Indiana Firebirds

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Indiana Firebirds
Established 1990
Folded 2004
Played in Conseco Fieldhouse
in Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana Firebirds helmet
Indiana Firebirds logo
Helmet Logo
League/conference affiliations

Arena Football League (19902004)

  • National Conference (1995–1999)
    • East (1990–1999)
  • American Conference (2000–2004)
Team colors

Black, Royal Blue, Red, Burnt Orange, Gold, White

                             
Personnel
Owner(s)

Glenn Mazula

Dave Lageschulte
General manager

Joe Hennessy

John Kolner
Head coach Mike Wilpolt
Team history
  • Albany Firebirds (1990–2000)
  • Indiana Firebirds (2001–2004)
Championships

League championships (1)

Conference championships (0)
Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games

Division championships (6)

Playoff appearances (6)
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Home arena(s)

The Indiana Firebirds were a team in the Arena Football League. The team was based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Home games were played at the Conseco Fieldhouse, also the home of the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association and Indiana Fever of the Women's National Basketball Association.

History

Albany Firebirds (1990–2000)

Originally called the Albany Firebirds, the team was based in Albany, New York from 1990 to 2000.[1][2] At that time, home games were played at the Knickerbocker Arena (now known as the Times Union Center). After the move, the Firebirds competed in the Central Division of the AFL's American Conference.

The Firebirds were very successful during their tenure in Albany. They won six division titles, made nine playoff appearances, and won the 1999 ArenaBowl championship.

Indiana Firebirds (2001–2004)

On October 19, 2000, the Firebirds announced they would be relocating to Indianapolis.[3] The 2004 Firebirds just missed the playoffs after a disappointing 0–5 start. However, they finished the season winning eight of their last eleven games and were considered by some a potential contender for the 2005 Arena Bowl championship led by 2004 Rookie of the Year, quarterback Zachary Paget.

However, in early September 2004, Indiana Firebirds owner Dave Lageschulte announced that his company, Lags Football LLC, would cease all business operations for the Firebirds. Lageschulte had been actively, but unsuccessfully, pursuing local investors to purchase the Firebirds since he had assumed ownership in 2002.

On September 20, 2004, the date of the announced sales deadline, the Arena Football League announced the termination of the Firebirds franchise and that the players would be made available to continuing AFL teams in a dispersal draft. However, within the week the team was purchased by Scott and Todd Hines, who run H3 Sportsgear, a sportsgear company based in Indianapolis. With AFL approval, it was hoped that the Firebirds could remain operational in Indianapolis. However, this bid floundered due to concerns that the low sale price would devalue the worth of the other 18 franchises. The former Firebirds players were made available in the dispersal draft conducted on October 14, 2004, marking the end of one of the AFL's longest-running franchises.

Resurrection of the Albany Firebirds name

After the move of the Albany Firebirds AFL franchise to Indiana, an af2 team called the Albany Conquest took to the field to replace the arena football void left by the departure of the Firebirds. After eight seasons and troubles with fielding a winning team in recent seasons, Conquest owner Walter Robb contemplated shutting down the Conquest franchise. Then, on Friday, October 3, 2008, Robb announced the return of the team for the 2009 season but renamed as the Albany Firebirds in the hopes of "re-branding" the team.[4]

Gallery

Season-by-season

Season W L T Finish Playoff results
Albany Firebirds
1990 3 5 0 5th
1991 6 4 0 4th Lost Week 1 (Detroit 37–35)
1992 5 5 0 3rd Northern Lost Week 1 (Dallas 48–45)
1993 5 7 0 5th NC Lost Week 1 (Tampa Bay 48–34)
1994 10 2 0 1st NC Won Week 1 (Las Vegas 49–30)
Lost Week 2 (Arizona 40–33)
1995 7 5 0 1st NC Eastern Won Week 1 (St. Louis 51–49)
Lost Week 2 (Tampa Bay 56–49)
1996 10 4 0 1st NC Eastern Won Week 1 (Milwaukee 70–58)
Lost Week 2 (Iowa 62–55)
1997 6 8 0 3rd NC Eastern
1998 10 4 0 1st NC Eastern Lost Week 1 (New Jersey 66–59)
1999 11 3 0 1st NC Eastern Won Week 1 (Grand Rapids 55–45)
Won Week 2 (Arizona 73–47)
Won ArenaBowl XIII (Orlando 59–48)
2000 9 5 0 1st NC Eastern Lost Week 2 (Arizona 53–50)
Indiana Firebirds
2001 9 5 0 2nd AC Central Won Week 1 (Carolina 58–41)
Won Week 2 (Tampa Bay 68–31)
Lost Week 3 (Grand Rapids 83–70)
2002 7 7 0 3rd AC Central Lost Week 1 (Dallas 47–46)
2003 6 10 0 4th AC Central
2004 8 8 0 3rd AC Central
Totals 121 91 0 (including playoffs)

Notable players

Arena Football Hall of Famers

Albany/Indiana Firebirds Hall of Famers
No. Name Year Inducted Position(s) Years w/ Firebirds
77 Sylvester Bembery 2011 OL/DL 1994–2003
17 Eddie Brown[5] 2011 OS 1994–2003
Mike Dailey 2012 Head Coach 1997–2003
84 Fred Gayles 2002 WR/DB 1990–1997
 ? Darryl Hammond 2013 WR/LB 1991–1994
Mike Hohensee 2012 Head Coach 1994–1996
82 Greg Hopkins 2013 WR/LB 1996–2001
Glenn Mazula 2000 Owner 1990–2002
 ? Reggie Smith 2002 OS 1990
 ? Durwood Roquemore 1999 WR/DB 1991

Individual awards

All-Arena players

The following Firebirds players were named to All-Arena Teams:

All-Ironman players

The following Firebirds players were named to All-Ironman Teams:

All-Rookie players

The following Firebirds players were named to All-Rookie Teams:

Head coaches

Name Term Regular Season Playoffs Awards
W L T Win% W L
Rick Buffington 19901993 19 21 0 .475 0 3
Mike Hohensee 19941995 17 9 0 .654 2 2
Mike Dailey 19972003 58 42 0 .580 5 4 Coach of the Year (1999)
Steve DeBerg 2004 0 5 0 .000 0 0
Mike Wilpolt 2004 8 3 0 .727 0 0

References

  1. ^ Singelais, Mark (11 December 2009). "Firebirds won't play 2010 season". Times Union. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Tom Boggie (June 9, 1990). "Firebirds Host Commandos In Arena Football Opener". The Daily Gazette. Retrieved September 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Firebirds move to Indianapolis". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. October 19, 2000. Retrieved July 19, 2017. 
  4. ^ "The top 10 of the Double Os". Times Union. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Singelais, Mark (5 February 2011). "Father and son saga at Super Bowl". Times Union. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 

External links

  • Albany Firebirds on FunWhileItLasted.net
  • AFL official website
  • Albany Firebirds at ArenaFan.com
  • Indiana Firebirds at ArenaFan.com
  • Albany Firebirds historical site
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