With football's biggest game just around the corner (check out my top food and fun suggestions for Chiefs fans!), I thought it could be fun to talk about football in Siouxland. While we don't have any NFL teams (Chiefs and Vikings are about tied for closest NFL stadium to downtown Sioux City), we do have lots of football for fans to enjoy, from professional, collegiate, and high school teams:
Professional Indoor Football in Siouxland
In 2000, the first indoor football team in Sioux City started as the Sioux City Attack. The team was renamed the Sioux City Bandits in 2001, thrived under the ownership of Bob Scott, and in 2021 was sold to J.R. Bond. The Bandits continue to be Sioux City's premier indoor football team. The Sioux City Bandits currently plays in the Champions Indoor Football League, after stints in the National Indoor Football League, United Indoor Football League, American Professional Football League, and Champions Professional Indoor Football League!
In these leagues, they have made the playoffs more than a dozen times, including 3 championship wins! The Sioux City Bandits football team play at Tyson Events Center in downtown Sioux City, and their colors are red and black.
Professional Outdoor Football in Siouxland
NCAA Football in Siouxland
|Photo used with permission from USD Athletic Dept.|
The University of South Dakota Coyotes are an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly know as Division I-AA) football team and they play as part of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, along with rival SDSU Jackrabbits from Brookings, South Dakota. Their most recent postseason appearance was in 2017, where they won their first round game, but lost in the second round. The home stadium of the USD Coyotes is the Dakota Dome in Vermillion, South Dakota, and their colors are red and white.
NAIA Football in Siouxland
Most of Siouxland's collegiate football teams play at the NAIA level, many in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, or GPAC, which has 12 teams that are all in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Some of the teams in the Sioux City area playing at the NAIA level include:
- The Morningside College Mustangs are part of the GPAC, and have been conference champions or co-champions every year since 2011. The Morningside Mustangs have also won several national championships, including in 2018 and 2019 (the most recent championships played at time of writing this post), and were the national runner-ups in 2012. Their color is maroon and their home stadium is Elwood Olsen Stadium at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa
- The Briar Cliff Chargers play in the GPAC and their home stadium is Memorial Field in Sioux City, Iowa. Their colors are blue and gold.
- The Northwestern College Red Raiders play in the GPAC and often face Morningside in the conference championships. Their home field is in Orange City, Iowa and their team colors are red & white.
- The Dakota Wesleyan Tigers play in the GPAC and their home field is in Mitchell, South Dakota. Their team colors are royal blue and white.
- The Dordt Defenders play in the GPAC and their home field is in Sioux Center, Iowa. Their team colors are black, white, & gold.
- Mount Marty University Lancers play in the GPAC and their home field is in Yankton, South Dakota. Their team colors are navy blue and gold.
High School Football in Siouxland
|Photo used with permission from the Bishop Heelan Athletic Department|
There are dozens of high schools in Siouxland, and almost all have football programs. In Sioux City, the public high schools--East, West, and North--play at Morningside College's Elwood Olsen Stadium, while Bishop Heelan Catholic plays at Memorial Field on Hamilton Blvd. Heelan won the Iowa State Football 3A Championships in 2008 & 2013.
Some other standout high-school programs in the greater Siouxland area include:
- St. Mary's, Iowa: This Remsen, Iowa team won the Iowa high school football state championships for 8-player football in 2020!
- OABCIG, Iowa: From Ida Grove, Iowa, watch the 1A champions in Iowa high school football state championships in 2020.
- Yankton, SD: lost in the 2020 semifinals of 11AA play
- Dakota Valley, SD: lost in the 2020 quarterfinals of 11A play
- Elk Point-Jefferson, SD: lost in the 2020 semifinals of 11B play
- Pierce, Nebraska: Perennial powerhouse in Nebraska's C1 Division