Are the River Kings Sinking?
The Cedar Rapids River Kings scare me, but not for any of the right reasons. Since the River Kings rebranded from the Titans (before the 2019 season) the team has only one game. If this was a team with a rich winning history I wouldn’t fear this rough patch, but the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016 (which for how small the IFL has been is a bit concerning).
When Mr. Choi decided to rebrand the team and shake up the roster, I was somewhat surprised. Before the rebranding, I saw the then Titans as a dark horse pick in the race for the United Bowl as the team boasted Jake Medlock at quarterback and the wide receiver duo of Conner Hollenbeck and Marquel Wade as optimal targets. Those names were starting to give the Titans an identity they had been missing since their 2016 playoff run. With the rebranding and roster shakeup, two years of work were gone.
The River Kings first season was tragic, to say the least, and it seemed many of the players phoned it in and by the end of the season, the player turnover rate was absurd. If the River Kings were the only indoor football team in the nearby area the situation wouldn’t be so dire. However, just under two hours away from the US Cellular Center is the Wells Fargo Center, home of the iconic Iowa Barnstormers.
Iowa is 36-8 over the past three seasons, making the playoffs each year in question, including a United Bowl victory in 2018. Luckily for River Kings fans, the Barnstormers lost the core of their team with players and coaches leaving for Tuscon, making it safe to expect a down year for Iowa. The Barnstormers are the biggest rival Cedar Rapids has this season as both teams are looking to have down seasons and fight for some of the same fans. If the River Kings can do better than the Barnstormers, they might be able to start to make a case for the best team in the state. If not, the River Kings may be in deep trouble.
Luckily for the River Kings, the season is young so there is ample time for improvement and a well put together season would be a large boost to the franchise. If the Riker Kings get such a boost I don’t think we’ll be having this kind of conversation for a good while and for the sake of the fans, the league, Are the River Kings Sinking? and the teams, I hope we won’t be in this situation again.