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 III, set in the Wild West, with the B Plot involving Christopher Lloyd falling for Mary Steenburgen.
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.
Detroit Drive (1988-93)/Massachusets Marauders (1994):
I mentioned this way back in A Brief History, but it bears repeating: Mike Ilich is a bastard. In fact, that’s how I’m going to tag this post. The Little Caesar’s Czar (like how I did that?) operated what could’ve been the cornerstone of the Arena League, and then bought the Tigers and exiled the Drive to Massachusetts. Intriguingly, the franchise was born out of the Washington Commandos (um, so I was wrong about the South Pacific thing), was the Drive for a few years, became the Marauders, the owners got into an altercation with the AFL Commissioner, spent 3 years in bankruptcy, got bought by a group that wanted to put a team in Grand Rapids, and quasi-became the Rampage. So, there’s your travels of the Detroit Drive. The Drive appeared in every Arena Bowl during their existence, and had an average attendance of over 14,000. They could’ve been the Yankees, the Cowboys, or the Red Wings of Arena Football, but Mike Ilitch would prefer you go have a gander at what Alan Trammell was up to in cavernous Tiger Stadium. Tangent: I wish it were “Cavernous Tiger” Stadium, because that makes me laugh, inexplicably. Where was I? Oh, yes. So, he shipped off the Drive to Massachusetts, and there was this vaguely-referenced “altercation” that I can’t seem to find any more data on. Teachers reading this blog: use me as a bad example of what happens when you don’t do real research using primary sources. You sound like a nitwit. I hope that the new owners and the AFL commissioner got into a fight while playing Risk about who turned in cards last, and the owners got fed up, and flipped the board over, and the commissioner took the franchise away.
- You May Have Heard Of: I’ve already had my say about Mike Ilich. So… George LaFrance, offensive specialist, played in the Arena League for 12 years, which is pretty impressive. But much more fun is the story of Art Schlicter, a credit to The Ohio State University. Drafted 4th overall in 1982, he was a wildly successful college quarterback, and (as it turned out) a wildly unsuccsessful pro quarterback, gambler, and forger. The good news is, he’s getting his life back together.
- Logo: Here we go, you classy devils. I ordinarily get a kick out of the Star Trek: The Next Generation/ESPNall-caps-with-bits-removed italic font, but it has to stay bold to work. When you reduce your line weight, like you do here, it looks… sissy, and wierd. On the whole, the logo’s pretty simple, and really sort of classy. You can see how it woul’d been pretty cool in the early 90’s. If they had hung around, maybe the teal-and-bright-orange color scheme might have been mellowed, like the fruity Buccanneer’s logo was. But we’ll never know, will we? The Marauder’s logo, on the other hand, is the same kind of lame-ass-high-school-graphic-design-class cartoon that’s all over the place in the AFL. 3/10 for the Drive, 7/10 for the Marauders. P.S. Ilich, your pizza sucks.
Dallas Texans (1990-1993):
I really exhausted a lot of my vitriol on the Drive up there. But come on, Texas teams: how many times can you name your teams Texans? (Answer: 5, including the Tarleton State University teams, and the San Antonio Texans, a Canadian Football League team. Which makes no sense.) Random naming obsessions aside, the Texans were less interesting than any Texans that came before or after. At least current Houston fans get to enjoy watching Matt Schaub place himself in mortal danger weekly behind their matador-based o-line.
- You may have heard of: Todd Hammel, that wily veteran out of Stephen F. Austin, currently plays for the Crush… and Gary Compton has an excellent picture. I’m pretty sure this is somebody’s high school yearbook photo. Hee.
- Logo: You know what, Texans? And by “Texans,” I mean, “All People of Texas”? I actually like your dumb flag, because if it could talk, it would say “Haw, haw, United States of America. We’ll still pretend to be our own republic, and put our flag on anything that’ll take it, because we’re Texas, and we’re different. But no so different that we’ll pick different symbols, because a star, some stripes, and red-white-and-blue works for us too.” I don’t really know what I’m trying to say there. 3/10.
Albany Firebirds (1990-2000), Indianapolis Firebirds (2001-2004):
Albany got to be the first city to host an AFL team for 10 full years. Of course, their reward was that the Firebirds would immediately move to Indianapolis. Which, apparently couldn’t support two professional football teams. Who knew? The burgeoning metropolis of Indianapolis? I would expect them to have two football teams, the Pacers, and 4 baseball teams! And a hockey team or two. What with being so successful and all… Anyway. They were Arena Bowl XIII champions, which is nice, and brought joy to the people of Albany. Now they have to be content with being the capitol of New York State. Whoop-de-doo. Also, they had something to do with a Scout Night Sleepover, which sounds like an awful idea.
- You May Have Heard of: Raymond Philyaw, currently of the Kansas City Brigade, was a rookie in Albany in 1996. David Patten, formerly of the New England Patriots and Washington Redskins, also played for Albany that year. He, however, moved on, where Mr. Philyaw did not. Sorry, Ray. Oh, and continuing the Law & Order AFL theme we have going, Adrian McPherson played for the Firebirds after being accused of forging checks while at Florida State, gambling on Seminoles games, and deciding against transferring to Tennessee State because they wouldn’t let him play football for some reason. Or, if you prefer, before he played left bench for the Saints, and got run over by a giant raccoon. And then sued said golf-cart-driving-racoon. So, yeah, in between the forging/gambling/quitting college, and the actual NFL he played for Albany. And hopefully didn’t participate in the sleepover.[Update: It has just come to my attention that he is currently playing for the Austin Wranglers. So, I probably should’ve waited until their BKaT capsule. Tough.]
- Logo: First of all, the Indiana version of the logo looks like the sign for an amusement park ride. The firebird itself is giving a stiff-arm, and is really quite susceptible to having the ball it’s carrying in its right wing being stripped. Possibly by the words “Indiana Firebirds.” You have to protect the rock, you stupid bird. Albany had two logos, which were pretty cool and abstract. You can kind of tell how it applied to the helmet here, though you have to navigate down the page a bit. Plus you get to see how goofy the bird looks on the helmet. Here’s the 1995-1998 logo, which I also like. So: First Logo = 2/10, for being abstract and classy, second logo = 3/10, because it got kind of blotchy, third logo = 7/10 for being that dumb-ass bird cartoon. I don’t want to ride the Indiana Firebird roller coaster, and stop looking at me out of the corner of your eye, asshole.
Whew. That’s all for this installment, but check back for part IV, wherein I gloss over the Columbus Thunderbolts, make a little bit of fun of the New Orleans Night, and recalibrate the lameness scale for the Sacramento Attack and what they became. Also, I learned today that I can’t spell Massachusetts.