The Chicago Slaughter

chicago slaughter arena football team
Photo Credit: Jeramey Jannene

No, this isn’t an article about a gang-related massacre. Nor is it a piece about the old Chicago Stockyards, though that is where the name comes from. This is an article about the Chicago football team that has won a championship in the new millennium — The Chicago Slaughter.

That’s a cheap knock on the Bears, one that the Slaughter themselves might take offense to. The team has no illusions about replacing the Monsters of the Midway, though it certainly has no qualms about borrowing some of their star power. The team is coached by Steve “Mongo” McMichael, one of the starting defensive tackles on the famed ’85 Bears. The owner of the Slaughter is none other than the punky QB, Jim McMahon.

That isn’t to say the Slaughter are totally derivative. The team formed in 2006, originally kicking around the name “Chicago Foxes” until Mongo suggested they find a more working-class moniker to suit the city. Set to debut in the United Indoor Football before disputes with the league, the Slaughter held their inaugural campaign as members of the Continental Indoor Football League in 2007.

The league featured a higher-temp game than a traditional NFL contest. The games were played on a short track with each teaming fielding eight men per side. Offensive motion is allowed in the backfield and the clock only stops within the last minute of each half. Each half is comprised of two 15 minute periods.

After going 10-4 in their first season and winning the Western Division title in 2008, the Slaughter broke through in 2009. The team went a perfect 14-0 on their way to winning the CIFL Championship trophy. Slaughter quarterback Russ Michna won the league’s MVP award and ran a dominating offense that averaged 65 points a game.

Having conquered the CIFL, Jim McMahon moved the Slaughter to the larger and more successful Indoor Football League. Before the 2010 season could get underway the team also signed Jarrett Payton, son of Bears Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton, to be the team’s new running back. Payton wears his father’s number, 34.

The Slaughter went 6-8 in their first season in the IFL, defeating the Green Bay Blizzard in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the Sioux Falls Storm.

The Slaughter House, also known as the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, has garnered a reputation for being a non-stop party, from the pre-game tailgating to a cacophony of cheers and hollers during the game. Tickets are affordable and the fan-friendly atmosphere at games is hard to beat. There’s an intimacy to Slaughter games, an opportunity to interact with the players, as well as other fans, that is difficult to achieve in larger leagues. If the brief history of the Chicago Slaughter is any indication, each year is an improvement from the previous one. Don’t be the last one on the bandwagon.

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Gene Wagendorf III

About Gene Wagendorf III

Gene is a writer who has spent his entire quarter century of life as a resident of Chicago. When not exploring the city he can be found wandering flea markets and garage sales or having a cigarette between classes at Northeastern Illinois University, where he hopes to acquire a degree in the next quarter century. His favorite smells are old books and bowling alleys. His poetry (how embarrassing!) can be found in issues of Kill Poet, Ditch, Word Riot, O Sweet Flowery Roses and Vowel Movements.

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