The Arena Football League is going to see two former cities re-enter the league next season. On Sunday, several players – six both on the Philadelphia Soul and the New Orleans VooDoo – confirmed this to us.
The VooDoo, who is currently under league-owned ownership, is expected to re-locate to the Austin, Texas area in the off-season. The League hasn’t confirmed the news yet, but this is expected to go down.
“News to me,” AFL spokesman BJ Pickard said when approached for a comment.
Right now, the VooDoo only have three employees, which are only on a week-by-week contract after being fired from their salary positions earlier this season. This version of the VooDoo came to New Orleans after playing as the as the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings, who only played one season in 2010.
Once the VooDoo transition to Texas, they will be the first team in Austin since the Austin Wranglers left the AFL in 2007. The previous franchise played four seasons in the city in the AFL, before moving down to af2, a now defunct football league, for their final season.
In the Wranglers five seasons, the team went 36-44 overall, including a career-best 10-6 during the 2006 season. That year, they lost in the wild card round to the Soul, and they lost to the Spokane Shock in their final playoff appearance in 2008.
It is not clear if the VooDoo would re-claim the Wranglers name. They are also expected to play at the Frank Erwin Center on the University of Texas campus, like the previous franchise once called home.
While the AFL is going back to Austin, the team is expected to re-enter into the San Antonio market, as well. Those same VooDoo and Soul players, who informed us about the VooDoo relocating, informed us that the Talons are going to be returning.
The Talons, who were under league-owned ownership in 2014 when they last played, must have re-grouped for another run.
The Talons, who originally played in the AFL from 2010 through 2014, played the first two seasons as the Tulsa Talons. Then, in 2012, they moved to San Antonio.
In Oct. of 2014, the league announced that the Talons were dormant. That opened up the opportunity for the Las Vegas Outlaws to enter into the league.
However, with the Talons returning, the Outlaws, who are also league-owned ownership, are expected to cease operations. Some believe that the league was forced to bring the Outlaws on board to make it an even schedule.
The Talons had two head coaches for each respective city that they’ve played in. As the Tulsa Talons, Mitch Allner went 18-14 and lost once in the playoffs.
Once they relocated to San Antonio, they hired Lee Johnson as head coach, who went 25-27 and also lost once in the playoffs.
It is not clear if Johnson would be returning as the Talons head coach during the 2016 season. He’s currently the assistant defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator for the Portland Thunder.
As for the Outlaws, they’ll be playing their final regular season game this week. Depending on what happens in that game, they could clinch the final spot in the National Conference.
Right now, they have a 5-11-1 record and have lost their past three games. They need the Thunder to lose, who are 5-12, to clinch the final spot.