Orlando Predators

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Orlando Predators
Current season
Established 1991
Play in Orlando, Florida
Orlando Predators logo
Logo
League/conference affiliations

Arena Football League (1991–present)

  • National Conference (1993–2008)
  • American Conference (2010–present)
Team colors

Black, Red, Gold, White

                   
Mascot Klaw
Personnel
Owner(s) David A. Siegel
Head coach Rob Keefe
Team history
  • Orlando Predators (1991–present)
Team nicknames
Preds
Championships

League championships (2)

Conference championships (1)
2006

Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games

Division championships (7)

Playoff appearances (21)
1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014
Home arena(s)

The Orlando Predators are a professional arena football team based in Orlando, Florida, playing their home games at the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida. The team is part of the South Division of the American Conference (AC) of the Arena Football League (AFL). Orlando Predators LLC, a company owned by David A. Siegel, purchased the Orlando Predators in July 2014. Under the new ownership, the Predators will return to Amway Center for the 2015 season. The head coach is Rob Keefe.

The team was founded in 1991 as an expansion team of the AFL. The team advanced to the playoffs 19 consecutive seasons between 1992 and 2011, becoming the ArenaBowl champions in 1998 and 2000 during that span. Since then, the team has failed to produce a winning season, but has still made the playoffs during the 2013 season.

History[edit]

Early years (1991–1997)[edit]

The Orlando Predators franchise was awarded by the AFL to Davey Johnson, Tracy Allen and Mike McBath on February 14, 1991,[1] and began play that same year, the only year until 2012 that the franchise missed the playoffs. In just their second season however, they advanced to ArenaBowl VI,[2] only to fall to the Detroit Drive, who won their fourth title in five years. Annually among the league-leaders in attendance, they qualified for the playoffs in 18 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the original AFL. One noted administrator for the Predators was Pro Football Hall of Fame lineman, Jack Youngblood, who came to the Predators in 1995 as vice-president and then later, president of the organization. He was with the team through the 1999 season.

Gruden era / Two titles in 4 years (1998–2008)[edit]

For much of their existence in the original AFL their head coach was Jay Gruden, younger brother of prominent National Football League coach Jon Gruden. Jay Gruden was formerly an outstanding Arena Football quarterback, leading the Tampa Bay Storm to four ArenaBowl championships, and then served one year as offensive coordinator for the Nashville Kats prior to becoming head coach of the Predators. Jay was the first quarterback in the AFL Hall of Fame. Orlando won the ArenaBowl in 1998 and 2000 under Gruden's coaching. He then attempted a comeback as a player, but subsequently returned to coaching following the death of his head coach replacement, Fran Papasedero, in a car accident.

The Predators are undoubtedly one of the premier franchises in the history of the original AFL, and have a legendary rivalry with Tampa Bay, who moved to Tampa the same year the Predators formed. They have met twice in the ArenaBowl, with Tampa Bay winning in 1995 and Orlando winning in 1998. The rivalry, nicknamed the "War On I-4" after the interstate that connects the two cities, intensified when Gruden took over as Orlando's head coach.

Orlando and Tampa Bay have each lasted longer in their markets than any other AFL franchise. The Predators are unique in that they had played in their previous venue, Amway Arena, for 18 seasons in the AFL, longer than any other team. Amway Arena was often nicknamed "The Jungle" during Predators games due to the hostile environment from the fans, harsh smoke that fills the arena during the players intro, and a Guns N' Roses song which "welcomes" other teams followed by their impending death. They shared Amway Arena with the Orlando Magic of the NBA and the Orlando Titans of the NLL. The 2010 season was the Predators' 19th and final season at Amway Arena. The team will move to Amway Center, the new arena in Orlando, for the 2011 season. A Predators game was the final sporting event ever performed at Amway Arena. The Tampa Bay Storm can surpass that record of 19 seasons in one venue if they stay at the Tampa Bay Times Forum until 2018.

The team's current mascot is a monster-like human named Klaw who looks much like the alien (Predator) from the Predator films, with only different coloring.

The Predators have played in the ArenaBowl a total of seven times, more than any other current team. If you include the Pittsburgh Gladiators' two ArenaBowl games before they moved to Tampa Bay, the Storm is the only team that has more (eight; six as the Storm).

During the 2007 season, the Predators inaugurated the "Predator Fan Hall Of Fame". The inaugural inductees are Nancy Morris & Richard Grabe. Morris, who has been a superfan for almost sixteen years, is known to most of the team and the front office as "The PredMom", and is currently the president of the Orlando Predator In Your Face Fan Club. Grabe, who has been a superfan since 1991, is the creator of the "PredHeads" that are seen worn by a select group of fans that sat in section 113 of the old Amway Arena, they're also known for their tailgating parties on "Predator Island" (located in the northeast corner of lot 4 of the centroplex). After moving to the new Amway Center, the majority of "PredHeads" sit in section 114, and tailgate under I-4 in lot 9.

Revival of AFL (2010–present)[edit]

The Predators maintained their organization and web presence after the AFL suspended operations in August 2009. On September 28, 2009, the Predators announced their return to play for the 2010 season as a member of the new Arena Football 1 league, until that league purchased the AFL's assets and assumed the AFL's history.[3] With Jay Gruden obligated to the UFL by his contract with the Tuskers, eventually becoming the team's head coach, they hired former quarterback Pat O'Hara as their head coach for the 2010 season.[4] When the schedule for the league's season was announced on December 31, 2009, the Predators were slated to return to action on April 9, 2010.[5] In the 2010 season, the Predators finished with an 8–8 record. They qualified for the playoffs, but lost the conference championship to the Tampa Bay Storm by a single point as a last-second field goal attempt was unsuccessful.

In 2011, the Predators finished the regular season 11–7, but fell to the Jacksonville Sharks in the conference semifinals by a score of 63–48.

With a 4–14 record in 2012 under first-year head coach Bret Munsey, the Predators missed the playoffs for the first time since their inaugural season in 1991. Following the end of the season, Munsey was released as head coach.[6]

Under Doug Plank for the 2013 season, the Predators lost their first five games of the season. It was then that the team acquired veteran quarterback Aaron Garcia in a trade with the San Jose SaberCats. The Predators went on to win seven of their remaining thirteen games following the trade to finish the season with a 7–11 record, which was good enough to clinch a playoff berth. However, they were eliminated in the conference semifinals by the Philadelphia Soul. With two weeks remaining during the regular season, Brett Bouchy sold his controlling interest in the team to The Pearsall Holdings LP for an undisclosed amount.[7] Plank retired following the season.[8]

The Predators moved to CFE Arena in 2014,[9] after the Amway Center informed the team that they had defaulted on their lease for failing to meet attendance requirements.[10] On December 25, 2013, the Predators announced that Rob Keefe would be come the 7th coach in franchise history.[11] In May 2014, it was announced that majority owner David Pearsall had sold the team to an undisclosed ownership group,[12] but the team was taken over by the AFL. In July, 2014, reports began to surface that David A. Siegel had purchased the franchise with the intent to move the team back into the Amway Center.[13] On July 15, 2014, Siegel confirmed his purchase of the Predators.[14]

Predator highlights[edit]

The Predators made Arena Football League history in consecutive weeks during the 1992 season:

  • On June 13, 1992, the team defeated the San Antonio Force 50–0. San Antonio kicker Matt Frantz missed six field goals. This is the first game shutout in the history of indoor football. Although there have been shutouts in af2 and other indoor football leagues, it proved to be the only shutout ever recorded in the original AFL.[15]
  • On Friday, June 19, 1992, in a Week 4 road game against the Detroit Drive, quarterback Ben Bennett and the Predators trailed 42–32 with only 49 seconds left. In a miraculous feat of strength, Wide receiver / Defensive back Barry Wagner would catch two touchdown passes, get two two-point conversions, recover an onside kick, and made a game-ending tackle. With a safety added in, Orlando would win, 50–49. The comeback would become known as "The Miracle Minute". On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this comeback ranked #1.[16]

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Orlando Predators roster
Quarterbacks

Fullbacks

  • Currently vacant

Wide receivers

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Kickers

Refuse to Report

Injury reserve

Other league exempt list

League suspension

Inactive reserve

  • Currently vacant

Recallable reassignment

  • Currently vacant

Rookies in italics
Roster updated July 22, 2014
23 Active, 14 Inactive

More rosters

Arena Football Hall of Famers[edit]

Orlando Predators Hall of Famers
No. Name Year Inducted Position(s) Years w/ Predators
84 Carl Aikens, Jr. 2000 WR/DB 1992–1993
5 Ben Bennett 2000 QB 1991–1995
7 Jay Gruden 1999 QB 2002–2003
Perry Moss 2000 Head Coach 1991–1997
29 Durwood Roquemore 1999 WR/DB 1991–1996
 ?? Reggie Smith 2002 WR/DB 1991
 ?? Stevie Thomas 2011 WR/LB 2000
82 Barry Wagner 2011 WR/DB 1992–1997, 2007
 ?? Herkie Walls 2000 WR/DB 1991–1996

Individual awards[edit]

All-Arena players[edit]

The following Predators players have been named to All-Arena Teams:

All-Ironman players[edit]

The following Predators players have been named to All-Ironman Teams:

All-Rookie players[edit]

The following Predators players have been named to All-Rookie Teams:

Staff[edit]

Head coaches[edit]

Note: Statistics are correct through Week 18 of the 2014 Arena Football League season.

Name Term Regular Season Playoffs Awards
W L T Win% W L
Perry Moss 19911997 59 25 0 .702 8 8 1992 & 1994 AFL Coach of the Year
Jay Gruden 19982001, 20042008 82 54 0 .603 11 7
Fran Papasedero 20022003 19 11 0 .633 3 2
Pat O'Hara 20102011 19 15 0 .559 1 2
Bret Munsey 2012 4 14 0 .222 0 0
Doug Plank 2013 7 11 0 .389 0 1
Rob Keefe 2014–present 9 7 0 .563 0 0

Current staff[edit]

Orlando Predators staff
Front Office
  • Owner – David A. Siegel
  Head Coach

Offensive Coaches

Defensive Coaches

Season-by-season[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Arena Football Adds Orlando". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. February 14, 1991. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ Arthur R. Brown Jr. (August 22, 1992). "Predators strive for win over Drive in ArenaBowl tonight". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  3. ^ Orlando Predators Back for 2010 Season
  4. ^ http://www.cfnews13.com/Sports/CentralFloridaSportsReport/2009/12/22/ohara_to_coach_orlando_predators_in_2010.html
  5. ^ 2010 Schedule Released
  6. ^ "Predators Announce the Release of Head Coach Bret Munsey". Orlando Predators. August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ Richard Bilbao (July 18, 2013). "Bouchy sells equity in Orlando Predators". www.bizjournals.com. American City Business Journals. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 
  8. ^ David Pingalore (November 7, 2103). "Doug Plank resigns as Predators head coach". www.clickorlando.com. WKMG - Orlando. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ Mark Schlueb (December 5, 2013). "Orlando Predators leaving downtown to play at UCF". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  10. ^ March Schlueb (September 4, 2013). "Orlando Predators lose their Amway Center lease". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Orlando hires ex-Shock coach Keefe". www.spokesman.com. The Spokesman-Review. December 25, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  12. ^ Alicia DelGallo (May 13, 2014). "Predators seek new ownership, deny report league has taken over team". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  13. ^ Alicia DelGallo (July 8, 2014). "David Siegel reportedly buys Preds, seeks team's return to Amway Center". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ Alicia DelGallo (July 15, 2014). "Time-share mogul David Siegel confirms purchase of Orlando Predators". www.orlandosentinel.com. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  15. ^ Richard Oliver (June 17, 2012). "Force's 50–0 loss 20 years ago stands alone". www.mysanantonio.com. Hearst Communications Inc. Retrieved December 26, 2013. 
  16. ^ http://www.arenafootball.com/mediaPlayer/video.dbml?DB_MENU_ID=&SPSID=38064&SPID=3172&DB_OEM_ID=3500&CLIP_ID=31848&CLIP_FILE_ID=35915&CONTENT_TYPE=ONDEMAND

External links[edit]