The Indianapolis Colts are an American football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts compete in the National Football League as a member club of the league's American Football Conference South division. Since the 2008 season, the Colts have played their games in Lucas Oil Stadium; the team had played for over two decades at the RCA Dome. Since 1987, the Colts have been the host team for the NFL Scouting Combine; the Colts have been a member club of the NFL since their founding in Baltimore in 1953. They were one of three NFL teams to join those of the American Football League to form the AFC following the 1970 merger. While in Baltimore, the team advanced to the playoffs 10 times and won three NFL Championship games in 1958, 1959, 1968; the Colts played in two Super Bowls while they were based in Baltimore, losing to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III and defeating the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. The Colts relocated to Indianapolis in 1984 and have since appeared in the playoffs 16 times, won two conference championships, won one Super Bowl, in which they defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.
Following World War II, a competing professional football league was organized known as the All America Football Conference which began to play in the 1946 season. In its second year the franchise assigned to the Miami Seahawks was relocated to Maryland's major commercial and manufacturing city of Baltimore. After a fan contest the team was renamed the Baltimore Colts and used the team colors of silver and green; the Colts played for the next three seasons in the old AAFC. until they agreed to merge with the old National Football League when the NFL was reorganized. The Baltimore Colts were one of the three former AAFC powerhouse teams to merge with the NFL at that time, the others being the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns; this new Colts team, now in the "big league" of professional American football for the first time, although with shaky financing and ownership, played only in the 1950 season of the reorganized "third" NFL, was disbanded and moved. Two years in 1953, a new Baltimore-based group supported by the City's municipal government and with a large subscription-base of fan-purchased season tickets, led by local owner Carroll Rosenbloom won the rights to a new Baltimore NFL franchise.
Rosenbloom was awarded the remains of the former Dallas Texans team, who themselves had a long and winding history starting as the Boston Yanks in 1944, merging with the Brooklyn Tigers, who were known as the Dayton Triangles, one of the original old NFL teams established before the League itself, in 1913. With the organization in 1920 of the original "American Professional Football Conference" two years in 1922, renamed a second time, now permanently as the "National Football League"; that team became the New York Yanks in 1950, many of the players from the New York Yankees of the former competing All-America Football Conference were added to the team to begin playing in the newly merged League for the 1950 season. The Yanks moved to Dallas in Texas after the 1951 season having competed for two seasons, but played their final two "home" games of the 1952 season as a so-called "road team" at the Rubber Bowl football stadium in Akron, Ohio; the NFL considers the Texans and Colts to be separate teams, although many of the earlier teams shared the same colors of blue and white.
Thus, the Indianapolis Colts are considered to be a 1953 expansion team. The third version of the Colts football team played their first season in Baltimore in 1953, where the team compiled a 3–9 record under first-year head coach Keith Molesworth; the franchise struggled during the first few years in Baltimore, with the team not achieving their first winning record until the 1957 season. However, under head coach Weeb Ewbank and the leadership of quarterback Johnny Unitas, the Colts went on to a 9–3 record during the 1958 season and reached the NFL Championship Game for the first time in their history by winning the NFL Western Conference; the Colts faced the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, considered to be among the greatest contests in professional football history. The Colts defeated the Giants 23–17 in the first game to utilize the overtime rule, a game seen by 45 million people. Following the Colts first NFL championship, the team posted a 9–3 record during the 1959 season and once again defeated the Giants in the NFL Championship Game to claim their second title in back to back fashion.
Following the two championships in 1958 and 1959, the Colts did not return to the NFL Championship for four seasons and replaced the head coach Ewbank with the young Don Shula in 1963. In Shula's second season the Colts compiled a 12–2 record, but lost to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship. However, in 1968 the Colts returned with the continued leadership of Unitas and Shula and went on to win the Colts' third NFL Championship and made an appearance in Super Bowl III. Leading up to the Super Bowl and following the 34–0 trouncing of the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship, many were calling the 1968 Colts team one of the "greatest pro football teams of all time" and were favored by 18 points against their counterparts from the American Football League, the New York Jets; the Colts, were stunned by the Jets, who won the game 16–7 in the first Super Bowl victory for the young AFL. The result of the game surprised many in the sports media as Joe Namath and Matt Snell led the Jets to the Super Bowl victory under head coach Weeb Ewbank, who had won
A quarterback, colloquially known as the "signal caller", is a position in American and Canadian football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is considered the leader of the offensive team, is responsible for calling the play in the huddle; the quarterback touches the ball on every offensive play, is the offensive player that always throws forward passes. In modern American football, the quarterback is the leader of the offense; the quarterback touches the ball on every offensive play, his successes and failures can have a significant impact on the fortunes of his team. Accordingly, the quarterback is among the most glorified and highest-paid positions in team sports. Prior to each play, the quarterback will tell the rest of his team which play the team will run. After the team is lined up, the center will pass the ball back to the quarterback. On a running play, the quarterback will hand or pitch the ball backwards to a halfback or fullback.
On a passing play, the quarterback is always the player responsible for trying to throw the ball downfield to an eligible receiver. Additionally, the quarterback will run with the football himself, which could be part of a designed play like the option run or quarterback sneak, or it could be an effort to avoid being sacked by the defense. Depending on the offensive scheme by his team, the quarterback's role can vary. In systems like the triple option the quarterback will only pass the ball a few times per game, if at all, while the pass-heavy spread offense as run by schools like Texas Tech requires quarterbacks to throw the ball in most plays; the passing game is emphasized in the Canadian Football League, where there are only three downs as opposed to the four downs used in American football, a larger field of play and an extra eligible receiver. Different skillsets are required of the quarterback in each system - quarterbacks that perform well in a pass-heavy spread offensive system, a popular offensive scheme in the NCAA and NFHS perform well in the National Football League, as the fundamentals of the pro-style offense used in the NFL are different from those in the spread system.
While quarterbacks in Canadian football need to be able to throw the ball and accurately. In general, quarterbacks need to have physical skills such as arm strength and quick throwing motion, in addition to intangibles such as competitiveness, leadership and downfield vision. In the NFL, quarterbacks are required to wear a uniform number between 1 and 19. In the National Collegiate Athletic Association and National Federation of State High School Associations, quarterbacks are required to wear a uniform number between 1 and 49. In the CFL, the quarterback can wear any number from 0 to 49 and 70 to 99; because of their numbering, quarterbacks are eligible receivers in the NCAA, NFHS, CFL. Compared to captains of other team sports, before the implementation of NFL team captains in 2007, the starting quarterback is the de facto team leader and well-respected player on and off the field. Since 2007, when the NFL allowed teams to designate several captains to serve as on-field leaders, the starting quarterback has been one of the team captains as the leader of the team's offense.
In the NFL, while the starting quarterback has no other responsibility or authority, he may, depending on the league or individual team, have various informal duties, such as participation in pre-game ceremonies, the coin toss, or other events outside the game. For instance the starting quarterback is the first player to be presented with the Lamar Hunt Trophy/George Halas Trophy and the Vince Lombardi Trophy; the starting quarterback of the victorious Super Bowl team is chosen for the "I'm going to Disney World!" campaign, whether they are the Super Bowl MVP or not. Dilfer was chosen though teammate Ray Lewis was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, due to the bad publicity from Lewis' murder trial the prior year. Being able to rely on a quarterback is vital to team morale. San Diego Chargers safety Rodney Harrison called the 1998 season a "nightmare" because of poor play by Ryan Leaf and Craig Whelihan and, from the rookie Leaf, obnoxious behavior toward teammates. Although their 1999 season replacements Jim Harbaugh and Erik Kramer were not stars, linebacker Junior Seau said "you can't imagine the security we feel as teammates knowing we have two quarterbacks who have performed in this league and know how to handle themselves as players and as leaders".
Commentators have noted the "disproportionate importance" of the quarterback, describing it as the "most glorified -- and scrutinized -- position" in team sports. It is believed that "there is no other position in sports that'dictates the terms' of a game the way quarterback does, whether that impact is positive or negative, as "Everybody feeds off of what the quarterback can and cannot do... Defensively, everybody reacts to what threats or non-threats the quarterback has. Everything else is secondary". "An argument can be made that quarterback is the most influential position in team sport
In ball-playing competitive team sports, an interception or pick is a move by a player involving a pass of the ball—whether by foot or hand, depending on the rules of the sport—in which the ball is intended for a player of the same team but caught by a player of the opposing team, who thereby gains possession of the ball for their team. It is seen in football, including American and Canadian football, as well as association football, rugby league, rugby union, Australian rules football and Gaelic football, as well as any sport by which a loose object is passed between players toward a goal. In basketball, a pick is called a steal. In American or Canadian football, an interception occurs when a forward pass is caught by a player of the opposing defensive team; this leads to an immediate change of possession during the play: the defender who caught the ball attempts to move the ball as far towards the opposing end zone as possible. Following the stoppage of play, if the interceptor retained possession of the ball, his team takes over possession at the spot where he was downed.
Because possession is a critical component in these sports, a successful interception can be a dramatic reversal of the teams' fortunes. Interceptions are predominantly made by the secondary or the linebackers, who are closest to the quarterback's intended targets, the wide receivers, running backs, tight ends. Less a defensive lineman may get an interception from a tipped ball, a near sack, a shovel pass, or a screen pass, but are more to force a fumble than get an interception; as soon as a pass is intercepted, everyone on the defense acts as blockers, helping the person with the interception get as much yardage as possible and a touchdown. If the interception occurs on an extra point attempt, rather than an ordinary play from scrimmage, a potential return of the interception to the other end zone is sometimes called a "pick two" as it would be a defensive two point conversion rather than a touchdown. For example, on December 4, 2016, the Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry scored the game winning points via a pick two in a 29–28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Berry achieved an ordinary pick six earlier in the same game. If the intercepting team can run out the clock, the intercepting player may down the ball and not attempt to gain any yardage; this eliminates the chance of a fumble. There are player safety implications: when the ball is turned over, the play is now and unexpectedly moving in the opposite direction. All of the players on offense are susceptible to unexpected blocks if not attempting to stop the ball carrier. Additionally, offensive players the quarterback, are inexperienced tacklers and are at risk of injuring themselves while tackling the ball carrier. Only the interception of a forward pass is recorded statistically as an interception, for both the passer and the intercepting player. If a receiver fails to catch the ball and bobbles or tips it before it is intercepted if his action was responsible for the interception, it is always recorded as an interception thrown by the passer; the interception of a lateral pass is recorded as a fumble by the passer.
James Johnson was named the Outstanding Player of the 95th Grey Cup on November 25, 2007, after intercepting a record three passes, including one for a 30-yard touchdown. His defensive efforts helped lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 23–19 victory over their CFL Prairie rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers; this was the first time since 1994 that a defensive player was awarded the Grey Cup's top individual title. His most notable interception of the game was when he intercepted Ryan Dinwiddie's final pass and secured Saskatchewan's victory. Lester Hayes of the Oakland Raiders was one of the National Football League's leaders at interceptions in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was known for covering his chest and forearms with a copious amount of the adhesive Stickum to help him hold on to the ball. After the NFL outlawed the use of such foreign substances in 1981, Hayes' success rate at interceptions dropped below average though that could be due to his reputation as a "shutdown cornerback", which discouraged opposing teams from throwing to his side of the field.
He continued to use the substance, which he called "pick juice", by having it applied in smaller amounts to his wrists. Paul Krause holds the record for most career interceptions, with 81, is tied for third place for most interceptions by an NFL rookie in his first season, with 12, he played his first three years in the NFL from 1964 to 1967 with the Washington Redskins but was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, where he spent most of his career. Krause appeared in four Super Bowls with the Vikings, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998. Rod Woodson played 16 seasons with Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Oakland, holds the NFL record for most interception returns for touchdown in an NFL career with 12, he holds the NFL record for most total defensive TD returns in a career with 13. Woodson, third on the NFL all-time career interception list with 71, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. Former New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper, most notable for playing 8 seasons with the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings from 2005 to 2008, has a career total of 63 interceptions, has returned 11 of those for touchdowns.
Sharper holds th
2003 NFL season
The 2003 NFL season was the 84th regular season of the National Football League. Regular-season play was held from September 4, 2003, to December 28, 2003. Due to damage caused by the Cedar Fire, Qualcomm Stadium was used as an emergency shelter, thus the Miami Dolphins–San Diego Chargers regular-season match on October 27 was instead played at Sun Devil Stadium, the home field of the Arizona Cardinals; the playoffs began on January 3, 2004. The NFL title was won by the New England Patriots when they defeated the Carolina Panthers, 32–29, in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, on February 1; this was the last season until the 2016 NFL season where neither of the previous Super Bowl participants made the playoffs. If an onside kick inside the final five minutes of the game does not go 10 yards, goes out of bounds, or is touched illegally, the receiving team will have the option of accepting the penalty and getting the ball immediately; the kicking team was penalized, but had another chance to kick again from five yards back.
League officials encouraged networks to cut to a commercial break if an instant replay challenge review was initiated. Networks were not permitted to utilize those game stoppages for their prescribed commercial periods. Dick Hantak and Bob McElwee retired in the 2003 off-season. Hantak joined the league as a back judge in 1978, was assigned Super Bowl XVII in that position, he was promoted to referee in 1986, working Super Bowl XXVII. McElwee joined the NFL in 1976 as a line judge, became a referee in 1980, he was the referee for three Super Bowls: XXII, XXVIII, XXXIV. Walt Anderson and Pete Morelli were promoted to referee to replace McElwee. Cincinnati Bengals – Marvin Lewis. Dallas Cowboys – Bill Parcells. Detroit Lions – Steve Mariucci. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jack Del Rio. San Francisco 49ers – Dennis Erickson. Philadelphia Eagles – New stadium: Lincoln Financial Field. New Orleans Saints – New AstroPlay home turf by mid-season Atlanta Falcons – New FieldTurf surface Green Bay Packers – New remodeled Lambeau Field Chicago Bears – New remodelled Soldier Field.
Buffalo Bills – New AstroPlay home turf Atlanta Falcons – New logo, new uniforms Detroit Lions – New uniforms, added black trim on logo and numbers Philadelphia Eagles – Added silver trim to numbers on uniforms. Introduce new home alternative uniforms. Black uniforms with white numbers with midnight green shadow in numbers. San Diego Chargers – White pants with road uniforms. New England Patriots – Added third alternative uniforms. Silver uniforms. Miami Dolphins – Added third alternate uniforms. Orange uniforms. Houston Texans – Added third alternate uniforms. Red Uniforms. Cleveland Browns – Added new alternate orange pants last worn in the Kardiac Kids era of coach Sam Rutigliano. Tennessee Titans – Added third alternate uniforms, powder blue Indianapolis finished ahead of Tennessee in the AFC South based on better head-to-head record. Denver clinched the AFC 6 seed instead of Miami based on better conference record. Buffalo finished ahead of N. Y. Jets in the AFC East based on better division record.
Jacksonville finished ahead of Houston in the AFC South based on better division record. Oakland finished ahead of San Diego in the AFC West based on better conference record. Philadelphia clinched the NFC 1 seed instead of St. Louis based on better conference record. Seattle clinched the NFC 5 seed instead of Dallas based on strength of victory. Within each conference, the four division winners and the two wild card teams qualified for the playoffs; the four division winners are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, the wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, the fourth seed hosts the fifth; the 1 and 2 seeds from each conference receive a bye in the first round. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst surviving seed from the first round, while the number 2 seed will play the other team.
The two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the fourth and final round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference. * Indicates overtime victory ** Indicates double overtime victory The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the season: The 2003 NFL Draft was held from April 26 to 27, 2003 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected quarterback Carson Palmer from the University of Southern California. NFL Record and Fact Book NFL History 2001– Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League Football Outsiders 2003 Team Efficiency Ratings Pro Football Reference.com – 2003
2001 NFL season
The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the NFL's week 2 games were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVI, were rescheduled one week later; the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, defeating the St. Louis Rams 20–17 at the Louisiana Superdome. Following a pattern set in 1999, the first week of the season was permanently moved to the weekend following Labor Day. With Super Bowls XXXVI-XXXVII scheduled for fixed dates, the league decided to eliminate the Super Bowl bye weeks for 2001 and 2002 to adjust. In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the games scheduled for September 16 and 17 were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including the Super Bowl, were rescheduled one week later; the season-ending Pro Bowl was moved to one week later.
This was the last season in which each conference had three divisions, as the conferences would be realigned to four divisions for the 2002 NFL season. Canceling the games scheduled for September 16 and 17 was considered and rejected since it would have canceled a home game for about half the teams, it would have resulted in an unequal number of games played: September 16 and 17 was to have been a bye for the San Diego Chargers, so that team would still have played 16 games that season and each of the other teams would have played only 15 games. As a result of rescheduling Week 2 as Week 17, the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up not playing a home game for the entire month of September; the ESPN Sunday Night Football game for that week was changed. It was scheduled to be Cleveland at Pittsburgh, but it was replaced with Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, seen as a more interesting matchup; the Eagles and Buccaneers would both rest their starters that night, would meet one week in the playoffs. In recognition of this, when NBC began airing Sunday Night Football in 2006, there would be no game scheduled for Weeks 11 to 17 – a game scheduled in the afternoon would be moved to the primetime slot, without stripping any teams of a primetime appearance.
This way of “flexible scheduling” would not be utilized at all in 2007, since 2008, it is only utilized in the final week. The games that made up Week 17 marked the latest regular season games to be played during what is traditionally defined as the "NFL season". Another scheduling change took place in October, when the Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders game was moved from October 21 to 7 to accommodate a possible Oakland Athletics home playoff game on the 21st; the rescheduling ended up being unnecessary as the Athletics would not make it past the Division Series round. This was the only NFL season where every jersey had a patch to remember those who died on 9/11, while the New York Jets and New York Giants wore a patch to remember the firefighters who died; the season ended with Super Bowl XXXVI. Fumble recoveries will be awarded at the spot of the recovery, not where the player’s momentum carries him; this change was passed in response to two regular season games in 2000, Atlanta Falcons–Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders–Seattle Seahawks, in which a safety was awarded when a defensive player’s momentum in recovering a fumble carried him into his own end zone.
Taunting rules and roughing the passer will be enforced. Mike Pereira became the league's Director of Officiating, succeeding Jerry Seeman, who had served the role since 1991. Bill Leavy and Terry McAulay were promoted to referee. Phil Luckett returned to back judge, while another officiating crew was added in 2001 in preparation for the Houston Texans expansion team, the league's 32nd franchise, in 2002. Due to labor dispute, the regular NFL officials were locked out prior to the final week of the preseason. Replacement officials who had worked in college football or the Arena Football League officiated NFL games during the last preseason week and the first week of the regular season. A deal was reached before play resumed after the September 11 attacks. New Orleans Saints – Replaced their gold pants with black pants. Pittsburgh Steelers – New stadium: Heinz Field. San Diego Chargers – White pants with road uniforms. Denver Broncos – New stadium: Invesco Field. St. Louis Rams – New font for uniform numbers.
Philadelphia Eagles – New hard turf field, due to a cancelled preseason game scheduled against the Baltimore Ravens in which Ravens’ coach Brian Billick told officials of the NFL that he refused to have his team play on a slippery and bouncy turf field which he deemed unsafe. Buffalo Bills – Gregg Williams.
The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football franchise based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Cardinals compete in the National Football League as a member of the league's National Football Conference West division; the Cardinals were founded as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898, are the oldest continuously run professional football team in the United States. The Cardinals play their home games at State Farm Stadium, which opened in 2006 and is located in the northwestern suburb of Glendale; the team was established in Chicago in 1898 as an amateur football team and joined the NFL as a charter member on September 17, 1920. Along with the Chicago Bears, the club is one of two NFL charter member franchises still in operation since the league's founding; the club moved to St. Louis in 1960 and played in that city through 1987. Before the 1988 season, the team moved west to Tempe, Arizona, a college suburb east of Phoenix, played their home games for the next 18 seasons at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University.
In 2006, the club moved to their current home field in Glendale, although the team's executive offices and training facility remain in Tempe. The franchise has won two NFL championships, both; the first occurred in 1925, but is the subject of controversy, with supporters of the Pottsville Maroons believing that Pottsville should have won the title. Their second title, the first to be won in a championship game, came in 1947, nearly two decades before the first Super Bowl, they returned to the title game to defend in 1948, but lost the rematch 7–0 in a snowstorm in Philadelphia. Since winning the championship in 1947, the team suffered many losing seasons, holds the longest active championship drought of North American sports at 70 consecutive seasons after Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs ended their 108 year drought in 2016. In 2012 the Cardinals became the first NFL franchise to lose 700 games since its inception; the franchise's all-time win-loss record at the conclusion of the 2018 season is 560–762–40.
They have been to the playoffs ten times and have won seven playoff games, three of which were victories during their run in the 2008–09 NFL playoffs. During that season, they won their only NFC Championship Game since the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, reached Super Bowl XLIII; the team has won five division titles since their 1947–48 NFL championship game appearances. The Cardinals are the only NFL team who have never lost a playoff game at home, with a 5–0 record: the 1947 NFL Championship Game, two postseason victories during the aforementioned 2008–09 NFL playoffs, one during the 2009–10 playoffs, one during the 2015–16 playoffs. From 1988 through 2012, the Cardinals conducted their annual summer training camp at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff; the Cardinals moved their training camp to State Farm Stadium in 2013. The stadium was the site of the 2015 Pro Bowl, unlike in past years, where it was held at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii; the stadium played host to Super Bowls XLII and XLIX, will host Super Bowl LVII in 2023.
The franchise's inception dates back to 1898, when a neighborhood group gathered to play in the Chicago South Side, calling themselves Morgan Athletic Club. Chicago painting and building contractor Chris O'Brien acquired the team, which he relocated to Normal Field on Racine Avenue; the team was known as Racine Normals until 1901, when O'Brien bought used jerseys from the University of Chicago. He described the faded maroon clothing as "Cardinal red" and the team became the Racine Street Cardinals; the team became in 1920 a charter member of the American Professional Football Association, which two years was rechristened to National Football League. The team entered the league as the Racine Cardinals, however the name was changed in 1922 to Chicago Cardinals to avoid confusion with the Horlick-Racine Legion, who entered the league the same year. Except for 1925, when they were awarded the championship after the Pottsville Maroons were suspended, the Cardinals experienced only minimal success on the playing field during their first 26 seasons in the league.
During the post-World War II years, the team reached two straight NFL finals against the Philadelphia Eagles, winning in 1947 – eight months after Charles Bidwill's death – and losing the following year. After years of bad seasons and losing fans to the cross-town rivals Chicago Bears, by the late 1950s the Cardinals were bankrupt, owner Violet Bidwill Wolfner became interested in a relocation. Due to the formation of the rival American Football League, the NFL allowed Bidwill to relocate the team to St. Louis, where they became the St. Louis Cardinals. During the Cardinals' 28-year stay in St. Louis, they advanced to the playoffs just three times, never hosting or winning in any appearance; the overall mediocrity of the Cardinals, combined with a then-21-year-old stadium, caused game attendance to dwindle, owner Bill Bidwill decided to move the team to Arizona. Not long after the 1987 NFL season, Bidwill agreed to move to Arizona on a handshake deal with state and
The Cleveland Gladiators are an arena football team based in Cleveland, United States on hiatus while members of the Arena Football League. The Gladiators played their home games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which they shared with the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association and the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League; the franchise was based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, later in Las Vegas, before relocating to Cleveland for the 2008 AFL season. The Gladiators qualified for the playoffs eight times in their history, reaching the ArenaBowl in 2014; the Gladiators announced that they would not play the 2018 or 2019 seasons due to renovations on Quicken Loans Arena that will require it to close during the offseason. The New Jersey Red Dogs entered the Arena Football League in 1997, along with the Nashville Kats and the New York CityHawks, their ownership group, led by New Jersey radio entrepreneur E. Burke Ross included several ex-NFL players, such as Joe Morris, Carl Banks, Harry Carson.
The name "Red Dogs" reflected the sponsorship of the Miller Brewing Company, the makers of Red Dog beer. The Red Dogs played at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey; the AFL's intention was to add only New Jersey and Nashville for 1997. However, well after the awarding of the Red Dogs and Kats franchises, the owners of Madison Square Garden in New York City requested a franchise of their own, the league granted this request, and so the CityHawks began play in 1997. This affected the Red Dogs, in that the league prevented the Red Dogs from advertising in New York. While North Jersey itself is populous in its own right, the Red Dogs had hoped to be the team for the entire New York metropolitan area. Despite this setback, the Red Dogs management built a good team, which opened its history in memorable fashion; the team won 8 of its first 9 games, including a victory in their inaugural game on a last-second game-winning field goal, a thrilling overtime victory against the Albany Firebirds, a thorough thrashing of the Iowa Barnstormers, one game in which they scored a then-record 91 points against the Texas Terror.
The Red Dogs were led by head coach John Hufnagel, a quarterback and offensive coordinator for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. After his time with the Red Dogs, Hufnagel went on to be an offensive coach for several National Football League teams, including the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, he became the head coach of the CFL's Stampeders for the 2008 season, won the Grey Cup in his first season at the helm. Hufnagel brought in several players with CFL experience to the Red Dogs, including QB Rickey Foggie and offensive specialist Larry Ray Willis; the team's other main receiver was Alvin Ashley, a player whose small size made him unlikely to play in the NFL but suited the more compact Arena game. The Red Dogs slumped late in their first season, losing 4 of their final 5 games to finish 9–5 losing to the Orlando Predators in the first round of the playoffs; the Red Dogs finished 8–6 in 1998, their second season, won their first playoff game in Albany against the Firebirds.
Hufnagel left the Red Dogs after the 1998 season for a job with the NFL's Cleveland Browns, he was replaced by Frank Mattiace, a former defensive lineman for the New Jersey Generals of the USFL. Star Larry Ray Willis was traded to the Milwaukee Mustangs Following those losses, the Red Dogs slumped in 1999 to their first losing season, going 6–8, despite winning 3 of their first 4; the Red Dogs made a significant trade following the 1999 season, a trade they never got to benefit from. New Jersey sent Alvin Ashley to the Orlando Predators for wide receiver/defensive back Barry Wagner regarded as the greatest player in the league's history. However, soon after the trade, the league and its players agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement that resulted in several veteran players—including Wagner—gaining free agency. Wagner signed with the San Jose SaberCats. In 2000, the Red Dogs, without Wagner and offensive mainstay Chad Lindsey, fell to 4–10. Foggie lost his job as starting QB, replaced by Tommy Maddox, at the time a failed NFL quarterback.
Head coach Frank Mattiace left the team in mid-season and was replaced on an interim basis by Kevin Guy, a former defensive back/wide receiver who had played two full seasons with the Red Dogs. Before the 2001 season, the New Jersey team was sold to a lawyer from Miami, Florida. Ferraro changed the team name to the New Jersey Gladiators; the new ownership appointed as head coach the ex-CityHawk boss Lary Kuharich, who had won ArenaBowl VII in 1993 with the Tampa Bay Storm. Maynor had led the Predators to victory in ArenaBowl XIV the previous season, was named the game's MVP. An all-around threat, Maynor had played with the CityHawks under Kuharich in 1997, but took only one snap all season as the backup to Mike Perez. Instead, the CityHawks used Maynor as a wide receiver/linebacker, one week he won the award for the league's best "ironman"; the Gladiators reached the lowest ebb in franchise history during the 2001 season, winning only 2 out of 14 games. The club's top receivers attained half the number of yards that Larry Ray Willis had achieved in each of the franchise's first two seasons, the rushing leader was Quarterback Ma