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Pittsburgh Gladiators

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Title: Pittsburgh Gladiators  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Arena Football League, Arena football, Massachusetts Marauders, Tampa Bay Storm, Chicago Bruisers, Washington Commandos, Whit Taylor, Civic Arena (Pittsburgh), Gladiator (disambiguation), Rich Ingold
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pittsburgh Gladiators

Tampa Bay Storm
Current season
Established 1987
Play in Tampa Bay Times Forum
in Tampa Bay, Florida
Tampa Bay Storm logo
League/conference affiliations

Arena Football League (1987–present)

  • National Conference (1993-2008)
  • American Conference (2010-present)
    • South (1991, 1995–2008, 2010-present)
Current uniform
Team colors Blue, Gold, White


Mascot Storm Dawg
Owner(s) Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment
Chairman Jeffrey Vinik[1]
President Derrick Brooks
Head coach Lawrence Samuels
Team history
  • Pittsburgh Gladiators (1987-1990)
  • Tampa Bay Storm (1991–present)
League championships (5)

1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2003

Conference championships (0)

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

Division championships (5)
Playoff appearances (22)
1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013
Home arena(s)

The Tampa Bay Storm are an professional arena football team based in the Tampa Bay, Florida. They play their home games in the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa.

The team began play in 1987 as the Pittsburgh Gladiators, one of the Arena Football League's (AFL) four charter franchises, and the only one still operating. They relocated to Tampa Bay in 1991 and adopted their current name. They played in St. Petersburg from 1991–1996, then in Tampa until 2008, after which point the AFL suspended operations and did not return until the 2010 season following the league's restructuring. Together with the Orlando Predators they have been in their city for longer than any other AFL team. During their tenure they have won five ArenaBowl championships.


Along with their traditional rivals, 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.

Pittsburgh Gladiators (1987–1990)

Pittsburgh Gladiators Logo

The franchise was originally known as the Pittsburgh Gladiators, and was one of the original four AFL teams formed in 1987. The team was named by Robert Ninehouser whose entry for the team name was selected in 1987. They originally played their home games at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On June 19, 1987, the Gladiators defeated the Washington Commandos 48-46 in the first ever AFL regular season game.[2] The Gladiators participated in ArenaBowls I[3] and III,[4] losing both.[5]

Tampa Bay Storm (1991–present)

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.

The team played in the former Thunder Dome in St. Petersburg (now called Tropicana Field) from 1991–1996, becoming its first regular team sports tenant.[6] Since 1997, the team has played its home games in the Tampa Bay Times Forum (previously the Ice Palace and the St. Pete Times Forum) 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 have 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[7] wrote in its 'The 10 Spot' feature that the AFL's players' union filed a grievance against the Storm. The reason was that 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. There was no 2009 Arena Football League season due to the organization's ongoing financial difficulties, which eventually resulted in its filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, leaving it uncertain if the Storm, arguably the most successful team in the history of any form of indoor football, would ever play another game.

New future

A new arena football league, originally called 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.[8] The new organization bought the rights to the intellectual property, including the team names, logos, histories, and patented rules of the old AFL in a bankruptcy auction, which allowed to function essentially as a full successor; after this action, the name Arena Football 1 was dropped and the group resumed operating as the Arena Football League The Storm resumed full operations for the new league's 2010 season, with some players from the former roster, and once again coached by Tim Marcum and this time owned by Tampa Bay Storm Partners LLC, a group led by Todd Boren a previous partner with the Orlando Predators and the Arizona Rattlers. The AFL released the schedule for the season on December 31, 2009. The Storm returned during the opening weekend of the season on April 3, 2010.[9]

On February 17, 2010, it was formally announced that the AF1 had adopted the former Arena Football League name.

In the 2010 season the Storm went 11–5, finishing second in the South Division. In the playoffs, they earned a trip to ArenaBowl XXIII, but lost to the Spokane Shock 57–69.

On February 17, 2011, Tim Marcum would resign as head coach of the Storm less than a month before the 2011 season was to begin, after having the position for 15 years. He left as the AFL's all-time winningest head coach with 211 wins. Dave Ewart was named as the team's new head coach the next day.[10][11] His resignation was sparked by an admission in a deposition related to a lawsuit he had filed against the Storm's previous owner, Robert Nucci. In that deposition, Marcum admitted to forwarding emails that were pornographic and racially tinged to other members of the Storm organization, using his work email address. [12] In April 2011, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker, Derrick Brooks became a part owner and the team president for the Storm.[13]

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 as 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 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 their 3rd ArenaBowl in 5 years. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown this is at #2.

Notable players

Current roster

Tampa Bay Storm roster

Template:Playern Template:Playern


  • Currently vacant

Wide receivers Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern

Offensive linemen

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Defensive linemen Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern


Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern

Defensive backs Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern

Kickers Template:Playern

Refuse to report


Other League Exempt Template:Playern

Injury reserve

  • Currently vacant

League suspension Template:Playern Template:Playern Template:Playern

Inactive reserve

  • Currently vacant

Rookies in itlatics
Roster updated October 31, 2013
33 Active, 5 Inactive

More rosters

Retired uniform numbers

Tampa Bay Storm retired numbers
Player Position Seasons Ref.
22 Lawrence Samuels WR/LB 1995-2000

Arena Football League Hall of Famers

Tampa Bay Storm Hall of Famers
No. Name Year Inducted Position(s) Years w/ Storm
78 Sylvester Bembery 2011 OL/DL 1994–1999, 2001
7 Jay Gruden 1999 QB 1991–1996
25 George LaFrance 2011 OS 1994–1999
-- Joe March 2000 OL/DL 1993–1996
-- Tim Marcum 1998 Head Coach 1995–1997
22 Lawrence Samuels 2013 WR/LB 1994–2000, 2002–2010
20 Stevie Thomas 2011 WR/DB 1991–1999
54 Craig Walls 1998 OL/DL 1987–1988

Individual awards

All-Arena players

The following Gladiators/Storm players have been named to All-Arena Teams:

All-Ironman players

The following Gladiators/Storm players have been named to All-Ironman Teams:

All-Rookie players

The following Gladiators/Storm players have been named to All-Rookie Teams:


Head coaches

Head coach Tenure Regular season
record (W-L)
Post season
record (W-L)
Most recent coaching staff Notes
Joe Haering 19871990 15–13[15] 0–3[15]
Darrel Jackson 1989 1–1[16] 1–1[16]
Fran Curci 1991 8–2[17] 2–0[17] Arena Football League
Coach of the Year (1991).[17]
Lary Kuharich 19921994 25–9[18] 4–2[18] 1x ArenaBowl winning coach (VII).[18]
Tim Marcum 19952010
140–77[19] 16–10[19] 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).[19]
Arena Football League
Hall of Fame (1998).[19]
Founder's Award winner (2001).[19]
Dave Ewart 20052006,
25–34[20] 0–2[20] OC:Lawrence Samuels
DB:Doug Kay
DL:Chris Hovan
In 2005 & 2006, filled in for Marcum during 5 games, going 3-2
Lawrence Samuels 2014-present 0-0[21] 0–0[21] OC:Doug Miller
DB:Doug Kay
DL:Chris Hovan

Radio and television

The Tampa Bay Storm are broadcast 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 Darek Sharp who is also a producer and broadcaster for AM 620 WDAE. Bright House Sports Network, owned by and shown only on Bright House Networks cable systems, broadcasts all the Storm home games. Drew Felios and Mark Royals are the broadcasters.



External links

  • Official Website
  • Tampa Bay Storm at ArenaFan
  • Pittsburgh Gladiators at ArenaFan

Template:Tampa Bay Storm

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