Ranking All 444 Defunct
American Arena Football
Teams: An Introduction


This is happening.

Yes, folks, the time has come. How many 'callings' does a man have in life? Some say there are infinite callings. But what says I? I have but one...


This is a dumb idea. But I spent several hours putting together the list of 444 defunct teams so I'm gonna keep going with it. The above logo is for a team called the Kaufman County Crunch of the Independent Indoor Football Alliance. They are not among the list of 444. None of the IIFA teams are. Despite having a Wikipedia page, the IIFA was so small that there's almost no information online about any of its ~8 Texas-based teams. The only logo I could find was the rhino of the Kaufman County Crunch. So I decided to omit all teams.

I've wanted to do some kind of historical project based on arena or "indoor American football" for a long time, specifically focusing on defunct teams and proposed teams that never played. Even the active franchises of the sport's biggest and most well-known league, the AFL, seem to be in a near constant battle of barely breaking even vs. folding all together. They are about to kickoff a new season with the smallest number of total teams since the league regrouped in 2010 after the canceled 2009 season. Perhaps the most ubiquitous arena team, the Iowa Barnstormers, former home of Kurt Warner, are not even the original Iowa Barnstormers.

The only guarantee an active arena football team can really bank on is that it will most certainly become a defunct arena football, usually sooner rather than later.


Perhaps the most daunting part of the initial phase of this project was simply compiling the list, which––as previously stated––stands at a whopping 444 defunct franchises. Some of these franchises are technically the same franchise, and some of them (like the NJ Red Dogs) are technically still active today in another form. I felt I had to make allowances based purely on my gut. My general rule was that if a team fully rebranded and/or relocated, then they became, for all intents and purposes, a different team. My interest in this is 98% aesthetics: logos and uniforms and team names, that sort of thing. I hope my diligence in searching out these teams and my subsequent rankings, which will be revealed over time, will reflect this.

But if my interest is 98% aesthetics then the other 2% make up the heart & soul of the matter. There's something so beautiful about the business of indoor football––especially 'small time' indoor football––because it reveals what it means to be human. During this initial research phase I actually found a newish league that already seems to be defunct, one with no Wikipedia presence to speak of: the Imperial Indoor Football League. Read this Facebook post from February 2014:
"I don't know why everybody is being so negative about the IIFL! We will be playing this year and all teams have there Arena's. as well. Once the season is over we will be looking for more teams to come in. I'm not gonna throw peoples names out there, because i am not that kind of person. But i will say this much no matter what you will always have haters out there that don't want a black man to succeed, But that ain't working with me or any one in my league! So to all of the haters out there keep hating i love it!!!!!!!!!!!"

For one to take up an interest in arena football, on any level––be it as a fan, as an owner, a player, coach––is basically to admit you are going to lose. A lot of life is about losing. People in all walks of life, every single day, engage in activities that have virtually no upside outside of the feelings which they inspire in the moment. When someone got the idea for the Buffalo Lightning, they had to make a series of choices, one of which involved hiring someone to create this logo:


Put yourself in the shoes of the person who designed that logo. Then put yourselves in the shoes of the person who OK'd it. I love both of these people. I love everyone. The Buffalo Lightning played a single 8-game season just last year as a member of American Indoor Football. They went 1-7. They played their home games at a facility within the "Cattaraugus Community Center, a Seneca Nation-owned facility [Native American] primarily used for box lacrosse and located on the Cattaraugus Reservation in Irving, New York, 30 miles south of Buffalo."


The Lightning's lone win came via a 56-52 victory over the Cleveland Saints (also defunct) on April 25th, 2015 at the above venue, "Northeast Ohio’s premier indoor sports, events and recreation complex." (The Saints never won a game before they folded.) You can even watch a full Buffalo Lightning game online if you'd like. Their loss to the ASI Panthers two weeks earlier at a venue Phish once played in 2013:

There were a few less people then were probably at the Phish show.

Do you see the threads? Do you feel the connections? I could go on and on like this. These are the rabbit holes I live for. The Buffalo Lightning had hoped to play a season this spring, right now actually. Along with a few other teams they attempted to form the Indoor Football Alliance. But things fall apart. That's life.

The CEO of that failed venture is a woman named Barbara Springer, also the owner of the Cape Fear Heroes, who are not defunct but rather "on hiatus" (sure sure, there there). Barbara wrote this message on the team's website less than a month ago:

"On behalf of everyone under the Cape Fear Heroes umbrella we’d like to thank our ticket holders, sponsors, and fans as well as our players and support staff for seeing our vision for our local community and extending their time and effort to make these visions possible. With that being said we feel that you should be updated on our current status and that the Heroes will not be playing this season in 2016. Several factors were accessed prior to making this decision and every avenue evaluated for the possibility to allow us to play for our city in 2016. We know this is very sudden and may come as a shock to some but be rest assured that this break will allow the Heroes time to grow the Heroes organization and prepare for our 2017 season return!"

This is why I love it. Without spirit like this, these teams don't exist in the first place. They never have a chance to become defunct. Right now, there is a team right here in Philadelphia gearing up for their inaugural season. They've booked a prestigious ice rink as their home field and have resurrected a classic old school proto-NFL mascot. They are the Philly Yellow Jackets, and while they play at the Class of 1923 Arena, they are not to be confused with the Yellow Jackets of 1924. That's their fantastic logo on the left.

I will be trying to go see them play a game in late May.

Because I know it might be the only chance I get.

Here is the list of 444 teams presented in alphabetical order:

1 ASI Panthers (Reading, PA)
2 Abilene Bombers
3 Abilene Ruff Riders
4 Abilene Warriors
5 Alabama Hammers
6 Alabama Outlawz
7 Alabama Steeldogs
8 Alabama Vipers
9 Alaska Wild
10 Albany Conquest
11 Albany Panthers
12 Amarillo Dusters
13 Anaheim Piranhas
14 Arctic Predators (Wasilla, Alaska)
15 Arizona Adrenaline
16 Arizona Outlaws
17 Arkansas Stars
18 Arkansas Twisters
19 Atlanta Sharks
20 Atlanta Thoroughbreds
21 Atlantic City CardSharks
22 Augusta Colts
23 Augusta Spartans
24 Augusta Stallions
25 Austin Knights
26 Austin Nitro
27 Austin Rockers
28 Austin Turfcats
29 Austin Wranglers
30 Bakersfield Blitz
31 Baltimore Blackbirds
32 Baltimore Mariners
33 Baltimore War Eagles
34 Baton Rouge Blaze
35 Battle Creek Crunch
36 Bay Bandits
37 Beaumont Drillers
38 Big Sky Thunder
39 Billings Mavericks
40 Billings Outlaws
41 Binghamton Brigade
42 Bismarck Roughriders
43 Black Hills
44 Bloomington Extreme
45 Bluegrass Warhorses
46 Boise Burn
47 Bossier–Shreveport Battle Wings
48 Bricktown Brawlers
49 Buffalo Lightning
50 Canton Cougars
51 Canton Legends
52 Cape Fear Heroes
53 Cape Fear Wildcats
54 Capital City Revolt
55 Carolina Aviators
56 Carolina Bombers
57 Carolina Cobras
58 Carolina Ghostriders / AIFL Ghostchasers / Greensboro Ghostriders
59 Carolina Rhinos
60 Carolina Sharks
61 Carolina Speed
62 CenTex Barracudas
63 Central Valley Coyotes
64 Charleston Sandsharks
65 Charleston Swamp Foxes
66 Charlotte Rage
67 Charlotte Speed
68 Chattahoochee Valley Vipers
69 Chesapeake Tide
70 Cheyenne Warriors
71 Chicago Assassins
72 Chicago Bruisers
73 Chicago Politicians
74 Chicago Rush
75 Chicago Slaughter
76 Chicago Vipers
77 Chillicothe Lumberjacks
78 Cincinnati Commandos
79 Cincinnati Jungle Kats
80 Cincinnati Marshals
81 Cincinnati Rockers
82 Cincinnati Swarm
83 Cleveland Patriots
84 Cleveland Thunderbolts / Columbus Thunderbolts
85 Colorado Castle Rocks
86 Colorado Crush
87 Colorado Ice
88 Colorado Lightning
89 Colorado Stars
90 Colorado Venom
91 Colorado Wild Riders
92 Colorado Wildcats
93 Columbia Stingers
94 Columbus Destroyers / Buffalo Destroyers
95 Columbus Wardogs
96 Connecticut Coyotes
97 Conroe Storm
98 Corpus Christi Fury
99 Corpus Christi Hammerheads
100 Corpus Christi Sharks
101 Council Bluffs Express
102 D.C. Armor
103 Dallas Desperados
104 Dallas Texans
105 Dallas Vigilantes
106 Danville Demolition
107 Danville Dragons
108 Dayton Bulldogs
109 Dayton Sharks
110 Dayton Skyhawks
111 Dayton Warbirds
112 Daytona Beach Hawgs
113 Daytona Beach Thunder
114 Denver Aviators
115 Denver Dynamite
116 Denver Titans
117 Detroit Drive
118 Detroit Fury
119 Detroit Thunder
120 Duluth-Superior Lumberjacks
121 Eastern Kentucky Drillers / Kentucky Drillers
122 El Paso Generals
123 El Paso Rumble
124 Erie Explosion
125 Erie Freeze
126 Erie RiverRats/Storm
127 Eugene Mercury
128 Evansville BlueCats
129 Evansville Rage
130 Everett Destroyers
131 Everett Hawks
132 Everett Raptors
133 Fairbanks Grizzlies
134 Fayetteville Force
135 Fayetteville Guard
136 Fayetteville Guard 
137 Flint Phantoms
138 Florence Phantoms
139 Florida Bobcats
140 Florida Firecats
141 Florida Frenzy
142 Florida Kings
143 Florida Scorpions
144 Florida Stingrays
145 Florida Tarpons
146 Fort Myers Tarpons
147 Fort Wayne FireHawks
148 Fort Wayne Freedom
149 Fort Wayne Fusion
150 Fort Worth Cavalry
151 Fort Worth Sixers
152 Fresno Frenzy
153 Frisco Thunder
154 Georgia Fire
155 Georgia Force
156 Georgia Stealth
157 Grand Rapids Rampage
158 Green Bay Blizzard
159 Green Bay Bombers
160 Green Cove Lions
161 Greensboro Prowlers
162 Greensboro Revolution
163 Greenville Force
164 Greenville Riverhawks / Johnstown Riverhawks
165 Gulf Coast Raiders
166 Hammond Heroes
167 Harrisburg Stampede
168 Hawaii Hammerheads
169 Hawaiian Islanders
170 Houma Bayou Bucks
171 Houma Conquerors
172 Houston Stallions
173 Houston ThunderBears
174 Huntington Hammer
175 Huntington Heroes
176 Idaho /Boise Stallions
177 Indiana Cougars
178 Indiana Firebirds / Albany Firebirds
179 Indianapolis Enforcers
180 Iowa Barnstormers
181 Iowa Blackhawks
182 Jacksonville Stallions
183 Jacksonville Tomcats
184 Johnstown Generals
185 Johnstown J Dogs
186 Johnstown Riverhawks
187 Kalamazoo Xplosion
188 Kane County Dawgs
189 Kansas City Brigade
190 Kansas City Command
191 Kansas City Matadors
192 Kansas City Renegades
193 Kansas Koyotes
194 Kansas/St. Joseph Storm 
195 Katy Copperheads /  Texas Copperheads
196 Katy Ruff Riders
197 Kentucky Drillers
198 Kentucky Horsemen
199 Kentucky Xtreme
200 Kissimmee Kreatures
201 Knoxville NightHawks
202 La Crosse Night Train
203 La Crosse Spartans
204 Lafayette Roughnecks
205 Lafayette Wildcatters
206 Lake Charles Land Sharks
207 Lakeland Raiders / Florida Marine Raiders
208 Lakeland Thunderbolts
209 Laredo Law Laredo
210 Laredo Lobos
211 Laredo Rattlesnakes
212 Las Vegas Aces
213 Las Vegas Outlaw
214 Las Vegas Sting
215 Lehigh Valley Outlawz
216 Lexington Horsemen
217 Lexington Horsemen / Kentucky Horsemen
218 Lincoln Capitols
219 Lincoln Haymakers
220 Lincoln Lightning
221 Los Angeles Avengers
222 Los Angeles Cobras
223 Los Angeles Lynx
224 Louisiana Bayou Beast
225 Louisiana Cottonmouths
226 Louisiana Rangers
227 Louisiana Swashbucklers
228 Louisville Fire
229 Lubbock Gunslingers
230 Lubbock Lone Stars
231 Lubbock Renegades
232 Macon Knights
233 Madison Mad Dogs
234 Mahoning Valley Thunder
235 Manchester Wolves
236 Manchester Wolves / Mohegan Wolves
237 Marion Blue Racers
238 Marion Mayhem
239 Maryland Maniacs
240 Maryland Reapers
241 Massachusetts Marauders
242 Memphis Pharaohs,
243 Memphis Xplorers
244 Miami Hooters
245 Miami Inferno
246 Miami Valley Silverbacks / Dayton Silverbacks
247 Miami Vice Squad
248 Miami Vise
249 Mid-Missouri Outlaws
250 Milwaukee Bonecrushers
251 Milwaukee Iron
252 Milwaukee Mustangs
253 Minnesota Axemen
254 Minnesota Fighting Pike
255 Minnesota Havok
256 Minnesota Monsters
257 Mississippi Fire Dogs
258 Mississippi Headhunters
259 Mississippi Hound Dogs
260 Mississippi MudCats
261 Missouri Minutemen
262 Missouri Monsters
263 Missouri Voodoo 
264 Mobile Bay Tarpons
265 Mobile Seagulls
266 Mobile Wizards
267 Mohegan Wolves
268 Montgomery Bears
269 Montgomery Maulers
270 Muskegon Thunder
271 Myrtle Beach Stingrays
272 Nashville Kats
273 Nashville Venom
274 Nebraska Bears
275 Nebraska Extreme/Tornadoes
276 Nebraska Wildcat
277 New England Sea Wolves
278 New England Steamrollers
279 New England Surge
280 New Haven Ninjas
281 New Jersey Red Dogs (Cleveland Gladiators)
282 New Jersey Revolution
283 New Jersey XTreme
284 New Mexico Wildcats
285 New Orleans Night
286 New Orleans VooDoo
287 New York CityHawks
288 New York Dragons
289 New York Knights
290 New York Wolves
291 New York/New Jersey Revolution
292 Norfolk Nighthawks
293 North Texas Crunch
294 Northern Kentucky River Monsters
295 Northshore Gators
296 Odessa Roughnecks
297 Ogden Knights
298 Ohio Valley Greyhounds
299 Cleveland Saints
300 Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz
301 Oklahoma Crude
302 Oklahoma Defenders
303 Oklahoma Wranglers
304 Ontario Warriors
305 Osceola Ghostriders
306 Pensacola Barracudas
307 Peoria Pirates
308 Peoria Rough Riders
309 Pineywoods Bucks
310 Pittsburgh Gladiators (Tampa Bay Storm)
311 Pittsburgh Power
312 Pomona Cool Riders
313 Port Huron Patriots
314 Port Huron Pirates
315 Port Huron Predators
316 Port St. Lucie Mustangs
317 Portland Forest Dragons
318 Portland Prowlers
319 Portland Thunder (Portland Steel)
320 Pueblo Pistols
321 Quad City Steamwheelers
322 Raleigh Rebels
323 Rapid City Flying Aces
324 Reading Express
325 Reno Barons
326 Richmond Bandits
327 Richmond Raiders
328 Richmond Revolution
329 Richmond Speed
330 Rio Grande Valley Dorados
331 Rio Grande Valley Magic
332 Rio Grande Valley Sol
333 River Cities LocoMotives
334 River City Rage
335 River City Renegades
336 Roanoke Steam
337 Roc City Thunder
338 Rochester Brigade
339 Rochester Raiders
340 Rock River Raptors
341 Rock River Raptors / Tennessee Valley Raptors
342 Rockford Metros
343 Rocky Mountain Thunder
344 Rome Rampage / Georgia Rampage
345 Rome Renegades
346 Rome River Dogs
347 Sacramento Attack
348 Saginaw Sting
349 Salina Bombers
350 San Angelo Stampede
351 San Angelo Stampede Express
352 San Antonio Force
353 San Antonio Steers
354 San Antonio Talons / Tulsa Talons
355 San Antonio Texicans
356 San Bernardino Bucking Bulls
357 San Diego Riptide
358 San Diego Shockwave
359 San Diego Thunder
360 San Jose SaberCats
361 San Jose/Stockton Wolves
362 Sarasota Knights
363 Sarasota Thunder
364 Shreveport-Bossier Bombers
365 Sioux City Bandits
366 Sioux Falls Storm
367 South Carolina Force
368 South Georgia Wildcats
369 Southern Oregon Heat
370 Spokane Shock
371 Springfield Shield
372 Springfield Stallions
373 Springfield Wolfpack
374 St. Joseph Cyclones
375 St. Joseph Explorers
376 St. Louis Attack.
377 St. Louis Lightning
378 St. Louis Renegades
379 St. Louis Stampede
380 Staten Island Xtreme
381 Steel Valley Smash
382 Steubenville Stampede
383 Stockton Lightning
384 Summit County Rumble
385 Syracuse Soldiers
386 Tallahassee Thunder
387 Tallahassee Titans
388 Tennessee Rail Runners
389 Tennessee River Sharks
390 Tennessee Riverhawks
391 Tennessee ThunderCats
392 Tennessee Valley Vipers
393 Texas Bullets
394 Texas Copperheads
395 Texas Crunch
396 Texas Hurricanes
397 Texas Regulators
398 Texas Stealth
399 Texas Terminators
400 Texas Terror
401 Texas Thunder
402 Toledo Bullfrogs
403 Topeka Knights
404 Toronto Phantoms
405 Trenton Freedom
406 Trenton Lightning
407 Trenton Steel
408 Tri-Cities Fever
409 Tri-City Diesel
410 Tri-Valley Ranchers
411 Tucson Thunder Kats
412 Tupelo FireAnts
413 Twin City Gators
414 Utah Blaze
415 Utah Catzz
416 Utah Express
417 Utah Rattlers
418 Utah Saints
419 Utah Valley Thunder
420 Utah Warriors
421 Virginia Badgers
422 Waco Marshals
423 Washington Commandos
424 Washington Spartans
425 Wayne Fusion
426 Wenatchee Valley Venom
427 West Michigan ThunderHawks
428 West Texas Roughnecks
429 West Texas Wildcatters
430 Western Pennsylvania Sting
431 Wheeling Wildcats
432 Wichita Aviators
433 Wichita Falls Diablos
434 Wichita Falls Thunder
435 Wichita Stealth
436 Wichita Wild
437 Wilkes Barre / Scranton Soldiers
438 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers
439 Winston-Salem Energy
440 Wisconsin Locomotives
441 Wisconsin Wolfpack
442 Wyoming Cavalry
443 Yakima Shockwave
444 Yakima Valley Warriors

LIST SUBJECT TO CHANGE, SUBTRACTION, ADDITION, ETC
Look for the rankings to start very soon on this blogspot and follow along via the tag #DAR (defunct arena rankings). I will be judging all of these entities in five categories: TEAM NAME, LOGO, UNIFORMS, CITY & VENUE, grading each one on a 10-point scale for a maximum score of 50. Stay tuned!

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