The Orange Tornadoes and Newark Tornadoes were two manifestations of a long-lived professional American football franchise that existed in some form from 1887 to 1971, having played in the National Football League from 1929 to 1930, the American Association from 1936 to 1941, the Atlantic Coast Football League from 1963 to 1964 and 1970 to 1971, and the Continental Football League from 1965 to 1969. The team was based for most of its history in Orange, New Jersey, with many of its later years in Newark. Its last five years of existence were as the Orlando Panthers, when the team was based in Orlando, Florida. The franchise was sold back to the NFL in October 1930. The team had four head coaches in its two years in the NFL - Jack Depler in Orange, and Jack Fish, Al McGall and Andy Salata in Newark.
The Orange Tornadoes can trace their roots back to the Orange Athletic Club. The Orange A.C. was originally an amateur football team that began play in 1887. The team's first ever game was a 36-0 loss to Seton Hall University football team. By the 1890s the Orange became a semi-pro team. In 1892, the team practiced under electric lights at night to prepare for an October 8 game against Rutgers College. The Orange A. C. would go on to win that game 22-10. In 1893, the team went on to win the mythical American Football Union Championship, after posting an 8-2 record. In 1902 the Orange A. C. played against Philadelphia Phillies and the Philadelphia Athletics of the first National Football League. The team also played in World Series of Football in that year, at Madison Square Garden. These games were the first indoor football games. In 1902 Orange lost to All-Syracuse team, 36-0. However the team returned to the World Series of Football in 1903 where the played the Watertown Red & Black and, the eventual champion, the Franklin Athletic Club. Orange lost to Watertown, 11-0, and to Franklin, 12-0. However they did manage to defeat the Oreo Athletic Club of Asbury Park, 22-0, during the 1903 contest.
The Orange team became an extablished independent pro team from 1919 until 1928, under the nickname the Orange AC Golden Tornadoes. During this time, Orange defeated the New York Brickley Giants of the NFL. They also played pre-NFL versions of the Frankford Yellow Jackets and the Staten Island Stapletons. They also played against the Atlantic City Roses and the Millville Big Blue, two of the top independent teams of the 1920s. By 1928, Orange held the New York Giants and Frankford Yellow Jackets to close scores. On September 16, 1928 Orange held the 1927 NFL Champion New York Giants to just a 7-0 victory. While a week earlier the NFL's previous champions, the Frankford Yellow Jackets, were held to a 12-0 victory. Orange showed that their team could compete in the NFL.