Dallas Desperados
Founded 2002
Folded 2008
History Dallas Desperados (2002-2008)
Arena American Airlines Center
Based in Dallas, Texas
Colors Blue, Black, White
League Arena Football League (2002-2008)
Owner Jerry Jones
Head coach Will McClay
AFL Championships none
AFL titles 3: (AFL: 2003, 2006, 2007)
Mascot Kid Coyote

For the active Arena Football League franchise in Dallas, see Dallas Vigilantes

The Dallas Desperados were a professional Arena Football team. The Desperados played in the Southern Division of the now-defunct Arena Football League from 2002 to 2008.

The franchise began play in 2002 as an expansion team, and have posted a winning record in all but one of their seasons in existence. The team was owned by Jerry Jones, who also owns the Dallas Cowboys. Jones' son-in-law Shy Anderson was the COO of the team, and oversaw the day-to-day operations of the franchise.

The original franchise folded effective August 4, 2009, upon the dissolving of the AFL.


During a halftime interview at a Cowboys preseason game on August 12, 2000, Jerry Jones revealed to Babe Laufenberg that the AFL had granted him an expansion franchise to begin play in 2002. The team was originally going to be named the "Dallas Texans", following in the footsteps of Dallas’ former AFL franchise which existed from 1990-1993. However, that same year he sold the rights to the name "Texans" for a reported $10 million to the upstart Houston franchise. After a contest in which fans voted via the team’s official website, the new Dallas team was eventually named the Desperados. Jones appointed Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano as head coach, and on November 21, 2001 in the AFL expansion draft, they acquired their first player, lineman Aaron Hamilton.

Dallas desperados

The Dallas Desperados in action.

Avezzano, along with starting quarterback Andy Kelly, led the team to a respectable 7-7 record and a playoff appearance in the teams first season of play, and a 10-6 record and a second consecutive playoff berth in 2003 under new quarterback Jim Kubiak. However, Avezzano was fired from the Cowboys staff that season, and subsequently resigned as Desperados head coach when he accepted a job with the Oakland Raiders.

Before the 2004 season, Jones hired Will McClay to replace Avezzano, and McClay struggled to a 6-10 record his rookie season as coach. The team improved to 8-7-1 the following season and barely missed making the playoffs, and under the helm of quarterback/offensive coordinator Clint Dolezel, posted a 13-3 record in 2006 and made their first appearance in an AFL conference championship game, losing to the Orlando Predators. The following season saw the Desperados post an AFL record fifteen wins and the team appeared destined to make their first ArenaBowl appearance, but they were shocked by the Columbus Destroyers, who had entered the playoffs with a 7-9 record, in the first round. The upset is ranked by many among the greatest of all time. The following season saw no relief to the postseason failure as the Desperados at 12-4 lost to the 8-8 New York Dragons in Dallas. After the New Orleans VooDoo folded, the league placed the Desperados in the South Division after the team had spent five seasons as an Eastern Division powerhouse.

With the exception of one playoff game and the entirety of the 2003 season, the Desperados have played all of their home games at American Airlines Center, and the team’s official mascot is Kid Coyote.[1]

Memorable Desperados momentsEdit

On June 9, 2007, the Desperados faced the 4-9 New Orleans VooDoo. The 13-1 Desperados found themselves losing late in the game. But Dallas Quarterback Clint Dolezel threw a touchdown with 30 seconds left on the clock to give the Desperados the lead. On the ensuing kickoff, the VooDoo fielded the ball off the net and found themselves looking at a long way to the endzone from their own one-yard line. They managed to put together a lengthy drive and were able to score with 1.7 seconds left to make the score 80-79. Rather than tie the game with an extra point, they elected to go for the win with a two-point conversion. VooDoo Quarterback Steve Bellisari dropped back and was sacked by 2007 AFL lineman of the year Colston Weatherington on the ten. The game was over along with the VooDoo playoff hopes. In the end, Dallas won 80-79.

The game was voted 2007 "Game of the Year" leaguewide in July 2007.



Head coach Tenure Regular season
record (W-L)
Post season
record (W-L)
Most recent coaching staff Notes
Joe Avezzano 2002 - 2003 17-13 1-2 DC: Will McClay (2002–2006)
Will McClay 2004 - 2008 54-24-1 1-3 Offensive Line: Steve Criswell
Special Teams: Adriel Fenton
DC: James Fuller (2007 - 2008)
Continued as DC
for three seasons.
2006 Arena Football League
Coach of the Year

Notable past playersEdit

Awards and honorsEdit


Individual Award Winners Commissioner's Award

  • Shy Anderson, Jerry Jones, Jr. - Dallas Desperados

All-Rookie Team


Individual Award Winners

  • Lineman of the Year Tom Briggs

First Team All-Arena Team

Second Team All-Arena Team

All-Ironman Team

  • OL/DL Tom Briggs

All-Rookie Team


External linksEdit

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