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Omaha Beef move to NIFL

by Paul Reeths
October 10, 2001 - National Indoor Football League (NIFL)

Omaha Beef move to NIFL

by Paul Reeths

The Omaha Beef, which competed in the four-team Indoor Professional Football League in 2001, will join the one-year-old National Indoor Football League. According to a Beef press release, as many as 13 other franchises might join before the start of the 2002 season in March, though NIFL Operations Manager estimated that the league would probably have 24-26 teams next year.

"It's exhilarating and it's a relief," Omaha General Manager Don Igo said of the Beef's move. "We took the heat for the number of teams in the league last year and that was something we couldn't control."

Three NIFL franchises are located within three driving hours of Omaha: Kearney, Neb.; Sioux City, Iowa; and Sioux Falls, S.D. Other Midwest teams play in Bismarck, N.D., and Rapid City, S.D.

Three teams scheduled to play in the IPFL next season - St. Louis, Knoxville, Tenn., and Topeka, Kan. - have reportedly also applied to the NIFL and are completing paperwork to join the league. The moves would spell the end of the IPFL, which began play in 1998 as the Professional Indoor Football League.

"The addition of the Omaha Beef will strengthen our league's position in the central United States," said NIFL President Carolyn Shiver, who pulled her Louisiana team out of the IPFL before forming the NIFL last season. "They will be a great asset."

After losing Louisiana and two other franchises to the NIFL, the IPFL began with five teams last season, but that number dipped to four when the Trenton (N.J.) franchise folded early in the year. The Boise Stallions became a ward of the league, further burdening the other three IPFL franchises. Omaha played each remaining league team at least four times and finished the regular season 15-1, before losing to Tennessee in the IPFL championship game.

Other cities rumored to be joining the NIFL include Lexington, Ky., LaCrosse, Wi., Salt Lake City, Springfield, Ill., and Austin, Tx.

"The only down side to last season was the lack of size and the instability of the IPFL," Igo said. "Some of the more exciting things about our move to the NIFL are the variety and the possibility of a number of new rivalries.

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National Indoor Football League Stories from October 10, 2001

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