Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

1962-1965 Jacksonville Robins

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Jacksonville Robins ProgramFlorida Football League (1962)
Southern Football League (1963-1965)

Born: 1962
Died: 1966 – Re-branded as the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Stadium: The Gator Bowl

Team Colors:

Owner:

 

The Jacksonville Robins were a minor league football club that played at the Gator Bowl for several seasons in the early-to-mid 1960’s.

The club’s chief organizer was Head Coach and General Manager Al Bassett and the Robins’ rosters featured a number of former Florida State Seminoles, including quarterback Ed Trancygier, running backs Happy Fick and Fred Pickard and tight end/kicker Possum Lee.

The Robins won the championship of the eight-team Southern Football League in 1963.  Pickard dominated the circuit, leading the league in rushing, receiving, touchdowns and total scoring.  In the Championship Game against the Daytona Beach Thunderbirds on November 29th, 1963, Pickard also picked off two passes on defense to help seal the Robins’ 13-7 victory.  Only 2,000 fans showed up on a 40-degree night at the Gator Bowl for the title game.

The Southern Football League collapsed after the 1965 season and Jacksonville joined the North American Football League for the 1966 campaign.  As part of the league shift, the team changed its name to the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The NAFL and all of its teams went out of business after the 1966 season.

 

==Jacksonville Robins Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1964

1964 9/26/1974 vs. Chattanooga Cherokees ?? Program

 

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Written by andycrossley

March 20th, 2015 at 10:22 pm

2004-2008 Columbus Destroyers

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Matt Nagy Columbus DestroyersArena Football League (2004-2008)

Born: September 25, 2003 – The Buffalo Destroyers relocate to Columbus, OH.
Died: August 2009 – The Arena Football League ceases operations.

Arena: Nationwide Arena (17,078)

Team Colors:

Owners: John McConnell, Jim Renacci, Steve Germain & Joey Galloway

 

 

The Columbus Destroyers were a popular attraction in college football-mad Columbus despite the fact that this Arena Football League squad was routinely terrible.  The team never posted a winning record in five seasons.  But in 2007, the Destroyers squeaked into the playoffs with a 7-9 mark and then went on an unlikely run.  They went on the road to beat the 15-1 Dallas Desperadoes in the quarterfinals and then knocked off the 14-2 Georgia Force in the semis to reach Arena Bowl XXI in New Orleans.

NFL wide receiver and former Ohio State star Joey Galloway owned a small piece of the Destroyers.  Co-owner John McConnell also controlled the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.  McConnell died at age 84 in April 2008 midway through the Destroyers’ final season.

 

 

==Columbus Destroyers Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other

2005

2005 4/16/2005  @ New Orleans Voodoo  L 64-28 Program
2005 5/15/2005 @ Philadelphia Soul W 55-52 Program

2007

2007 7/29/2007 San Jose Sabercats L 55-33 Program

2008

2008 6/21/2008 @ Cleveland Gladiators L 47-35 Program

 

==In Memoriam==

Destroyers owner John McConnell died of cancer in April 2008.  He was 84. USA Today obituary.

 

==Links==

Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs

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2003-2008 Colorado Crush

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Damian Harrell Colorado CrushArena Football League (2003)

Born: June 19, 2002 – Arena Football expansion franchise.
Died: 
August 2009 – The Arena Football League ceases operations.

Arena: Pepsi Center (17,210)

Team Colors: Navy Blue, Burnt Orange & Gold

Owners: Pat Bowlen, John ElwayStan Kroenke

 

The Colorado Crush were an Arena Football team that played at the Pepsi Center in Denver from 2003 until the dissolution and bankruptcy of the original Arena Football League following the 2008 season.  The team was backed by major league investors Pat Bowlen (Denver Broncos owner) and Stan Kroenke (Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets owner), with ex-Broncos QB John Elway as co-owner and franchise front man.

After a grim 2-14 expansion season in 2003, the Crush turned the corner with the hiring of Head Coach Mike Dailey in 2004.  The Crush made the playoffs in four of the next five seasons under Dailey’s direction, winning Arena Bowl XIX 51-48 over the Georgia Force at the end of the 2005 season.

Offensive Specialist Damian Harrell, formerly of Florida State, played for the Crush from 2003 through 2007 and was named the league’s Offensive Player-of-the-Year in 2005 and 2006.

 

==Colorado Crush Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other

2005

2005 5/8/2005 @ New Orleans Voodoo  W 63-57 Program

2008

2008 3/22/2008 @ Chicago Rush L 70-35 Program
2008 5/24/2008 @ San Jose Sabercats L 59-42 Program

 

==Links==

Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs

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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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1974 Florida Blazers

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Florida Blazers Media GuideWorld Football League (1974)

Born: May 1974 – The Virginia Ambassadors relocate to Orlando.
Died: Postseason 1974 – The Blazers cease operations.

Stadium: The Tangerine Bowl

Team Colors:

Owner: David Williams, Rommie Loudd, Will Gieger, Howard Palmer, et al.

 

The 1974 Florida Blazers enjoy a something of a cult following among pro football history buffs.  Fearsome on the field, the franchise was a train wreck in the front office.  The Blazers were put together by Rommie Loudd, a 41-year old former AFL linebacker and New England Patriots executive.  Loudd is occasionally cited as the first African-American owner of a “major league” American sports franchise for his time with the Blazers, but the team’s main money man was a Central Florida Holiday Inn franchisee named David Williams.  By December 1974, the Blazers were in the “World Bowl” championship game, the team’s best player had played the entire season without a paycheck, and Rommie Loudd was in jail.

But let’s back up a bit.  The franchise originated in late 1973 as the “Washington Ambassadors”, part of the startup World Football League that would challenge the NFL starting in the summer of 1974.  Original owner Joseph Wheeler couldn’t secure a lease or put together financing in Washington, so the team became the “Virginia Ambassadors” in the spring of 1974.  But Wheeler couldn’t get things off the ground in Norfolk, VA either, so in May 1974 the team was sold to Loudd’s Orlando-based syndicate.  Less than 60 days remained before the WFL’s scheduled opening day on July 10th, 1974.  Head Coach Jack Pardee had already opened training camp in Virginia, but the team loaded onto a train and decamped for Orlando.

Pardee had a solid veteran squad on both sides of the ball.  Bob Davis, a former back-up to Joe Namath on the New York Jets, earned the starting quarterback job. Linebackers Larry Grantham, a perennial AFL All-Star with the Jets in the 1960’s, and Billy Hobbs anchored a stout defense.

Florida BlazersThe Blazers’ breakout find was diminutive rookie running back Tommy Reamon, a 23rd round draft pick from the University of Missouri. Reamon scored 14 touchdowns and led the WFL with 1,576 yards rushing in 1974. At the end of the season, he was named one of the league’s “Tri-MVPs”, along with Southern California Sun quarterback Tony Adams and Memphis Southmen tailback J.J. Jennings. Reamon split a $10,000 prize with his co-MVPs. Decades later, Reamon revealed that his $3,333 MVP share was the only payment he received for the entire 1974 season.

The rest of Reamon’s teammates faired somewhat better, receiving paychecks during the league’s first couple of months. But things went poorly for the Blazers immediately in Orlando. Crowds failed to materialize at the Tangerine Bowl, which barely met pro standards back in the mid 1970’s, with 14,000 permanent seats supplemented by temporary bleachers. By late August, just six weeks into the season, Rommie Loudd was talking publicly of a midseason move to Atlanta. The move never occured, but paychecks stopped arriving not long afterwards. Promises and rumors of new investors or payroll support from the league office never came through, but Pardee kept the team together through three months without pay.

The Blazers overcame a 15-0 deficit on the road to upset the Memphis Southmen, the league’s best regular season team at 17-3, in the playoff semi-final to earn a trip to the World Bowl I championship game. Trailing 22-0 in the second half to the Birmingham Americans at Legion Field in Alabama, the Blazers mounted a furious late rally, only to fall short 22-21. In the WFL, touchdowns counted for seven points and an eighth point (or “action point”) could be earned by scoring from the two-and-a-half yard line. The Blazers failed to convert all three Action Points in the title game, and that was the difference in the outcome. That and a controversial call on the Blazers’ opening possession. Television replays on the TVS Network appeared to show Tommy Reamon break the plane in the first quarter, but officials on the field ruled that Florida’s star rookie fumbled the ball through the end zone for a touchback. Reamon, who had a strong game overall with 83 yards on the ground and a touchdown, also failed to convert the decisive action point in the 4th quarter that would have tied the game at 22-22.

The Blazers’ franchise was revoked by the league a few days after the World Bowl loss due to financial insolvency. Within three weeks, Loudd was in jail on charges of embezzling sales taxes collected on Blazers’ ticket sales. A few months later, narcotics trafficking charges were added to Loudd’s legal woes. He was convicted in late 1975 and sentenced to two fourteen-year sentences. Loudd ultimately served three years before being paroled. Loudd later became a minister and passed away in 1998.

Many of the Blazers players ended up playing for a new WFL expansion team in 1975 known as the San Antonio Wings. The Wings were better organized, certainly, than the Blazers. But the league itself went under in October 1975, failing to finish out its second season of operation.

Tommy Reamon played briefly in the NFL in 1976. He later became an actor, most notably playing the wide receiver Delma Huddle in the 1979 Nick Nolte football drama North Dallas Forty.  

 

==1974 Florida Blazers Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
7/10/1974 vs. The Hawaiians W 8-7 Program
7/17/1974 @ Detroit Wheels W 18-14 Program
7/24/1974 vs. Houston Texans W 15-3
7/31/1974 @ Houston Texans L 7-6
8/7/1974 @ Chicago Fire W 46-21
8/14/1974 vs. Jacksonville Sharks W 33-26 Program
8/21/1974 vs. Portland Storm W 11-7
8/28/1974 vs. Memphis Southmen L 26-18
9/2/1974 @ Birmingham Americans  L 8-7 Program
9/6/1974 @ New York Stars W 17-15
9/11/1974 vs. Detroit Wheels L 15-14
9/18/1974 vs. Philadelphia Bell W 24-21  Program
9/26/1974 vs. Chicago Fire W 29-0
10/2/1974 @ Philadelphia Bell W 30-7
10/9/1974 @ Chicago Fire W 45-17
10/16/1974 @ Memphis Southmen L 25-15 Program
10/23/1974 @ Charlotte Hornets W 15-11 Program
10/30/1974 @ Birmingham Americans  L 26-18 Program
11/7/1974 vs. Portland Storm W 23-0 Program
11/14/1974 @ Southern California Sun W 27-24 Ticket
11/21/1974 vs. Philadelphia Bell W 18-3
11/29/1974 @ Memphis Southmen W 18-15
12/5/1974 @ Birmingham Americans  L 22-21 Program

 

==Key Figures==

  • Bob Davis
  • Rommie Loudd
  • Jack Pardee
  • Tommy Reamon

 

==In Memoriam==

Blazers tight end Greg Latta passed away of a heart attack at age 41 on September 28, 1994.

Blazers GM Rommie Loudd died of complications from diabetes on May 9, 1998 at age 64.  New York Times obit.

Blazers linebacker Billy Hobbs died when his moped was struck by a car on August 21, 2004. Hobbs was 57.

Former Blazers head coach Jack Pardee died of cancer on April 1, 2013 at age 76.

 

==Links==

Florida Blazers Fans, Friends & Former Players Facebook Page

World Football League Media Guides

World Football League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

February 20th, 2015 at 3:19 pm