Colorado Crush

The Colorado Crush were an arena football team based in Denver, Colorado. They began play as a 2003 Arena Football League expansion team. The Crush played in the Central Division of the American Conference until the Arena Football League suspended operations in 2009. They were last coached by Mike Dailey and owned by a coalition of Denver sports figures led by John Elway.

Colorado Crush
Established 2003
Folded 2008
Played in Ball Arena
in Denver, Colorado
Colorado Crush.svg
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (20032008)
  • American Conference (2003–2008)
Team colorsNavy, burnt orange, beige
Owner(s)John Elway
Pat Bowlen
Stan Kroenke
General managerJohn Elway
Head coachMike Dailey
Team history
  • Colorado Crush (2003–2008)
League championships (1)
Conference championships (1)
Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games
Division championships (2)
Playoff appearances (5)
Home arena(s)

Negotiations with a Denver ownership group (known not to be the Elway group) were underway for a future AFL expansion franchise in Denver, but it is unclear whether or not it will use the Crush branding or that of the Denver Dynamite, an earlier AFL team. Like the Dallas Desperados, the Crush's branding is partially based on NFL teams (the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams, though to a much lesser degree), which could give Pat Bowlen or Stan Kroenke a potential veto over any usage of the Colorado Crush branding. On July 15, 2015, the Crush name was acquired by the Indoor Football League franchise formerly known as the Colorado Ice as the trademark for the name expired in 2014 according to their ownership.[1]


On August 8, 2001, the team entered an application for expansion into the Arena Football League.[2] In June 2002, it was announced that John Elway (Co-Owner and Chief Executive Officer), with Stan Kroenke, owner of the Avalanche, the Nuggets, the Rapids, Pepsi Center, & the Altitude Sports network and the majority Broncos owner Pat Bowlen would be bringing an arena football team to Denver.[3] The Crush competed in the Central Division of the American Conference. After a bad inaugural season in 2003, in which they finished 2-14, the Crush rebounded to go 11–5 and make the playoffs in their second year. On June 12, 2005 they won ArenaBowl XIX (19) in Las Vegas' Thomas & Mack Center over the Georgia Force 51–48, in only their third year of existence.[4]

In their fourth year the Crush ended up 11–5, with the American Conference Central title for the second year in a row. In the Divisional Round however, the Crush lost in an upset to the fifth-seeded (and eventual ArenaBowl champion) Chicago Rush 63–46.

The team's mascot was an anthropomorphic bull named "Crusher."[5]

On July 15, 2015, the Indoor Football League franchise previously known as the Colorado Ice announced that they would change their name to the Colorado Crush, but would have no ties to the former AFL franchise.[1] According to team owner Tom Wigley, the trademark of the Crush name expired the year before meaning that the original Crush ownership no longer had a say in the use of the name.


  • On Sunday, June 12, 2005, the Crush hosted the American Conference Championship game against their division rival, the Chicago Rush. Colorado had the lead late in the game 43–40 and defensive back Rashad Floyd managed to intercept a touchdown pass from quarterback Matt D'Orazio, but it turns out that he was called for holding. Chicago would tie the game with kicker Keith Gispert's 17-yard field goal. In overtime, the Crush would get the win with Quarterback John Dutton completing a 22-yard touchdown pass to WR/LB Antowone 'Andy' McCullough, sending them to ArenaBowl XIX (where they would eventually win).And won 2 before and 2 after On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this game is at #20.[6]
  • On Friday, February 6, 2004, in a Week 1 contest against the Las Vegas Gladiators, the Crush were still looking for their first home win in franchise history. In the final 12 seconds of the game, the Crush would have quarterback John Dutton complete a seven-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Damian Harrell (with a failed two-point conversion), recover an onside kick, and have Dutton complete a 33-yard pass to Harrell. With 12 points in 12 seconds, Colorado would win 43–42 and get their first-ever win at home. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this is at #15.[7]
  • On Saturday, February 5, 2005, in a Week 2 home game against their division rival, the Grand Rapids Rampage, quarterback John Dutton would throw a franchise-best eight touchdowns in a 72–56 win, yet this was overshadowed by Rampage quarterback Michael Bishop becoming the very first player in AFL history to run for 100 yards in a single game. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this is at #12.[8]
  • In 2019, Crush co-owner Pat Bowlen became the second contributor with significant impact on arena football to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bowlen died a month before the ceremony.[9]


Head coach Tenure Regular season
record (W-L)
record (W-L)
Most recent coaching staff Notes
Bob Beers 2003 2–14 0–0
Mike Dailey 20042008 46–34[10] 6–3[10] DC: Tommy Johnson (2009)[11]
OC: Chris MacKeown (2009)[12]
DL: Tony Federico (2003–2008)
ST Coordinator / WR coach: Matt Gardner (2004–2008)


Players of noteEdit

Clay Rush (#3) and John Dutton (#8)

Individual awardsEdit

Offensive Player of the Year
Season Player Position
2005 Damian Harrell OS
2006 Damian Harrell OS

Arena Football Hall of FamersEdit

Colorado Crush Hall of Famers
No. Name Year Inducted Position(s) Years w/ Crush
-- Mike Dailey 2012 Head Coach 2004–2008

All-Arena playersEdit

The following Crush players were named to All-Arena Teams:

All-Ironman playersEdit

The following Crush players have been named to All-Ironman Teams:

All-Rookie playersEdit

The following Crush players have been named to All-Rookie Teams:


The team's main color and name are in reference to the Denver Broncos 1970s defensive squad (the "Orange Crush").

Denver was host to one of the four charter teams, the Denver Dynamite, which won the first-ever ArenaBowl in 1987.

Van Montgomery from the TV show Reba played for the Crush at the end of his football career.


  1. ^ a b Introducing the Colorado Crush Archived 2015-07-16 at the Wayback Machine,, July 15, 2015
  2. ^ "Elway expected to land Denver AFL team". OurSports Central. August 8, 2001. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  3. ^ "Elway to bring Arena Football team to Denver". Lodi News-Sentinel. June 19, 2002. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  4. ^ "Crush wins 1st Arena title". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 14, 2005. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  5. ^ Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Archived from the original on 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2007-04-10. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Archived from the original on 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2007-04-10. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Archived from the original on 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2007-04-10. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Pat Bowlen | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site".
  10. ^ a b "ArenaFan Online: AFL coaches: Mike Dailey". Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  11. ^ "Crush Hire New Defensive Coordinator". 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  12. ^ "Crush Hire New Offensive Coordinator". 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2008-10-24.

External linksEdit