|Most recent season or competition:|
|Commissioner||John "Gus" Bell|
|No. of teams||6|
|Mobile Admirals |
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:
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, 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.
|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|
|vs. HOU||vs. MISS||vs. MOBL||vs. N.O.||vs. OHIO||vs. SHRV||Forfeit||Overall||Win pct.|
|RFL Bowl I|
Games were hosted by the higher-seeded team.
Proposed for the 2000 season, which was not played.
Dallas and Monterey, Mexico were originally eyed for expansion, but dropped at the initial stages.