Cleveland Gladiators

Years of Existence: 2008, 2010-
Venue: Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland, OH)
2008 - Semifinal appearance
2010 -
2011 - Eastern Division champions, playoff appearance
2012 -
2013 -
2014 - American Conference champions, championship game appearance
2015 - Playoff appearance
2016 - Semifinal appearance
2017 - Playoff appearance
Lifetime Record: 80-83
Home: 47-34
Away: 33-49
Playoffs: 5-6
Average Attendance: 10,174

The Cleveland Gladiators moved from Las Vegas for the 2008 season, keeping just three players from the old roster. Raymond Philyaw led the team at quarterback, passing for 83 touchdowns and just ten interceptions. Wide receiver Otis Amey caught 48 of those touchdowns. The season was up and down; the Gladiators won three in a row to begin the year, then lost four of their next five. They finished the regular season at 9-7 and earned a home playoff game against Orlando. After defeating the Predators, 66-63, the Gladiators took their playoff run on the road to Georgia, where they won 73-70. The team returned closer to home in the National Conference championship game in Philadelphia. This time, however, Philadelphia pounded the Gladiators, 70-35. The Gladiators returned in 2010, joining the revamped AFL. John Dutton quarterbacked the team, throwing for an AFL record 5,104 yards. He passed for 100 touchdowns and 19 picks. Ben Nelson caught 47 touchdowns while Brent Holmes caught 22. Russell Monk led the ground game, with 58 yards and nine scores. The Gladiators went 7-9, competing in almost every game. The team participated in two of the season's four overtime games and defeated top playoff seed Spokane on the road. The Gladiators went 3-6 in games decided by seven points or less. The 2011 Gladiators were led by quarterback Kurt Rocco, who threw for 3,834 yards, 72 touchdowns and 14 picks in the regular season. Dominic Goodman, Robert Redd, and Troy Bergeron all eclipsed the 1,000 yard receiving mark, while Redd and Bergergon both snagged 30 touchdowns. The team played a weak schedule, going 3-3 against playoff bound opponents. The team played in several very low scoring games, defeating Tulsa 34-30, while losing to New Orleans 34-33 and to Pittsburgh 35-32. However, when it counted, Cleveland defeated the expansion Power 67-55 to secure the franchise's first division title. The team earned a home playoff berth against Georgia. The two teams met in Cleveland earlier in the year, with the Gladiators capturing a 62-48 victory. However, this time the Gladiators turned the ball over four times, with two resulting in immediate scores for the Force. The Force led 40-21 early in the fourth quarter and held off Cleveland by a final count of 50-41. The Gladiators were led by John Dutton in 2012. In Dutton's final year, he threw for 4,044 yards, 78 touchdowns and 22 picks. Domonik Goodman and Robert Redd were the primary targets, with Redd scoring 25 times and Goodman 34. Levy Brown returned three of his nine interceptions for scores. The team gave the Philadelphia Soul one of its three losses on the year, the Gladiators' only win against a playoff team. After winning six of its first nine, the team dropped seven of its final nine, including the first forfeit in league history against Pittsburgh. The forfeit came during a labor dispute between the AFLPU and AFL. Had Cleveland won the game, it is likely Cleveland would have been a playoff team with a 9-9 record. However, at 8-10, the Gladiators lost tiebreakers and missed the postseason. Chris Dieker and Brian Zbydniewski split the year quarterbacking the Gladiators on the 2013 campaign. The two combined to throw for 4,278 yards, 75 touchdowns and 23 picks. The team produced two 1,000 yard receivers in Dominick Goodman and Thyron Lewis. The team only managed four wins. An overtime victory over the Soul was a big highlight for the team, along with winning the final two home games of the year. Shane Austin led the Gladiators into a historic 2014 season. Cleveland finished the regular season 17-1. Eight games came by seven points or less. The Gladiators were thought of as one of the luckiest teams of the year. Strange circumstances at the end of games led to miraculous victories almost by the week. Austin passed for 99 touchdowns and 4,478 yards. Dominic Goodman led all receivers with 1,671 yards and 34 touchdowns. Thyron Lewis caught 37 touchdowns and amassed 1,525 yards. Marrio Norman picked off twelve passes. Adding to the idea that Cleveland was a lucky team, the Gladiators recovered four of six onside kick attempts on the regular season. A 36 yard field goal with no time left gave Cleveland its first playoff victory since 2008, 37-35 over Philadelphia. After dispatching of Orlando, Cleveland advanced to the Arena Bowl against Arizona. Shane Austin was picked four times and Cleveland was routed by a record-setting 40 points. The final score was 72-32 as the Arizona Rattlers won their third title in a row. Shane Austin threw for 101 touchdowns and 4,651 yards with 18 interceptions on the 2015 campaign. Collin Taylor, Dominick Goodman, and Amarri Jackson were the leading wideouts, all going over 1,100 yards and combining for 94 touchdowns. The awesome 2014 season was followed up with an 8-10 regular season and first round playoff loss at Philadelphia. Six wins came against the Southern Division. Arvell Nelson led the Gladiators into 2016, throwing for 3,425 yards, 70 touchdowns and eleven picks. Collin Taylor led all receivers with 1,437 yards and 32 touchdowns. Quentin Sims added 1,112 yards and 27 touchdowns. The defense returned 8 of 19 interceptions for touchdowns. A four game winning streak during the middle of the year kep the Gladiators afloat, including back to back overtime wins against Portland and Tampa Bay. The team went into the playoffs at 7-9 and defeated Los Angeles 56-52 before falling 82-41 to top seed Arizona. Arvell Nelson led the Gladiators into the 2017 campaign, throwing for 61 touchdowns to 13 picks, and 3,084 yards. Quentin Sims led all receivers with 1,071 yards and 24 scores. Mike Preston and Collin Taylor combined for 28 more scores and over 1,400 receiving yards. Five of the team's nine regular season losses came by six points or less. The Gladiators made the playoffs and traveled to Tampa Bay, where they led into the third quarter. However, the Storm pulled away for a 73-59 win.