Billings Wolves

Last updated
Billings Wolves
Established 2014
Folded 2016
Played in Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark
in Billings, Montana
BiilingsWolves.com
Billings Wolves logo Billings Wolves IFL logo.png
Billings Wolves logo
League/conference affiliations
Indoor Football League (20152016)
  • Intense Conference (2015–2016)
Team colorsBlack, red, white
   
CheerleadersShewolves
Personnel
Owner(s)Ron Benzel
General managerMarc Burr
Head coach Chris Dixon
Team history
  • Billings Wolves (2015–2016)
Championships
League championships (0)
Conference championships (0)
Division championships (0)
Playoff appearances (1)
2016
Home arena(s)

The Billings Wolves were a professional indoor football team based in Billings, Montana and members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). [1] The Wolves began play in 2015 as an expansion team of the IFL. The Wolves were owned by Ron Benzel and coached by Chris Dixon. The Wolves played their home games at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. [2] [3]

Contents

History

After receiving unanimous approval by the IFL's existing 9 teams, the new Billings franchise was formally announced by IFL commissioner Mike Allshouse during a press conference on February 19, 2014. [4] The city was previously home to the IFL's Billings Outlaws who folded in 2010 after the so-called Father's Day Tornado heavily damaged their home arena. [5] [6]

In April 2014, the team signed a two-year contract with the Yellowstone County Commission making the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark the team's home arena in 2015 and 2016. The lease cost the team $3,000 per game in 2015 and $3,500 per game in 2016, plus an "improvement fee" of $1.25 to $4.00, varying with the face value of the ticket. The contract waives the rental fee for the final home game of each season. [3] Season tickets went on sale April 7, 2014. [7] The team initially announced James Walton as head coach but on July 31, 2014, they signed just-retired former Billings Outlaws quarterback Chris Dixon for the job. [4] [8] [9]

The Wolves played their first ever game on February 28, 2015, losing 30–17 to the Tri-Cities Fever. [10] The Wolves struggled to win early on, beginning the season on a 4 game losing streak. [11] On April 18, 2015, the Wolves picked up their first ever victory, 56–37 over the Green Bay Blizzard. [12] The Wolves offense was being paced by rookie quarterback Dakaratalib Britt, who had thrown for 13 touchdowns in his first 3 games, but during the Wolves first victory, Britt suffered an injury that sidelined him for the next three games, where the Wolves would fail to win a game. Upon Britt's return to the team, the Wolves improved dramatically on offense and the Wolves won 4 of their last 5 games. [13] The Wolves finished their first season 5–9, finishing fourth in the Intense Conference. At the conclusion of the season, defensive back Michael Green was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year. [14]

With the return of Britt for the 2016 season, the Wolves looked to be a playoff contender out of the gates. However after a 2–2 start, Britt injured his elbow forcing the Wolves to start rookie Jawad Yatim. [15] Yatim lost what ended up being his only start due to suffering an injury. The Wolves then signed Mason Espinosa away from the Columbus Lions. [16] Espinosa stepped in immediately, and put up passing numbers that made him the IFL Week 10 Offensive Player of the Week and Week 9 IFL Honorable Mention Player of the Week, tying a franchise record for TD passes in consecutive weeks. [17] After Espinosa was sidelined due to injury, going 3–3 as the starter, the Wolves turned to another rookie, Cory Murphy, who ran for a franchise record 6 rushing touchdowns in a 49–39 victory over the Colorado Crush. [18] The Wolves finished the season 8–8, earning the 2 seed in the Intense Conference, however they lost their first playoff game in franchise history 52–64 to the Nebraska Danger. [19] During the 2016 season, the Wolves' website was hacked, was never completely fixed, and was non-operational for months. Several former staff members claimed that the team had folded after the completion of the season. On October 24, 2016, the Wolves announced they had left the IFL because of state regulations and failing to find new ownership for the team. [20]

Players of note

Final roster

Billings Wolves roster
Quarterbacks
  • -- Kyle Cool
  • 10Cory Murphy

Running backs

  •  6 Jeff Scott

Wide receivers

  • 26Willie Downs
  •  9 Mark Henderson
  •  1 Alexander McCray
  • 19 Joe Morrow
  •  7 Chip Reeves
Offensive linemen
  • 54 Nick Chartain
  • 55 Kameron Neal
  • 51 Nathaniel Ryan
  • 56 Charles Stevens

Defensive linemen

  • 17 B. J. Butler
  • 99 Jesse Dickson
  • 44 Brandon Harold
  • 15 Marquaveus Jackson
  • 42 Chris Martin
  • -- Cory Richardson
  • 13 Christopher Turner
Linebackers
  • 22 Max Davis

Defensive backs

  • 31 Michael Green
  •  5 Demetruce McNeal
  • 24 Vincent Taylor
  •  3 Norris Wrenn III

Special teams

  • 11 Cody Barber
Reserve lists
  •  8Cartel Brooks RB (IR) Injury icon 2.svg
  • 11 Avonte Jones WR (IR) Injury icon 2.svg
  • -- Davon Key DB (Did Not Report)
  •  5 Julian Laing RB (Did Not Report)
  • 11LaSteven McKinney WR (Did Not Report)
  • --Zaquoya Parham WR (IR) Injury icon 2.svg
  • -- Ike Williams DB (Did Not Report)
  • Rookies in italics
  • Roster updated August 24, 2016
  • 26 Active, 7 Inactive

All-League selections

Awards and honors

The following is a list of all Wolves' players who have won league Awards

SeasonPlayerPositionAward
2015 Michael Green Defensive Back Defensive Rookie of the Year [21]

Head coaches

NameTermRegular seasonPlayoffsAwards
WLTWin%WL
Chris Dixon 20152016 13170.43301

Season-by-season results

League ChampionsConference ChampionsDivision ChampionsWild Card BerthLeague Leader
Season Team League Conference Regular season Postseason results
FinishWinsLossesTies
2015 2015 IFL Intense4th590
2016 2016 IFLIntense2nd880Lost Intense Conference Wild Card 52-64 vs. Nebraska
Totals13170All-time regular season record (2015–2016)
01-All-time postseason record (2015–2016)
13180All-time regular season and postseason record (2015–2016)

Related Research Articles

MetraPark Arena

MetraPark Arena, currently known as First Interstate Arena due to sponsorship, and colloquially known as The Metra, is a multi-purpose arena located at MetraPark, the fairgrounds of Billings, Montana, USA. The arena has capacity for an audience of 12,000. The arena hosts a variety of local sporting, musical, and other events. It has also hosted professional sporting competitions. In 2005, MetraPark Arena marked its 30th anniversary. The arena was renovated in 2010 and 2011 at a cost of $27 million.

The Sioux City Bandits are a professional indoor football team based in Sioux City, Iowa. The Bandits compete in Champions Indoor Football (CIF) as a member of the league's North Conference. The team was founded in 1999 as the Sioux City Attack. In 2001, the team assumed their current name of the Bandits. The Bandits joined the CIF as result of the merger in 2014. The Bandits play their home games at the Tyson Events Center.

The Sioux Falls Storm are a professional indoor football team based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Storm joined the original Indoor Football League as an expansion team in 1999 as the Sioux Falls Cobras, and first took the field for the 2000 season. They currently participate in another iteration of the Indoor Football League; prior to that, the Storm were in United Indoor Football (UIF), where they won all four of the league's championship games. In the newer IFL, the Storm have won seven of the eleven championships in the league as of 2019.

Indoor Football League

The Indoor Football League (IFL) is a professional indoor American football league created in 2008 out of the merger between the Intense Football League and United Indoor Football. It has the largest number of currently active teams among indoor football leagues. The league has operated continuously under the same name and corporate structure longer than any other current indoor football league. IFL players earn a minimum of US$250 per game played. The season is typically 14 games long, plus playoffs of two or more rounds.

Travonti Johnson is an American football safety for the Cedar Rapids River Kings of the Indoor Football League (IFL). He was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He played college football at Central Florida.

Chris Dixon II is a professional indoor football player who is currently signed with the Sioux Falls Storm. He is also a former head coach. He ended his long playing career with a stint as quarterback for the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League (AFL) before returning to the Sioux Falls Storm (IFL) near the end of their 2019 season. Dixon attended Contra Costa College for two years before attending Humboldt State University, where he was an All-conference player.

The 2014 Indoor Football League season is the sixth season of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Playing with nine teams in two conferences spread across the United States, the league's regular season kicked off on February 21, 2014, when the reigning league champion Sioux Falls Storm played host to the Nebraska Danger. The regular season ended 17 weeks later on June 21, 2014, with the Nebraska Danger visiting the Texas Revolution.

The 2015 Indoor Football League season was the seventh season of the Indoor Football League. Playing with ten teams in two conferences located in mid-sized cities predominately in the central United States, the league's regular season kicked off on February 28, 2015, when the reigning league champion Sioux Falls Storm travelled to the Bemidji Axemen. The regular season ended 16 weeks later on June 20, 2015, with the Green Bay Blizzard visiting the Iowa Barnstormers. The playoffs were held in two rounds with the top two teams in each conference facing off in a conference championship game followed by the winners of those games meeting in the United Bowl.

The 2015 Billings Wolves season was the team's first season as a professional indoor football franchise as an expansion team of the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of ten teams competing in the IFL for the 2015 season, the Billings, Montana-based Wolves were members of the Intense Conference.

The 2015 Tri-Cities Fever season was the team's eleventh season as a professional indoor football franchise and sixth in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of ten teams competing in the IFL for the 2015 season, the Kennewick, Washington-based Tri-Cities Fever were members of the Intense Conference.

The 2015 Colorado Ice season was the team's ninth season as a professional indoor football franchise and seventh in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of ten teams that competed in the IFL for the 2015 season, the Fort Collins-based Colorado Ice were members of the Intense Conference.

The 2011 Sioux Falls Storm season was the team's twelfth season as a professional indoor football franchise and third in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of twenty-two teams competing in the IFL for the 2011 season, the Storm were members of the Great Plains Division of the United Conference.

The 2010 San Angelo Stampede Express season was the team's seventh season as a professional indoor football franchise and second in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of twenty-five teams that competed in the IFL for the 2010 season, the San Angelo, Texas-based San Angelo Stampede Express were members of the Lonestar East Division of the Intense Conference.

The 2010 Billings Outlaws season was the team's eleventh and final season as a professional indoor football franchise and second in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of twenty-five teams competing in the IFL for the 2010 season, the Billings, Montana-based Billings Outlaws were members of the Pacific North Division of the Intense Conference.

The 2010 Amarillo Venom season was the team's seventh season as a professional indoor football franchise and first in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of twenty-five teams competing in the IFL for the 2010 season, the Amarillo, Texas-based West Texas Roughnecks were members of the Lonestar West Division of the Intense Conference.

The 2016 Cedar Rapids Titans season was the team's fifth season as a professional indoor football franchise and fifth in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of ten teams that competed in the IFL for the 2016 season, the Titans were members of the United Conference.

The 2016 Billings Wolves season was the second season for the professional indoor football franchise and second in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of ten teams that compete in the IFL for the 2016 season, the Wolves are members of the Intense Conference.

The 2016 Colorado Crush season was the tenth season for the professional indoor football franchise and eighth in the Indoor Football League (IFL). It was the first season of the franchise being labeled the Crush after playing the previous nine seasons under the Ice moniker. One of ten teams that competed in the IFL for the 2016 season, the Crush were members of the Intense Conference.

The 2016 Tri-Cities Fever season was the team's twelfth season as a professional indoor football franchise and seventh in the Indoor Football League (IFL). One of ten teams that compete in the IFL for the 2016 season, the Fever are members of the Intense Conference.

Mason Espinosa is a professional American football quarterback for the Columbus Lions of the National Arena League (NAL). He has also played for the Albany Empire, the Erie Explosion and the Billings Wolves. Espinosa played college football for Ohio Wesleyan University. He currently holds 17 individual Ohio Wesleyan records, as well as being the all-time North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) career leader in passing yards and total yards, while also setting a single season NCAC record for completions.

References

  1. "Indoor football to return to Billings in 2015". Billings Gazette . Billings, MT. January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  2. Breen, Scott (January 6, 2014). "Billings close to deal with Indoor Football League". Missoula, MT: KPAX-TV. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  3. 1 2 Zimmer, Mike (April 1, 2014). "Wolves sign 2-year deal with Metra". Billings Gazette . Billings, MT . Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  4. 1 2 Zimmer, Mike (February 19, 2014). "Billings Wolves to bring indoor football back to Billings in 2015". Billings Gazette . Billings, MT . Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  5. Crisp, David (January 9, 2014). "Indoor football returns". The Billings Outpost. Billings, MT. Archived from the original on January 15, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  6. Krieger, Dan (January 13, 2014). "Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report". Our Sports Central. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  7. "Season tickets on sale for Wolves". Billings Gazette . Billings, MT. April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  8. "Billings Wolves name Chris Dixon head coach". Billings Gazette . Billings, MT. July 31, 2014. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  9. Welsch, Jeff (July 31, 2014). "Dixon ready to take IFL by storm as coach". Billings Gazette . Billings, MT . Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  10. Ryan Minch (March 1, 2015). "Wolves drop season opener". www.billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  11. Ryan Minch (April 3, 2015). "Former coach O'Neal turns tables on Wolves at Metra". www.billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  12. "Wolves pick up 1st-ever win". www.billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. April 18, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  13. "Britt helps Wolves end 1st year on high note". www.billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. June 12, 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
  14. "2015 Individual Awards Announced". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. July 2, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  15. Jeff Welch (March 26, 2016). "Wolves' new QB limps into, and away from, his IFL debut". www.billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  16. "Wolves fall on road to Nebraska Danger, 45-31". www.billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. April 2, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  17. http://goifl.com/aotw/Espinosa_Mason
  18. Jeff Bersch (May 21, 2016). "Cory Murphy steps in at QB, rushes for 6 TDs in Billings Wolves' win over Colorado Crush". www.billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  19. Ryan Minch (July 9, 2016). "Danger makes Billings Wolves' stay in playoffs a short one". www.billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  20. "Billings Wolves suspend operations; team could return in 2018". MontanaSports.com. October 24, 2016. Archived from the original on October 26, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  21. "Billings Wolves DB Michael Green honored". www.billingsgazette.com. Billings Gazette. December 29, 2015. Retrieved December 29, 2015.