Shreveport Pirates
CFL Pirates ShreveportPirates

Founded 1994
Folded 1995
Based in Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Home field Independence Stadium
League Canadian Football League
Division East Division
South Division
Colours Purple, orange, silver, black, and white
Head coach John Huard
Forrest Gregg
Owner(s) Bernard Glieberman
Lonnie Glieberman
Uniform CFL Jersey SHV 1994

The Shreveport Pirates were a Canadian Football League team, playing at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA, in 1994 and 1995.

The Pirates were known to be one of the least successful of the CFL's American franchises on and off the field. It was created when Bernard Glieberman and his son Lonnie, owners of the Ottawa Rough Riders, made noises about moving the struggling franchise to the United States. The CFL rejected this move, but engineered a deal in which the Rough Riders were essentially split in two. The Gliebermans received an expansion franchise in Shreveport, while a new ownership group took over the Rough Riders name, colours and history.

The team was doomed from the beginning. General manager J. I. Albrecht hired John Huard as head coach, but the Gliebermans overruled him and installed Forrest Gregg as coach before the team took its first snap. It took them until week 15 to record their first victory, a 24-12 victory over the Sacramento Gold Miners After the historic victory, the team won two out of their last three games, but they still finished last in the CFL East Division with a 3-15 record. Albrecht resigned and sued Glieberman and the Pirates.

There were some bright spots, however. Top performers were wide receiver Charles Thompson with 641 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns and running back Martin Patton was the team leading rusher with 659 yards and 8 touchdowns. Terrence Jones had 1,046 yard passing with 4 touchdowns and with 9 interceptions and Mike Johnson, of the University of Akron, passed for 1,259 yards and 4 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. The club averaged a respectable 17,871 fans per game with a high of 32,011 for their victory over the Ottawa Rough Riders.

The problems continued off the field as the Gliebermans tried to relocate the team to Norfolk, Virginia but the deal fell through. Notable about the move to Virginia was "the Great Tucker Caper" when the City of Shreveport tried to seize Bernard Glieberman's 1948 Tucker (which was on loan to a classic automobile museum in downtown Shreveport) for defaulting on debts related to the Pirates' lease at Independence Stadium. Glieberman's lawyer, Mark Gilliam, tried to escape with the car and hide the vintage auto, but he ran out of gas along the way. The police spotted him, and took the car back to the museum where it was being stored until the case could be settled. Norfolk wasn't interested in the team in any event due to the Gliebermans' poor business record. The soap opera saga led to the contraction of the team. It appeared that the Birmingham Barracudas would move to Shreveport, but that proposal came to nothing when the CFL's American teams either moved (Baltimore to Montreal) or folded.

Some notable players were quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver and kick returner Freeman Baysinger. Kicker Björn Nittmo was also a fan favorite, both for making some very long field goals and for being friendly to the fans, often attending meetings of their Booster Club. Jon Heidenreich played two seasons with the club, and later became popular as a wrestler (WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship). Curiously, two players, Joe Montford and Elfrid Payton, would later go on to fame as winners of the CFL's Most Outstanding Defensive Player Award (added to this pair is Greg Stumon, who was a former winner of the same award). Uzooma Okeke went on to become one of the best linemen in the history of the Montreal Alouettes and won the 1999 CFL Most Outstanding Lineman award. He became a scout with the Alouettes in 2007.

Shreveport averaged more than 26 points per game in 1995, but gave up better than 28 en route to a 5-13 record. Billy Joe Tolliver completed 252 of 429 passes for 3,440 yards and 14 touchdowns. His favorite target was fellow Texas Tech product Wayne Walker, who caught 51 passes for 790 yards. Curtis Mayfield led the team in receptions with 58 for 846 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. The team's leading rusher was former University of Miami player Martin Patton, who ran for 1,040 yards, third in the league. Kicker Björn Nittmo finished 46 of 53 in field goals and was sixth in the league in scoring.

The Pirates booster club was formed during the team's first season in order to support the team, and remained active long after the team became defunct, spearheading various later attempts to get another professional football team in the Shreveport area.

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