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List of Arena Football League teams

The Tampa Bay Storm, formed as the Pittsburgh Gladiators in 1987, was the oldest franchise in the AFL (and the last remaining inaugural team) before folding in 2017.

The following is a list of Arena Football League (AFL) teams. The AFL is a professional indoor American football league based in the United States.

The AFL started play with the 1987 season, featuring the Chicago Bruisers, the Denver Dynamite, the Pittsburgh Gladiators and the Washington Commandos. The Pittsburgh franchise became the Tampa Bay Storm in 1991 – they were the only franchise remaining from the inaugural 1987 season still operating until the 2017 season; after that season, they announced an indefinite suspension of operations, leaving open the possibility of returning in the future if the league were restructured in such a way as to make operation of a franchise potentially profitable.

As of the 2019 season, 65 different franchises (operating under 85 different names when allowing for a franchise changing city or name) have competed in the AFL, of which 60 have either left to compete in another indoor football league, suspended operations, or folded outright. At its height, the AFL featured 19 teams competing in the same season: 2001, 2004 and 2007.

Following the 2019 season, the AFL announced the closure of all its teams, but not the league itself. Should the league decide to continue (a decision that commissioner Randall Boe states will likely come near the end of the calendar year), it plans on operating with a touring format, with each week's games in a different arena and no set homes for any of its teams (much like the Premier Lacrosse League, BIG3, and most individual sports).

Franchises active at the time of the 2019 reformatEdit

Team City Arena Founded Joined
Albany Empire Albany, New York Times Union Center 2017 2018
Atlantic City Blackjacks Atlantic City, New Jersey Boardwalk Hall 2019
Baltimore Brigade Baltimore, Maryland Royal Farms Arena 2016 2017
Columbus Destroyers Columbus, Ohio Nationwide Arena 1999 2019
Philadelphia Soul Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center 2004
Washington Valor Washington, DC Capital One Arena 2016 2017

Expansions and contractionsEdit

The Arena Football League has expanded and contracted many times throughout its history. Between 1987 and 2018, every year in the AFL has had at least one team fold, relocate, or change names. There have never been two consecutive seasons in which the league had exactly the same lineup of cities. The league reached its maximum size in the 2001, 2004 and 2007 seasons, in which 19 teams competed in each instance. The league was then primarily contracting from 2011 to 2018, either dropping teams proving to be financially unfeasible or having teams depart because of concerns about the financial structure or travel distances.[citation needed] In 2019, the league had its first season in which all teams returned from the previous season, where the league had tied a record low of four active members.

Year # of teams Expansion teams Folded teams Teams in a new League Suspended teams Returning teams Relocated teams Name changes
1987 4 Chicago Bruisers
Denver Dynamite
Pittsburgh Gladiators
Washington Commandos
1988 6 Detroit Drive
Los Angeles Cobras
New England Steamrollers
New York Knights
Denver Dynamite
Washington Commandos
1989 5 Los Angeles Cobras
New England Steamrollers
New York Knights
Denver Dynamite
Maryland Commandos
Maryland Commandos
(from Washington)
1990 6 Albany Firebirds
Dallas Texans
Chicago Bruisers Washington Commandos
(from Maryland)
1991 8 Columbus Thunderbolts
New Orleans Night
Orlando Predators
Washington Commandos Pittsburgh → Tampa Bay Storm
1992 12 Arizona Rattlers
Charlotte Rage
Cincinnati Rockers
Sacramento Attack
San Antonio Force
Denver Dynamite Columbus → Cleveland Thunderbolts
1993 10 New Orleans Night
San Antonio Force
Sacramento → Miami Hooters
1994 11 Fort Worth Cavalry
Las Vegas Sting
Milwaukee Mustangs
Cincinnati Rockers
Dallas Texans
Detroit → Massachusetts Marauders
1995 13 Connecticut Coyotes
Iowa Barnstormers
Memphis Pharaohs
St. Louis Stampede
San Jose SaberCats
Cleveland Thunderbolts Massachusetts Marauders
Fort Worth Cavalry
1996 15 Texas Terror Las Vegas → Anaheim Piranhas
Fort Worth → Minnesota Fighting Pike
(dormant from 1995)
Florida Bobcats
(from Miami Hooters)
1997 14 Cleveland Gladiators
Nashville Kats
New Jersey Red Dogs
New York CityHawks
Charlotte Rage
Connecticut Coyotes
Minnesota Fighting Pike
St. Louis Stampede
Memphis → Portland Forest Dragons
1998 14 Anaheim Piranhas Massachusetts Marauders → Grand Rapids Rampage
(dormant for three years)
Houston Thunderbears
(from Texas Terror)
1999 15 Buffalo Destroyers New York → New England Sea Wolves
2000 17 Carolina Cobras
Los Angeles Avengers
Portland → Oklahoma Wranglers
2001 19 Chicago Rush
Detroit Fury
Albany → Indiana Firebirds
Iowa → New York Dragons
New England → Toronto Phantoms
New Jersey Gladiators
(from New Jersey Red Dogs)
2002 16 Dallas Desperados Florida Bobcats
Houston Thunderbears
Milwaukee Mustangs
Oklahoma Wranglers
Nashville → Georgia Force[notes 1]
2003 16 Colorado Crush Toronto Phantoms New Jersey → Las Vegas Gladiators
2004 19 Austin Wranglers
New Orleans VooDoo
Philadelphia Soul
Buffalo → Columbus Destroyers
2005 17 Nashville Kats Carolina Cobras
Detroit Fury
Indiana Firebirds
2006 18 Kansas City Brigade
Utah Blaze
New Orleans VooDoo
2007 19 New Orleans VooDoo
2008
17 Nashville Kats Austin Wranglers (af2) Las Vegas → Cleveland Gladiators
2009
0 New Orleans VooDoo
Los Angeles Avengers
Arizona Rattlers
Chicago Rush
Cleveland Gladiators
Colorado Crush
Columbus Destroyers
Dallas Desperados
Georgia Force
Grand Rapids Rampage
Kansas City Brigade
New York Dragons
Orlando Predators
Philadelphia Soul
San Jose SaberCats
Tampa Bay Storm
Utah Blaze
2010
15 Alabama Vipers*
Bossier–Shreveport Battle Wings*
Dallas Vigilantes
Iowa Barnstormers*
Jacksonville Sharks
Milwaukee Iron*
Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz*
Spokane Shock*
Tulsa Talons*
(* Promoted from af2)
Arizona Rattlers
Chicago Rush
Cleveland Gladiators
Orlando Predators
Tampa Bay Storm
Utah Blaze
2011
18 Pittsburgh Power Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz Kansas City Command
Philadelphia Soul
San Jose SaberCats
Alabama Vipers → Georgia Force
Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings → New Orleans VooDoo[1]
Kansas City Command
(from Kansas City Brigade)

Milwaukee Mustangs
(from Milwaukee Iron)
2012
17 Dallas Vigilantes Tulsa Talons → San Antonio Talons
2013
14 Georgia Force
Kansas City Command
Milwaukee Mustangs
2014
14 Los Angeles Kiss Chicago Rush
Utah Blaze
Milwaukee Mustangs → Portland Thunder
2015
12 Las Vegas Outlaws Pittsburgh Power
San Antonio Talons
Iowa Barnstormers (Indoor Football League)
2016 8 Las Vegas Outlaws
New Orleans VooDoo
San Jose SaberCats
Spokane Shock (Indoor Football League as Spokane Empire) Portland Steel
(from Portland Thunder)
2017 5 Baltimore Brigade
Washington Valor[2][3]
Los Angeles Kiss
Orlando Predators
Portland Steel
Arizona Rattlers (Indoor Football League)
Jacksonville Sharks (National Arena League)
2018 4 Albany Empire Tampa Bay Storm Cleveland Gladiators
2019 6 Atlantic City Blackjacks Columbus Destroyers
Year # of teams Expansion teams Folded teams Teams in a new League Suspended teams Returning teams Relocated teams Name changes

Defunct franchisesEdit

Team First AFL season Final AFL season Previous name(s) Previous name(s) season(s) Notes
Alabama Vipers 2010 2010 Tennessee Valley Vipers Franchise moved to Georgia and became the Georgia Force
Anaheim Piranhas 1994 1997 Las Vegas Sting 1994–1995 Reason for cession of operations:
Owner C. David Baker became league Commissioner.
Arizona Rattlers 1992 2016 Moved to Indoor Football League.
Austin Wranglers 2004 2007 Moved to af2, folded.
Carolina Cobras 2000 2004
Charlotte Rage 1992 1996
Chicago Politicians 1986 1986 Playtest game only.
Chicago Bruisers 1987 1989
Chicago Rush 2001 2013 Suspended operations and never returned.
Cincinnati Rockers 1992 1993
Cleveland Thunderbolts 1991 1994 Columbus Thunderbolts 1991
Cleveland Gladiators 1997 2017 New Jersey Red Dogs, New Jersey Gladiators, Las Vegas Gladiators 1997–2007 Had planned to return in 2020 before the league reformatted.
Colorado Crush 2003 2008 Not to be confused with the Colorado Ice, which formed in 2007 in United Indoor Football (part of the Indoor Football League merger) and later took on the Crush name before folding after that league's 2017 season.
Columbus Destroyers 1999 2008 Buffalo Destroyers 1999–2003 Returned for the league's final season with local teams in 2019.
Connecticut Coyotes 1995 1996 Attempted and failed to sell the franchise.
Dallas Desperados 2002 2008 Replaced by Dallas Vigilantes
Dallas Texans 1990 1993
Dallas Vigilantes 2010 2011
Denver Dynamite 1987 1991 Inactive for 1988.
Detroit Fury 2001 2004
Florida Bobcats 1992 2001 Sacramento Attack,
Miami Hooters
1992,
19931995
Fort Worth Cavalry 1994 1994
Georgia Force 2002 2012 Inactive for 2010 season.
Grand Rapids Rampage 1998 2008
Houston ThunderBears 1996 2001 Texas Terror 1996–1997
Indiana Firebirds 1990 2004 Albany Firebirds 1990–2000 Albany Firebirds name and logo returned in af2 in 2009, replacing the Albany Conquest.
Iowa Barnstormers 2010 2014 Original franchise became the New York Dragons following 2000 season; the revived franchise launched in AF2 in 2008 and rejoined the AFL in 2010. Team left following the 2014 season for the Indoor Football League.
Jacksonville Sharks 2010 2016 Left the AFL for the new National Arena League.
Kansas City Command 2006 2012 Kansas City Brigade 2006–2008 Inactive for the 2010 season
Las Vegas Outlaws 2015 2015
Los Angeles Avengers 2000 2008
Los Angeles Cobras 1988 1988
Los Angeles Kiss 2014 2016
Massachusetts Marauders 1988 1994 Detroit Drive 1988 – 1993
Miami Vise 1987 1987 Showcase game only.
Milwaukee Mustangs 1994 2001
Milwaukee Mustangs 2010 2012 Milwaukee Iron 2010 Inactive for the 2013 season, team moved to Portland for 2014 and became the Portland Thunder
Minnesota Fighting Pike 1996 1996
Nashville Kats 1997 2007 Returned as the Nashville Kats in 2005.
New England Steamrollers 1988 1988
New Orleans Night 1991 1992
New Orleans VooDoo 2004 2008 Did not play 2006 season.
2011 2015 Bossier–Shreveport Battle Wings 2010 Bossier-Shreveport moved to New Orleans and became the VooDoo after coming back from the af2.
New York Dragons 1995 2008 Iowa Barnstormers 19952000 Barnstormers name returned in 2010 with a new AFL team.
New York Knights 1988 1988
Oklahoma Wranglers 1995 2001 Memphis Pharaohs,
Portland Forest Dragons
1995 – 1996,
19971998
Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz 2010 2010
Orlando Predators 1991 2016 Suspended operations
Pittsburgh Power 2011 2014 Suspended operations.
Portland Steel 2014 2016 Portland Thunder 2014–2015
Rockford Metros 1986 1986 Playtest game only.
San Antonio Force 1992 1992
San Antonio Talons 2012 2014 Tulsa Talons 1999–2011 Franchise started as the Tulsa Talons in af2 back in 1999. Joined the new AFL in 2010 and relocated to San Antonio in 2012.
San Jose SaberCats 1995 2015
Spokane Shock 2010 2015 Franchise started in af2 in 2005. Joined the new AFL in 2010. Team left for the IFL after 2015 season. Team later folded in 2017.
St. Louis Stampede 1995 1996
Tampa Bay Storm 1987 2017 Pittsburgh Gladiators 19871990 Ceased operations
Toronto Phantoms 1997 2002 New York CityHawks,
New England Sea Wolves
1997 – 1998,
19992000
Utah Blaze 2006 2013 Suspended operations.
Washington Commandos 1987 1990 Maryland Commandos 1989 Did not play the 1988 season.

TimelineEdit

 

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The history of the Kats stayed in Nashville, similar to the agreement made between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens of the NFL.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Nakia Hogan, The Times-Picayune. "The New Orleans VooDoo and the Arena Football League are returning". NOLA.com. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  2. ^ Ted Leonsis close to securing Arena Football League team to play at Verizon Center, Jonathan O'Connell and Dan Steinberg, Washington Post, February 10, 2016
  3. ^ Ted Leonsis to announce D.C. is getting an Arena Football League team, Scott Allen, The Washington Post, March 10, 2016

External linksEdit