Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Arena Football League’ tag

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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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