Football: Sioux Falls quarterback Dixon seeking fifth championship

July 11, 2012 

Sioux Falls quarterback Chris Dixon has put up some impressive numbers over the last six years in indoor football.

But he’s bored with the total of passing yards, touchdown passes and TD runs.

No, here is the only number he’s concerned with: 5.

As in, he’s looking for his fifth team championship this Saturday when his Storm plays host to the Tri-Cities Fever in the United Bowl, the Indoor Football Lea-gue’s championship game.

Kickoff at the Sioux Falls Arena is at 5:35 p.m.

“That’s what you play the game for,” said Dixon in a phone interview Wednesday. “It’s to play for the championship.”

Dixon has been the IFL’s MVP for four seasons (2008-09, 11-12), but it’s titles he likes to collect. And this season’s Storm team (16-0) has gone through some adversity to get another shot at the championship.

“If you read any of the blogs or message boards at the beginning of the season, people were talking about the Fever,” Dixon said. “People think we’re an old bunch of guys. Since Day 1, people were talking about Tri-Cities and Green Bay.”

Why?

Dixon points to a revamped defense this season.

“On defense, we only returned three guys from last year — (DB Stewart) Franks, (DL Rachman) Crable and (DB) Corey Johnson — and only Crable and Johnson played in the championship game,” Dixon said. “But we find a way to win. This team is more than willing to take a back seat to the unit. Our defense is more disciplined than last year. But we had more veterans last year who would take chances.”

Then right before the playoffs, the league suspended the Storm’s head coach, Kurtiss Riggs, for the first two playoff games after what the league said was overcompensation of a player — providing a player transportation to charity events.

The Storm still won its two playoff games, enraging the Sioux Falls players in the process.

“C’mon, you wait until the playoffs to do that?” Dixon said. “(The league) could have suspended him the last regular season game and then the first playoff game. That woke us up. We have a chip on our shoulders and it’s us against the world.”

Dixon, 30, knows the Storm isn’t everybody’s favorite team.

“It woke us up,” he said. “We know everybody wants to see us lose. Everyone else, in the back of their mind, wants to see the Fever win. We’re expected to win. It’s us against the world.”

But he knows winning Saturday night won’t be easy — even though Sioux Falls has won all three matchups with Tri-Cities in the last year: 37-10 in last year’s title game; 55-16 on May 12 in South Dakota; and 73-72 in overtime in the Toyota Center on May 26.

“We knew the Fever would be in the championship game,” Dixon said. “We aren’t surprised. They dominated their side of the league like we did our side of the league.”

Could Saturday’s title game be Dixon’s last?

“Honestly, I don’t really care,” he said. “I could play another five or six years. Let’s win the championship, then I want to see my kids’ faces.”

His 11 year-old son, 4-year-old son, and 1-year-old daughter are his pride and joy.

“I played hard so that we could have those playoff games at home,” said Dixon. “I had my kids with me the whole month of June, and I did not want to go on the road. So I had to win.”

Like Fever quarterback Houston Lillard, Dixon has been the victim of not getting a fair shake from bigger leagues because of his size. Both QBs are around 6-feet tall.

“You know, Houston and I are both from Oakland,” Dixon said. “A lot of people just don’t see things. They go off what they see on the outside, but not what’s on the inside. I think we’re both winners.

“You do everything you can to put yourself in that type of situation,” he continued. “I have done everything everyone has asked me to do in this game. I stopped worrying about it. I don’t think about it. I enjoy what I do.”

And don’t talk to him about the Arena Football League.

“The AFL is boring,” he said. “All you’ve got to do in the AFL is get two good receivers, a good offensive line, a big ol’ linebacker type to block for you in the backfield, and you’re good. But in this (IFL) game, you have to be athletic. I’d be bored in the AFL.”

So he stays in the IFL, where he collects championship rings.

And he gets them because everyone believes in the same thing.

“We understand that the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back,” he said. “We all understand that.”

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