Fort Wayne Freedom
|League||Continental Indoor Football League|
|Team history||Fort Wayne Freedom 2003-2006, 2008-2009|
|Based in||Fort Wayne, Indiana|
|Arena||Allen County War Memorial Coliseum|
|Colors||Red, White, & Blue|
|Head coach||Matt Land|
|General Manager||Brad Harris|
|Division titles||1 (2005 Midwestern)|
|Dancers||The First Ladies|
|Mascot||Super Sam and Kooka Bird|
The team was most recently a member of the Continental Indoor Football League, but originally began play in 2003 as an expansion team in the National Indoor Football League known as the Fort Wayne Safari.
The Freedom were the original indoor football team to be based in Fort Wayne. After four years of being the only indoor team in Fort Wayne, the franchise folded and the Fort Wayne Fusion was established as part of the af2 in 2007.
After a failed year in af2, the Freedom came back in 2008 with new ownership and continued through the 2009 season. In 2010, another indoor team, the Fort Wayne FireHawks, replaced the Freedom in the CIFL.
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Fans
- 3 Notable coaches
- 4 Statistics and records
- 5 See also
- 6 References
|March 22, 2003||vs. Evansville BlueCats||W - 41-40||(1-0)|
|March 29, 2003||vs. Tupelo Fire Ants||W - 57-22||(2-0)|
|April 12, 2003||vs. Ohio Valley Greyhounds||L - 41-54||(2-1)|
|April 19, 2003||at Tennessee Riverhawks||L - 48-65||(2-2)|
|April 25, 2003||at Ohio Valley Greyhounds||L - 42-48||(2-3)|
|May 3, 2003||vs. Sioux Falls Storm||W - 55-19||(3-3)|
|May 17, 2003||vs. Myrtle Beach Stingrays||W - 51-25||(4-3)|
|May 24, 2003||at Evansville BlueCats||W - 62-33||(5-3)|
|May 30, 2003||at Lacrosse Night Train||W - 59-06||(6-3)|
|June 6, 2003||vs. Tennessee Riverhawks||W 74-15||(7-3)|
|June 14, 2003||at Sioux Falls Storm||L 49-52||(7-4)|
|June 21, 2003||at Myrtle Beach Stingrays||L - 41-50||(7-5)|
|June 26, 2003||at Lexington Horsemen||L - 43-59||(7-6)|
|July 5, 2003||vs. Lexington Horsemen||W - 76-62||(8-6)|
The original Fort Wayne Freedom was a professional indoor football team. They were most recently a member of the United Indoor Football league (UIF), and played their home games at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. In 2004, the Freedom set the single game record for attendance at 10,225.
|March 14, 2004||vs. Show-Me Believers||W - 66-37||(1-0)|
|March 20, 2004||vs. Evansville BlueCats||W - 80-41||(2-0)|
|April 3, 2004||at Lexington Horsemen||L - 21-49||(2-1)|
|April 10, 2004||vs. Lexington Horsemen||L - 48-51||(2-2)|
|April 24, 2004||vs. Atlantic City CardSharks||W - 63-54||(3-2)|
|May 1, 2004||at Evansville BlueCats||L - 68-71||(3-3)|
|May 8, 2004||vs. Ohio Valley Greyhounds||W - 43-35||(4-3)|
|May 15, 2004||at Staten Island Xtreme||L - 41-42||(4-4)|
|May 21, 2004||vs. Staten Island Xtreme||W - 56-07||(5-4)|
|May 28, 2004||at Show-Me Believers||W - 49-35||(6-4)|
|June 5, 2004||at Ohio Valley Greyhounds||L - 23-52||(6-5)|
|June 12, 2004||at Atlantic City CardSharks||L - 27-41||(6-6)|
|June 19, 2004||at Tupelo Fire Ants||W - 61-40||(7-6)|
|June 26, 2004||vs. Carolina Stingrays||W - 48-03#||(8-6)|
# = set single game indoor football attendance record with 10,225 fans.
- 2004 stats do not include a NIFL playoff games with the Show Me Believers and at Ohio Valley (Wheeling, WV)***
The 2005 season was the best season in franchise history. This was the first year in the UIF, the team moved to the association, after two years in the NIFL. Finishing a league-best 14-2, and winning the UIF Midwest Division. In the first-round of the UIF playoffs. The Tennessee Valley Raptors upset Freedom 57-22.
|March 20, 2005||vs. Ohio Valley Greyhounds||W 29-25||(1-0)|
|April 10, 2005||at Ohio Valley Greyhounds||W 31-20||(2-0)|
|April 16, 2005||vs. Black Hills Red Dogs||W - 59-34||(3-0)|
|April 23, 2005||at Tupelo Fire Ants||W - 51-15||(4-0)|
|April 30, 2005||at Sioux Falls Storm||W - 34-31||(5-0)|
|May 7, 2005||vs. Sioux City Bandits||W - 57-50||(6-0)|
|May 13, 2005||vs. Peoria Rough Riders||W - 52-32||(7-0)|
|May 21, 2005||at Peoria Rough Riders||W - 41-13||(8-0)|
|May 28, 2005||vs. Tupelo Fire Ants||W - 45-20||(9-0)|
|June 5, 2005||vs. Omaha Beef||W - 42-40||(10-0)|
|June 11, 2005||at Omaha Beef||L - 30-33||(10-1)|
|June 18, 2005||vs. Lexington Horsemen||L 41-58||(10-2)|
|June 25, 2005||at Peoria Rough Riders||W - 56-35||(11-2)|
|July 2, 2005||at Black Hills Red Dogs||W - 40-26||(12-2)|
|July 8, 2005||at Ohio Valley Greyhounds||W - 44-34||(13-2)|
|July 17, 2005||vs. Ohio Valley Greyhounds||W - 41-31||(14-2)|
As Matt Land left the Freedom to become head coach at Tri-State University in NCAA Division III. The Freedom selected offensive coordinator Dan Pifer to be their new head coach. Pifer would later serve as the offensive coordinator for NCAA Division III Tri-State, later renamed Trine, under former coach Matt Land. He had worked previously as an assistant coach at the University of St. Francis, an NAIA institution, and NCAA Division II Hillsdale College in Michigan. Pifer also was a high school assistant and played quarterback at the University of California in Pennsylvania. After completing its fourth year of football, the assets of the Freedom were sold to Jeremy Golden, who moved the franchise to af2. Meanwhile, leaders with United Indoor Football did find an ownership group (that included investor Bill Bean) that also sought a lease with Randy Brown and the Memorial Coliseum. Brown opted to go with the af2 franchise.
Rumored move to af2
The team had been heavily rumored to move to af2 for quite some time, and Coffey sold the assets to Golden on November 10, 2006. Golden had already applied for and was awarded an af2 franchise, but because only the assets and not the Freedom's corporate entity were sold, the Fort Wayne Fusion af2 franchise is not a continuation of the UIF team.
|March 25, 2006||vs. Sioux City Bandits||W - 28-23||(1-0)|
|April 1, 2006||at Bloomington Extreme||W - 51-28||(2-0)|
|April 8, 2006||vs. Ohio Valley Greyhounds||W - 37-32||(3-0)|
|April 15, 2006||at Sioux City Bandits||L - 27-41||(3-1)|
|April 22, 2006||vs. Sioux Falls Storm||L - 44-47||(3-2)|
|April 28, 2006||at Lexington Horsemen||L - 65-32||(3-3)|
|May 6, 2006||at Sioux Falls Storm||L - 25-44||(3-4)|
|May 12, 2006||vs. Rock River Raptors||L - 36-49||(3-5)|
|May 20, 2006||vs. Evansville BlueCats||L - 31-33||(3-6)|
|June 3, 2006||at Ohio Valley Greyhounds||L - 29-52||(3-7)|
|June 10, 2006||at Evansville BlueCats||L - 37-43||(3-8)|
|June 17, 2006||at Rock River Raptors||L - 27-29||(3-9)|
|June 24, 2006||vs. Ohio Valley Greyhounds||W - 42-40||(4-9)|
|July 1, 2006||vs. Lexington Horsemen||L - 44-70||(4-10)|
|July 8, 2006||at Omaha Beef||L - 13-52||(4-11)|
2008: The return of the Freedom
In October 2007, the group Fort Wayne Sports Partners owned by Todd Ellis, John Christener and Mike McCaffrey, adopted the name Freedom as a new franchise in 2008. Only the name, and some players from the 2003-2006 teams were associated with the original franchise. . The team also announced that Eddie Brown, who had coached the Fusion the season before, would be the head coach for the Freedom, who would be joining the Continental Indoor Football League. Since the Fusion ownership had failed mid season in 2007, Brown and McCaffrey made majority owner Todd Ellis guaranteed them both that if the team ran into financial trouble they would not be responsible for any of the unpaid bills. The teams poor financial history left every part of owning the franchise more difficult, even as far as ownership of the team's turf. The team's new ownership also showed signs of financial trouble right away, as they were banned from the CIFL in January 2008, for failing to pay league dues. These troubles made Brown and McCaffrey question the ownership, and Ellis fired them both, replacing Brown with Willie Davis Jr. and McCaffrey with himself. The Freedom were able to work out a deal with CIFL Commissioner, Jeff Spitaleri, and paid their $22,500 league fee, which removed the ban and allowed the team to join the CIFL in 2008.
|March 21||Miami Valley Silverbacks||Home||Won 52-48|
|March 27||Kalamazoo Xplosion||Home||Lost 34-50|
|April 4||Rock River Raptors||Away||Lost 29-64|
|April 12||Muskegon Thunder||Away||Lost 33-39|
|April 19||Rock River Raptors||Home||Won 55-54|
|April 26||Marion Mayhem||Home||Won 55-40|
|May 2||Miami Valley Silverbacks||Away||Lost 29-35|
|May 10||Saginaw Sting||Home||Lost 21-34|
|May 17||Chicago Slaughter||Away||Lost 33-41|
|May 24||Muskegon Thunder||Home||Won 42-38|
|May 31||Chesapeake Tide||Away||Won 37-31|
|June 7||Kalamazoo Xplosion||Away||Lost 32-39|
2008 Continental Indoor Football League
|Great Lakes Conference|
|Fort Wayne Freedom||5||7||0||.417||2||4||0||.333|
|Miami Valley Silverbacks||3||9||0||.250||1||2||0||.333|
|Rock River Raptors-x||7||5||0||.583||3||1||0||.750|
|New England Surge-y||8||3||0||.727||5||1||0||.833|
|Lehigh Valley Outlawz-x||7||5||0||.583||4||2||0||.667|
|New Jersey Revolution||3||9||0||.250||2||5||0||.286|
In September, 2008, the Freedom announced that former Freedom Assistant GM Brad Harris (who was with the original Freedom from 2003–2005) had been hired as GM. Head coach Matt Land also returned for the 2009 to coach the team for the full season.
In 2008, Land, who had been the team's head coach for the 2005 campaign, was asked by team co-owner William Fahlsing to lead the team for the final four games of the season when original head coach Willie Davis, Jr. was fired the morning of the May 17 game against the Chicago Slaughter. With only 15 minutes of practice, Land's second term began with a 41-33 loss to the Slaughter, despite a solid performance by the Freedom defense.
In 2009, the Freedom had success on the field but struggled financially. Toward the end of the 2009 season players were not paid promptly and then not at all. Team Co-owners Bill Fahlsing and Mark Chappius were forced to ask for public support to help get the team through the season. Despite the financial issue with salaries, the players continued to play for the Freedom and won the Eastern Conference Championship over the Marion Mayhem but lost the 2009 CIFL championship game to the Chicago Slaughter.
|March 21||Marion Mayhem||Home||Win 46 - 23|
|March 28||Wheeling Wildcats||Away||Win 49 - 34|
|April 4||Marion Mayhem||Away||Loss 39-33 OT|
|April 10||Wisconsin Wolfpack||Away||Loss 38-34|
|April 18||Chicago Slaughter||Home||Loss 56-41|
|April 25||Miami Valley Silverbacks||Home||Win 33-28|
|May 1||Rock River Raptors||Home||Loss 48-46|
|May 9||Milwaukee Bonecrushers||Away||Win 51-33|
|May 16||Miami Valley Silverbacks||Away||Win 56-28|
|May 23||Marion Mayhem||Home||Loss 62-47|
|May 29||Wheeling Wildcats||Away||Won 84-42|
|June 6||Miami Valley Silverbacks||Game was canceled|
|June 20||CIFL EASTERN DIVISION PLAYOFF||Marion Mayhem||Away Won 49-40|
|June 27||CIFL CHAMPIONSHIP||Chicago Slaughter||Away Lost 58-48|
2009 Continental Indoor Football League
|Fort Wayne Freedom-x||6||5||0||.545||5||2||0||.294|
|Miami Valley Silverbacks||0||10||0||.000||0||7||0||.000|
|Rock River Raptors||7||5||0||.583||3||5||0||.167|
The Freedom Force is the official fan club of the Fort Wayne Freedom.
Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2009 Continental Indoor Football League season.
|Matt Land||2005, 2008-2009||22||9||0||.710||1||2|
|Willie Davis Jr.||2008||3||5||0||.375||0||0|
|Fort Wayne Freedom staff|
Statistics and records
Note: The Finish, Wins, Losses, and Ties columns list regular season results and exclude any postseason play.
|League Champions||Conference Champions||Division Champions||Wild Card Berth||League Leader|
|Season||Team||League||Conference||Division||Regular season||Postseason Results|
|2004||2004||NIFL||Atlantic||North||2nd||8||6||0||Won Atlantic Conference 1st Round (Believers) 45-28
Lost Atlantic Conference Quarterfinals (Greyhounds) 35-36
|2005||2005||UIF||Midwestern||1st||14||2||0||Lost UIF Quarterfinals (Raptors) 22-57|
|2009||2009||CIFL||East||2nd||6||5||0||Won Eastern Finals (Mayhem) 49-40
Lost CIFL Championship Game (Slaughter) 48-58
|Totals||45||37||0||All-time regular season record (2003-2009)|
|2||3||-||All-time postseason record (2003-2009)|
|47||40||0||All-time regular season and postseason record (2003-2009)|
- Freedom's 2003 Season Stats
- Freedom's 2004 Season Stats
- Freedom's 2005 Season Stats
- Freedom's 2006 Season Stats
- "Freedom returns to Fort Wayne". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. October 24, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
- Stacy Clardie (October 25, 2007). "Freedom back - with a catch". Journal Gazette. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
- Rebecca S. Green (December 11, 2007). "Football debts spur turf battle". Journal Gazette. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
- Ben Smith (January 22, 2008). "Another mess for indoor football". Journal Gazette. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
- Stacy Clardie (February 5, 2008). "New coach for new Freedom". Journal Gazette. Retrieved June 8, 2012.
- Stacy Clardie (January 27, 2008). "Indoor league reopens door". Journal Gazette. Retrieved June 8, 2012.