Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Arena Football’ 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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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 andycrossley

January 24th, 2015 at 8:16 pm

2001-2002 New Jersey Gladiators

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Arena Football League (2001-2002)New Jersey Gladiators

Born: 2001 – The New Jersey Red Dogs are re-branded as the Gladiators.
Died: December 20, 2002 – The Gladiators relocate to Las Vegas, NV.

Arena: Continental Airlines Arena (19,040)

Team Colors: Black, Red & Gray

Owner: Jim Ferraro

 

A pretty much forgotten Arena Football League entry that briefly made its home at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford at the turn of the century.  The franchise was actually formed back in 1997 as the New Jersey Red Dogs, who took their name and logo from a title sponsorship with Miller Brewing’s briefly prominent Red Dog beer brand.

By the end of the 2000 season, the Red Dogs’ original ownership group (which included former Giants Carl Banks, Jim Burt, Harry Carson and Joe Morris) was ready to move on and the team passed into the hands of Miami attorney Jim Ferraro.  The beer sponsorship seemingly ended at this time as well, since Ferraro quickly re-branded the team as the “Gladiators” for the 2001 season.

The new-look Gladiators got off to a grim start when only 3,542 showed up for the first home game of the 2001 season, a listless 52-21 loss to the Carolina Cobras.  The team finished the 2001 season in last place with a 2-12 record and average attendance of 3,312, which was barely a third of the Arena Football League average of 9,188.

New head coach Frank Haege led a turn around on the carpet in 2002 (9-5 record and a playoff appearance). But the team’s improved play failed to translate at the box office and the Gladiators bolted town for Las Vegas in December 2002.

Ex-New York Jets quarterback Glenn Foley signed with the Gladiators in 2002 but failed to best journeyman minor leaguer Jay McDonagh for the starting job and spent the season on the bench.

 

==Links==

Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs

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2001-2004 Detroit Fury

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Detroit Fury Media GuideArena Football League (2001-2004)

Born: Arena Football expansion franchise.
Died: September 20, 2004 – The Fury cease operations.

Arena: The Palace of Auburn Hills (20,804)

Team Colors: Black, Red, Purple & Silver

Owners: William Davidson & William Clay Ford, Jr.

 

The Detroit Fury of the Arena Football League were a short-lived joint venture between Bill Davidson’s Palace Sports & Entertainment (owners of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons) and  Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford, Jr.

An earlier Motor City entry in the league, the Detroit Drive (1988-1993), won four Arena Bowl championships and drew large crowds to the Joe Louis Arena downtown.  But the Fury were unable to revive that promise at the suburban Palace of Auburn Hills.  The Fury compiled a 22-41 record over four seasons of play, never finishing better than .500 under Head Coaches Mouse Davis (2001-2002), Al Luginbill (2003) and Al’s son Tom Luginbill (2004).

Detroit never really took to the team either – the Fury consistently ranked near the bottom of league at the box office. Overall, the team claimed an average of 8,152 fans for 30 home dates over four years.

Palace Sports & Entertainment folded the club on September 20, 2004 after four money-losing seasons.

Years later, former Fury staffer Dave Wieme gave an lengthy interview to Crain’s Detroit Business where he recalled the business challenges of operating the team.

 

==Detroit Fury Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other
2001 5/25/2001 @ Indiana Firebirds L 38-35 Program

 

==Links==

What killed the AFL’s Detroit Fury? The rent was too damn high” Bill Shea, Crain’s Detroit Business, January 23, 2013

Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs

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1987-1991 Denver Dynamite

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Denver DynamiteArena Football League (1987 & 1989-1991)

Born: 1987 – Arena Football League founding franchise.
Died: Postseason 1991 – The Dynamite cease operations.

Arena: McNichols Arena (17,022)

Team Colors: Royal Blue & Gold

Owners:

 

The Denver Dynamite own a (very) minor place in pro football history as the answer to a trivia question: What city claimed the first championship of Arena Football?  The Dynamite won Arena Bowl I back in 1987, concluding a brief 6-game regular season with a 45-16 demolition of the Pittsburgh Gladiators before 13,000 fans at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena on August 1, 1987.

Arena Football expanded from four to six teams in 1988 and sought local limited partners for each franchise for the first time.  But no investor could be found in Denver, so the league’s defending champion was shut down and left off the 1988 schedule.  The following year, Arena Football nearly shut down after a revolt by the local limited partners against league founder Jim Foster.  Foster survived the coup, but the league was only able to stage a brief 4-game regular season contested by 5 clubs.  Needing teams to fill out the 1989 schedule, the Dynamite uniforms were hauled out of storage and the team was re-formed as a league-operated club.  But the 1989 team had only one home date at McNichols Arena.  The rest of the team’s games were played on the road or as league showcases in neutral cities.

In fact, from 1987 through 1989, the Dynamite had virtually nothing to do with the city of Denver.  During those three years, the Arena League staged only four games in the Mile High City.  And three of those games came during a three-week stretch in July of 1987.  You might have heard of the team, but damned if you could ever find a game to go.

Denver Dynamite

In April 1990, Foster finally found a Denver-area investor named Gary J. Graham who agreed to pay $125,000 for the rights to the Denver territory.  Under Graham’s management, the Dynamite finally became a true local team, playing full schedules at McNichols Arena in the summers of 1990 and 1991.  However, the team soon ran into financial problems including missed payrolls and creditor lawsuits and the Dynamite went out of  business for good in late 1991.

Marty Mornhinweg, who later became Head Coach of the NFL’s Detroit Lions in 2001-2002, played quarterback for the Dynamite in 1987, appearing in just one game before suffering an injury.

Arena Football returned to Denver in 2003 with the arrival of the Colorado Crush, owned by Mile High heavyweights Pat Bowlen, Stan Kroenke and John Elway.  The Crush were a popular fixture on the local sports scene, playing from 2003 until 2008, when the original Arena Football League closed its doors and declared bankruptcy.

 

==Denver Dynamite Games on Fun While It Lasted==

Year Date Opponent Score Program Other
1987 8/1/1987 Pittsburgh Gladiators W 45-16 Program
1991 6/22/1991  @ New Orleans Night  W 54-44 Program

 

==In Memoriam==

Former Dynamite Head Coach Tim Marcum (’87) passed away on December 5, 2013 at age 69.

 

==Links==

Denver Dynamite exploded in Arena League’s first season, then fizzled out“, Joey Bunch, The Denver Post, October 22, 2012

Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs

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Written by andycrossley

December 28th, 2014 at 3:13 am