by af2 Press Release
January 11, 2000 - arenafootball2 (af2)
"KICKOFF 2000" TO LAUNCH INAUGURAL arenafootball2 SEASON; REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED JANUARY 12, 2000
Birmingham to Host Huntsville in Clash of Alabama Rivals
af2 Press Release
CHICAGO (January 11, 2000) -- To launch the historic first season of arenafootball2, the Birmingham (Ala.) Steeldogs and Tennessee Valley (Huntsville, Ala.) Vipers, interstate rivals separated by just 100 miles, will compete in the "Kickoff 2000" game on Friday, March 31, 2000 in Birmingham at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, af2 Executive Director Mary Ellen Garling announced today. The remaining af2 regular season schedule will be released on January 12, 2000.
Training camp for the Steeldogs and Vipers will commence on March 12, 2000, while the remaining 13 teams will open camp on March 17.
"Birmingham has a history of being the cradle for football in the Deep South. We look forward to hosting the inaugural Kickoff 2000 game and believe that Birmingham is the perfect venue to give birth to this new league," said Dr. Clyde Echols, Chairman of the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.
"The concept behind arenafootball2 was grass roots, create local rivalries that football fans could relate to and participate in," said Garling. "This game will fuel what is sure to be an exciting rivalry, similar to the Arena Football Leagues storied rivalry between the Tampa Bay Storm and Orlando Predators, and we are proud to have both the Steeldogs and Vipers organizations help kick off our inaugural campaign."
"To be a part of the first ever arenafootball2 game is truly an honor," said Birmingham Head Coach Bobby Humphrey. "I look forward to being a part of the Kickoff 2000 game and showcasing arena football to the people of Birmingham."
"The Tennessee Valley Vipers are also looking forward to being involved in the first ever game of arenafootball2. We think its great the league has paired two potential rivals in the first game of the inaugural season," said Tennessee Valley Head Coach Tom Luginbill.
The 15-team league, with teams primarily located in the southeast, will play an 18-week, 120-game regular season schedule, which kicks off on April 7, 2000. With the exception of the Steeldogs and Vipers, each team will play eight home and eight road games and will each have a bye week. The schedule for the Steeldogs and Vipers will include a pair of bye weeks.
Arenafootball2 is part of the Arena Football Leagues strategic plan to develop football in small to mid-size markets with arenas that seat 5,000-12,000. The first season will kick off in April with 15 teams, gearing up for 72 teams as early as the 2004 season. Teams are currently located in Augusta, Ga.; Birmingham, Ala.; Charleston, SC; Greensboro, NC; Greenville, SC; Huntsville, Ala.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Little Rock, Ark.; Norfolk, Va.; Pensacola, Fla.; Quad Cities, Iowa-Ill.; Richmond, Va.; Roanoke, Va.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Tulsa, Okla. It is expected that Shreveport-Bossier City, La. and Ft. Myers, Fla. will play in 2001.