|Year founded: 2009|
|City||Virginia Beach, Virginia|
|Head coach||Marty Schottenheimer|
|General manager||Marty Schottenheimer|
|United Football League (2009–present)|
|Team colors||Cardinal Red, Navy Blue, Gray
|League championships (1)|
The Viginia Destroyers are a professional American football team based in Virginia Beach, Virginia that play in the United Football League. Known as the Florida Tuskers from 2009–2010, the team played its home games at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Their head coach for the 2009 season was Jim Haslett, who led the team to the 2009 UFL Championship Game. Their head coach and general manager for the 2010 was Jay Gruden, who remained the Destroyers' head coach following their move to Virginia in 2011. The team plays its home games at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.
Florida Tuskers (2009–2010)
Tryouts for the four teams that would play in the 2009 season took place in Orlando and Las Vegas during the summer, with the draft taking place on June 19. With their first selection, the Tuskers picked Fred Bledsoe, who had gone undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft before signing with the Green Bay Packers as a practice squad member.
The team's name, along with its colors and uniforms, were unveiled to the public in August, two months before the start of the season.</ref> On the same day it was announced that the Tampa Bay Rays had bought interest in the team.
In their inaugural season, the Tuskers were led by quarterback Brooks Bollinger, and wide receiver Taye Biddle. Bollinger was the league leader in passing yards, while Biddle led in receiving yards. On the defensive side of the ball, Odell Thurman led the team in tackles, Patrick Chukwurah was the league leader in sacks, and Jerome Carter led the league in interceptions.
The team was noted for having a large number of former players from the nearby Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Among the Buccaneer alumnus were Matt Bryant, who once kicked a game-winning 62-yard field goal as time expired, which is also the third-longest successful attempt in NFL history, Micheal Spurlock, the first player in Tampa Bay history to return a kickoff for a touchdown, and Super Bowl XXXVII MVP Dexter Jackson.
The Tuskers put together a league-best undefeated 6–0 record in the regular season, clinching a spot in the championship game in Week 4. However in the championship game, the Tuskers were beaten by the Las Vegas Locomotives, losing on a game-winning field goal in overtime. Despite the team being unable to complete a perfect season, Jim Haslett was named Coach of the Year, while Bollinger was given the league's MVP award.
In January 2010, head coach Jim Haslett left the team to become the defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins. On February 9, 2010, UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue named Jay Gruden as head coach and general manager. On the same day it was announced that the Tampa Bay Rays had sold their interest in the team, meaning the Tuskers would be fully based in Orlando for the 2010 season. After several months of league ownership, a group led by Joe Theismann purchased the team in October 2010. The Tuskers signed WYGM as their radio affiliate, becoming the second UFL team to have one.
Florida extended their regular season winning streak to seven games when they defeated the Las Vegas Locos in their opener on September 18, 27–20. The Tuskers lost their first regular season game in franchise history in week 2 when they were defeated by the Sacramento Mountain Lions, 24–20. They dropped their next contest on September 30 against the Locos, 20–17, the first time Las Vegas had beaten Florida in a regular season matchup. After splitting their next two games, the Tuskers were 2–3 and in danger of being eliminated from championship contention. After backup quarterback Chris Greisen became the new starter in week 8, the Tuskers went on to win their final three games, sending them back to the championship game, once again facing Las Vegas.
The UFL originally announced an expansion team based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to begin play in 2011. Jim Speros, owner of the Baltimore Stallions and (briefly) the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, was named as the team's owner, but relinquished control of the team to the league on August 23, 2010 opening up bidding to other parties. Former NFL and USFL quarterback Doug Williams later was named the team's general manager.Cite error: Closing
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Joe Moglia, chairman of TD Ameritrade and a former college coordinator who last coached football in the 1980s, was given the head coaching position at the behest of league commissioner Michael Huyghue in November 2010; Williams had no input on the hire. However, in January 2011, the league announced Moglia would instead coach the Omaha Nighthawks.
Meanwhile, on January 12, 2011, the league announced that the Tuskers ceased operations in Orlando and moved to Virginia, with Jay Gruden remaining as the Destroyers' coach. Theismann, the owner of the team in Florida, remained as a consultant for the league.
|Season||Team||League||Conference||Division||Regular season||Playoff results||Awards|
|2009||2009||UFL||1st||6||0||0||Lost UFL Championship Game (Las Vegas Locos) 23-20 (OT)|
|2010||2010||UFL||2nd||5||3||0||Lost UFL Championship Game (Las Vegas Locos) 20-17|
|Total||11||3||0||(2009–2010, includes only regular season)|
|0||2||0||(2009–2010, includes only playoffs)|
|11||5||0||(2009–2010, includes both regular season and playoffs)|
Records vs. teams
|Las Vegas Locomotives||3–3||.500|
|Sacramento Mountain Lions||2–2||.500|
- Note: This includes postseason games.
Home, away, and neutral records
Virginia Destroyers staff
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning
Virginia Destroyers roster
- Doyle, Paul (July 28, 2011). UFL Won't Admit Hartford Colonials Ship Has Sunk ... Yet. Hartford Courant. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
- Lancaster, Marc (2009-08-12). "Rays buy into UFL franchise, slate game at Trop". Tampa Bay Online. http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/aug/12/121624/rays-buy-ufl-franchise-slate-game-trop/. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
- Harry, Chris (2009-10-28). "Former Bucs presence being felt in UFL". Orlando Sentinel. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2009-10-28/sports/0910270213_1_tuskers-bucs-super-bowl-xxxvii. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
- "Redskins hire Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator". The Washington Post. 2010-01-13. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/13/AR2010011300289.html. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- "WYGM to Air Tuskers Games in 2010". United Football League. 2010-07-13. http://www.ufl-football.com/news/wygm-air-tuskers-games-2010. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
- Dusty Sloan (November 20, 2010). "Tuskers to Join Locos in “The Championship” Rematch". United Football League. http://www.ufl-football.com/news/tuskers-join-locos-championship-rematch. Retrieved November 20, 2010.
- "Statement on UFL Virginia". United Football League. 2010-08-20. http://www.ufl-football.com/news/statement-ufl-virginia. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Burke, Monte (2010-11-07). TD Ameritrade's Joe Moglia lands football coaching job. Forbes. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
- Robinson, Tom (2010-11-11). Destroyers' GM: Commissioner made call on coach. The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- Karpeles, Robert (2011-01-12). "Joe Moglia to Coach Omaha Nighthawks". FanHouse. http://www.fanhouse.com/2011/01/12/joe-moglia-to-coach-omaha-nighthawks/. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Jay Gruden to Coach the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League". United Football League. 2011-01-12. http://www.ufl-football.com/news/jay-gruden-coach-virginia-destroyers-united-football-league. Retrieved 2011-01-12.