lions

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Columbus Lions
Established 2006
Play in Columbus, Georgia
at the Columbus Civic Center
ColumbusLions.net
Columbus Lions 2022.png
League/conference affiliations
Team colorsBlue, black, silver, white
       
MascotLeo the Lion
Personnel
Owner(s)Jeff Levack (majority)
Joshua Blair
Mike Hall
John Hargrove
Jay Patel[1]
Kacee Smith[2]
Eugenio Castro
ChairmanJeff Levack
PresidentJeff Levack
General managerAllen Meek
Head coachChris McKinney
Team history
  • Columbus Lions (2007–present)
Championships
League championships (3)
SIFL: 2010
PIFL: 2015
AIF: 2016
Conference championships (0)
Division championships (3)
AIFA: 2009
SIFL: 2011
AIFA: 2016
Playoff appearances (13)
WIFL: 2007
AIFA: 2008, 2009
SIFL: 2010, 2011
PIFL: 2012, 2014, 2015
AIFA: 2016
NAL: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021
Home arena(s)

The Columbus Lions are a professional indoor football team based in Columbus, Georgia and are a member of the American Indoor Football Alliance. The were a founding member of the National Arena League (NAL) for the 2017 season. The Lions were founded in 2006 as an expansion team of the World Indoor Football League (WIFL). After the WIFL went under in 2007, the Lions joined the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) where they played for two seasons. When the AIFA broke apart, the Lions joined the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL). The Lions joined the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) in 2012 when the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) teams split up into two new leagues. After the 2015 season, the PIFL broke apart, and the Lions joined American Indoor Football for 2016.

In their first 12 seasons, the Lions have compiled a regular season record of 100–47 with division championships in 2009, 2011 and 2016. They have made six championship appearances: in the 2010 season where they defeated the Louisiana Swashbucklers in President's Cup II,[3] in 2015 when they defeated the Richmond Raiders in PIFL Cup IV, in 2016 where they defeated the West Michigan Ironmen in the AIF Championship game, in 2017 when the Lions lost to the Jacksonville Sharks 21–27 in the inaugural NAL Championship, in 2018 with 66–8 loss to the Carolina Cobras and a 79-62 loss to the Albany Empire in 2021.

History[edit]

Columbus Lions logo 2006-2022

Beginnings & Championships[edit]

The Lions were founded in 2006. They began play in the short-lived World Indoor Football League in 2007. The Lions' inaugural game on February 26, 2007, was marred by tragedy when opposing defensive back Javon Camon of the Daytona Beach Thunder was killed after a hard but clean hit by Lions fullback Cedric Ware during the fourth quarter.[4][5]

For the Lions' impressive inaugural season, head coach Jason Gibson won the league's inaugural Coach of the Year Award.

The WIFL collapsed after the season and the Lions moved to the American Indoor Football Association where they played two seasons in 2008 and 2009. They would then join the Southern Indoor Football League and play from 2010 to 2011 before the SIFL split into two separate league with the Lions going to the Professional Indoor Football League in 2012.

Following the Lions' 2015 PIFL Cup IV Championship, the Lions moved back to American Indoor Football.[6]

The Lions move to the AIF proved to be fruitful for the Lions, and they completed the regular season 8-0 and won the 2016 AIF Championship with a perfect record.[7] One week after winning the championship, the Lions announced they were leaving the AIF for the 2017 season.[8]

National Arena League[edit]

In July 2016, Lions' owners Skip Seda and his father, Keke Seda, announced the formation of a new league called the Arena Developmental League to begin play in spring 2017.[9] They named former Canadian Football League, Arena Football League, and AF2 coach John Gregory as the league's commissioner. In November 2016, the Jacksonville Sharks joined and the Sedas yielded control over the new league for it to become the National Arena League.

The Lions would appear in the NAL playoffs in every season since the league's inception. They, and the NAL, would not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They would make three appearances in the NAL Championship Game losing to the Jacksonville Sharks 27-21 in 2017, the Carolina Cobras 66-8 in 2018 and the Albany Empire 79–62 in 2021.

New Era[edit]

On August 30, 2022, the Lions announced new ownership led by Jeff Levack, who also has ownership stake in the Orlando Predators and Albany Empire. He was a part of two staffs that helped the Empire win three championships in four years. [10] On September 13, 2022, they introduced new branding for the team designed by former player and designer, Mike Jones. The new branding pays homage to the original branding that was around for the past 16 years. They also announced arena football veteran player and coach Chris McKinney as only the second head coach in team history. [11] On December 22, the National Arena League had announced that the membership of the Lions had been discontinued.[12] One day later the Lions announced they have joined the regional American Indoor Football Alliance.[13]

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Columbus Lions roster
Quarterbacks
  • -- Luke Collis
  • -- Mitch Kidd

Running backs

Wide receivers

  • -- Bones Bagaunte
  • -- London Crawford
  • -- Jevon Floyd
  •  1 Jarmon Fortson
  • -- LaQuan Johnson
  • -- KeVontae Pope
  • -- Chris Sanders-McCollum
  • -- Darryl Thompson
Offensive linemen
  • 55 Rony Barrow
  • -- A. J. Harmon
  • -- Austin Hester
  • 75 Nathan Isles
  • 72 Ryan Schmidt
  • 58 Dion Small

Defensive linemen

  • 93 James Middleton
Linebackers
  •  3 Robert Caldwell
  • 22 Greg Hall
  • 44 David Washington

Defensive backs

  • 21 Shattle Fenteng
  •  7 Chris Pickett
  • 11 Robert Sands
  •  2 Tyler Stephenson

Special teams

  • -- Derek Vacha
Reserve lists
  • Rookies in italics
  • Roster updated March 9, 2019
  • 31 Active, 1 Inactive

More rosters

Awards and honors[edit]

The following is a list of all Lions players who have won league awards:

Season-by-season results[edit]

Columbus playing the Louisiana Swashbucklers on April 14, 2012. Note the pink numbers in support of cancer awareness.[16]
League champions Conference champions Division champions Playoff berth League leader
Season Team League Conference Division Regular season Postseason results
Finish Wins Losses Ties
2007 2007 WIFL 1st 10 4 0 Lost World Indoor Bowl I (Augusta) 60–63
2008 2008 AIFA Western South 2nd 10 4 0 Lost Divisional Round (Mississippi) 50–52
2009 2009 AIFA South 1st 11 3 0 Won Divisional Round (Fayetteville) 45–35
Lost Semifinal (Reading) 51–60
2010 2010 SIFL 2nd 8 3 0 Won Semifinal (Lafayette)
Won President's Cup II (Louisiana)
2011 2011 SIFL Eastern South 1st 11 1 0 Won Divisional (Trenton) 62–60
Lost Eastern Conference Championship (Albany) 61–75
2012 2012 PIFL 3rd 6 6 0 Lost Semifinal (Albany) 36–60
2013 2013 PIFL 6th 4 8 0
2014 2014 PIFL American 2nd 7 5 0 Lost American Conference Championship (Nashville) 39–44
2015 2015 PIFL 1st 8 3 0 Won Semifinal (Lehigh Valley) 69–41
Won PIFL Cup IV (Richmond) 64–38
2016 2016 AIF Southern 1st 8 0 0 Won Southern Semifinal (New Mexico) 49–37
Won Southern Championship (Florida) 79–66
Won AIF Championship Game (West Michigan) 74–32
2017 2017 NAL 3rd 9 3 0 Won Semifinal (Lehigh Valley) 52–50
Lost NAL Championship (Jacksonville) 21–27
2018 NAL 4th 8 7 0 Won Semifinal (Massachusetts) 50–36
Lost NAL Championship (Carolina) 8–66
2019 NAL 4th 6 8 0 Lost Semifinal (Jacksonville) 43–67
2020 NAL Season cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021 NAL 2nd 6 2 0 Won semifinal (Orlando) 61–43
Lost NAL championship (Albany) 62–79
Totals 112 57 0 All-time regular season record (2007–2021)
12 10 All-time postseason record (2007–2021)
124 67 0 All-time regular season and postseason record (2007–2021)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Staff". Columbus Lions. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  2. ^ "Lions Add New Member To Ownership Group". Columbus Lions. November 10, 2020.
  3. ^ Chris White (July 19, 2010). "SIFL CHAMPIONSHIP: Fans soak up Lions' big win". www.ledger-enquirer.com. Ledger-Enquirer. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  4. ^ "Indoor football player dies after head-to-head hit". www.espn.go.com. ESPN Internet Ventures. February 27, 2007. Retrieved February 27, 2007.
  5. ^ "Daytona player dies". www.ledger-enquirer.com. Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved February 27, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Keith Groller (September 14, 2015). "Steelhawks moving to a new indoor football league for 2016". www.mcall.com. The Morning Call. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  7. ^ Dana Barker (June 19, 2016). "Lions capture AIF title in bizarre, blowout fashion". www.ledger-enquirer.com. Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  8. ^ "Columbus Lions leaving AIF following 2016 season". www.wltz.com. Frankly and WLTZ. June 27, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  9. ^ "Lions owner Seda establishes new Arena Developmental League". Ledger-Enquirer. July 7, 2016.
  10. ^ "LIONS PURCHASED BY VETERAN ARENA FOOTBALL OWNERSHIP GROUP". www.columbuslions.net. Lee Snow. August 30, 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  11. ^ "Lions introduce new head coach, new team logos". www.wtvm.com. Jonathon Hoppe and Tony Reese, WTVM. September 13, 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  12. ^ "NAL DISCONTINUES MEMBERSHIP OF THE COLUMBUS LIONS". National Arena League. July 14, 2022.
  13. ^ "LIONS JOIN REGIONAL ARENA LEAGUE". National Arena League. December 23, 2022.
  14. ^ "Lions' QB Kacz named PIFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year". www.ledger-enquirer.com. Ledger-Enquirer. July 13, 2015. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  15. ^ "Columbus Lions' WR Terrence Ebagua named PIFL MVP". www.ledger-enquirer.com. Ledger-Enquirer. July 19, 2015. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  16. ^ Matthew Hester (April 10, 2012). "Kicker Trey Crum Returns to Lions". www.proifl.com. Professional Indoor Football League. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014.

External links[edit]