By Doug Peters, posted March 7th, 2016
Sioux Falls. It's home to the most dominant football team in the Indoor Football League. The Sioux Falls Storm and Head Coach Kurtiss Riggs have accumulated 9 national championship titles since the club's inception in 2000. The Sioux Falls Storm has won more IFL titles than any other football club.
The Storm was originally named the Cobras (for one year), and was an expansion team of the original Indoor Football League in 2000.
Then in the NIFL from 2001 to 2004. The Storm won its first division and conference titles in 2004 and hosted the NFIL championship that year, but the Lexington Horsemen defeated the Storm in the championship game.
In 2005, the Sioux Falls Storm assisted in creating the UIF and fought their rivals, the Sioux City Bandits, in Sioux City, for the United Indoor Football championship in a tight battle, 40-38, winning the very first United Bowl.
The Storm won another UIF championship by defeating the Lexington Horsemen 72-64 on July 29, 2006. Storm QB Terrance Bryant threw eight TDs in the match and was named the United Bowl MVP.
On August 4, 2007, the Storm defeated pesky Lexington once more in a close contest (62-59) for the second UIF championship in a row. With only 19 seconds left in the game, Sioux Falls QB Terrance Bryant threw a touchdown pass. Then, with only seconds left in the game, the Horsemen had gained 15 yards and attempted a field goal which would tie the game, but the Horsemen kicker missed.
On March 29, 2008, the Storm lost to the Omaha Beef, 34-18, ending their historic 40-game winning streak (the longest winning streak in professional team sports), handing the Storm their first loss since July 15, 2005. But the Storm got back into it and went on to host and win their fourth United Bowl trophy against the Bloomington Extreme.
The Sioux Falls Storm wound-up winning all four of the UIF championships (in United Bowls 2005 to 2008).
Later in 2008 the UIF merged with the Intense Football League to become the Indoor Football League (the IFL). In an exhibition game, the UIF Champion Sioux Falls Storm hosted the Intense Football League champions, the Billings Outlaws, and won the right to label the IFL championship game as the "United Bowl" (over the the "Intense Bowl", if the Outlaws had won).
Starting in 2009, the IFL had a United Conference and an Intense Conference based on the merger of United Indoor Fooball and the Intense Football League. As previous UIF members, the Storm were in the United Conference.
Unfortunately, the Sioux Falls Storm was found in violation of the IFL regulation requiring workmen's compensation insurance. The IFL then handed the Storm's first losing season (6 wins - 8 losses) by negating its first five game wins, counting them all as losses. The other three losses all came from the Billings Outlaws and QB Chris Dixon II, and they went on to host and win the first IFL United Bowl.
This controversial punishment came down from an eastern headquartered league office (I believe it was Pennsylvania), with only the Lexington football club an IFL member anywhere in its area. The next closest IFL football club was in Chicago and all the rest in the midwest (Wisconsin and Iowa the next closest), south and west. It was plainly retribution. Whether it was because the IFL commisioner was a Lexington fan, or because the top IFL staffers were almost all well established Intense Football League brass, it was retribution for Storm domination. From then on, the IFL commissioner was dramatically booed and jeered, never welcomed again into the Storm Shelter (and even was completely absent during one United Bowl) until a new IFL Commissioner was finally instated and the IFL office moved to Grand Island, Nebraska.
The 2010 IFL Season found the Storm coming away with only the Divison and United Conference titles after a 43-34 loss against the Billings Outlaws (with CD2) in the IFL's United Bowl 2010.
Disaster struck Billings in the form of a tornado on June 20th, 2010. The Rimrock Auto Arena that the Billings Wolves called home was structurally devastated and the Billings Outlaws were disbanded. Billings star quarterback Chris Dixon II and a few of his teammates then signed-up with the Sioux Falls Storm.
The following 2011 season saw #2, Storm QB Chris Dixon II, tally 1,022 yards in the regular season. The Omaha Beef was the Sioux Falls Storm's only stumbling block during the regular season that year, and went on to defeat the Beef 52-39 in the playoff opener and won their divison. The Storm then hosted the Greenbay Blizzard and rolled over them in a 52-12 victory to capture the conference championship, host United Bowl 2011, and take on the Intense Conference champions, the Tri-Cities Fever. In a highly defensive game, the Sioux Falls Storm came out on top with a 37-10 victory, the lowest score of the season, capturing their first IFL title.
The Storm has always been on a mission to build an indoor football dynasty. 2012 was simply another building block to get that done. Dixon and the Lightning Strike Offense amassed 941 points and the Storm finished the regular season with a 14-0 record.
A couple of highlights of the 2012 season included a Storm victory on April 14, 2012, knocking off the Allen Wranglers, featuring former NFL star receiver Terrell Owens, on the road in Texas, 52-45. And Dixon threw his 500th career touchdown pass when James Terry grabbed a 42-yard pass during a game against Green Bay on May 19, 2012. The Storm rolled through the playoffs, seemingly because the Omaha Beef were denied competing in the playoffs that year. The Storm easily defeated the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 79-21 during the playoff opener, the Green Bay Blizzard for the divison, and hosted the Tri-Cities Fever in the IFL championship, United Bowl 2012 (59-32).
Only two teams have won an IFL Championship in its four year history, and Chris Dixon II was the only quarterback to have led his team to an IFL United Bowl victory.
When it became clear that Chris Dixon would sign with the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League in 2013, Storm legend Terrance Bryant decided to step-up and get back into the QB role. Terrance led the Lightning Strike Offense to a 10-4 regular season regular season record. The Sioux Falls Storm prevailed throughout the playoffs, hosted another United Bowl and defeated the Nebraska Danger with a narrow 43-40 victory to defend and repeat their IFL Championship in United Bowl 2013. At the Storm victory party the next day, Terrance Bryant told us that he would retire his QB jersey for the second time.
Meanwhile, Storm Head Coach was keeping in touch with Chris Dixon II, who wanted to return to Sioux Falls, finish his degree at Augustana College and be with his family. On January 6, 2014, it was announced that Chris Dixon would return back to Sioux Falls for the 2014 indoor football season. Dixon did not disappoint in his return, leading the Storm to their fourth IFL championship and their eighth national title in United Bowl 2014 (which is now their eighth United Bowl victory altogether, between the UIF and the IFL).
In 2015 Montavious Young, originally with the Omaha Beef, returned to quarterback duties (previously relieving Terrance Bryant in 2013 and Chris Dixon II in 2014), while USF stand-out quarterback Lorenzo Brown returned to the Storm after a stint with the Sioux City Bandits, and Kurtiss Riggs started using Young first, but eventually Brown won the position. The team cruised through another winning season with a perfect record, and the Storm advanced through the playoffs by dominating all opponents. But when Sioux Falls hosted United Bowl V proved quite interesting when the Sioux Falls Storm found themselves behind the Nebraska Danger by two scores. But they quickly recovered and got back into domination mode, winning United Bowl 2015 with a score of 62-27. Check-out the official IFL United Bowl 2015 game highlight reel online at the IFL's YouTube channel.
In 2016 the dynasty continues. Of course, the Storm is looking good, with a 3-0 record so far this year, but are on the road after their February 26th home game opener throught March, and until April 9th.
Around the league, Chris Dixon II is now in his second year as head coach of the Billings Wolves and they look promising despite a close overtime loss to the Tri-Cities Fever. The defending 3-peat Intense Conference champions, the Nebraska Danger, looks good after winning their first couple games. The Spokane Empire remain undefeated in the Intense Conference during their inauguarl season. In the United Conference, the Iowa Branstormers (previously in the AFL) are also undefeated after a couple of games. The Cedar Rapids Titans look good, unfortuately they run into the Storm a lot this year.
I'll edit & add more later... -DP
STORM BUSINESS OFFICE ADDRESS
Sioux Falls Storm
5000 S Minnesota Ave, Suite 300
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
OFFICE CONTACT PHONES
Phone: +1 (605) 274-6686
Fax: +1 (605) 271-1416