Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Arena Football 2’ Category

2000-2002 Roanoke Steam

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Roanoke Steam ProgramArena Football 2 (2000-2002)

Born: 1999 – AF2 founding franchise.
Died: 2002 – The Steam cease operations.

Arena: Roanoke Civic Center (8,674)

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Roanoke Steam were a minor league Arena Football team that competed in Arena Football 2 for three seasons in the early 2000’s.  The team shared ownership and resources with the Roanoke Express hockey team of the East Coast Hockey League.

Indoor football never caught on in Roanoke.  The Steam finished last in the league in attendance in 2000 (3,374 per game) and again in 2001 (2,575 avg.).  Midway through the Steam’s third and final season in 2002, the ownership group declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May 2002.  The Steam muddled through the rest of the season under league stewardship and then was quietly euthanized in July 2002.

The team was never a factor on the field either, failing to make the AF2 playoffs in all three seasons of operation.

 

==Roanoke Steam Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
2000 5/20/2000  @ Norfolk Nighthawks  L 59-39 Program Game Notes
2000 5/27/2002 vs. Charleston Swamp Foxes W 71-61 Program

 

==Links==

Arena Football 2 Media Guides

Arena Football 2 Programs

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Written by AC

February 28th, 2015 at 2:06 pm

2001-2004 Wichita Stealth

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Wichita Stealth Pocket ScheduleArena Football 2 (2001-2004)

Born: 2001 – AF2 expansion franchise.
Died: 2004 – The Stealth cease operations.

Arena: Kansas Coliseum (9,686)

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

The Wichita Stealth were an indoor football team that played in Arena Football 2, the small-market minor league for the Arena Football League, in the early 2000’s.  During the franchise’s first two seasons, the club was operated on a management contact by the DeVos family of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The DeVos’ owned the Orlando Magic of the NBA, several Midwestern minor league hockey teams and the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League.

Shortly before the Stealth’s third season in 2003, the Devos’ sold the team to a local buyer in Wichita named David Key.  Key was a novice sports investor who owned a rapidly growing facilities management business called Premier Maintenance Management.  Less than a year after purchasing the Stealth, Key ran into a string of legal and financial troubles.  Late in the 2004 season, Key handed the franchise back to the league and the Stealth finished out the season as wards of the league office.  Postseason efforts to find a new buyer were hampered by uncertain over the availability of the Kansas Coliseum for the 2005 season and franchise quietly closed it doors.

Arena Football 2 went out of business after the 2009 season.

 

==Links==

Arena Football 2 Media Guides

Arena Football 2 Programs

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Written by AC

January 24th, 2015 at 8:16 pm

2000-2002 Jacksonville Tomcats

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Jacksonville Tomcats ProgramArena Football 2 (2000-2002)

Born: 1999 – AF2 founding franchise.
Folded: November 2002.

Arena: Jacksonville Coliseum (8,150)

Team Colors: Black & Orange

Owners:

 

The Jacksonville Tomcats played for three seasons in Arena Football 2, the small-market developmental league of the original Arena Football League (1987-2008).  Jacksonville was one of the larger cities in AF2 and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver actually owned the market rights to put a top tier AFL club into Jacksonville, but he never exercised it.

The Tomcats were one of 15 original franchises when AF2 launched in the spring of 2000.  By 2002 there were 34 active teams in the sprawling league.  The original owners of the Tomcats were David Berkman, Charles Felix and Bruce Burge, who controlled a small empire of AF2 clubs and minor league hockey teams, primarily in the Southeastern United States, during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, including the Jacksonville Lizard Kings of the East Coast Hockey League.

In August 2001, Berkman sold an 80% interest in the team to Steve and Kathryn Umberger, husband and wife investors who dreamed of owning a piece of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, but ultimately realized that minor league indoor football was more realistic.  The Umbergers had previously purchased the Birmingham Steeldogs, another Af2 franchise, from David Berkman less than a year earlier.

The Tomcats sold out their inaugural season at the Jacksonville Coliseum, claiming an average of 8,264 fans per game in 2000.  The antiquated Coliseum presented a challenge, but in marketing and operations.   The small floor of the building required the Tomcats to play with a slightly smaller than regulation field.  By 2002 attendance dipped nearly 25% and new owner Steve Umberger lost several hundred thousand dollars on the Tomcats.  Umberger asked AF2 officials for a year’s leave of absence from the league in November 2002, hoping to sit on the sidelines until the Coliseum was demolished and Jacksonville’s new $130 million arena opened in 2004.  When that request was denied, Umberger folded the Tomcats in November 2002.

Three Tomcats players ended up playing briefly in the National Football League.  2001 receiving leader Anthony Bright played a single game for the Carolina Panthers in 2002.  Jim Tarle, who kicked for the team in 2000, played two years for the Jacksonville Jaguars as a kickoff specialist in 2001 and 2002.  Receiver Micah Ross played for the Jags, Panthers and San Diego Chargers during a four-year stretch in the NFL from 2001 to 2004.

Arena Football returned to Jacksonville in 2010 with the formation of the Jacksonville Sharks of the new Arena Football League (2010-present).

 

 

==Links==

Arena Football 2 Media Guides

Arena Football 2 Programs

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2000-2003 Norfolk Nighthawks

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Arena Football 2 (2000-2003)

Born: 1999 – AF2 founding franchise
Folded: December 2003

Arena: The Norfolk Scope

Team Colors:

Owners: Kenny EasleyBruce Smith

 

The Norfolk Nighthawks were one of 15 founding franchise in Arena Football 2, a lower-budget, small-market offshoot of the original Arena Football League (1987-2008).  AF2 debuted in the spring of 2000 and the Nighthawks lasted for four seasons before folding.

The franchise was owned by NFL defensive standouts Kenny Easley and Bruce Smith, who were both Virginia natives.  Easley was long retired, but Smith was still an active player at the time the Nighthawks were active.  The pair had a dispute over management of the team during the Nighthawks final season of 2003, which ultimately contributed to the dissolution of the team in December 2003.

According to the encyclopedic ArenaFan.com website, the Nighthawks averaged 4,676 fans per game at the Norfolk Scope during their four seasons of play.

The club was a winner in its debut season, going 11-7 and advancing to the semi-final round of the AF2 playoffs.  The next three seasons the Nighthawks finished 8-8 and missed the postseason.

 

==Norfolk Nighthawks Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other
2000 5/20/2000  vs. Roanoke Steam  W 59-39 Program Game Notes

 

==Links==

Arena Football 2 Media Guides

Arena Football 2 Programs

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Written by AC

August 6th, 2013 at 11:42 pm

2000-2002 Pensacola Barracudas

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Arena Football 2 (2000-2002)

Born: 1999 AF2 founding franchise
Folded: November 11, 2002

Arena: Pensacola Civic Center

Team Colors:

Owners: David Berkman, Charles Felix & Bruce Burge

 

The Pensacola Barracudas were a brief entry in Arena Football 2 (AF2), the small-market developmental league to the original Arena Football League (1987-2008).

Georgia real estate developer David Berkman owned the Barracudas, along with minority partners Charles Felix and Bruce Burge.  Berkman was a prolific hockey investor during the 1990’s who owned, at various times, the Atlanta Knights and Quebec Rafales of the International Hockey League, the Atlanta Fire Ants of Roller Hockey International, and various East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) clubs including the Birmingham Bulls, Jacksonville Lizard Kings and the Pensacola Ice Pilots.

In the spring of 1999 Berkman and his partners made a bid to enter three indoor football franchises into a Southeastern U.S. start-up called the Xtreme Football League.  Berkman’s group reserved the Birmingham, Jacksonville and Pensacola markets – all locations where they had experience operating ECHL hockey clubs.

Meanwhile, the major market Arena Football League announced plans to start its own second-tier league which would be known as AF2 and would launch in 2000.  In July 1999, AF2 bought out and absorbed the Xtreme Football League into AF2.  Berkman and Co. paid a $150,000 fee per franchise to enter the Birmingham Steeldogs, Jacksonville Tomcats and Pensacola Barracudas into AF2.

Former Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets defensive back Kevin Porter served as Pensacola’s Head Coach during the club’s first season in 2000.

Due to the overlapping ownership, the staff of the ECHL Ice Pilots operated the Barracudas during the summer months.  During AF2’s first season in 2000, the Barracudas were a hot ticket, claiming an average of 7,294 fans per game at the Pensacola Civic Center.  Attendance dropped precipitously in the next two seasons, mirroring the experience of the Ice Pilots, whose attendance fell off nearly 50% between 1998 and 2001. Barracudas attendance bottomed out at 2,768 per game in their third season during the summer of 2002.

The club folded on November 11, 2002.

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Wide Receiver/Defensive Back Will Pettis made his pro debut with the Barracudas in 2002.  He went on to join the first-tier Arena Football League’s Dallas Desperadoes in 2003, where he became an All-League performer. Pettis won the league’s Ironman-of-the-Year award in both 2007 and 2008, given to the league’s best two-way player.  Pettis went to NFL training camps with the New Orleans Saints (2003) and the Atlanta Falcons (2005).

 

==Links==

2000 Barracudas game results on ArenaFan.com
2001 Barracudas game results on ArenaFan.com
2002 Barracudas game results on ArenaFan.com

 

==Downloads==

Pensacola Barracudas Article Sources

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Written by AC

November 4th, 2011 at 7:47 pm