The most useful information we could provide for the now in-progress season would be a little synopsis of the teams that play in the Arena Football League. So, clearly, I’m going to do something different. I’m going to choose teams that are no longer in the league, and mock them incessantly.
You might want to have this handy-dandy chronological chart open in another window, because it’s my cheat sheet, and it’s awesome. Now, Part IV.
Oh, and don’t forget: The logos are graded on the Freaky Scale, where 1/10 is snazzy and classy, and you’d wear it to the Oscars and 10/10 is nausea-inducing and you wouldn’t wear it to the Cable ACE awards.
Columbus Thunderbolts (1991)/Cleveland Thunderbolts (1992-94):
Terrible in all aspects of existing. A zero-win inaugural season in Columbus got them moved to Cleveland, where they continued to be miserable, making the playoffs once and never, ever fielding a winning team. Their sole redeeming quality is that all AFL drop-kick records are held by a Thunderbolt, Kicker Brian Mitchell. You get four points for a drop kick! Do it all the time! I command it. I’m really pissed you don’t have the drop-kick option in the Arena Football video game.
- You May Have Heard Of: Well, the aforementioned Brian Mitchell, if you are (as I am), a drop-kick afficianado. Failing that, QB Major Harris set the AFL rushing record in 1991 with 429 yards, a record which stood until 2005, when Michael Bishop broke it with 30 more yards in 6 additional games. Currently, Harris, Major Applewhite, John Major, and Major Dad are part of the band “Major Major Major Major.” All of their songs are based on Catch-22.
- Logo: Oh, my. Was there even any discussion on this? Or did somebody just say “Okay, the mock-up looks good enough, I think we’re done here. Who wants a scotch?” Redeeming factor: the helmets use the thunderbolt business in kind of a non-traditional way. Of course, it meets at the front, so it looks like angry eyebrows. I really can’t help you, Cleveland. Your font, plus the composition, plus… everything gets you our highest score so far. 9/10. You should be ashamed.
New Orleans Night (1991-92):
There was a ton wrong with this team, starting with the fact that their two-year record was 4-16, including a winless final season. The expansion of 1991 was risky, and the further expansion of 1992 was murderous to individual teams in the AFL. For the league, it was great - they got some capital and some exposure. But to teams like the Night, the Columbus incarnation of the Thunderbolts, Denver, and the to-be-mentioned Sacramento, San Antonio and Cincinatti teams, there wasn’t any sort of stability. I’m honestly torn on whether or not to think that the “Night” is a stupid name or not. I like conceptual, singular, out-of-the-ordinary mascots/emblems, like the Cardinal or the Crimson Tide. On the whole, it’s weird and amusing, but the Night? Is that intimidating? Is it implying that New Orleans at night is a dangerous place? I don’t know, I can’t decide. Though, I did a Google image search on New Orleans Night, and I turned up a dead body. Great. Good news: they referred to the Superdome as the Thunderdome for no discernable reason, which is really hilarious. So, bravo, Night.
- You May Have Heard Of: The Night, AKA “evening,” AKA “Gettin’ Down Time.” There are no players on this team worth mentioning. Seriously, I recognize no one. Good. We can go straight into…
- Logo: Whee! The actual logo is pretty ordinary. Reasonable, even. It looks kind of like what you’d find on the front door of a bar that features “dueling pianos,” but we’ll let that slide. Let us then focus on the greatness that was the uniforms. Ladies and Gentlemen, cast your memory back to 1991 and think of what was awesome at the time. Did you think of Zubaz? Well, you’re in luck, because the Night
had the only Zubas-designed attire in professional sports!got there first. Additional research by my co-editor turned up some delightful screencaptures of another Zubaz’d team (Tampa Bay Storm, I believe), that I can’t seem to upload from The Bankingdrome. Phooey. [J Fizzle says: check them out here and here] Either way, let’s get to the judging. Between their “good idea at the time” Zubaz, their lounge-y logo, and the fact that their colors are described as “Midnight Blue, Sunset Orange, and Moonlight White,” they recieve our first perfect 10/10. It’s a perfect storm of revolting.
Sacramento Attack (1992), Miami Hooters (1993-95), Florida Bobcats (1996-2001):
Let’s ignore the Sacramento Attack, because it can be agreed upon that they were a Bad Idea. Much more entertaining is the Miami Hooters. Yes, indeed, the Miami Hooters. Sponsored by your Miami-area Hooters restaraunts. Seriously! I’m not making this up. Also, I’d like to share that a Google Image search for “Miami Hooters” is a really good idea
at work. Another mediocre team – who won games in this period? Did they all just lose a lot? Somebody had to win, but I couldn’t tell you who. (Get it? “Who?” “Hoo?” Fine.) ANYway, once the bizarre marketing contract ran out, they moved to West Palm Beach, because retirees are totally the Arena League’s demographic, where they became the Bobcats, and played in a tiny arena or random-ass neutral sites such as Kanata, Ontario, and Lakeland, Florida. They drew 3000 spectators when they plated in Los Angeles vs. the Arizona Rattlers, where they were the “home team.” Fortunately, the NHL decided to move a team to Florida, and the Bobcats and Panthers shared a space. Stunningly, this failed to save them, and two years later, they folded with a cumulative record of 40-92.
- You May Have Heard of: WR Mark Super Duper. You’ll note that I didn’t put “Super” in quotes; Mr. Duper actually legally changed his name late in his NFL career, which spanned from 1982-92. He played in 1994 with the Hooters, a year wherein they used 4 different kickers. Or, perhaps Bobcats QB Fred McNair, older brother of Steve…
- Logo: All right, let’s get the Sacramento logo out of the way immediately. There were clearly no expectations set on this franchise. 5/10. Most boring possible. I already mentioned that the Miami Hooters. Hooters logo plus goalposts! Brilliant! Classy! Orange! I’m going to die laughing, which I don’t think was the point. 7/10. Even more hilariously, the Bobcats originally went with a happy bobcat logo. They changed to an equally-ludicrously drawn angry bobcat when they moved into the BankAtlantic Center in ’99. Now, I have to ask, what’s wrong with that football in the background? It’s a rugby ball, basically. And they fall prey to the same bizarre typography decisions that everybody else does. Yuck. Happy bobcat 8/10, Angry bobcat 7/10.
San Antonio Force (1992):
Ahahahahahahahaha… Statistics of note: 1st team to be shut out (50-0, at Orlando), 4-34 on field goals, 1 season (2-8), and a baffling 12,015 average attendance. They sucked, but they drew a crowd.
- You May Have Heard of: No one. These guys sucked. But, if you run into Tim Lasher, Matt Frantz, or Scott Segrist, please, feel free to challenge them to a kicking contest. You’ll win.
- Logo: As uninspiring as the team. 10/10, because they ought to have been embarassed for ever showing up. Nobody should ever wear this team’s logo or garb. This was a miserable experience for San Antonio. Yeesh. Let’s forget this ever happened. Hey, did you hear that the Miami team was the Hooters? Yeah! I know! Hahahahahaha…