Albany Firebirds/Conquest

Years of Existence: 2002-2009
Venue: Times-Union Center/Pepsi Arena (Albany, NY)
2002 Northeast Division Champions, quarterfinal appearance
2003 Northeast Division Champions, quarterfinal appearance
2006 -
2007 -
2008 -
2009 - Playoff appearance
Lifetime Record: 60-72
Home: 36-30
Away: 24-42
Playoffs: 1-3
Average Attendance: 4,740

The Albany Conquest began as a very good franchise. In 2002, they won their division with a 13-3 record and made it to the quarterfinals, where they finally lost their fourth game to the Cape Fear Wildcats. The 2003 season was almost identical, as the Conquest again went 13-3 to enter the playoffs. But like the year before, they would again lose in their quarterfinal game, this time to the Macon Knights. The Conquest have since fallen on hard times, following up their successful two years with back-to-back losing seasons. The losing continued in 2006, with a 5-11 record. Despite Quarterback Ryan Vena setting a record for most passing yards in a season, it was the defense that never got the job done. Opponents were held to under 50 points just three times all year. The Conquest did have one very exciting game at home, with a 73-70 win against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Albany scored 17 points in the final minute to steal the victory. After losing star wide receiver Jim Jones and quarterback Ryan Vena both to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Conquest were in for another long, losing season. The team won just one road game at Fort Wayne and experience two three-game losing streaks en rout to a 6-10 season. For the fourth straight year, the Conquest missed the playoffs and attendance continued to decline. Behind Dan Cole, the Conquest opened the 2008 season at 3-1, before losing seven straight. Albany quarterbacks were sacked 59 times and the team finished at 5-11, missing the playoffs for the fifth straight year. For the 2009 season, Albany once again became known as the Firebirds. In 2009, it was only the name and the piece of turf that changed. The Firebirds began the year with five consecutive losses by an average of 24 points per game. Midseason, however, the team made a successful switch at quarterback, moving from Adam Bednarik, who threw for 14 touchdowns and 8 picks, to Stephen Wasil, who completed 60 percent of his passes and threw for 70 scores to just 12 picks. Rednarik became a wide receiver for the team, catching six touchdowns. Alvin Jackson, Anthony Rodriguez, and Christian Wise all caught over 1,000 yards, combining for 44 scores. The team was outsocred in the second quarter of games 269-176, leaving them with insurmountable second half deficits. The team won seven of its last eleven games, but was at first left out of the playoffs, losing a tiebreaker to Florida. However, Florida was excluded from the playoff bracket because they failed to pay $200,000 in dues. Manchester moved up to the seven seed and Albany was given a road game in Wilkes-Barre. Stephen Wassil would not have the nice performance that he had two weeks prior. The closest the Firebirds got was being down 14-7 in the first quarter. The Firebirds turned the ball over nine times, including five Wassil interceptions. The Pioneers mounted a 48-7 halftime lead and 78-21 victory. Following the 2009 season, the franchise folded.