Screaming Eagles debut at Maverik CenterJan 31, 2017 02:50PM ● By Greg James
The Screaming Eagles open their first season in the Indoor football league Feb. 16 at the Maverik Center in West Valley. (Thom Carter/ Screaming Eagles)
By Greg James | [email protected]
Indoor football returns to the Maverik Center in West Valley. The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles begin play February 16 as members of the Indoor Football League. The team also forges in a new era of sports team management. The fans helped hire coaches, pick dancers and will call plays as part of the franchise.
“We are excited and have signed 28 guys and make some cuts down to 25 guys that will lead to a great team out on the field,” said Screaming Eagles President Thom Carter. “I am more excited about how we want people to experience sports. We are trying to make history. We are allowing fans to have their voices be heard.”
The fans have decided the team name, hired the coaches and with a downloadable app will be able to call the plays during the game.
“This will be perfect for lots of fans. The guy who likes to bring his family to the game and buy a beer and a hot dog; the fantasy football guy that is all about the stats and lastly the video game fans who want to feel like they are playing the game,” Carter said.
The Screaming Eagles have signed University of Charleston graduate Jeremy Johnson to compete for playing time at quarterback. The 6-foot-1, 197 lb. dual threat QB was a highly recruited four-star athlete from Silsbee, Texas. He originally played at West Virginia after leaving with several injuries he was finally resigned to ending his football career, but The University of Charleston found him and offered a chance.
In 2015 Johnson threw for 2,170 yards, 17 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions.
University of Utah offensive lineman Junior Salt has signed to be part of a line that includes another former Ute, Siaosi Aiono and Arizona Wildcat Steven Gurrola.
“We do not know what our final roster will look like, but the local standouts make me excited. Everyone has bought into this team. Our opponents are well established and winning programs. We also think our 10,000 offensive coordinators will help us figure out ways to win. The power of all of these ideas will make us a better team and organization,” Carter said.
Devin Mahina, a former BYU Cougar and Washington Redskin tight end, and Utah State wide receiver Alex Wheat should provide reliable targets for Johnson. Mahina is a 6-foot-6 receiver who finished his Cougar career with 46 receptions and five touchdowns.
“We feel we are empowering arm-chair quarterbacks. The people who call in on Monday mornings to the sports talk shows can now show us what they got. We live in an age of immediate access and fans are demanding this of their sports teams,” Carter said.
William Macarthy was hired by the fans as the team's first head coach. The organization narrowed down nearly 220 applicants to the best six finalists. Facebook live interviews and 38,000 votes from fans in 21 different countries finally gave Macarthy 34.9 percent of the votes.
He has coached on four different indoor teams. He has been a general manager, defensive coordinator, head coach and special teams coordinator. Most recently he has been working as special teams coordinator at Monroe College in New York.
The Screaming Eagles begin their season Feb. 16 at the Maverik Center against the Nebraska Danger. Tickets range from $5 to $85. In indoor football if a ball goes into the stands the fan keeps it.
The Screaming Eagles also have contributed to improving the wireless service in the arena. The fan will not need to use cellular data to participate in the games.
“The game will have something for everyone,” Carter said.