New Horizons: Five Former AFL Franchises that Should Return Soon

by Richard Martin

Earlier this week, executives in the Arena Football League announced that during this year’s ArenaBowl broadcast on August 11, the AFL would be announcing their expansion plans

This is huge news for all Arena Football fans as the league looks to take more steps forward into former glory. At one point the AFL had teams all across the nation and even a minor league, the af2, before collapsing and cutting down to just four teams at one point.

While fans will welcome expansion teams with open arms, look at the crowds at Albany Empire games, several fans are wanting their former favorite teams to return.

Let’s take a quick look at five potential AFL franchises that could return next season or in the future.

Nashville Kats

The league is looking to expand in the Northeast, but hear me out.

If the AFL adds the new Northeast franchise and then adds the Nashville Kats, you could have two divisions, east and west, of four teams each.

Also, adding Nashville breaks the league back into the South without going too far away from the most Western team at the moment, Columbus.

Finally, Nashville is a bustling metropolis with a lot of fun music and downtown life. Just look at the crowds at the 2019 NFL Draft and for the NHL Stanley Cup games a few years ago. The Titans have also been successful and have a passionate fan base. Why not do that with the Kats?

This feels the least likely of all expansion teams because it hinges on the announcement in August. But it would be fun to have an AFL team back in the South.

New York Dragons

New York has been successful with many AFL teams calling the state home

Albany has been able to draw crowds and produce, but unlike Atlantic City and Philadelphia or Baltimore and Washington, they don’t have a great geographic rival. So why not a cross state rivalry with Albany and Long Island?

Plus, the Dragons uniforms and color scheme were amazing and I would love to see a modern approach to the original design.

Chicago Rush

The Rush have a perfect set up in one of the best sports cities in America, that it makes too much sense not to bring them back.

There are about 14 sports arenas in the Chicago area it seems. In reality, the team succeeded in Rosemont, Illinois, with large crowds and a fun team to watch.

This could also bring the AFL more into the Midwest and become a gateway of possible Western expansion for the league.

Grand Rapids Rampage

After the XFL and AAF announced their team locations, several fans in the Detroit area were disappointed that their city wasn’t announced as a finalist. A small, but passionate fan base did bring up a possible return of the Grand Rapids Rampage.

While not the largest city in the AFL, Grand Rapids wouldn’t have much competition and seem to have a solid fan base.

Add in a potential rivalry with Columbus to create an old school Ohio vs Michigan feud.

Cleveland Gladiators

This makes the most sense out of all of these teams.

The league was successful in Cleveland, and with one team already in the state of Ohio, the league could look to going back to Cleveland.

It’s a safe move, which would be good for the league’s future. The Cleveland-Columbus rivalry could be fun and the return of the Philadelphia-Cleveland battles will be a treat for long time fans.

Whether the league looks to resurrect an old franchise, add a team from another league, or add their own expansion team in a completely different city, Arena Football fans should be excited about the future of the AFL.

4 thoughts on “New Horizons: Five Former AFL Franchises that Should Return Soon

  1. charles skaug

    thats all very nice but wtih the cost of running a AFL team vs the cost of the IFL i just dont see it happening. Right now all the teams have connections with two owners who are the money behind it. Independent smaller city owners like Nashville wont make it in the long run. You need big time owners who love the game and are willing to lose money for a minimum of five years or more. Cleveland should come back they were a well run franchise.


    1. Scott "AFL Slasher" Soares

      The IFL is irrelevant in this case. Nashville is working hard to become a major league city. They won’t accept a lower level league much like Orlando and the NAL Preds.

      A new team will not be independently owned. The league is wholly single entity now so the cost comparison to the IFL means nothing.

      As for the smaller market, it’s working fine in Albany.


  2. Hunter Tighe

    Bring back the Tulsa Talons…. We miss our Arena Football, and have a prime arena for it! #ArenaoftheYear



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