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The Spring Football League (SFL) was a professional American football that existed for only part of one mini-season in 2000. Founded by several ex-NFL players such as Eric Dickerson, Drew Pearson, Bo Jackson, and Tony Dorsett, the SFL planned to use the four game mini-season (dubbed "Festival 2000") to test cities, fans, stadiums, the media, entertainment, and springtime American football as a product. The year before, the Regional Football League staggered through a spring season, then announced it would not return for 2000.

The SFL announced its formation on March 1, 2000 and planned to play games less than two months later; league director Bill Futterer said the league would play four games on Saturdays from April 29, followed by a championship game in Miami on May 27.

The teams were:

SFL Matadors.gif SFL Dragons 1.gif SFL Tropics.gif SFL Marshalls.gif

SFL teams consisted of 38 players, each of whom would receive $1,200 per game with a $200 winners bonus.

The league's games included pre-game and at half-time shows featuring national musical acts (such as The O'Jays, Mark Wills, and Poncho Sanchez), a pronounced effort to attract both African-Americans and Latino fans, and innovative use of wireless communication.

SFL coaches of note:

Mini-season cut short[edit | edit source]

Due to a lack of media coverage -- the SFL had no TV or radio contracts, and newspaper coverage was spotty at best -- it quickly became obvious that the league was a sinking ship. Attendance was disastrously low, despite very competitive contests. The SFL wasn't even able to finish out its modest, one month season -- league officials ended the test program after only two weeks (and four games, none of which drew more than a few thousand people). Houston and San Antonio, both with 2-0 records, were declared league co-champions.

With funding for the league having been provided by tech-stock entrepreneurs, any chance that the SFL would return was scotched by the tech-market crash of 2000 and the subsequent announcement of the XFL by the WWF.

The last professional football game to be played at the Miami Orange Bowl was an SFL game: a few thousand fans watched on April 29, 2000 as the San Antonio Matadors defeated the Miami Tropics, 16-13.

External links[edit | edit source]

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