Blah blah blah, teams that don’t play in arena football anymore. “Hilarity” ensues.
Check out my chronological crutch and play along at home. Today: More 1992 expansion, and a little of ’94.
Remember, I’m grading the uniforms/logos on The Scale of the Bizarre, where higher numbers are more physically painful.
Cincinnati Rockers (1992-93):
Last I checked, Cleveland was the home of the Rock and/or Roll Hall of Fame, and notable Cincinnatians that could be considered “Rockers” were… well I’ll let the facts speak for themselves. I’m not counting 98 Degrees (specifically Nick Lachey), nor am I counting Blessid Union of Souls, because “Hey Leonardo” made me want to rip my eyes out that summer. A summer which was a full 6 years after the AFL team collapsed. A summer in which I recall making some really questionable decisions. So, unless you’re referring to the Isley Brothers – a) R&B artists, and b) with that logo, I’m certain you’re not – you’re making up this concept of Cincinnati Rockers. The only other argument that you could possibly raise is that Bootsy Collins and original lead singer of Jefferson Airplane have Cincinnati roots. Well, Bootys Collins is funk and I’m not changing my rant just because Jefferson Airplane wrote “We Built This City On Rock and Roll.” I’m just not going to. This team had one good season of 7-3, with a flameout in the playoffs to the Tampa Bay Storm, and then a season of 2-10, which apparently was enough to simply give up, because really, one city can’t support two wretched football squadrons.
- You May Have Heard Of: Well, I already brought up Art Schlicter in the Detroit Drive bit, but he also played for Cincinnati. Ira Hillary played for the Bengals’ Super Bowl teams, so at least he didn’t have to move… That’s all I’ve got.
- Logo: Yeesh. Nothing like electric yellow and bright green, and University of Oregon is their spiritual heir in that regard. Other than that, at least the typeface is unique. 8/10. Really grotesque, guys.
Charlotte Rage (1992-96):
A 24-38 historical record is not as heinous as some of the clearly moribund institutions, and their attendance, while not mind-blowing, was sturdy. However, as rumblings about NFL expansion to the area became more realistic, culminating in the Panthers showing up, my theory is that it was hard to get fired up about a 5-9 team in a freaky-deaky sub-league. The average home attendance in 1996 was 6,851; comparatively speaking, their road attendance was a respectable 10,582.
- You May Have Heard Of: Man, this is brutal. I found myself hoping that Riley Ware was the brother of Andre Ware, so I’d have something. That’s pitiful. I’m going to make a stillfootball e-mail address, so people can send us tips, because this is a desert of names.
- Logo: What makes up for a total lack of information on a team no one cares about is the fact that they have one of the silliest logos in all of sports. Supposedly, it’s “an enraged bull which was both snorting fire and surrounded by it,” but really, it’s a bull with a nosebleed. A rather explosive nosebleed, I might add. I’m delighted by this, and I can’t be the only one who thinks that nosebleeds are hilarious. But really? This logo is WRETCHED. And, it’s one of the main reasons that I’m rating these logos at all. You wrecked the curve, Charlotte. 11/10.
Fort Worth Cavalry (1994):
Great name, good logo, to say that no one gave a shit was an understatement (4918 average attendance). Apparently, that lack of attendance was due to the fact that they played in a convention center that was totally unsuited to sporting events, but I’d also chalk it up to the general disinterest in Dallas-area football teams that aren’t the Cowboys. Sorry, one-year wonder. You sucked.
- You May Have Heard Of: Journeymen Todd Hammel and Kyle Mackey have played QB for a zillion teams, including extreeeeemely briefly in the NFL. But that’s about it.
- Logo: I really am fond of the Cavalry’s logo. Finally, a decent typographical choice, combined with the cavalryman looks pretty good. I can’t vouch for what the unis were like, but if they stole from the University of Wyoming Cowboys, it’s probably pretty ugly. It looks like they went with navy and brown, though, which is okay with me. I have no idea what’s up with the cape; it’s like Alexandre Dumas meets George Custer. (By the way, I’m referring to Monsieur Dumas’ writing, not his own huge self.) Whatever. I like it. There’s crossed swords on the helmet, which I am always, always down with. Too bad nobody cared, Fort Worth, because you’re my favorite logo so far. 2/10.
Las Vegas Sting (1994-95)/Anaheim Piranhas (1996-97):
Wait, Las Vegas played at the MGM Grand Garden and moved? Really? Why would you do that? The only thing I can think of is that the league was struggling for legitimacy and to avoid the perception that they were going all pro-wrestling, they had to distance themselves from casinos and sportsbooks. But really, what other sporting endeavor is better-suited to the ADD of Vegas? You have shiny things, explosions, short-attention-span-theater, and sports. On which you can wager. It’s Las Vegas. They abridge Broadway musicals. People don’t go there for quality. They go there for quantity. Was this idea just ahead of its time? At least the Las Vegas Gladiators are moving off of the UNLV campus. It’s not the MGM Grand, but I guess it’s something. Anaheim seemed like a good idea at the time, especially being able to share the Arrowhead Pond with the Mighty Ducks; if hockey could sell, why not Arena Football? Because it’s apparently obscenely expensive to do anything in the LA are, much less try to run a sports team. Also, it didn’t help that the owner became commissioner of the league, and didn’t feel like running the league and the team. I’m worn out from being mad about screwing up Las Vegas so badly.
- You May Have Heard Of: I mean, honestly. Las Vegas.Even if you’re hemorrhaging money, get an investor from a casino. Get people in the friggin’ casino/stadium/whatever. Have the games visible from part of the casino floor. You’re the AFL – who cares about perceived integrity. How about some people perceiving your wacky sport. Oh, players? Mark Grieb was a rookie with the Piranhas. He currently plays for San Jose, where he set a record for passing yards in a season last year.
- Logo: I’m really, really disappointed. I mean the Las Vegas Gladiators makes sense. Pageantry, angry people, bread and circuses, etc. Manly stuff. It’s a caricature, but you’re in Vegas. You can bank on that sort of caricature to make you lots and lots of money. You don’t bank on happy cartoon bees. Half a point is redeemed for going with a gold and purple motif, instead of a black and gold striped thing; that would’ve been awful. 7.5/10 As for the Piranhas… it’s fine, I guess. However, the helmet with a bite taken out of the A is delightful. Well done, Anaheim. If you had survived long enough, your bizarre logo would eventually be filed under “A” for “Anachronisms, humorous,” like the Twin Cities guys, that Beer Barrel Gentleman from Milwaukee, and that weird St. Louis Browns elf. 5/10.
Milwaukee Mustangs (1994-2001):
I’m tempted to just steal this directly from Wikipedia, because I knew nothing about this team other than they made the decision to match what the Bucks looked like in 1994, and the world regrets ever thinking that light-ish purple and teal was a good idea. It’s horrific. But apparently, the Packers used to play a game or two in Milwaukee and the cheeseheads loved it. The Packers decided they weren’t going to do that anymore, because Green Bay is clearly exciting enough. I know when I think about getting crunk, I think about Green Bay. Anyhoo, with this decision, the AFL said “here’s a void, let’s fill it.” And then they walked into a bar, asked the bartender for a double entendre and he gave it to them. The Mustangs averaged 13,900 in attendance for the life of the franchise. I may have mentioned that their contemporaries (Fort Worth, Vegas, etc.) were pulling half that on a good day. But, in the grand turn-of-the-century fad of screwing up, the Mustangs couldn’t secure their arena after the 2001 season, and they were forced to fold. Even the successful teams can’t catch a break.
- You May Have Heard Of: Bret Bielma. He had one tackle in 1994, but now he’s Head
DouchebagCoach of the Wisconsin Badgers. Oh, settle down, I kid, I kid. If not for Pat X-TREME Fitzgerald, he’d have been the youngest coach in the Big Ten at age 36. So, that’s impressive. Matt D’Orazio played for about 15 seconds in 2000 as a Mustangs rookie, vanished for 5 years, and now plays for the Rush. We asked him questions last week.
- Log..oh, dear: Wow, this was a bad choice. Is this a trucking company, or a sports team? And I understand that teal was cool in the 90’s. So was purple. Together? Yikes. If thisis any indication, it was bad times all around. I mean, I did my damndest once to defend purple to Paul Lucas, who has made it his crusade to rid sports of the color, but useage like that makes that battle extremely difficult. Screw you, Milwaukee. 9.8/10, because a) it’s ugly, and b) you make it hard to like purple, so now it’s personal.
Damn, that last one had a lot of links. Enjoy that, cube-dwellers. Hm. I should really pick UniWatch’s brain at some point, for more AFL-related heinousness. I’m sure he has some strong opinions. His outstanding interview with The Colorist is treeeeeemendous, and references the AFL a couple of times. It happened in February, but if you missed it the first time, it’s worth a look. Hot damn – we might have our first entry in the Lazy Man’s Post: The Link Dump. That’s what we’re doing wrong! We’re not pimping enough other blogs! Too bad this information is buried at the bottomest bottom of the longest post in the history of forever! I don’t even know what we’re yelling about! Exclamation points! I’m out!