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Tampa Bay Storm
Tampa Bay Storm logo
Founded 1987
League AFL (1987-2009)
AF1 (2010-future)
Team History Pittsburgh Gladiators (1987-1990)
Tampa Bay Storm (1991-present)
Arena St. Pete Times Forum
Based in Tampa, Florida
Team colors Blue, Gold, White
Head Coach Tim Marcum
Championships 5: (AFL: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2003)
Division Titles 5: 1995, 1996,
1998, 1999, 2003
Mascot Storm Dawg

The Tampa Bay Storm is a member franchise of the Arena Football 1 league which begins play in 2010. They were also one of the founding members of the preceding Arena Football League, then known as the Pittsburgh Gladiators. They are also the last of the original four Arena Football League teams to still exist, marking them as the oldest team in the game's history. They have won five ArenaBowl championships in their existence. They are coached by Tim Marcum.

Contents

History

Along with their traditional rivalry, with the Orlando Predators, they share the Arena Football League record for the longest tenure by a franchise in a single market area. They are 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.

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Pittsburgh Gladiators (1987-1990)

Pittsburgh Gladiators Logo

The franchise was originally known as the Pittsburgh Gladiators, and were one of the original four AFL teams formed in 1987. The team was named by Robert Ninehouser whoes entry for the team name was selected in 1987. They originally played their home games at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Gladiators participated in ArenaBowls I and III, losing both.

Tampa Bay Storm (1991-2008)

The team moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Tampa, Florida in 1991, with the team taking on the "Storm" nickname. The Cleveland Arena Football League franchise now bears the Gladiators name, however, the two organizations share no link in history nor records.

The Storm won the ArenaBowl in their first season in Tampa Bay (V) and have 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.

T.B. Storm Logo (1991-1996)

The team played in the former Florida Suncoast Dome in St. Petersburg (now called Tropicana Field) from 1991-1996, becoming its first regular team sports tenant. Since 1997, the team has played its home games in the St. Pete Times Forum (previously the Ice Palace) which is located in Tampa.

The Storm competed in the Southern Division of the National Conference. They were coached by Tim Marcum, who is widely regarded as the greatest coach in Arena Football history.

The Storm had a heated rivalry with the Orlando Predators known as the War On I-4. Both teams have found success and have faced each other in the ArenaBowl and playoffs numerous times.

The team's current mascot is a dog named Storm Dawg.

On December 23, 2004, Sports Illustrated[1] wrote in its 'The 10 Spot' feature that the AFL's players' union filed a grievance against the Storm. The reason, 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 Pittsburgh Gladiators and the start of the Arena Football League.

The Storm followed a 9-7 season and first-round playoff exit in 2007 with an 8-8 finish in 2008. They salvaged the .500 record by defeating the Los Angeles Avengers 72-47 in Tampa. That was the Storm's last game as a member of the AFL. The Arena Football League cancelled their 2009 season over financial concerns, leaving it uncertain if the Storm would play another game.

New Future

A new arena football league, Arena Football 1, formed in 2009. The Storm were 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.[2].

These reports turned out to be true, as the AF1 has confirmed that the Tampa Bay Storm will return for the 2010 AF1 season, once again coached by Tim Marcum and this time owned by the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning.[3]

The AF1 released the schedule for their inaugural season on December 31, 2010. The Storm have been set to return during the opening weekend of the season on April 3, 2010.[4]

Storm highlights

  • In a 1996 playoff game against the Arizona Rattlers the Storm had the lead late in the game but the Rattlers came down the field and scored a touchdown with little time left on the clock. Rather than try to tie the game with an extra point, Rattlers coach Danny White elected to go for the win with the two point conversion. Quarterback Sherdrick Bonner was stopped short and the Storm won the game. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights this is ranked at number 10.
  • During a 1991 regular season game the Storm found themselves down 17 points against the Albany Firebirds. However they rallied late in the game to take a 57 - 53 lead. But it wasn't over yet the Firebirds had five seconds left to come up with the touchdown from midfield, the Storm won the game with an interception off of the nets. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown this is ranked #8.
  • ArenaBowl V found the Detroit Drive hosting the Tampa Bay Storm. With seconds left in the game quarterback Jay Gruden threw deep to Stevie Thomas in the endzone. It was complete and the Storm won the ArenaBowl. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown this is ranked number 5.
  • Stevie Thomas saves the Storm: During a 1995 semifinal game between Albany and Tampa Bay Albany took a late one point lead with seconds left on the clock. On the ensuing kickoff the Storm couldn't field the ball off the nets and Stevie Thomas found himself in the very back of the endzone. Thomas broke five tackles at once coming out of the endzone and went all the way for a touchdown to give the Storm the win 56-49. They later went on to capture the ArenaBowl. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown this is at #2.

Radio and television

The Tampa Bay Storm are broadcasted on Storm Radio, which has no affiliates only a flagship which is AM 620 WDAE. The radio play-by-play announcer is local radio icon Jack Harris, and the radio color commentator is Jason Dixon who is also the director of broadcasting for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bright House Sports Network owned and shown only on Bright House Networks broadcasts all the Storm home games. Drew Felios and Mark Royals are the broadcasters. Other games can also be seen on ESPN 2.

Season-by-season

Coaches

Pittsburgh Gladiators

Head coach Tenure Regular season
record (W-L)
Post season
record (W-L)
Most recent coaching staff Notes
Joe Haering 1987 - 1990 15-13[5] 0-3[5]
Darrel Jackson 1989 1-1[5] 1-1[5]

Tampa Bay Storm

Head coach Tenure Regular season
record (W-L)
Post season
record (W-L)
Most recent coaching staff Notes
Fran Curci 1991 8-2[6] 2-0[6] Arena Football League
Coach of the Year (1991).[6]
Lary Kuharich 1992 - 1994 25-9[7] 4-2[7] 1x ArenaBowl winning coach (VII).[7]
Tim Marcum 1995 - 2008 130-73[8] 14-9[8] Asst. Head Coach / Line
Coach / Dir. Player
Personnel: Dave Ewart
OC: Vacant
ST Coordinator / FB
/ LB Coach: Eddie Vowell
DL Coach: Pete Kuharchek
2x Arena Football League
Coach of the Year
(1987, 1998).
3x ArenaBowl winning coach
(in Tampa Bay only, seven overall)
(IX, X, XVII).[8]
Arena Football League
Hall of Fame (1998).[8]
Founder's Award winner (2001).[8]
Dave Ewart 2005 - 2006 3-2[9] 0-0[9] Served as head coach for two games
in 2005 and three in 2006 while
Marcum served suspension.

Notable players

AFL Hall of Famers

  • Jay Gruden
  • George LaFrance
  • Tim Marcum
  • Joe March
  • Craig Walls

References

External links


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