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