Regional Football League

Regional Football League
Most recent season or competition:
SportAmerican football
Inaugural season1999
CommissionerJohn "Gus" Bell
Ron Floridia
No. of teams6
CountryUnited States
HeadquartersFramingham, MA
Mobile, AL
Mobile Admirals
TV partner(s)none

The Regional Football League (RFL) was an american football minor league formed to be the self-styled "major league of spring football." Established in 1997, the league played a single season, 1999, and then ceased operations.


The RFL season was designed for spring-summer play with teams based primarily in the Southern United States. The debut season was originally slated to begin in March 1998, however this was delayed by a year. The league adopted rules consistent with professional football of the era, with some exceptions:

  • running clock until the last two minutes of each half
  • one offensive player allowed to be in motion towards the line of scrimmage at the snap
  • ball placed at the 20-yard-line for extra point attempts
  • receivers only need one foot in bounds to complete a catch

The league's inaugural (and only) season was 1999, where each of its six teams was scheduled to have training camp and two preseason games in early April, followed by 12 regular season games; a postseason would follow in July. The league held its first regular season games on April 17, 1999. Financial constraints forced the league to reduce player salaries at the end of April, due to low attendance at games. In late May, the league announced that the regular season would be shortened by three games, with the championship game held in late June. Ultimately, the league only played an eight-week regular season. Near the end of the shortened season, the league cancelled a contest between New Orleans and Ohio, and Shreveport forfeited a game, both due to financial concerns. Four teams qualified for the playoffs, and on June 20, 1999, the Mobile Admirals defeated the Houston Outlaws, 14–12, in the championship game, RFL Bowl I, which was played at Ladd–Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

RFL rosters were limited to 37 active players and five practice squad members with salaries in the range of $30,000 to $65,000 per player and team salary caps of $1,500,000. Players who had been with college football programs of the region such as Jason Martin (Louisiana Tech), Stewart Patridge (Ole Miss), Raymond Philyaw (Northeast Louisiana), Marquette Smith (Central Florida) and Sherman Williams (Alabama) were signed to RFL teams in the hopes that fans would turn out to see former local stars. Patridge, playing for Mississippi, was the all-RFL quarterback, while running back Williams was the league MVP with Mobile.

The first commissioner of the league was John "Gus" Bell, who was succeeded by Ron Floridia in May 1999. The league did not secure a television contract, and only one game was ever televised—the May 8, 1999, New Orleans Thunder at Mobile Admirals contest on WHNO,[citation needed] a mainly-religious television station in New Orleans.

Despite some efforts made to resume play for a second season, the league folded after its shortened 1999 season. The announced beginning of the XFL for 2001 precluded any realistic chance of the league resuming operations.


The league's six charter members were announced on November 12, 1998. They participated in the league's only season, which ran from April to June 1999.

Team City Stadium Head coach
Houston Outlaws Houston, Texas Pasadena Memorial Stadium Ray Woodard
Mississippi Pride Jackson, Mississippi Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium Johnny Plummer
Mobile Admirals Mobile, Alabama Ladd–Peebles Stadium Tom Walsh
New Orleans Thunder New Orleans, Louisiana Tad Gormley Stadium Rex Stevenson / Buford Jordan
Ohio Cannon Toledo, Ohio Glass Bowl Jackson Nixon GM / Ken James Head Coach
Shreveport Knights Shreveport, Louisiana Independence Stadium Fred Akers


Regular season

  vs. HOU vs. MISS vs. MOBL vs. N.O. vs. OHIO vs. SHRV Forfeit Overall Win pct.
HOU 1–0 0–2 1–0 2–0 2–0 6–2 .750
MISS 0–1 1–1 1–1 1–0 1–1 4–4 .500
MOBL 2–0 1–1 2–0 0–1 1–0 6–2 .750
N.O. 0–1 1–1 0–2 0–1 0–1 1–6 .143
OHIO 0–2 0–1 1–0 1–0 0–1 W 3–4 .429
SHRV 0–2 1–1 0–1 1–0 1–0 L 3–5 .375


  • In the seventh week of the regular season, a contest between New Orleans and Ohio was cancelled by the league.
  • In the eighth and final week of the regular season, Shreveport was unable to play in their home stadium. The league rescheduled their intended opponent, New Orleans, to play at Mississippi, and when Shreveport did not travel to play at Ohio, they were assessed a forfeit.


June 12
RFL Bowl I
June 20
1 Mobile 35
4 Ohio 14
1 Mobile 14
2 Houston 12
2 Houston 27
3 Mississippi 3

Games were hosted by the higher-seeded team.

Projected expansion teams

Proposed for the 2000 season, which was not played.

Dallas and Monterey, Mexico were originally eyed for expansion, but dropped at the initial stages.

Further reading

  • Kantor, Stuart (1999). "Are You Ready for Even More Football?". Retrieved January 26, 2019.

External links

This page was last updated at 2022-09-17 20:48 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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