Regional Football League
For the Regional Football League created in 2017, see Regional Football Leagues
The Regional Football League (RFL) was an American football league formed to be the self-styled "major league of spring football." The RFL season was designed for spring-summer play with the weekend prior to the Fourth of July designated as the annual date for its championship game.
The inaugural (and only) season began in March, 1999 and was scheduled to consist of 14 regular season games, preceded by a three-week training camp and a preseason game. The teams of the '99 RFL season played through a shortened eight-week regular season (Ohio only played seven of those eight weeks). Only one game was ever televised—the May 8, 1999, New Orleans Thunder at Mobile Admirals game on WHNO, a mainly-religious television station in New Orleans. Four teams qualified for the moved-up playoffs which followed the shortened regular season. On June 13, 1999, the Mobile Admirals defeated the Houston Outlaws in the only championship (RFL Bowl I) held at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, 14–12.
RFL rosters were limited to 37 active players and five taxi-squad members with salaries in the range of $30,000 to $65,000 per player and team salary caps of $1,500,000. Former college standouts such as Josh Booty (LSU), Stewart Patridge (Ole Miss), Andre Ware (Houston), Sherman Williams (Alabama Crimson Tide) and Dameyune Craig (Auburn) were signed to RFL teams in the hopes that fans would turn out to see former local stars. Patridge, playing for the Mississippi Pride, was the all-RFL quarterback in 1999.
The commissioner of the league was John "Gus" Bell, and Ron Floridia was the Assistant Commissioner.
Despite some efforts made to resume play for a second season, the league folded after that shortened 1999 season. The announced beginning of the XFL for 2001 precluded any realistic chance of the league resuming operations.
Regional Football League teams
- Houston Outlaws
- Mississippi Pride (Based in Jackson, Mississippi)
- Mobile Admirals
- New Orleans Thunder (1999)
- Shreveport-Bossier Southern Knights (1999)
- Ohio Cannon (Based in Toledo, Ohio)