Stars Football League
The Stars Football League (SFL) was an American football league that operated primarily in Florida from 2011 to 2013. The league was headquartered in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Its inaugural season began June 30, 2011 with two teams; the league phased two more teams into the schedule over the course of the 2011 season to finish the season with four teams (two in Florida, one in Louisiana and one traveling team). It played the 2012 season with three teams, all based in Florida, and the 2013 season with four teams.
Originally intended to be a more or less national league on par with the contemporary United Football League, a lack of investor interest, anemic attendance and low budgets prevented the league from reaching its intended goals.
The league followed standard American football rules, with two exceptions. Field goals of over 50 yards were awarded four points instead of three, as in NFL Europe. The league also offered a three-point conversion from ten yards, just as the XFL did in its playoffs. These rule changes were intended to help teams that fall behind in a game to catch up more quickly. The league did not use instant replay (the league never acquired a television contract, making instant replay impossible). The league also will use a slightly shorter play clock.
Teams were restricted to 35 or 36 players on each roster, with any person 18 years of age or older eligible to play. Its level of play could be classified somewhere between minor league and semi-professional; players were compensated between $100 and $500 per game, on par with most indoor football leagues, but had to pay their own travel expenses for away games.
|Daytona Beach Racers||Daytona Beach, Florida||Municipal Stadium (2011)||2011–2013||Dahryll Brown|
|Ft. Lauderdale Barracudas||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||Central Broward Regional Park (2012–13)||2011–2013||Bobby Thompson|
|Swampdogs F.C. (Ft. Myers/Pompano)||Fort Myers, Florida||Bishop Verot High School (2012)||2012–2013||Marty Culpepper|
|Miami Ironmen||Miami, Florida||Central Broward Regional Park||2013||Brian "Hurricane" Jones|
|Michigan Coyotes||Pontiac, Michigan||Traveling team||2011|
|New Orleans Jazz F.C.||New Orleans, Louisiana||Tad Gormley Stadium||2011|
The League awarded charter memberships to eight cities in seven states. Teams were awarded to Las Vegas Nevada, Little Rock Arkansas, Pontiac Michigan, New Orleans Louisiana, Mobile Alabama, Charleston South Carolina along with Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale Florida. For reasons unknown the Las Vegas Gamblers, Little Rock Ironmen, Charleston Admirals and the Mobile Gladiators never made it to play; the Ironmen, in particular, have been the subject of repeated relocations (the SFL has indicated the Ironmen club would play in Little Rock, then Bradenton, Florida, then Cleveland, Ohio, before finally beginning play in 2013 nominally representing Miami, Florida and sharing a stadium with Fort Lauderdale).
The Michigan Coyotes, having a much greater distance between themselves and the rest of the league, were declared a traveling team for their two games in the 2011 season. Had any home games been scheduled the team was to play at the Silverdome (Wisner Stadium was another potential stadium that the league mentioned for the team). Fort Lauderdale played its first season at Lockhart Stadium and Daytona Beach at Municipal Stadium.
The league released its 2011 schedule on July 2, 2011; said schedule was abruptly cut short in early August after several on-the-fly schedule and venue changes. In the end, each of the four teams played two of the other three teams at least once, with Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale playing each other three times, due to their proximity to each other. Winners of each game are underlined.
- June 30, 2011
- Daytona Beach 26 @ Fort Lauderdale 13
- July 16, 2011
- Fort Lauderdale 22 @ Daytona Beach 4
- July 22, 2011
- Fort Lauderdale 9 @ New Orleans 15 (OT)
- July 23, 2011
- Michigan 18 @ Daytona Beach 38
- August 4, 2011
- Fort Lauderdale 29 @ Daytona Beach 31
- August 12, 2011
- Michigan 6 @ New Orleans 21
TEAM W-L ( PCT ) -------------------------- --- ------- New Orleans Jazz 2-0 (1.000) Daytona Beach Racers 3-1 ( .750) Fort Lauderdale Barracudas 1-3 ( .250) Michigan Coyotes 0-2 ( .000)
The 2012 season was originally scheduled to begin on Armed Forces Day (May 19, 2012) and continue through July; although a northern division was originally planned in addition to the Florida teams, neither of the two new proposed teams (in Cleveland and Canton, Ohio) meant to complement the existing Michigan Coyotes (who were to play that year at Atwood Stadium in Flint) would form, eventually forcing the Coyotes' mothballing. New Orleans left the league and joined other semi-pro leagues. In Florida, the SFL also proposed a team named the "Orange" (initially in Tampa and then in Fort Pierce) and a team based at South County Stadium in Port St. Lucie, neither of which came to fruition; likewise, the plan to play a game in Freeport, Bahamas's Grand Bahama Stadium also never occurred. In the end, of the roughly eight teams originally announced as participants in the 2012 SFL season, only three would make it to play: Daytona Beach (who had originally left the league, only to return) and Fort Lauderdale, in addition to the Fort Myers Swampdogs (also known as the Southwest Florida Swampdogs), who played the season at Bishop Verot High School. Daytona Beach's lone home game (the season opener) would be held at Lawnwood Stadium in Fort Pierce.
The season finally began on June 9, 2012, with a matchup between Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale in Fort Pierce. Fort Lauderdale won the contest on a last-second field goal. Fort Myers played its first game June 16.
- June 9, 2012
- Fort Lauderdale 13 @ Daytona Beach 10 in Fort Pierce
- June 16, 2012
- Fort Myers 14 v. Fort Lauderdale 0 in Fort Pierce
- June 30, 2012
- Daytona Beach 16 @ Fort Myers 9
- July 7, 2012
- Daytona Beach 6 @ Fort Lauderdale 0
- July 14, 2012
- Fort Myers 10 @ Fort Lauderdale 21
- July 28, 2012
- Daytona Beach 16 @ Fort Lauderdale 14 (SFL Championship Game)
TEAM W-L ( PCT ) -------------------------- --- ------- Daytona Beach Racers 2-1 ( .667) Fort Lauderdale Barracudas 2-2 ( .500) Fort Myers Swampdogs 1-2 ( .333)
After numerous proposals and another erroneous draft schedule was released in the 2012-13 offseason, by the time of the April 2013 training camps the league had settled on an expansion to four teams for the 2013 season, adding the Miami Ironmen. The league began play on June 8, 2013 with a baseball-style doubleheader in Fort Lauderdale.
Two days before the start of the season, the league also announced that all six of the SFL's scheduled games for 2013 will take place at Central Broward Regional Park. The Swampdogs were nonetheless renamed the "Pompano Swampdogs" despite no connection to that city; likewise, the league made no effort to relocate the Daytona Beach Racers back to its namesake city, although the team's head coach continued to send news reports to the local newspapers there. The schedule is single round-robin, with each team playing each other once.
- June 8, 2013
- Swampdogs 8 v. Daytona Beach 6
- June 8, 2013
- Miami 18 @ Fort Lauderdale 14
- June 15, 2013
- Swampdogs 14 @ Fort Lauderdale 22
- June 15, 2013
- Daytona 6 v. Miami 42
- June 27, 2013
- Swampdogs 2 v. Miami 10
- June 27, 2013
- Daytona 0 @ Fort Lauderdale 7
- July 2, 2013
- Miami 14 @ Daytona 0 (Semifinal)
- July 2, 2013
- Swampdogs 12 @ Fort Lauderdale 8 (Semifinal)
- July 6, 2013
- Swampdogs 6 v. Miami 21 (SFL Championship Game)
TEAM W-L ( PCT ) -------------------------- --- ------- Miami Ironmen 5-0 (1.000) Fort Lauderdale Barracudas 2-2 ( .500) Pompano Swampdogs 2-3 ( .400) Daytona Beach Racers 0-4 ( .000)
The team formally dismissed all of its coaches in February 2014 and has since ceased public operations; the league (as is typical of its operations) released a draft schedule that was to begin the 2014 season in April, but the schedule was removed after none of the games were played and the 2014 season was silently canceled. Commissioner/owner Peter Hulthwaite announced the league's assets were up for sale on August 24, 2016.
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