Dallas Desperados

Last updated
Dallas Desperados
Established 2002
Folded 2009
Played in American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (20022008)
Team colorsBlue, white, black
MascotKid Coyote
Owner(s) Jerry Jones
PresidentShy Anderson
Head coach Will McClay
Team history
  • Dallas Desperados (2002–2008)
League championships (0)
Conference championships (0)
Division championships (0)
Playoff appearances (3)
Home arena(s)

The Dallas Desperados were a professional arena football team based in Dallas, Texas. The Desperados played in the Eastern Division of the Arena Football League from 2002 to 2008.


The franchise began play in 2002 as an expansion team, and have posted a winning record in all but one of their seasons in existence. The team was owned by Jerry Jones, who also owns the Dallas Cowboys. Jones' son-in-law Shy Anderson was the COO of the team, and oversaw the day-to-day operations of the franchise.

The team folded effective August 4, 2009, upon the dissolving of the original AFL. Unlike most AFL teams, Jones maintains the intellectual property rights to the Desperados.


During a halftime interview at a Cowboys preseason game on August 12, 2000, Jerry Jones revealed to Babe Laufenberg that the AFL had granted him an expansion franchise to begin play in 2001. [1] On November 14, 2001, Dallas officially joined the AFL. [2] The team was originally going to be named the "Dallas Texans", following in the footsteps of Dallas’ former AFL franchise which existed from 1990–1993. However, that same year he sold the rights to the name "Texans" for a reported $10 million to the new Houston franchise. After a contest in which fans voted via the team’s official website, the new Dallas team was eventually named the Desperados. Jones appointed Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano as head coach, and on November 21, 2001 in the AFL expansion draft, they acquired their first player, lineman Aaron Hamilton.

The Dallas Desperados in action. Dallas desperados.jpg
The Dallas Desperados in action.

Avezzano, along with starting quarterback Andy Kelly, led the team to a respectable 7–7 record and a playoff appearance in the team's first season of play, and a 10–6 record and a second consecutive playoff berth in 2003 under new quarterback Jim Kubiak. However, Avezzano was fired from the Cowboys staff that season, and subsequently resigned as Desperados head coach when he accepted a job with the Oakland Raiders.

Before the 2004 season, Jones hired Will McClay to replace Avezzano, and McClay struggled to a 6–10 record his rookie season as coach. The team improved to 8–7–1 the following season and barely missed making the playoffs, and under the helm of quarterback/offensive coordinator Clint Dolezel, posted a 13–3 record in 2006 and made their first appearance in an AFL conference championship game, losing to the Orlando Predators. The following season saw the Desperados post an AFL record fifteen wins and the team appeared destined to make their first ArenaBowl appearance, but they were shocked by the Columbus Destroyers, who had entered the playoffs with a 7–9 record, in the first round. The upset is ranked by many among the greatest of all time. The following season saw no relief to the postseason failure as the Desperados at 12–4 lost to the 8–8 New York Dragons in Dallas. After the New Orleans VooDoo folded, the league placed the Desperados in the South Division after the team had spent five seasons as an Eastern Division powerhouse.

With the exception of one playoff game and the entirety of the 2003 season, the Desperados played all of their home games at American Airlines Center. The team’s official mascot was Kid Coyote. [3]

Memorable Desperados moments

On June 9, 2007, the Desperados faced the 4–9 New Orleans VooDoo. The 13–1 Desperados found themselves losing late in the game. But Dallas Quarterback Clint Dolezel threw a touchdown with 30 seconds left on the clock to give the Desperados the lead. On the ensuing kickoff, the VooDoo fielded the ball off the net and found themselves looking at a long way to the endzone from their own one-yard line. They managed to put together a lengthy drive and were able to score with 1.7 seconds left to make the score 80–79. Rather than tie the game with an extra point, they elected to go for the win with a two-point conversion. VooDoo Quarterback Steve Bellisari dropped back and was sacked by 2007 AFL lineman of the year Colston Weatherington on the ten. The game was over along with the VooDoo playoff hopes. In the end, Dallas won 80–79.

The game was voted 2007 "Game of the Year" leaguewide in July 2007.



Head coach TenureRegular season
record (W-L)
record (W-L)
Most recent coaching staffNotes
Joe Avezzano 20022003 17–131–2 DC: Will McClay (2002–2006)
Will McClay 20042008 54–24–11–3Offensive Line: Steve Criswell
Special Teams: Adriel Fenton
DC: James Fuller (20072008)
Continued as DC
for three seasons.
2006 Arena Football League
Coach of the Year

Notable players

Final roster

Dallas Desperados roster


Wide receivers

  •  7Joe Haden
Offensive/Defensive linemenLinebackers

Defensive backs


Injured reserve

Practice Squad

Rookies in italics
Roster updated July 26, 2008
19 Active, 8 Inactive

Arena Football Hall of Famers

Dallas Desperados Hall of Famers
No.NameYear inductedPosition(s)Years w/ Desperados
13 Clint Dolezel 2013 QB 2006–08

Individual awards

All-Arena players

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

All-Ironman players

The following Desperados players were named to All-Ironman Teams:

All-Rookie players

The following Desperados players were named to All-Rookie Teams:

See also

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  1. "Dallas awarded Arena Football team". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. August 19, 2000. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  2. "Dallas joins AFL family". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. November 14, 2001. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  3. "Kid Coyote". Dallas Desperados. Archived from the original on 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2016-05-01.