Los Angeles Cobras

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Los Angeles Cobras
Founded 1988
Folded 1988
League Arena Football League
Based in Los Angeles, California
Arena Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Colors Navy, Goldenrod, White
Head coach Ray Willsey
General Manager Mike Hope
Playoff berths 1 (1988)

The Los Angeles Cobras were a professional arena football team based in Los Angeles, California that played one season (1988) in the Arena Football League.


Los Angeles Cobras helmet logo 1988.png

On March 16, 1988, it was announced that team would be nicknamed the Cobras, as well as the introduction of head coach Ray Willsey.[1] The Cobras played their home games at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, which they shared with the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association. The team's logo consisted of an interlocking "LA" in which the left upright of the "A" was formed by the hooded head and "neck" of a cobra.

The team debuted April 30, 1988 against the New York Knights.[2] The Cobras started the season 0-3,[3] but finished the season 5-3-1, clinching a playoff spot.[4]

Despite a lineup that featured former NFL all-pro receiver Cliff Branch, ex-UCLA quarterback Matt Stevens[5] and future Arena Football Hall of Famer Gary Mullen, Los Angeles drew dismal crowds: just 7,507 per game, second-worst in the AFL.[4] The Cobras lost in the semifinals to the Chicago Bruisers, 29-16.[6] It turned out to be their last game ever as the Cobras (as well as the New York Knights and the New England Steamrollers) folded after the 1988 season, temporarily cutting the league down to just three teams.

The Arena Football League returned to Los Angeles in 2000 with the Los Angeles Avengers, who folded in 2009. In 2014, the Los Angeles KISS began play in Anaheim, California.

Notable players[edit]


1988 Los Angeles Cobras roster

Wide Receivers/Defensive Backs

Running Backs/Linebackers

Offensive Linemen/Defensive Linemen

Wide Receivers/Linebackers


Rookies in italics
Roster updated February 5, 2013
28 Active, 0 Inactive, 0 PS

More rosters

Arena Football League Hall of Famers[edit]

Los Angeles Cobras Hall of Famers
No. Name Year Inducted Position(s) Years w/ Cobras
1 Gary Mullen 1995 WR/DB 1988

All-Arena players[edit]

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

Notable coaches[edit]

Head Coaches[edit]

Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 1988 Arena Football League season.

Name Term Regular Season Playoffs Awards
W L T Win% W L
Ray Willsey 1988 5 6 1 .458 0 1


Head coach: Ray Willsey
Assistant coach: Lew Erber
Running back & special teams coach: Russ Steele
Football operations coordinator: Larry Westbrook
Trainer: Nick Ortenzo
Equipment manager: Marty Hopkins


Season W L T Finish Playoff results
1988 5 6 1 4th Lost Week 1 (Chicago 29-16)
Totals 5 7 1 (including playoffs)


  • The Cobras are also featured in the film Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects starring Charles Bronson. One scene takes place during a Cobras/Bruisers game, presumably the final regular season contest played July 14, 1988 (this game also had the distinction of ending 37-37, making it the first tie game in arena football history). The film was released in early 1989.
  • The Cobras were also featured as an unlockable team in EA Sports' Arena Football.


  1. ^ Lonnie White (March 17, 1988). "Arena Football : Ray Willsey Will Coach L.A.'s Cobras". www.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ Lonnie White (April 30, 2013). "Cobras, Arena Football Make L.A. Debut Tonight". www.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ Lonnie White (May 21, 1988). "Now, Matt Stevens' Job Is to Turn the Cobras Around". www.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Lonnie White (July 23, 1988). "L.A. Is a Tough Arena for Indoor Football : Cobras Are Still Making Some Gains Despite Competition for Sports Dollar". www.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ Lonnie White (April 6, 1988). "Branch, Stevens Head Cobra Picks". www.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Box Score LA @ Chicago July 23, 1988". www.arenafan.com. ArenaFan. Retrieved September 23, 2013. 

External links[edit]