|League||Arena Football League|
|Team history||Columbus Thunderbolts (1991)|
|Based in||Columbus, Ohio (1991)
Cleveland, Ohio (1992-1994)
|Arena||Ohio Expo Center Coliseum (1991)
Richfield Coliseum (1992-1994)
|Head coach||Earle Bruce|
|General Manager||Jeff Kuczek|
|Playoff berths||1 (1992)|
The Cleveland Thunderbolts were an Arena football team based in Richfield, Ohio. The Thunderbolts were founded in 1991 and were a member of the Arena Football League (AFL), as the Columbus Thunderbolts and were based in Columbus, Ohio. In 1992, the franchise relocated to the Cleveland suburb of Richfield. The team played for 4 seasons making the playoffs just one time. They played their home games in the Richfield Coliseum. The team was owned by John Kuczek.
Established as the Columbus Thunderbolts and playing its home games at the Ohio Expo Center Coliseum, the team relocated to Cleveland after a winless single season in the Arena Football League in 1991.
Perhaps the highlight of the team's one year in Columbus was the play of quarterback Major Harris, who rushed for 429 yards during that season, an achievement given the predominance of passing in the play of the AFL. His record was broken however in 2005 when Michael Bishop ran for 459 yards.
They operated in the Cleveland area for three subsequent seasons, playing their home games in the suburban Richfield Coliseum, a considerable distance from downtown Cleveland, sharing it with the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association and the Cleveland Crunch of the National Professional Soccer League. The team did somewhat better than it had in Columbus and qualified for the playoffs in the 1992 season, but was disbanded after the 1994 campaign.
For 13 years, the city of Cleveland, Ohio was without an arena football team. For 2008, the Las Vegas Gladiators franchise moved to Cleveland and became the city's newest team.
The following Thunderbolts players have been named to All-Arena Teams:
- OL/DL Willie Fears (1)
Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 1994 Arena Football League season.
- The team appeared on the game EA Sports Arena Football as a hidden bonus team, as well as the sequel Arena Football: Road to Glory.
- "John Kuczek, insurance man, arena football owner". Pittsburgh Power-Gazette. February 6, 1995. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- Cleveland Thunderbolts on FunWhileItLasted.net
- AFL Official Website
- Columbus Thunderbolts at ArenaFan.com
- Cleveland Thunderbolts at ArenaFan.com