Orlando Predators

Last updated
Orlando Predators
Established 1991
Folded 2016
Played in Amway Center
in Orlando, Florida
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (19912016)
  • National Conference (1993–2008)
  • American Conference (2010–2016)
Team colorsBlack, red, gold, white
Nicknames Preds
Owner(s) David A. Siegel
PresidentJared Saft
General managerMichael DiJulio
Team history
  • Orlando Predators (1991–2016)
League championships (2)
Conference championships (1)
Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games
Division championships (9)
Playoff appearances (23)
Home arena(s)

The Orlando Predators were a professional arena football team based in Orlando, Florida and member of the Arena Football League (AFL). The team was most recently owned by Orlando Predators LLC, a company owned by David A. Siegel, and played its home games at Amway Center.


The team was founded in 1991 as an expansion team of the AFL. The team advanced to the playoffs 19 consecutive seasons between 1992 and 2011, becoming the ArenaBowl champions in 1998 and 2000 during that span. The team suspended operations after the 2016 season. A new organization led by former Predator Kenny McEntyre obtained the Predators branding and relaunched the team in the National Arena League for the 2019 season.


Early years (1991–1997)

There was interest in arena football in Orlando as early as 1987, with a group looking to place an AFL team in central Florida in time for the 1988 season. [1] But more than three years would go by until the Orlando Predators franchise was finally secured by Davey Johnson, Tracy Allen and Mike McBath on February 14, 1991. [2] The Preds began play that same year but missed the playoffs, the only time the club would do so until 2012. In just their second season in 1992, they advanced to ArenaBowl VI, [3] only to fall to the Detroit Drive, who won their fourth title in five years. Annually among the league-leaders in attendance, they qualified for the playoffs in 18 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the original AFL. One noted administrator for the Predators was Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman, Jack Youngblood, who came to the Predators in 1995 as vice-president and then later, president of the organization. He was with the team through the 1999 season.

Gruden era / Two titles in four years (1998–2008)

For much of their existence in the original AFL, their head coach was Jay Gruden, younger brother of prominent National Football League coach Jon Gruden and who would go on to coach the NFL's Washington Redskins. Jay Gruden was formerly an outstanding Arena Football quarterback, leading the Tampa Bay Storm to four ArenaBowl championships, and then served one year as offensive coordinator for the Nashville Kats prior to becoming head coach of the Predators. Jay was the first quarterback in the AFL Hall of Fame. Orlando won the ArenaBowl in 1998 and 2000 under Gruden's coaching. He then attempted a comeback as a player, but subsequently returned to coaching following the death of his head coach replacement, Fran Papasedero, in a car accident.

The Predators were one of the premier franchises in the history of the original AFL, and had a rivalry with Tampa Bay, who moved to Tampa the same year the Predators formed. They met twice in the ArenaBowl, with Tampa Bay winning in 1995 and Orlando winning in 1998. The rivalry, nicknamed the "War on I-4" after the interstate that connects the two cities, intensified when Gruden took over as Orlando's head coach.

Orlando and Tampa Bay each lasted longer in their markets than any other AFL franchise have, As of 2019. The Predators were unique in that they had played in their previous venue, Amway Arena, for 18 seasons in the AFL, longer than any other team. Amway Arena was often nicknamed "The Jungle" during Predators games due to the hostile environment from the fans, harsh smoke that filled the arena during the players intro, and a Guns N' Roses song which "welcomed" other teams. They shared Amway Arena with the Orlando Magic of the NBA and the Orlando Titans of the NLL. The 2010 season was the Predators' 19th and final season at Amway Arena. The team moved to Amway Center, the new arena in Orlando, for the 2011 season. A Predators game was the final sporting event ever performed at Amway Arena.

The team's mascot was a monster-like human named Klaw who looked much like the alien (Predator) from the Predator films, with only different coloring.

The Predators played in the ArenaBowl a total of seven times. If the Pittsburgh Gladiators' two ArenaBowl games before they moved to Tampa Bay are included, the Storm was the only franchise that played in more (eight; six as the Storm).

During the 2007 season, the Predators inaugurated the "Predator Fan Hall of Fame". The inaugural inductees were Nancy Morris and Richard Grabe. Morris, was a superfan for over 20 years, was known to most of the team and the front office as "The PredMom", and was the president of the Orlando Predator In Your Face Fan Club. Grabe, who also was a superfan (starting in 1991), was the creator of the "PredHeads" that were seen being worn by a select group of fans that sat in section 113 of the old Amway Arena. They were also known for their tailgating parties on "Predator Island" (located in the northeast corner of lot 4 of the Centroplex). After moving to the new Amway Center, the majority of "PredHeads" sat in section 114, and tailgated under I-4 in lot 9.

Revival of AFL (2010–2016)

Predators mascot, Klaw, in 2007 Klaw (Orlando Predators) (cropped).jpg
Predators mascot, Klaw, in 2007

The Predators maintained their organization and web presence after the AFL suspended operations in August 2009. On September 28, 2009, the Predators announced their return to play for the 2010 season as a member of the new Arena Football 1 league, until that league purchased the AFL's assets and assumed the AFL's history. [4] With Jay Gruden obligated to the UFL by his contract with the Tuskers, eventually becoming the team's head coach, they hired former quarterback Pat O'Hara as their head coach for the 2010 season. [5] When the schedule for the league's season was announced on December 31, 2009, the Predators were slated to return to action on April 9, 2010. [6] In the 2010 season, the Predators finished with an 8–8 record. They qualified for the playoffs, but lost the conference championship to the Tampa Bay Storm by a single point as a last-second field goal attempt was unsuccessful.

In 2011, the Predators finished the regular season 11–7, but fell to the Jacksonville Sharks in the conference semifinals by a score of 63–48.

With a 4–14 record in 2012 under first-year head coach Bret Munsey, the Predators missed the playoffs for the first time since their inaugural season in 1991. Following the end of the season, Munsey was released as head coach. [7]

Under Doug Plank for the 2013 season, the Predators lost their first five games of the season. It was then that the team acquired veteran quarterback Aaron Garcia in a trade with the San Jose SaberCats. The Predators went on to win seven of their remaining thirteen games following the trade to finish the season with a 7–11 record, which was good enough to clinch a playoff berth. However, they were eliminated in the conference semifinals by the Philadelphia Soul. With two weeks remaining during the regular season, Brett Bouchy sold his controlling interest in the team to The Pearsall Holdings LP for an undisclosed amount. [8] Plank retired following the season. [9]

The Predators moved to CFE Arena on the campus of the University of Central Florida in 2014, [10] after the Amway Center informed the team that they had defaulted on their lease for failing to meet attendance requirements. [11] On December 25, 2013, the Predators announced that Rob Keefe would become the seventh coach in franchise history. [12] In May 2014, it was announced that majority owner David Pearsall had sold the team to an undisclosed ownership group, [13] but the team was taken over by the AFL. In July 2014, reports began to surface that David A. Siegel had purchased the franchise with the intent to move the team back into the Amway Center. [14] On July 15, 2014, Siegel confirmed his purchase of the Predators. [15]

On December 8, 2014, the Predators suspended head coach Rob Keefe with pay while an investigation was ongoing by the Orange County Sheriff's Office into accusations of domestic violence. [16] The charges were since dropped.

During the week of June 18, 2016, the entire Arena Football League, including the hometown Predators, displayed patches and stickers "ORL" as a remembrance of the victims killed in the Pulse Nightclub massacre.[ needs update ]

On October 12, 2016, the Orlando Predators announced they had suspended operations due to the reduced number of teams in the AFL and other pending disagreements with the league. [17]

Revival in the National Arena League (2019)

In 2019, former Predator Kenny McEntyre launched a new Predators team in the National Arena League. [18]

Predator highlights

The Predators made Arena Football League history in consecutive weeks during the 1992 season:


The Predators in 2015 Orlando Predators (2015).jpg
The Predators in 2015

Final roster

Orlando Predators roster


Wide receivers

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen


Defensive backs


Injured reserve

Other league exempt

League suspension

Refused to report

Inactive reserve

Recallable reassignment

  • Currently vacant
  • Rookies in italics
  • Roster updated August 5, 2016
  • 24 Active, 22 Inactive

Arena Football Hall of Fame members

Orlando Predators Hall of Fame members
No.NameYear inductedPosition(s)Years with Predators
84 Carl Aikens, Jr. 2000 WR/DB 1992–1993
5 Ben Bennett 2000 QB 1991–1995
7 Jay Gruden 1999 QB 2002–2003
Perry Moss 2000 Head coach 1991–1997
29 Durwood Roquemore 1999 WR/DB 1991–1996
 ?? Reggie Smith 2002 WR/DB 1991
 ?? Stevie Thomas 2011 WR/LB 2000
82 Barry Wagner 2011 WR/DB 1992–1997, 2007
22 Herkie Walls 2000 WR/DB 1991–1996

Individual awards

All-Arena players

The following Predators players were named to All-Arena teams:

All-Ironman players

The following Predators players were named to All-Ironman teams:

All-Rookie players

The following Predators players were named to All-Rookie teams:

Coaches of note

Head coaches

NameTermRegular seasonPlayoffsAwards
Perry Moss 19911997 59250.70288 1992 & 1994 AFL Coach of the Year
Jay Gruden 19982001, 20042008 82540.603117
Fran Papasedero 20022003 19110.63332
Pat O'Hara 20102011 19150.55912
Bret Munsey 2012 4140.22200
Doug Plank 2013 7110.38901
Rob Keefe 20142016 35170.67313


Orlando Predators staff
Front office
  • Owner – David A. Siegel
  • President – Jared Saft
  • Operations and sponsorships - Darrell Harbin
  • General manager of football operations - Michael DiJulio
  • Director of ticket sales - Aubrey Jones
 Head coach

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches



  1. "Orlando tosses hat into Arena". Orlando Sentinel. August 4, 1987. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  2. "Arena Football Adds Orlando". Orlando Sentinel. February 14, 1991. Archived from the original on December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  3. Arthur R. Brown Jr. (August 22, 1992). "Predators strive for win over Drive in ArenaBowl tonight". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  4. Orlando Predators Back for 2010 Season Archived 2014-08-12 at the Wayback Machine
  5. http://www.cfnews13.com/Sports/CentralFloridaSportsReport/2009/12/22/ohara_to_coach_orlando_predators_in_2010.html%5B%5D
  6. "2010 Schedule Released". orlandopredators.com. Retrieved 4 May 2018.[ permanent dead link ]
  7. "Predators Announce the Release of Head Coach Bret Munsey". Orlando Predators. August 13, 2012. Archived from the original on August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2011.
  8. Richard Bilbao (July 18, 2013). "Bouchy sells equity in Orlando Predators". The Business Journals. American City Business Journals. Archived from the original on December 21, 2013. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  9. David Pingalore (November 7, 2013). "Doug Plank resigns as Predators head coach". clickorlando.com. WKMG - Orlando. Archived from the original on November 26, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  10. Mark Schlueb (December 5, 2013). "Orlando Predators leaving downtown to play at UCF". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  11. March Schlueb (September 4, 2013). "Orlando Predators lose their Amway Center lease". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  12. "Orlando hires ex-Shock coach Keefe". The Spokesman-Review. December 25, 2013. Archived from the original on December 26, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  13. Alicia DelGallo (May 13, 2014). "Predators seek new ownership, deny report league has taken over team". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on May 15, 2014. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  14. Alicia DelGallo (July 8, 2014). "David Siegel reportedly buys Preds, seeks team's return to Amway Center". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on July 9, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  15. Alicia DelGallo (July 15, 2014). "Time-share mogul David Siegel confirms purchase of Orlando Predators". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on July 19, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  16. Orlando Predators coach Rob Keefe suspended indefinitely Archived 2017-07-30 at the Wayback Machine , Orlando Sentinel
  17. "The Orlando Predators have chosen to suspend team operations". Orlando Predators. October 12, 2016. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016.
  18. J.C. Carnahan (January 16, 2019). "Kenny McEntyre revives Orlando Predators in National Arena League". Orlando Sentinel .
  19. Richard Oliver (June 17, 2012). "Force's 50–0 loss 20 years ago stands alone". mysanantonio.com. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on December 30, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  20. http://www.arenafootball.com/mediaPlayer/video.dbml?DB_MENU_ID=&SPSID=38064&SPID=3172&DB_OEM_ID=3500&CLIP_ID=31848&CLIP_FILE_ID=35915&CONTENT_TYPE=ONDEMAND [ permanent dead link ]

Related Research Articles

The Tampa Bay Storm were a professional arena football team based in Tampa, Florida, U.S. that played in the Arena Football League (AFL). The team, along with the Chicago Bruisers, Denver Dynamite and Washington Commandos, joined the AFL in 1987 as one of the charter franchises, and by 1992 it was the last of the four still operating. The team ceased operations in December 2017.

The Arizona Rattlers are a professional indoor American football team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They are currently members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Rattlers were founded in 1992 as an expansion team in the Arena Football League and were the third oldest active franchise in the AFL until their departure in 2016. They play their home games at Phoenix Suns Arena in downtown Phoenix, but have occasionally played at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, when their primary home has been unavailable. The Rattlers are led by head coach Kevin Guy. Since the team's establishment in 1992, the Rattlers have won ten division titles and have played in nine ArenaBowl Championship games, winning championships in 1994, 1997, 2012, 2013, 2014. The Rattlers also won the 2017 United Bowl in their first season in the IFL.

The Chicago Rush were a professional arena football team based in Rosemont, Illinois. The team played at the Allstate Arena from 2001 to 2013. They were a member of the Central Division of the National Conference of the Arena Football League (AFL). Founded in 2001, the team qualified for the playoffs 11 out of 12 seasons and won one AFL championship, ArenaBowl XX in 2006. During their history, the Rush won five divisional titles and competed in the AFL Conference Championship six times, including four consecutive appearances from 2004 to 2007. They also had the largest market in the AFL.

The Philadelphia Soul were a professional arena football team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and competed in the Arena Football League (AFL). The Soul made five ArenaBowl appearances, winning their first appearance and losing their next two appearances. The Soul won in their fourth appearance, against the Rattlers in 2016, winning 56–42. They also won in their fifth appearance in 2017 against the Tampa Bay Storm, winning 44–40.

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 Nashville Kats were an Arena Football League team, located in Nashville, Tennessee. They were last coached by Pat Sperduto, who coached the team's original incarnation to two ArenaBowl appearances prior to the original franchise's move to Atlanta in 2002. Sperduto also coached the second incarnation of the Nashville Kats following their return to the Arena Football League as an expansion team in 2005.

New Orleans VooDoo Arena football team

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.

War on I-4 (arena football)

The War on I–4 was a rivalry between the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators in the Arena Football League. The teams met at least twice and up to four times a season starting in 1991, and both were consistently at the top of the league standings. The rivalry has been compared to the Yankees – Red Sox rivalry in Major League Baseball.

Kahlil Rafiq Carter, is a gridiron football player and coach who recently served as the Defensive Coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes. Carter is also a former professional gridiron football player in the Arena Football League, NFL, NFL Europe, and the Canadian Football League. His last season of professional football was spent playing defensive back in the AFL for the Iowa Barnstormers in 2010. Carter has also spent time in the NFL with Buffalo and NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores. Carter also was a star defensive back in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes.

Jay Gruden American football coach and former player

Jay Michael Gruden is an American football coach and former quarterback. He previously served as the head coach of the Washington Redskins from 2014 to 2019 and as offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011 to 2013. During his time in the Arena Football League (AFL), he won four ArenaBowls as a player and two more as a head coach. He is the younger brother of Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, and was an assistant coach of the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that won Super Bowl XXXVII.

ArenaBowl V

ArenaBowl '91 was the Arena Football League's fifth ArenaBowl. The game featured the #2 Tampa Bay Storm (8-2) against the #1 Detroit Drive (9-1). The Storm were in their first season in Tampa, Florida since moving from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and having spent their first four seasons as the Pittsburgh Gladiators, while the Drive were trying to win an unprecedented fourth-straight ArenaBowl title.

ArenaBowl IX

ArenaBowl IX was the Arena Football League's ninth ArenaBowl. The game featured the #6 Orlando Predators (7-5) of the National Conference against the #1 Tampa Bay Storm (10-2), also of the National Conference. This would be the very first ArenaBowl to have the "War on I-4" rivalry featured in it. For the Predators, this was their third ArenaBowl appearance in their first five years of existence. For the Storm, this was their fourth overall appearance with a chance to get three titles in five years.

Arena Bowl XII

Arena Bowl XII was the Arena Football League's twelfth Arena Bowl, which took place August 23, 1998. It pitted the #4 Orlando Predators (9-5) of the National Conference against the #1 Tampa Bay Storm (12-2), also of the National Conference. This was the second and final ArenaBowl to have the "War on I-4" rivalry on the big stage. For the Predators, it was their fourth ArenaBowl appearance in their eight years of existence. This year, they were under the command of first-year head coach Jay Gruden. For the Storm, this was their eighth overall appearance as they were going for their fifth ArenaBowl title in eight seasons. Not only did they face their arch-rivals from Orlando, but they also had face their former star player in Jay Gruden.

Kenny "The Glove" McEntyre is a former arena football defensive back. He played college football at Kansas State.

Orlando, Florida, has a history of major events in sports. It has had a considerable measure of success in minor league sports as well, with teams winning several minor league championships.

The Jacksonville Sharks are a professional indoor football team based in Jacksonville, Florida, playing their home games at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Beginning in 2017, the Sharks began play as charter members of the National Arena League (NAL). They were members of the Arena Football League (AFL) from 2010 to 2016 and won the championship of their division in the first four seasons of their existence.

ArenaBowl XXVI

ArenaBowl XXVI was the 26th edition of the championship in the Arena Football League. The National Conference champion Arizona Rattlers, defeated the American Conference champion Philadelphia Soul, 48–39. The game was played on August 17, 2013 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, home of the Orlando Predators.

The 2014 Orlando Predators season was the 23rd season for the franchise in the Arena Football League. The team was coached by Rob Keefe, who was in his first season with the team. They played their home games at CFE Arena, located on the campus of the University of Central Florida, after Amway Center informed the team that they had defaulted on their lease with the arena for failing to meet attendance requirements.

The Arena Football Hall of Fame is the official Hall of Fame of the Arena Football League (AFL). The inaugural class was announced in 1998 and the Hall was not formally organized until 2011. Prior to 2011, there were four classes: 1998–2000 and then another in 2002. The Arena Football Hall of Fame is the highest honor for players, coaches, and contributors involved in the AFL. The voting process consists of fans and current Hall of Fame members voting on the finalists. The finalists are selected by the League Office in which they collect ballots from the Arena Football Hall of Fame Advisory Board, a group which consisted of former players, executives, journalists and media personnel with a long-time involvement in the league. The league began to decline in 2015, so no Hall of Fame announcements have been made since this year. The league folded for a second time in 2019. After the league's second closure, ArenaFan, a long-running fan site, announced it had taken over operations of the Arena Football Hall of Fame.

The Orlando Predators are a professional indoor football team based in Orlando, Florida, with home games at the Amway Center and is a member of the National Arena League. They played their first season in 2019 and are marketed as a revival of the Orlando Predators, who played 25 seasons in the Arena Football League from 1991 to 2016. The original owners of the NAL team acquired the Predators' trademarks in late 2018 after the previous owner, David A. Siegel, allowed them to lapse.