New Orleans VooDoo

Last updated
New Orleans VooDoo
Established 2003 (Original incarnation)
Folded 2015 (Second incarnation)
Played in New Orleans, Louisiana
at the Smoothie King Center
AFLVooDoo.com
League/conference affiliations
First franchise:

Arena Football League (20042005, 20072008)

  • National Conference (2004–2005, 2007–2008)

Second franchise: (as the Battle Wings from 2001 to 2010)
af2 (20012009)

Contents

  • National Conference (2001–2003)
  • American Conference (2004)
  • National Conference (2005–2009)
    • South Central Division (2001)
    • Central Division (2002)
    • Southern Division (2003)
    • Midsouthern Division (2004)
    • Midwestern Division (2005–2006)
    • Southwest Division (2007–2009)

Arena Football League (20102015)

  • American Conference (2010–2015)
    • Southwest Division (2010)
    • South (2011–2014)
    • East (2015)
Last uniform
AFL-Uniform-Current-NOR.PNG
Team colorsPurple, red, black, tan, white
     
MascotBones & Mojo
Personnel
Owner(s)Louisiana Arena Football, LLC
ChairmanDan Newman
PresidentDoug Harrington
General managerBrandon Rizzuto
Head coach Dean Cokinos
Team history
  • First franchise
    • New Orleans VooDoo (2004–2005, 2007–2008)
  • Second franchise
Championships
League championships (0)
Conference championships (0)
Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games
Division championships (3)
Playoff appearances (6)
Home arena(s)

The New Orleans VooDoo were a professional arena football team based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The VooDoo were a member of the East Division of the American Conference of the Arena Football League (AFL). They played their home games in Smoothie King Center. The VooDoo were unrelated to an earlier AFL team, the New Orleans Night, who had competed in the 1991 and 1992 AFL seasons in the Louisiana Superdome.

The original New Orleans VooDoo played in the AFL from 2004 to 2008, at which point the league suspended operations. During that time they were owned in part by Tom Benson, who also owned the National Football League's New Orleans Saints. At the completion of the 2008 season, VooDoo owner Tom Benson announced the disbanding of the VooDoo. This led to the termination of operations for the AFL and ultimate filing by the League of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The minor league affiliate of the AFL, af2, continued play through the 2009 season.

In the Fall of 2009, several af2 owners, Paul Ross of the Tulsa Talons, Dan Newman of the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings, and Brady Nelson of the Spokane Shock, spearheaded in conjunction with Brett Bouchy, former owner of the AFL's Arizona Rattlers and Orlando Predators, a move to purchase the assets of the AFL out of Bankruptcy. This successful transaction resulted in the reformation of the AFL for the 2010 season. Prior to the 2010 season, the af2 league terminated operations. Several af2 teams chose to move into the AFL, including the Talons, BattleWings, Iowa Barnstormers, Spokane Shock, Tennessee Valley Vipers, and Boise Burn. Prior to the 2011 AFL season, several AFL teams relocated: The Talons moved from Tulsa to San Antonio; the Vipers moved from Huntsville, Alabama to Atlanta, Georgia, and reactivated the Georgia Force; the BattleWings left Bossier City for New Orleans and reactivated the New Orleans VooDoo. Legendary AFL player/coach Derek Stingley coached the VooDoo for the 2011 season and was replaced in 2012 by longtime AFL quarterback and coach Pat O'Hara. In 2015, the VooDoo's final season, Dean Cokinos was the head coach. At the completion of the 2015 season, the New Orleans VooDoo ceased operations.

The VooDoo's official mascots were known as Bones and Mojo. [1] Their cheerleaders were known as the VooDoo Dolls. [2]

History

Franchise is born

In 1998, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson committed to the purchase of an Arena Football League (AFL) team, making him the first National Football League (NFL) owner to do so. [3] On March 7, 2002, Benson announced that he would be fielding a franchise in 2003. [4] However, the VooDoo played their inaugural game on the road against the Philadelphia Soul on February 8, 2004. The game marked the return of the AFL to New Orleans, where the New Orleans Night franchise had played two seasons in 1991–1992. The VooDoo logo consists of a human skull wearing a top hat and sunglasses.

In their first year, they drew big crowds to their home games as they became the second team other than the Orlando Predators or Tampa Bay Storm to win the AFL's Southern Division. The team's average attendance of 15,240 ranked fifth in the league and was a major factor in the VooDoo's 7–1 regular season home record.[ citation needed ]

In 2005, the team started strong, but later found itself on the wrong end of some close, hard-fought games. At a sold-out TD Waterhouse Centre, the VooDoo ended their second regular season against Orlando with both needing a win to reach the playoffs. A second-half rally featuring a fumble return for a touchdown by Thabiti Davis brought the VooDoo back into the game briefly, but a Jay Taylor kickoff hit the iron surrounding the nets and was recovered by the Predators. After another touchdown to bring the lead up to 15, the game was effectively over. The final score was 51–40, ending the VooDoo's season at 9–7.

Despite the underachievement, the VooDoo had an average attendance of 15,338, good for third in the 17-team AFL, and again had the New Orleans market lead the nation in television ratings for Sunday AFL broadcasts on NBC.

The VooDoo's success and popularity led the AFL to consider placing the ArenaBowl in New Orleans. Although it had already signed a deal with Las Vegas to have the ArenaBowl there for 2005, 2006 and 2007, the league had considered terminating that deal. Had the bidding for ArenaBowl XX begun, New Orleans would have been an early favorite, along with Orlando and Arizona.

Hurricane Katrina

On August 28, 2005, it was announced that due to the extensive damage suffered by Hurricane Katrina to the New Orleans Arena, the VooDoo would suspend operations for the 2006 season. Fifteen of the players under contract with the VooDoo were moved to the expansion Kansas City Brigade for the 2006 season.

Return in 2007

In 2007, the VooDoo returned with Mike Neu as the head coach. The team set an AFL season ticket record, selling over 13,000 season tickets. This led to the VooDoo leading in announced attendance as well, drawing 16,645 to their eight home games, 800 more than the second-place Philadelphia Soul.

The VooDoo started 4–3, before a seven-game losing streak dropped them to 4–10 and eliminated them from the playoff race.

The final record of 5–11 included the first ever victory by the VooDoo over the Orlando Predators, a dominating 67–54 victory over the eventual ArenaBowl XXI champion San Jose Sabercats, a 78–34 nationally televised defeat at the Philadelphia Soul that ranks as the worst loss in franchise history, a 69–63 nationally televised loss to the New York Dragons where the VooDoo used some curious strategy to run the clock down before going for the winning score on fourth down, and a narrow 80–79 defeat at the Dallas Desperados, in which the VooDoo missed a two-point conversion to try to win the game after regulation time expired.

Despite the terrible record, several players were revelations for the VooDoo. Steve Bellisari, a former Ohio State quarterback, took over the starting job from AFL veteran Andy Kelly; the VooDoo offense became more efficient later in the season. Jonathan Ruffin, a New Orleans native and former Lou Groza award winner, took over kicking duties late in the season and was far more efficient than his predecessor Eric Houle. James Lynch was named to the All-Rookie team at fullback.

2008

The VooDoo were picked by prognosticators to bring up the rear of the AFL after free agent WR Derrick Lewis was injured in training camp. By losing the first game in Los Angeles, and having starting Quarterback Steve Bellisari get hurt, things started to look bleak for the VooDoo. Backup quarterback Danny Wimprine, from the New Orleans area, took over, and led by a defense that threatened to shatter the AFL record for interceptions in a season, the VooDoo won seven of their next eight games and threatened to run away with the Southern Division. The VooDoo then suffered a collapse, losing six of their last seven games, and missed the Arena Football playoffs for the third consecutive season, finishing 8–8. Speculation ensued about Mike Neu's job as head coach, as the VooDoo suffered four second-half-of-the-season collapses in their four years as a franchise, but early indications were that he would continue to be the coach in 2009.

The New Orleans VooDoo received the Arena Football League's Best Support Staff Award during the ArenaBall Awards Ceremony held in New Orleans on Friday, July 25, 2008.

On October 13, 2008, owner Tom Benson announced the New Orleans VooDoo would not be continuing operations in New Orleans. Reasons given were "circumstances affecting the league and the team."

Rebirth Of the VooDoo

The Arena Football League announced that they would revive the New Orleans VooDoo for the 2010 season. On September 14, 2010, Nakia Hogan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the Bossier-Shreveport franchise would move their operation to the city of New Orleans. Jason Coffel, who would serve as the vice president of operations for the VooDoo, said owner Dan Newman would cease operations of the Battle Wings in the Bossier-Shreveport City area and immediately become the New Orleans VooDoo. [5] "The reason this is happening is the Arena Football League recognizes how passionate the New Orleans market is about football", Coffel said. "Proof of that is the success of the Saints and the success of the VooDoo when they were around." The rebirth of the franchise and its renewal would not be affiliated with previous owner of the Voodoo, Tom Benson, or the New Orleans Saints.

During the 2011 season, after a home loss to the Spokane Shock, the VooDoo fired head coach Derek Stingley on June 26, 2011. He was replaced by General Manager Jon Norris. At the end of a 3–15 season, Jon Norris went back to being the General Manager. Later on August 8, 2011, he hired Pat O'Hara as the VooDoo's third head coach.

The VooDoo started the 2012 season losing their first two games at home, to the Philadelphia Soul and Milwaukee Mustangs. This brought their home losing streak to 12, dating back to 2008, and concerned fans who did not want a possible AFL record set for futility. However, the VooDoo recovered, and gave fans starved for a winner something to hope for. Aided by a South Division where no team pulled away, a three-game winning streak, including an emotional victory over the Jacksonville Sharks put the VooDoo in first place heading into the final month of the regular season. Unfortunately, the VooDoo dropped their last three games including an overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Storm 78–77. The team backed into the playoffs with the Tampa Bay Storm losing to the Spokane Shock in the final week. The VooDoo however, fell the following week in the conference semifinals to the Philadelphia Soul, 66–53.

The VooDoo started 2013 off with a dramatic overtime win over the conference rival Orlando Predators. However, as the season progressed, inconsistent play from the offensive line led to injuries and ineffectiveness from starting quarterback Kurt Rocco, while the VooDoo struggled to replace star linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson and defensive back Jeremy Kellem. The record dropped as low as 1–8, but Rocco's return to health has seen the VooDoo start to play better at the right time, in a conference where they never really dropped out of the race for a playoff spot. Chris Dixon took over as starting QB and led the VooDoo to 4 wins in their final 9 games, leading to a win-and-you're-in playoff scenario for the final regular season game at Orlando. Unfortunately, the VooDoo lost 71–42 and finished their season 5–13.

2014 featured the much-ballyhooed signing of former LSU quarterback Ryan Perriloux, but Rocco was named the starter again after training camp. As the season started, injuries led to both seeing playing time early, but a poor 1–5 start has hurt the team's playoff chances. However, the one win was against the rival Orlando Predators, and L. J. Castile has become one of the top receivers in the league.

After compiling a 16–38 in three seasons as head coach, O'Hara was not offered a new contract for 2015. The VooDoo instead announced the hiring of Alabama Hammers Head Coach, Dean Cokinos. [6]

League takeover

On July 12, 2015, ArenaFan.com reported that the VooDoo and the Las Vegas Outlaws were to be taken over by the league due to poor attendance and financial issues. Both teams were expected to finish the season, then commissioner Scott Butera was to conduct a search for new owners. [7] [8] An unnamed investment group reportedly sought to purchase the VooDoo and move the franchise to Texas and attended the VooDoo's final home game at Smoothie King Arena against the Tampa Bay Storm on July 18, 2015. That game was possibly the final home game for this franchise. The game with the Outlaws was cancelled and declared to be a tie, only the third such result in league history and the first resulting from a scheduled game having not actually been played. [9] Following a league takeover of the team on July 15, 2015, on August 9, 2015, the Arena Football League announced that the New Orleans VooDoo "have ceased operations effective immediately." [10] It was also reported that the VooDoo could come back for the 2016 season with a new ownership group. [11]

Notable players

Final roster

New Orleans VooDoo roster
Quarterbacks

Fullbacks

Wide receivers

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Kickers

Injured reserve

Other league exempt

League suspension

Refused to report

Inactive reserve

Recallable reassignment

  • Currently vacant
  • Rookies in italics
  • Roster updated August 12, 2015
  • 22 Active, 22 Inactive

Individual awards

All-Arena players

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

All-Ironman players

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

All-Rookie players

The following Battle Wings/VooDoo players were named to All-Rookie Teams:

Arenas

Smoothie King Center, when it was New Orleans Arena New Orleans Arena (NOLA).jpg
Smoothie King Center, when it was New Orleans Arena

Smoothie King Center

The VooDoo played their home games in the 16,900 Smoothie King Center (formerly New Orleans Arena). The arena was also known as "The Graveyard" during Voodoo home games.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

For the 2013 season, the VooDoo announced that, due to renovations at the New Orleans Arena, they would relocate to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the last six home games of the AFL season. [12]

Notable coaches

Head coaches

Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2015 Arena Football League season.

NameTermRegular SeasonPlayoffsAwards
WLTWin%WL
Mike Neu 20042008 33310.51601
Derek Stingley 2011 1110.08300
Jon Norris 2011 130.25000
Pat O'Hara 20122014 16360.30801
Dean Cokinos 2015 3141.19400

Staff

New Orleans VooDoo staff
Front Office
  • General Manager/Shareholder – Brandon Rizzuto
  • Director of Operations – Hayley Asaro
  • Senior Ticket Sales Associate – Kathy Kaleta
  • Season Ticketing Manager – Kasey Gore
  • Director of Pro Player Personnel – Chris Steuber
 

Head Coach

Offensive Coaches

Defensive Coaches

Support Staff

  • Athletic Trainer – Patrick Maloney
  • Equipment Manager – Chad Rachal

Season-by-season

Related Research Articles

Arena Football League Professional indoor American football league

The Arena Football League (AFL) was a professional indoor American football league in the United States. It was founded in 1987, making it the third longest-running professional football league in North America after the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the National Football League (NFL) until the AFL closed in 2019. The AFL played a proprietary code known as arena football, a form of indoor American football played on a 66-by-28 yard field, with rules encouraging offensive performance, resulting in a faster-paced and higher-scoring game. The sport was invented in the early 1980s and patented by Jim Foster, a former executive of the United States Football League (USFL) and the NFL. Each of the league's 32 seasons culminated in the ArenaBowl, with the winner being crowned the league's champion for that season.

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 Cleveland Gladiators were an arena football team based in Cleveland, Ohio, United States, and members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The Gladiators played their home games at Quicken Loans Arena, which they shared with the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association and the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League. The franchise was originally based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and then later in Las Vegas, Nevada, before relocating to Cleveland for the 2008 AFL season. The Gladiators qualified for the playoffs eight times in their history, reaching the ArenaBowl in 2014.

The Georgia Force was an Arena Football League (AFL) team based in Gwinnett County, Georgia, United States that played in the South Division of the American Conference. The team was owned by Doug MacGregor and Donn Jennings.

The Kansas City Command were a professional arena football team that played in the Arena Football League (AFL). The team was founded before the 2006 season. Former Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Kevin Porter served as head coach. The team's new head coach in 2011 was Danton Barto; he also coached the AFL's Las Vegas Gladiators, af2's Memphis Xplorers and Manchester Wolves, and the IFL's Arkansas Diamonds.

Patrick O'Hara is an American football coach and former quarterback who is the quarterbacks coach for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL). He previously served as the head coach of the New Orleans VooDoo, Orlando Predators and Tri-Cities Fever. O'Hara also served as an assistant coach for the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Storm.

2006 Arena Football League season Sports season

The 2006 Arena Football League season was the 20th season of the Arena Football League. The league champions were the Chicago Rush, who defeated the Orlando Predators in ArenaBowl XX.

Mike Neu American football coach

Michael David Neu is and American football coach and former quarterback, who is the current head football coach of the Ball State Cardinals. He played college football at Ball State for Paul Schudel from 1990 to 1993 and played in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for one season and the Arena Football League (AFL) for 2 seasons from 1995 to 1997. He then served as the head coach of the af2's Augusta Stallions (2000), the AFL's Carolina Cobras (2001–2002) and the New Orleans VooDoo (2004–2008). In 2016, Neu returned to his alma mater, Ball State.

The 2011 New Orleans VooDoo season was the fifth season for the franchise in the Arena Football League. The team was coached by Derek Stingley until his firing on June 26. Jon Norris, who coached the Bossier–Shreveport Battle Wings in 2010, stepped down from his General Manager position with New Orleans to become the team's interim head coach. The VooDoo played their home games at New Orleans Arena. This was the first season for the VooDoo since 2008, after the league went on hiatus in 2009 and the franchise was not active in 2010. The VooDoo went 3–15, missing the playoffs, and finishing with the worst record in the league.

Christopher Wallace is an American football quarterback for the Atlanta Havoc of the American Arena League (AAL). He played as a quarterback for the University of Toledo. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Orlando Predators in 2001.

Chris Dixon II is a professional indoor football player who is currently signed with the Sioux Falls Storm. He is also a former head coach. He ended his long playing career with a stint as quarterback for the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League (AFL) before returning to the Sioux Falls Storm (IFL) near the end of their 2019 season. Dixon attended Contra Costa College for two years before attending Humboldt State University, where he was an All-conference player.

The 2013 Orlando Predators season was the 22nd season for the franchise in the Arena Football League. The team was coached by Doug Plank and played their home games at Amway Center. Despite losing their first five games, the Predators recovered enough to qualify for the playoffs. However, they were eliminated by the Philadelphia Soul by a score of 59–55 in the conference semifinals.

The 2013 New Orleans VooDoo season was the seventh season for the franchise in the Arena Football League. The team was coached by Pat O'Hara and played their first three home games at the New Orleans Arena. Due to the renovations to the arena that started immediately following the conclusion of the New Orleans Hornets season, the Voodoo played their remaining six home games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The VooDoo had a chance to clinch a playoff berth in their final game, but lost to finish the season with a 5–13 record.

The Las Vegas Outlaws were a professional Arena Football League (AFL) team based in Las Vegas, Nevada. They played in the AFL's National Conference West Division in 2015. The franchise was recently owned by Vince Neil, lead singer for Mötley Crüe and former minority owner of the Jacksonville Sharks. On September 11, 2014, it was announced that Aaron Garcia was to be the team's first head coach.

The 2015 Arena Football League season was the 28th season in the history of the league. The regular season began on March 27, 2015 and ended on August 8, 2015.

The 2015 New Orleans VooDoo season was the ninth and final season and for the franchise in the Arena Football League (AFL). The team was coached by Dean Cokinos and played their home games at the Smoothie King Center. The team finished the regular season dead last in the league at 3–14-1, with one game cancelled and regarded officially as a tie, and failed to qualify for the playoffs for a third straight season. Following the season, the AFL, which had operated the team as owners since July 15, announced that the VooDoo would cease operations effective immediately.

Chris Duvalt American football wide receiver

Darian Christopher Duvalt is an American football wide receiver who is currently a free agent. He played college football at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and attended Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland, Florida. He has also been a member of the Seattle Seahawks, Orlando Predators, New Orleans VooDoo, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Philadelphia Soul and Florida Tarpons.

The Dallas Texans competed in the now-defunct Arena Football League from 1990–1993, after which the AFL team was the Dallas Desperados from 2002–2008. In 2010, the Dallas Vigilantes began playing in the American Airlines Center as a part of the restructured Arena Football League.

Former football teams in New Orleans include the New Orleans Breakers of the United States Football League (1984), the New Orleans Night of the Arena Football League (1991–1992), the New Orleans Thunder of the Regional Football League (1999), the Louisiana Jazz of the Women's Football Alliance (2002–2014), the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League, the New Orleans Jazz football club of the Stars Football League (2011) and New Orleans Krewe of the US Women's Football League (2016).

References

  1. "Unknown". www.govoodoo.com. New Orleans VooDoo. Archived from the original on 2006-02-08.Cite uses generic title (help)
  2. Sharon Keating. "New Orleans VooDoo – New Orleans' Arena Football Team, The VooDoo". goneworleans.about.com. About.com. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  3. "Benson Brings AFL to New Orleans". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. May 13, 2003. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  4. Jeff Walker (March 17, 2002). "NFL owners to vote on expanding arena football partnership". www.jacksonville.com. Jacksonville.com. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  5. Nakia Hogan (September 14, 2010). "The New Orleans VooDoo and the Arena Football League are returning". www.nola.com. NOLA Media Group. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  6. "New Orleans VooDoo hire Dean Cokinos as its new head coach". www.nola.com. The Times-Pecayune. September 17, 2014. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  7. Adam Markowitz (July 12, 2015). "AFL assumes control of Outlaws, VooDoo, announcement expected this week". www.ArenaFan.com. ArenaFan. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  8. Will Guillory (July 14, 2015). "Arena Football League taking over VooDoo operations". www.theadvocate.com. The Advocate. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  9. Potential Texas-based investors eye VooDoo, move of franchise as AFL cancels game at Vegas, Ken Trahan, SportsNOLA.com, July 16, 2015
  10. Christopher Dabe (August 9, 2015). "With no ownership in place, New Orleans VooDoo cease operations, league announces". www.nola.com. NOLA.com. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  11. Christopher Dabe (August 10, 2015). "New Orleans VooDoo could continue with new ownership, league commissioner says". www.nola.com. NOLA.com. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  12. Rachel Whittaker (October 3, 2012). "New Orleans Voodoo to play 6 of 9 home games in Superdome in 2013". www.nola.com. NOLA Media Group. Retrieved September 9, 2013.