Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Orlando’ tag

1966-1970 Orlando Panthers

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1967 Orlando Panthers ProgramContinental Football League (1966-1969)
Atlantic Coast Football League (1970)

Born: 1966 – The Newark Bears relocate to Orlando, FL
Folded: Postseason 1970

Stadium: The Tangerine Bowl

Team Colors:

Owners:

Continental Football League Champions: 1967 & 1968

 

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Orlando Panthers Memorabilia

 

Links

Recalling Orlando Panthers: Their Legend is Quite Major“, Brian Schmitz, The Orlando Sentinel, August 24, 1986

Continental Football League Media Guides

Continental Football League Programs

Atlantic Coast Football League Media Guides

Atlantic Coast Football League Programs

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1991-2016 Orlando Predators

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2005 Orlando Predators Media GuideArena Football League (1991-2016)

Born: February 7, 1991 – Arena Football League expansion franchise
Folded: October 12, 2016

Arenas:

Team Colors: Black & Red

Owners:

Arena Bowl Champions: 1998 & 2000

 

Text coming soon…

 

Orlando Predators Memorabilia

 

Orlando Predators Video

The final season. The Preds host long-time rivals the Tampa Bay Storm at Amway Center

 

In Memoriam

Preds Assistant Coach (’98-’01) and Head Coach (’02-’03) Fran Papasedero died in a single-car accident on June 19, 2003 at the age of 34.

Head coach Perry Moss (Preds ’91-’97) passed away August 7th, 2014 at the age of 88.

 

Downloads

2013 Orlando Predators Media Guide

2014 Orlando Predators Media Guide

2016 Orlando Predators Media Guide

2016 Orlando Predators Postseason Media Guide

 

Links

Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs

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2010 Orlando Titans

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Orlando TitansNational Lacrosse League (2010)

Born: August 11, 2009 – The New York Titans relocate to Orlando.
Folded: August 2010.

Arena: Amway Arena (13,680)

Team Colors: Navy & Orange

Owner: Gary Rosenbach

 

The Orlando Titans were brief visitors to the Central Florida pro sports scene, managing only a single season at Amway Arena in the winter of 2010.  The franchise was founded by hedge fund manager Gary Rosenbach as the New York Titans in 2006 and spent three seasons in New York and New Jersey before shifting to Orlando in August 2009.

The Titans were a successful club on the carpet.  The club made it to the National Lacrosse League championship game in 2009 during its final season in New York.  In Orlando, the Titans won the East Division with an 11-5 record and advanced to the Champions Cup semi-finals, where they lost to the Toronto Rock. Casey Powell was named the NLL’s 2010 Most Valuable Player and Matt Vinc earned 2010 Goaltender-of-the-Year honors.

Off the field, the franchise bled red ink in both New York and Orlando.  Rosenbach bought the expansion rights for $3M in 2006 at the peak of the National Lacrosse Leauge’s franchise valuation bubble.  Shortly before the Titans shifted from New York to Orlando in the summer of 2009, Rosenbach resigned from Galleon Group, the $7B hedge fund that he co-founded in 1997.  In October of that year, Galleon exploded in spectacular fashion when Rosenbach’s former partner and co-founder Raj Rajaratnam was arrested and charged with insider trading violations, along with several other Galleon traders. Rajaratnam was eventually sentenced to 11 years in prison in one of the rare Wall Street criminal prosecutions of the Great Recession era.  Rosenbach was never charged.

Shortly after the 2010 season ended, Rosenbach either withdrew or substantially reduced his support for the Titans, throwing the team’s future into question.  In August 2010, the NLL confirmed that the Titans would sit out the 2011 season in an attempt to re-organize financially.  Rosenbach formally put the team up for sale for $1.4M a week later, which was less than half what he paid for the expansion rights four years earlier. There were no takers and the Titans were effectively out of business at that point.

 

==Links==

National Lacrosse League Media Guides

National Lacrosse League Programs

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1974 Florida Blazers

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1974 Florida Blazers Media GuideWorld Football League (1974)

Born: May 1974 – The Virginia Ambassadors relocate to Orlando.
Folded: December 1974

Stadium: The Tangerine Bowl

Team Colors:

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

WFL Championships: None

 

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 he sold the team 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 occurred, but paychecks stopped arriving not long afterwards. Promises and rumors of new investors or payroll support from the league office never came through. Somehow, Pardee kept the team together through three months without pay. The club staggered into the playoffs. In the playoff semi-final, the Blazers overcame a 15-0 deficit on the road to upset the Memphis Southmen, the league’s best regular season team. The Blazers headed to Birmingham’s Legion Field for the World Bowl championship game.

Trailing 22-0 in the second half to the Birmingham Americans, the Blazers mounted a furious late rally, only to fall short 22-21. In the WFL, touchdowns counted for seven points and teams earned an eighth point (or “action point”) by scoring a conversion 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 of the Americans’ end zone 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 league revoked the Blazers franchise 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, the feds added narcotics trafficking charges to Loudd’s legal woes. He was convicted in late 1975 and sentenced to two fourteen-year sentences. A parole board freed Loudd after three years in prison. 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.  

 

Florida Blazers Memorabilia

 

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.

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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1986-1990 Orlando Lions

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Amateur/Independ1ent (1986-1987)
American Soccer League (1988-1990)
American Professional Soccer League (1990)

Born: 1986 – Club formed.
Died: January 1991 – The Lions merge with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Stadium: Florida Citrus Bowl (70,000)

Team Colors:

Owners:

 

Rollins College men’s soccer coach Mark Dillon formed F.C. Orlando and the Orlando Lions in 1986 as an amateur club consisting mainly of local college players.  Dillon put together an ambitious exhibition schedule for the young club, hosting foreign touring clubs as well as teams cobbled together from the wandering refugees of the recently defunct North American Soccer League (1968-1984).

After two years of this, the Lions got wind of plans to launch a new, budget-conscious East Coast-based pro league in 1988 to fill the pro soccer void left by the demise of the NASL.  Dillon wanted to join the start-up American Soccer League and turn pro in 1988 but he needed a wealthy investor to meet the new league’s capital requirements.  He found one in Tallahassee-based Colin Phipps, who took over ownership of the Lions while Dillon stayed on as the team’s head coach.  The Lions were admitted as one of the American Soccer League’s eight founding franchises (four of which were in Florida) in October 1987.

Mark Dillon’s partnership with Colin Phipps didn’t survive the Lions’ first pro season.  Dillon either resigned or was fired as coach midway through a losing campaign.  The Lions, in fact, would suffer losing seasons in all three of their pro seasons from 1988 to 1990.

The Lions also struggle at the gate, averaging fewer than 3,000 fans per match at the enormous Florida Citrus Bowl in 1988 and 1989.  In 1990, attendance dipped sharply to only 1,100 per game according to The Orlando Sentinel.  The Lions threw in the towel and merged into the Fort Lauderdale Strikers franchise in January of 1991.

Mark Dillon reclaimed the Lions name and re-launched the team as an amateur club in 1992.  This second version of the Lions competed in the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL) until 1996.

 

==Orlando Lions Programs on Fun While It Lasted==

Season Date Opponent Score Program Other

1986

1986 6/28/1986 vs. North American Soccer League All-Stars ?? Program

1988

1988 7/1/1988 vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers ?? Program
1988 7/30/1988 @ Washington Stars ?? Program

1989

1989 6/18/1989 @ New Jersey Eagles  L 1-0 (PK) Program

1990

1990 4/22/1990 @ New Jersey Eagles L 3-1 Program

 

==Links==

American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs

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