|Tampa Bay Storm|
Played in Amalie Arena
in Tampa, Florida
| Arena Football League (1987–2017) |
|Team colors||Blue, gold, white|
|Owner(s)||Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment|
|Head coach||Ron James|
|League championships (5)|
1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2003
|Conference championships (1)|
Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games
|Division championships (5)|
|Playoff appearances (24)|
|1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2017|
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 franchise was originally located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and known as the Pittsburgh Gladiators. The franchise relocated to Tampa Bay in 1991, changing its name in the process. The team played in St. Petersburg from 1991 to 1996, then in Tampa until 2008, after which point the AFL suspended operations and did not return until the 2010 season following the league's restructuring. It had been in the same city for longer than any other AFL team. During its tenure the franchise won five ArenaBowl championships. With 241 wins, the Storm had won far more games than any other team in AFL history. After the team dissolved in 2017, indoor football in the Tampa Bay area was succeeded by the Tampa Bay Tornadoes who began to play in 2021 in the American Arena League.
The club was last owned by Jeffrey Vinik, also the owner of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning. Home games were played at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
The Storm holds the Arena Football League record for the longest tenure by a franchise in a single market area. It was also the last of the original four franchises (the Chicago Bruisers, Denver Dynamite and Washington Commandos were the other three) to have operated in continuous existence from the formation of the league in 1987 until the present decade before ceasing operations.
When arena football was first announced in 1986, Jim Foster targeted Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for an inaugural franchise due to the great football tradition of the area.The franchise was originally known as the Pittsburgh Gladiators, and was one of the original four AFL teams formed in 1987. The team was named by Robert Ninehouser whose entry for the team name was selected in 1987. They originally played their home games at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. On June 19, 1987, the Gladiators defeated the Washington Commandos 48–46 in the first ever AFL regular season game. The Gladiators participated in ArenaBowls I and III, losing both.
The team moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1991, with the team taking on the "Storm" nickname. A Cleveland Arena Football League franchise later bore the Gladiators name; however, other than the coincidental names the two organizations shared no link in histories.
The Storm won the ArenaBowl in its first season in Tampa Bay (V) and has won four subsequent championships (VII,IX, X, and XVII). Up to the 2006 season, the Storm had qualified for the playoffs in every season but one during their time in Tampa Bay.
The team played in the former ThunderDomein St. Petersburg (now called Tropicana Field) from 1991–1996, becoming its first regular team sports tenant. Since 1997, the team played its home games in the Amalie Arena (previously the Ice Palace, St. Pete Times Forum, and Tampa Bay Times Forum) which is located in Tampa.
After the 1994 season, Greis sold the team to Peter "Woody" Kernfor $850,000. Kern's first move as the Storm owner was the hiring of coach Tim Marcum, who is widely regarded as the greatest coach in Arena Football history.
On March 14, 2002, Kern had the opportunity to sell the Storm, receiving an offer from Michigan mortgage broker Thom Hopper for what was then a record price of $12 million. Hopper submitted two payments totaling $1.6 million before Kern regained possession of the team. Later in 2006, Hopper pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges that authorities say resulted from his attempt to buy the Storm. He was sentenced in January to nearly three years in prison and ordered to pay at least $1.8 million in restitution to a title insurance company, according to media reports.
On December 23, 2004, Sports Illustratedwrote in its 'The 10 Spot' feature that the AFL's players' union filed a grievance against the Storm. The reason was that seven of the Storm's players claimed that some of the diamonds in their 2003 AFL championship rings were fake. Six of the seven players had left the team after the 2003 season. The Storm acknowledged that some of the rings did, in fact, include cubic zirconia instead of diamonds, and that different players received greater amounts of diamonds in their rings based on their contributions that season.
The Storm ended the 2006 season with a 7–9 record (4th in their Division), ending a 19-year streak of playoff appearances, dating back to their days as the Gladiators and the start of the Arena Football League.
In December 2007, Kern sold 51% of his stake in the Storm to Robert Nucci for just over $9.6 million, while still maintaining control of the other 49%.The Storm followed a 9–7 season and first-round playoff exit in 2007 with an 8–8 finish in 2008. The team salvaged the .500 record by defeating the Los Angeles Avengers 72–47 in Tampa. There was no 2009 Arena Football League season due to the league's ongoing financial difficulties, which resulted in its filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, later converted to Chapter 11, leaving it uncertain if the Storm, arguably the most successful team in the history of any form of indoor football, would ever play another game.
A new arena football league, originally called Arena Football 1, formed in 2009. The Storm was not one of the initial 16 teams announced. However, Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings owner Dan Newman mentioned that the Storm were one of at least two former AFL franchises that were being negotiated with, the other being the San Jose SaberCats.The new organization bought the rights to the intellectual property, including the team names, logos, histories, and patented rules of the old AFL in a bankruptcy auction, which allowed it to function essentially as a full successor; after this action, the name Arena Football 1 was dropped and the group resumed operating as the Arena Football League. The Storm resumed full operations for the new league's 2010 season, with some players from the former roster, and once again coached by Tim Marcum and this time owned by Tampa Bay Storm Partners LLC, a group led by Todd Boren, a previous partner with the Orlando Predators and the Arizona Rattlers. The AFL released the schedule for the season on December 31, 2009. The Storm returned during the opening weekend of the season on April 3, 2010. On February 17, 2010, it was formally announced that the AF1 had adopted the former Arena Football League name.
In the 2010 season the Storm went 11–5, finishing second in the South Division. In the playoffs, they earned a trip to ArenaBowl XXIII, but lost to the Spokane Shock 57–69.
On February 17, 2011, Marcum would resign as head coach of the Storm less than a month before the 2011 season was to begin, after having the position for 15 years. He left as the AFL's all-time winningest head coach with 211 wins. Dave Ewart was named as the team's new head coach the next day.His resignation was sparked by an admission in a deposition related to a lawsuit he had filed against the Storm's previous owner, Robert Nucci. In that deposition, Marcum admitted to forwarding emails that were pornographic and racially tinged to other members of the Storm organization, using his work email address. In April 2011, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks became a part owner and the team president for the Storm. After a 7–4 start to the 2013 season, the Storm lost the final seven games of the season, but still qualified for the postseason. The Storm played well in their playoff game, but came up just short against the Jacksonville Sharks. The team's collapse lead to the firing of Ewart. One month later, the team announced they had promoted offensive coordinator, and Storm legend Lawrence Samuels to the team's head coach. Samuels and the Storm mutually agreed to part ways in August 2016. On October 25, 2016, Ron James was named the head coach. In 2017, the Storm finished the regular season with a 10–4 record and later advanced to ArenaBowl XXX, where they lost to the Philadelphia Soul by a score of 44–40.
In December 2017, the Storm announced it was ceasing operations due to increasing operating costs combined with decreasing team revenue. Ownership did not rule out future participation in a "stronger, reinvented AFL."The Storm was the last of the original four AFL teams to cease operations.
|Tampa Bay Storm roster|
Other league exempt
Refuse to report
Rookies in itlatics
|Tampa Bay Storm retired numbers|
|22||Lawrence Samuels||WR/LB||1995–2000, 2002–2010|
|78||Sylvester Bembery||OL/DL||1994–1999, 2001|
|Tampa Bay Storm Hall of Famers|
|No.||Name||Year Inducted||Position(s)||Years w/ Storm|
|--||Tim Marcum||1998||Head Coach||1995–2010|
|Wide Receiver of the Year|
The following Gladiators/Storm players were named to All-Arena Teams:
The following Gladiators/Storm players were named to All-Ironman Teams:
The following Gladiators/Storm players were named to All-Rookie Teams:
|Fran Curci||1991||8||2||.800||2||0||AFL Coach of the Year (1991), ArenaBowl winning coach (V).|
|Lary Kuharich||1992–1994||25||9||.735||4||2||ArenaBowl winning coach (VII)|
|Tim Marcum||1995–2010||140||77||.645||16||10||2× AFL Coach of the Year (1987, 1998), 3× ArenaBowl winning coach (IX, X, XVII), AFL Hall of Fame (1998), Founder's Award winner (2001)|
|Dave Ewart||2005–2006, 2011–2013||25||34||.424||0||2|
|Ron James||2017||10||4||.714||1||1||AFL Coach of the Year (2017)|
|Final Tampa Bay Storm staff|
The Storm created an official cheerleading squad called the "Storm Cheerleaders."
The Tampa Bay Storm games were broadcast on Storm Radio, which was on 1250-AM WHNZ. The final radio play-by-play announcer was Darek Sharp, who was also a producer and broadcaster for AM 620 WDAE, and the radio color commentator was Ian Beckles.
The Massachusetts Marauders were a professional arena football team that was based in Worcester, Massachusetts. They were a member of the Arena Football League (AFL) from 1988 to 1994. The team was established in Detroit in 1988, as the Detroit Drive and was a member of the AFL in 1988 and in all subsequent years through 1993. The club then moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1994 and played in that city through the end of the 1994 season.
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 San Jose SaberCats were a professional arena football team based in San Jose, California. The SaberCats had been members of the Arena Football League (AFL) since 1995 ; and until 2015, they belonged to the AFL's National Conference. Over nineteen seasons of play, the SaberCats emerged as one of the Arena Football League's most successful franchises; at the conclusion of the 2015 season, the SaberCats boasted a lifetime regular season record of 198–98. Moreover, the SaberCats had won a total of four AFL Championships. Their lifetime postseason record stood at 19–12.
Lawrence 'Law Dogg' Samuels is an arena football coach and former wide receiver/linebacker. He played his college football at the Livingston University, and was an AFL wide receiver/linebacker from 1994 to 2010. He received both his Bachelor of Science degree in industrial technology and Master of Science degree in education from The University of West Alabama. He was head coach of the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League (AFL) from 2014 to 2016.
Clint Dolezel is an American football coach and former professional arena football player in the Arena Football League (AFL). He was named the inaugural head coach of the Frisco Fighters in the Indoor Football League before the 2020 season.
The Denver Dynamite were an arena football team based in Denver, Colorado. The team began play in 1987 as a charter member of the Arena Football League. The team was brought in by businessman Sidney Shlenker and the team achieved success instantly, winning the first ever ArenaBowl under future AFL Hall of Fame coach Tim Marcum. After sitting out the 1988 season, the Dynamite were purchased by investment banker Gary Graham for $125,000. Graham then hired former NFL and AFL coach Babe Parilli to lead the team. Under Parilli, the Dynamite would return to the playoffs every season, but failed to return to the ArenaBowl. After the 1991 season, the franchise was sued by their public relations firm and filed for bankruptcy. They played their home games at McNichols Sports Arena. The team's logo was a bundle of dynamite sticks with a burning fuse.
The Pittsburgh Power was a professional arena football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. The team belonged to the East Division of the American Conference (AC) in the Arena Football League (AFL). Founded in 2011, the Power was the youngest franchise in the AC. The team played its home games at the Consol Energy Center, which they shared with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. The Power shared the same color scheme as Pittsburgh's other professional sports teams, the Penguins, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League, and the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball.
The 2012 Arena Football League season was the 25th season in the history of the league. The regular season began on March 9, 2012 with a game between the Pittsburgh Power and the Orlando Predators and ended on July 22, 2012 with a game between the Utah Blaze and Philadelphia Soul. The Arizona Rattlers defeated the Philadelphia Soul by a 72–54 score in ArenaBowl XXV on August 10, 2012 to conclude the playoffs.
The 2013 Arena Football League season was the 26th season in the history of the league. The regular season began on March 23, 2013, with a five-game slate, the first of which to kick off being between the Utah Blaze and the Pittsburgh Power, and ended on July 27, 2013, with the Utah Blaze and Cleveland Gladiators as the last game to kick off. The Arizona Rattlers defeated the Philadelphia Soul by a 48–39 score in ArenaBowl XXVI to conclude the league's playoffs.
The 2013 Tampa Bay Storm season was the 26th season for the franchise in the Arena Football League, and their 22nd in the Tampa Bay area. The team was coached by Dave Ewart and played their home games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Storm lost their last seven regular season games but were still able to qualify for the playoffs. However, they were eliminated in the conference semifinals by the Jacksonville Sharks by a score of 69–62.
Tim Marcum was the greatest arena football coach in Arena Football League (AFL) history. He was the head coach of the AFL's Denver Dynamite in 1987, the Detroit Drive from 1988–1992 and the Tampa Bay Storm from 1995–2010. Marcum also served as an assistant coach in the NJCAA, NCAA, United States Football League, World Football League and the Arena Football League. Marcum head coached in eleven ArenaBowl championship games, winning seven. He is one of two men to win seven ArenaBowls ; he remains the only man to win seven ArenaBowls as a head coach. He was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 1998.
David Ewart is the assistant head coach for the Jacksonville Sharks of the National Arena League (NAL).
The 2014 Tampa Bay Storm season was the 27th season for the franchise in the Arena Football League, and their 23rd in the Tampa Bay area. The team was coached by Lawrence Samuels, following his promotion from offensive coordinator. They played their home games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Finishing the regular season with an 8–10 record, the Storm failed to reach the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.
The 2014 Cleveland Gladiators season was the 15th season for the franchise in the Arena Football League, and their fifth while in Cleveland. The team was coached by Steve Thonn and plays their home games at Quicken Loans Arena. By finishing the regular season with a 17–1 record, the Gladiators set a league record for wins in a single season.
Ron James is an American football coach who was most recently the head coach of the Atlantic City Blackjacks of the Arena Football League (AFL). He played college football at Siena College. He has been a football coach since 1986. Before becoming the Blackjacks' head coach for their inaugural 2019 season, James coached for the Las Vegas Gladiators from 2005 to 2006, the Utah Blaze from 2010 to 2013, the Pittsburgh Power in 2014, the Portland Steel in 2016, and the Tampa Bay Storm in 2017.
In 1987, businessman and then-owner of the Denver Nuggets Sidney Shlenker announced the forming of the Denver Dynamite. The franchise played in the inaugural four-team "demonstration" season of 1987. Despite the team and league's doubters, the Dynamite tied for the best record in the league with the Pittsburgh Gladiators, going 4-2.
Outside of the NFL, the city was represented by the Pittsburgh Americans of the second American Football League in 1936 and 1937. It was also be briefly represented by the Pittsburgh Maulers of the United States Football League, in 1984, and the Pittsburgh Gladiators, of the Arena Football League from 1987 until 1990. A second Arena Football League team, the Pittsburgh Power, played in the Consol Energy Center from 2011 until 2014.
Tampa Bay Storm owner Bob Gries said Wednesday that he intends to sell the franchise at the end of the season, but insisted the team would remain in the Tampa Bay area.