IFL 2021 Arena Football returns to Columbus in 2021

Photo by: Ralph Schudel

When news broke in October of the financial struggles faced by the now defunct Arena Football League (AFL), fans became worried about what the future held for their respective franchises. For fans of the Columbus Destroyers, it was a sobering reality that Central Ohio was once again without representation in a professional football league.

It appears that hiatus will be brief as the Indoor Football League (IFL) announced that the league is adding Columbus as an expansion team in 2021. The team will be owned by local businessman Steve Germain and his family. The Germain’s will also own a team in Frisco, Texas, that will begin play in March 2020.

“This is a very exciting day for our family and for indoor football fans in Central Ohio,” said Steve Germain on behalf of his family. “We have been avid supporters of the indoor game and have been closely aligned with it since the Columbus Destroyers originally launched in 2004. When the Destroyers returned last year, we were all in, and it was a sad day when the AFL announced it was shutting down, which was the second time that happened through no fault of our loyal fans.

“Now, with the acquisitions we have made we are in a position to build and grow the indoor game in a meaningful way. We understand that there is so much work to do and we are in it for the long term.”

Former Ohio State player Bobby Olive will serve as the first head coach of the Columbus franchise. He is a former All Big-Ten wide receiver and enjoyed a successful playing career in the NFL, NFL Europe, and the CFL before landing in the Arena Football League where he played for the Buffalo Destroyers and later the Columbus Destroyers. He also spent a season as an assistant coach in Columbus.

“I’m excited to get back to Columbus,” said Olive. “I know Buckeye Nation is going to support our organization and we expect to be the class of the league, both on the field and off. Mr. Germain and his family have made a huge commitment not only to Columbus, but to the entire sport, and we expect to reward that commitment with a product that everyone will be proud to support.”


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