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 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:
- Lew Carpenter - Green Bay Packers
- Guy McIntyre - San Francisco 49ers
- Doug Cosbie - Dallas Cowboys
- Keith Millard - Minnesota Vikings
- Jim Jenson - Miami Dolphins
- Hugh Green - Miami Dolphins
- Larry Little - Miami Dolphins
- Neal Colzie - Oakland Raiders
- Donald Hollas - Oakland Raiders
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.