Orlando Predators

Years of Existence: 1991-2008, 2010-2016
Venues: TD Waterhouse Centre (Orlando, FL), CFE Center (Orlando, FL 2014)
1991 -
1992 - Southern Division champions, Arena Bowl appearance
1993 - Semifinal appearance
1994 - National Conference champions, Arena Bowl appearance
1995 - Arena Bowl appearance
1996 - Playoff appearance
1997 - Southern Division champions, semifinal appearance
1998 - AFL Champions
1999 - Arena Bowl appearance
2000 - AFL Champions
2001 - Playoff appearance
2002 - Semifinal appearance
2003 - Southern Division champions, semifinal appearance
2004 - Playoff appearance
2005 - Semifinal appearance
2006 - Southern Division champions, Arena Bowl appearance
2007 - Playoff appearance
2008 - Playoff appearance
2010 - Semifinal appearance
2011 - Playoff appearance
2012 -
2013 - Playoff appearance
2014 - Semifinal appearance
2015 - South Division champions, playoff appearance
2016 - Playoff appearance
Lifetime Record: 249-168
Home: 139-66
Away: 109-101
Neutral: 1-1
Playoffs: 24-21
Average Attendance: 11,683

The Orlando Predators moved from Pittsburgh and may very well be the best franchise in AFL history. Even in their first season, which ended at 3-7, the workings of a great team and future were in place. In fact, only two of their losses were by more than one score. They would lose twice in overtime games as well. In 1992, the Predators showed that they were a force to be reckoned with. The team won 11 games in a row en route to an Arena Bowl appearance. Their win streak included the first and only shutout in AFL history, a 50-0 drubbing of San Antonio. Despite all the success, the Predators would lose to Detroit at home, 58-36 in the Arena Bowl. In 1993, the Predators would make another run at greatness with a 10-2 regular season record, which included a six game winning streak. However, in the semifinals, the Storm would find that the third time is the charm. After being defeated 46-34 and 46-45, the Storm would end the Preds� season with a 45-42 win. The 1994 regular season ended, with the Predators winning eleven in a row once again to finish 11-1. They would blow out several of their opponents along the way, including a 34-14 playoff victory over Fort Worth. After a nine-point win over Massachusetts, the Predators would once again find themselves in the Championship game. Like last time, however, they would lose. This time it was a 36-31 loss to Arizona. The 1995 regular season was very disappointing considering the past three years. The Predators found themselves losing four out of six games, after a five game winning streak, to end up at 7-5. This time, the playoff games would be on the road. The team would win at San Jose and at Iowa to advance to the Championship game once more. The third time was not the charm, however, and the Predators would lose to their in-state rival, Tampa Bay Storm, 48-35. The following year, the Predators won their last five games of the regular season to get to 9-5. They would lose their first-round playoff game to the Arizona Rattlers, 65-48. The Preds returned to regular season dominance in 1997; a 10-4 record. However, the playoff run would be cut short in the semifinals, by way of a 52-34 drubbing by the Iowa Barnstormers. The franchise would finally break through with a Championship in 1998. After a 9-5 regular season record, the road would not exactly be paved for them. They would beat the Nashville Kats at home, 58-43, then at the Arizona Rattlers, 38-33. They would play against their in-state rivals, the Storm, for the Arena Bowl game and this time, they won in style, 62-31. In 1999, the team looked to win another Championship. They finished the regular season at an even 7-7. Their first playoff game was against the Storm and perhaps, the Preds shouldn�t have won. The Storm had only five days between their last game of the regular season and this one. Nevertheless, the Preds would be the only away team to win in the first round of the postseason, 41-19. In fact, they were the only road team to win at all in the postseason. In their second game, the Preds upset the Barnstormers, 48-41. They lost the Arena Bowl game to Albany, 59-48. The new millennium dawned with more Championship hopes. The team won nine of their first ten game, en route to playoff wins over Tampa Bay (34-24), Arizona (56-44), and finally, Nashville (41-38), to win their second Championship. Regular season success continued the following year; the Preds finished at 8-6, winning six in a row at one point. However, in the first round of the playoffs, the Predators lost to the Chicago Rush, 41-26. In 2002, the franchise returned to mediocrity, at least for the regular season. After going 7-7 (they began 1-4), the Predators won at home against Buffalo 32-27 and on the road at New Jersey, 49-46. They lost their semifinal match against the eventual Champions, the San Jose Sabrecats, 52-40. In 2003, the team returned to the semifinals after beating the New York Dragons, 69-62. The regular season featured two six-game winning streaks sandwiched between a four-game losing streak. The semifinal match would be a loss to the Tampa Bay Storm, 60-50. In 2004, the team beagan 3-5, but managed to get to 10-6 on the regular season, with several blowout wins over New Orleans (57-24), Georgia (30-7), and Las Vegas. (63-40) They would lose their first playoff game to the Chicago Rush by ten points. 2005 was much of the same for the Predators. They went 10-6 again, making the playoffs, as usual. After a five-point road victory over the New York Dragons, the Predators would again fall short in the semifinals. This time, the team lost a nail-biter 60-58 to the Georgia Force. The Predators continued their usual success in 2006. In addition to their 10-6 regular season mark, the team beat in-state rival Tampa Bay twice. A five game win streak late in the season helped propel the team into the playoffs once again. After a defensive struggle against Philadelphia, the team won on the road at Dallas to advance to the Arena Bowl for the seventh time. However, for the fifth time, Orlando lost. This time it was a surprising 69-61 defeat to the underdog Chicago Rush. The team did not rebound as well as could be as expected in 2007. The only team the Predators beat that had a winning record was Tampa Bay. The Predators lost seven of nine games played against opponents that made the playoffs. The team finished the regular season at Philadelphis, taking a 63-49 loss. In the playoffs, the Predators would play at the Soul for the second straight week. After a 20-20 tie at halftime, the Soul outscored Orlando 21-6 in the second half to take a 41-26 victory. The Orlando Predators franchise has one of the best fan bases in the league. The team has never had a home crowd under 9,000. Shane Stafford led the Predators in 2008 to a 6-2 start. The six game win streak included two victories over Georgia and and one win over Chicago. The team skidded down the stretch, however, losing five of their last eight and backed into the playoffs with a 9-7 record. The team played at Cleveland and Chas Gessner and T.T. Tolliver led the Predators most of the night. However, four turnovers proved to be the difference in a 69-66 victory for the Gladiators. The Predators returned in 2010 in the revamped AFL. Quarterback Nick Hill thrrw for 4,289 yards, 79 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. T.T. Toliver led the receivers with 29 touchdowns and 1,423 yards, being the only 1,000 yard receiver. Hill led the team in rushing with 15 scores. On the field, the team never broke the .500 mark, winning its final two games to go 8-8. Three wins came against playoff teams Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and Tulsa. The team qualified for the playoffs and played at Jacksonville. The prior meeting went in favor of the Predators, 70-48. The Predators again upset the Sharks, 73-69 to advance to the semifinals at Tampa Bay. After trailing 49-28 late in the third quarter, the Predators rallied, but fell short 63-62. The 2011 Predators were led by Nick Hill, who threw for 4,758 yards, 97 touchdowns and 17 picks. The team produced three 1,000 yard receivers in Robert Quiroga, T.T. Toliver, and Bobby Sippio. Rayshaun Kizer led the team and the league on defense with 16 interceptions, returning three for scores. Overall, the defense picked 40 balls. Unfortunately for the offense, Hill was sacked 45 times. A 22 point fourth quarter and last second touchdown pass for Arizona gave them a 48-47 victory over the Predators, preventing the Predators from winning five in a row to begin the season. However, Orlando began the year 8-3. The team then lost three in a row, including a heartbreaker to Jacksonville on a failed two point conversion try with seven seconds left. The team then hit a milestone in its 200th franchise victory in a classic contest against Pittsburgh at home. Trailing 40-20 just before half, the Predators scored to make the halftime score 40-27. Then, Orlando scored first in the third quarter on a short T.T. Toliver reception. Following this, Orlando recovered successive balls off the net for scores. The 28-7 third quarter lifted Orlando to a 62-54 victory. Orlando qualified for the playoffs for the 19th straight season and would lose at Jacksonville 63-48 in a game where the Sharks only amassed 189 offensive yards and controlled the ball for 22 minutes. The 2012 Predators would become the first team to miss the playoffs since 1991. The 4-14 campaign was led by a series of mediocre quarterbacks: Chris Leak, Collin Drafts, and Justin Roper. Leak spent the most time in the position, passing for 2,608 yards, 50 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. T.T. Toliver led all receivers once again, with 1,223 yards and 23 scores. The team was outscored 203-95 in the third quarter of games and was outscored by 132 overall. In red zone opportunities, the Predators scored 48 touchdowns in 73 opportunities. Orlando quarterbacks were sacked 47 times. The most notable game of the season was an unusually low scoring affair in which the Predators defeated the Georgia Force, 27-24. The 2013 Predators lost their first five games. All five losses came with 2012 AFL MVP Kyle Rowley at the helm. He threw for 18 touchdowns and 11 picks before Aaron Garcia took over, leading the team to a 7-6 finish to the regular season. Garcia threw for 4,008 yards, 84 touchdowns and just 15 picks. The team turned out three 1,000 yard receivers in T.T. Toliver, Prechae Rodriguez, and Jason Geathers. Rodriguez brought in 41 scores, while Toliver got 29. Garcia led the team to two scores in the final 26 seconds in an 83-82 victory at Spokane. The team converted on 50% of its fourth downs, but also allowed opponents to convert half the time. The 7-11 record was good enough to qualify for the American Conference playoffs. The team earned a trip to Philadelphia and in a back-and-forth game, the Predators fell 59-55. Aaron Garcia fumbled the ball away inside the final twenty seconds on a sack which sealed the team's fate. The team was moved out of the Amway Center for the 2014 season following a legal dispute. The Predators moved to the University of Central Florida's CFE Center. Despite having a capacity of just 6,000 fans, the Predators dominated at home, going 8-2. Jason Boltus and Bernard Morris split time at quarterback. Boltus threw for 2,711 yards, 54 touchdowns and eleven picks. Morris passed for 2,191 yards, 47 touchdowns and just six picks. Morris also led the team in rushing with 283 yards and twelve more scores. At wide receiver, it was the trio of Greg Carr, Khalil Paden and Kendal Thompkins leading the way. They caght 36, 23, and 16 touchdowns respectively, with both Paden and Carr racking up over 1,400 yards. The team compiled an 11-7 regular season record, going 1-4 against teams that would make the playoffs. However, the CFE Arena home field advantage really helped Orlando get past the Pittsburgh Power, who many thought had a legitimate shot to win the conference or even the Arena Bowl. Orlando pulled away late to upset the Power 56-48 and advance to the American Conference championship game. However, it would be the Cleveland Gladiators taking the conference title 56-46 in a game where Orlando never had the lead. The Predators returned to their old, larger venue in 2015 and were led by quarterbacks Randy Hippard and Bernard Morris. Morris threw for 32 touchdowns to seven picks, with 1,725 yards, while Hippard threw 61 touchdown passes to just six picks and 2,997 yards. Kendrick and Brandon Thompkins both surpassed 1,100 receiving yards, combining for 40 touchdowns. Larry Brackins only had 756 receiving yards, but reached the end zone 29 times. The Predators also ran for 39 touchdowns and 700 yards on the year. Morris scored 15 times; Michael Simons found paydirt 13 times. The Predators were kings of the American Conference South Division, losing just one game to a division opponent in Jacksonville. Two of the team's six regular season losses came back to back in overtime at Spokane and against Cleveland. The fourth meeting with Jacksonville would result in a Sharks rout in Orlando, however, ending the great season with a 55-33 thud. Randy Hippard led the team into 2016, with similar stats to 2015; 2,967 yards, 65 touchdowns and just eight picks. Bernard Morris backed him up with 1,249 yards and 27 touchdown throws. Brandon Thompkins caught 135 balls for 1,631 yards and 38 scores, while Greg Carr brought in 83 balls for 1,146 yards and 28 touchdowns. Varmah Sonie and Paul Stephens each picked off six passes. Contributing to their 12-4 regular season record was a 60% third and fourth down conversion rate. However, the 12-2 start ended with back to back losses to Arizona and Philadelphia, the top two teams in the league, before a first round home playoff loss to a resurgent Jacksonville squad, 69-68 in overtime. A failed two point conversion with 6:34 to go in OT was the difference. The team went dormant after the 2016 season, as the AFL contracted.