There’s something very fitting about this story.
Last week, it was announced that the Ultimate Indoor Football League would be returning to Miami, Fla. under the direction of Pedro “Pete” Taylor, father of the late, great Sean Taylor.
Fittingly, games will be played on the campus of the University of Miami at the BankUnited Center, the indoor arena currently used primarily for basketball games and other assorted concerts, wrestling matches, etc. (Noted Redskins superfan Wale will also be playing “Lovefest Miami 2014” there on Valentine’s Day…so y’know…there is that).
For those of you unfamiliar with the UIFL, here are the specs: the field is 50 x 28 yards of indoor, artificial turf; the end zones must be five-eight yards deep and may have rounded corners to allow for hockey rink usage; walls must be at least four feet tall and padded, goal posts must be 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide with 20-feet uprights.
The games are four 15-minute quarters with a 15-minute halftime, similar to the NFL and NCAA. The game is eight-on-eight with 19 gameday actives for each team with five inactives. Two players may be in forward motion at any given time, with only three defensive linemen and one free blitzer allowed. No punts, no fakes on special teams, no touchbacks, and a point is awarded if the kickoff goes through the opposing uprights.
That’s the basic rundown of the sport, with a few other creative twists and turns that really put the “Ultimate” in the UIFL.
It should also be noted that Pedro Taylor is also the chief of police in nearby Florida City, so fans can expect players to be on their best behavior. Here is what Coach Taylor had to say at his introductory press conference:
“I am excited at the opportunity to bring indoor football to the Miami area. I am looking forward to working with my staff to find the best possible talent we can find from this football rich area in hopes of bringing the UIFL Championship to Miami.”
An interesting note: former Arena Football League defensive lineman Luther Johnson IV will join Taylor’s coachign staff as the defensive coordinator. Why should we care? Because from 1991-1992, Johnson IV squared off against Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden (of the Tampa Bay Storm) as a member of the Columbus Thunderbolts and Cleveland Thunderbolts.
For the record, Gruden torched both iterations of the Thunderbolts, winning 53-12 and 35-24, respectively. I told you this story was fitting.
But, two losses at the hand of Jay Gruden notwithstanding, Coach Taylor maintains confidence in Luther Johnson IV to slow down the high-flying passing attacks of the UIFL.
“I feel Coach Johnson will be able to guide the defense and teach the players the ins and outs of indoor football. He will be able pass on the knowledge he has gained from his time playing the game.”
Now, the real kicker for fans is that you can buy $75 season tickets to watch the Miami Inferno play, or you can quickly get yourself in shape and go tryout to be part of the team in 15 days. The three open tryout dates for you to realize your dream of playing professional indoor football are on Feb. 22, March 8 and March 22.
Best of luck to everyone who tries out, and may Coach Taylor bring the UIFL Championship to Miami. Redskins Nation will be watching.
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