|Head coach||Pat O'Hara|
|Home arena|| Amway Center |
|City, State||[[Orlando, Florida]]|
|ArenaCup championships||2 (AFL: 1998, 2000)|
The Orlando Predators are an Arena Football League team based in Orlando, Florida that was founded in 1991. Their playoff streak is currently 18 seasons in a row, becoming the ArenaBowl champions in 1998 and 2000. For many years they were coached by Jay Gruden, younger brother of Jon Gruden, but he became the UFL's Florida Tuskers' offensive coordinator after the cancellation of the AFL's 2009 season. They are now coached by Pat O'Hara.
The Orlando Predators franchise was awarded by the AFL to Davey Johnson, Tracy Allen and Mike McBath on February 28, 1991, and began play that same year, the only year so far that they missed the playoffs. Annually among the league-leaders in attendance, they qualified for the playoffs in 17 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in the original AFL. One noted administrator for the Predators was Hall of Fame lineman Jack Youngblood who came to the Predators in 1995 as vice-president and then later, president of the organization. He was with the team through the 1999 season.
For much of their existence in the original AFL their head coach was Jay Gruden, younger brother of prominent National Football League coach Jon Gruden. Jay Gruden was formerly an outstanding Arena Football quarterback, leading the Tampa Bay Storm to four ArenaBowl championships, and then served one year as offensive coordinator for the Nashville Kats prior to becoming head coach of the Predators. Jay was the first quarterback in the AFL Hall of Fame. Orlando won the ArenaBowl in 1998 and 2000 under Gruden's coaching. He then attempted a comeback as a player, but subsequently returned to coaching following the death of his head coach replacement, Fran Papasedero, in a car accident.
The Predators are undoubtedly one of the premier franchises in the history of the original AFL, and have a legendary rivalry with Tampa Bay, who moved to Tampa the same year the Predators formed. They have met twice in the ArenaBowl, with Tampa Bay winning in 1995 and Orlando winning in 1998. The rivalry, nicknamed the "War On I-4" after the interstate that connects the two cities, intensified when Gruden took over as Orlando's head coach.
Orlando and Tampa Bay have each lasted longer in their markets than any other AFL franchise. The Predators are unique in that they had played in their previous venue, Amway Arena, for 18 seasons in the AFL, longer than any other team. Amway Arena was often nicknamed "The Jungle" during Predators games due to the hostile environment from the fans, harsh smoke that fills the arena during the players intro, and a Guns N' Roses song which "welcomes" other teams followed by their impending death. They shared Amway Arena with the Orlando Magic of the NBA and the Orlando Titans of the NLL. The 2010 season was the Predators' 19th and final season at Amway Arena. The team will move to Amway Center, the new arena in Orlando, for the 2011 season. A Predators game was the final sporting event ever performed at Amway Arena. The Tampa Bay Storm can surpass that record of 19 seasons in one venue if they stay at the St. Pete Times Forum until 2018.
The Predators have played in the ArenaBowl a total of seven times, more than any other current team. If you include the Pittsburgh Gladiators' two ArenaBowl games before they moved to Tampa Bay, the Storm is the only team that has more (eight; six as the Storm).
During the 2007 season, the Predators inaugurated the "Predator Fan Hall Of Fame". The inaugural inductees are Nancy Morris & Richard Grabe. Morris, who has been a superfan for almost sixteen years, is known to most of the team and the front office as "The PredMom", and is currently the president of the Orlando Predator In Your Face Fan Club. Grabe, who has been a superfan since 1991, is the creator of the "PredHeads" that are seen worn by a select group of fans that sit in section 113 of the Amway Arena, and are also known for their tailgating parties on "Predator Island" (located in the northeast corner of lot 4 of the centroplex).
The Predators maintained their organization and web presence after the AFL suspended operations in August 2009. On September 28, 2009, the Predators announced their return to play for the 2010 season as a member of the new Arena Football 1 league, until that league purchased the AFL's assets and assumed the AFL's history. With Jay Gruden obligated to the UFL by his contract with the Tuskers, eventually becoming the team's head coach, they hired former quarterback Pat O'Hara as their head coach for the 2010 season. When the schedule for the league's season was announced on December 31, 2009, the Predators were slated to return to action on April 9, 2010. In the 2010 season, the Predators finished with an 8–8 record. They qualified for the playoffs, but lost the conference championship to the Tampa Bay Storm by a single point as a last-second field goal attempt was unsuccessful.
The Predators made Arena Football League history in consecutive weeks during the 1992 season:
- On June 13, 1992, the team defeated the San Antonio Force 50-0. San Antonio kicker Matt Frantz missed six field goals. This is the first game shutout in the history of indoor football. Although there have been shutouts in af2 and other indoor football leagues, it proved to be the only shutout ever recorded in the original AFL.
- On Friday, June 19, 1992, in a Week 4 road game against the Detroit Drive, quarterback Ben Bennett and the Predators trailed 42-32 with only 49 seconds left. In a miraculous feat of strength, Wide receiver / Defensive back Barry Wagner would catch two touchdown passes, get two two-point conversions, recover an onside kick, and made a game-ending tackle. With a safety added in, Orlando would win, 50-49. The comeback would become known as "The Miracle Minute". On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this comeback ranked #1.
|Head coach||Tenure||Regular season|
|Most recent coaching staff||Notes|
|Jay Gruden||1998–2001||35-21||8-2||Resigned as head coach to|
become starting quarterback.
Arena Football League Hall
of Fame (1999)
All-ArenaBowl Team - QB (1999)
Anniversary Team - QB (2001)
2x ArenaBowl winning
coach (XII, XIV)
|Jay Gruden||2004–2008||47-33||3-5||Assis. Head Coach:|
Les Moss (1991–present)
Willie Fears (2004–present)
Sean Beckton (2008–present)
|Arena Football League 20|
Greatest Players - #4 (2006)
Orlando Predators roster
| Offensive Linemen
Rookies in italics
- Ernest Allen - OL / DL
- Ben Bennett - QB
- Siaha Burley - OS
- Reggie Doster - DS
- Cory Fleming - WR / LB
- Jay Gruden - QB / Coach
- Joe Hamilton - QB
- Connell Maynor - QB
- Kenny McEntyre - DS
- Duke Pettijohn - FB / LB
- Shane Stafford - QB
- Barry Wagner -WR / LB
- Herkie Walls - WR
- Greg White - OL / DL
AFL Hall of FamersEdit
- Ben Bennett
- Jay Gruden
- Durwood Roquemore
- Perry Moss
- Carl Aikens
- Reggie Smith
- Herkie Walls
- Barry Wagner
- ↑ Orlando Predators Back for 2010 Season
- ↑ http://www.cfnews13.com/Sports/CentralFloridaSportsReport/2009/12/22/ohara_to_coach_orlando_predators_in_2010.html
- ↑ 2010 Schedule Released
- ↑ http://www.arenafootball.com/mediaPlayer/video.dbml?DB_MENU_ID=&SPSID=38064&SPID=3172&DB_OEM_ID=3500&CLIP_ID=31848&CLIP_FILE_ID=35915&CONTENT_TYPE=ONDEMAND
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Jay Gruden". http://www.arenafan.com/history/?page=coaches&coach=45. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
- ↑ "Head Coach Jay Gruden". OrlandoPredators.com. Orlando Predators. http://www.orlandopredators.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=21531&SPID=1700&DB_OEM_ID=3700&ATCLID=592697&Q_SEASON=2009. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
- ↑ "Les Moss". OrlandoPredators.com. Orlando Predators. http://www.orlandopredators.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=21531&SPID=1700&DB_OEM_ID=3700&ATCLID=224884. Retrieved 2008-10-25.[dead link]
- ↑ "Willie Fears". OrlandoPredators.com. Orlando Predators. http://www.orlandopredators.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=21531&SPID=1700&DB_OEM_ID=3700&ATCLID=107471&Q_SEASON=2007. Retrieved 2008-10-25.[dead link]
- ↑ "Sean Beckton". OrlandoPredators.com. Orlando Predators. http://www.orlandopredators.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=21531&SPID=1700&DB_OEM_ID=3700&ATCLID=1306657&Q_SEASON=2009. Retrieved 2008-10-25.[dead link]