Extra, Extra, The Brigade is Coming to Town!
February 28, 2017
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So even though the Ravens have dominated the football landscape here in Baltimore since 1996, Ravens fans need to recognize that Baltimore has a storied history with football teams in other leagues besides the NFL. Remember, after the Colts left in 1984, Baltimore did not have an NFL team until the Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore `Ravens in 1996.
During that time, however, as well as during the Ravens’ tenure, Baltimore has had a few teams from other football leagues, mostly indoors, culminating into the new AFL team, the Baltimore Brigade, which is to start its season in April.
The AFL is the major arena football league in America, or at least it was. Since 2014, 22 different franchises have folded and the league has gone from 14 teams to 5. Those 5 include two expansion teams, the Washington Valor in the DC market, and the new home town team the Baltimore Brigade, who will join the 3 remaining teams, the Philadelphia Soul, Tampa Storm, Cleveland Gladiators, according to the AFL official website.
Sophomore Charles Sessions is an avid watcher of the AFL. “I thought the LA Kiss were still in it, [but] I guess I’ll root for Baltimore,” he commented. But he doesn’t have faith that it will last long. “Two years, tops,” he said.
Many students have not heard of the new team.
Sophomore Ian Callinan a football fan and player hasn’t. “I have not, [but] I think it will be good,” he said.
With the league in turmoil, two new franchises will make their debut on April 7, but the debut home game won’t be till May 7. Even though they are an expansion team, the team is certainly making some win now moves.
They signed Reggie Gray, who won AFL Receiver of the Year. They also signed two former NFL players in Chase Cartwright and LaQuan Williams, according to the AFL website. In a league of only five teams, the Brigade have a nice shot to both make the playoffs and win the championship.
Even though like many Baltimore natives Callinan has remanded confident in the cities ability to support the new franchise. ” Our city loves sports, I believe it will be good for the team.”
For example, as soon as the Colts left, the now-defunct USFL moved the Philadelphia Stars to Baltimore for one season. The Stars went 10-7-1 and won the championship, adding to the one they won the year before. This however, would be the only season in Baltimore for the USFL, as a movement for them to play games in the fall right next to the NFL, led by Donald Trump, would leave the league bankrupt.
A few years before the Ravens came to Baltimore, the Canadian Football League installed the Baltimore Stallions. The Stallions were an extremely successful team, and they made the championship in both of their seasons, culminating in winning it all in their final season in Baltimore. However, the team moved to Montreal after the Ravens announced they were coming back to Baltimore, and they knew they couldn’t compete with the NFL crowds, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Founded in 2007, the Baltimore Mariners of the American Indoor Football Association were playing their games in the newly renamed First Mariner Stadium. They were a successful team as well, and they ended up winning the championship in 2010. However, a few seasons later, their majority owner, Dwayne Wells, was arrested for fraud after being caught using embezzled money to purchase the team. After being forced to sell his shares in the team, the Mariners folded. In 2014, the Mariners came back for one more season, and ended up winning the championship; however, due to low ticket sales, the team folded once again after the season.
Another team that tried to make it in Baltimore was from the controversial Lingerie Football League. The Baltimore Charm played three seasons and only made the playoffs once. After their third year, they moved to the DC market as the new expansion team, Washington Warriorettes, which have yet to play a game, according to the LFL’s official website.
So when the rest of the football world is focusing on the NFL Draft and the baseball season, Baltimore can focus on the Brigade as they embark in their 14 week inaugural season, which is from April 7- August 4. And hopefully the league will last to make the new era in Baltimore pro football last and be remembered for something more than tax fraud and relocation.