2005 Orlando Predators

1998 and 2000 AFL World Champions

Too Many Mistakes By Preds Can't Be Overcome in 60-58 Loss

At least I feel good about being able to say that the Force did not beat the Predators in the first ever AFL (National) Conference Championship game. The Preds beat themselves. 2 safeties were the biggest mistakes, but 3 missed extra points, a missed field goal and two missed 2 point conversions all worked against critical points the Preds absolutely had to have. To be blunt, a championship team does not make this many mistakes, losing all these points. 14 points in total! Any combination of 2 points would have tied the game and 3 could have won. This doesn't take into account the possessions the Force had after the safeties. This is why I say the Predators beat themselves. After giving up 12 of these 14 points, the Preds still had a chance to send the game into overtime, but failed. I was there. I saw it all. Thanks for a great year and we'll see you next year!

This page is dedicated to Al Lucas 1978 - 2005. Rest In Peace.

Commish Baker on hand at "The Jungle", where the best fans in the AFL party on Friday nights! I think the commish even brought the blow-up doll that made another appearance.

The Preds about to punch another one in against the Storm.

Always a great sight!

The 2005 AFL season marks the end of the Indiana (previously Albany) Firebirds, the Carolina Cobras and the Detroit Fury, but brings back an old Predator nemesis: the Nashville Kats!

The Firebirds had been in the league since 1990, one year longer than the Predators, and were arguably the oldest franchise in the league. If you count the 4 years of the Pittsburgh Gladiators ('87-'90) as Tampa Bay Storm years, then they were the second oldest franchise, but not everyone does this.

The Fury was Detroit's second AFL franchise and just couldn't hold a candle to the Drive, Detroit's first franchise and possibly the AFL's "best-ever" team. The Drive participated in 6 straight ArenaBowls (AB II-VII), 4 times as the #1 seed, and won 4 AFL titles. All this was done in a 7 year stretch ('88-'94) during which the team made the playoffs every year of their existence.

The Carolina Cobras were a hapless team which bounced around North Carolina and did not post a winning record any year of their existence ('00-'04). The closest they came to a winning record was in 2001 when they went 7-7, which was oddly good enough to make the playoffs. The Cobras might have been the league's "worst-ever" team were it not for the Florida Bobcats, who never even managed .500 for a season over 10 seasons ('92-'01)! Coincidently, the Bobcats bounced around south Florida too, playing their last season anyplace they could as they had no home arena. As bad as they were, they managed to make the playoffs twice, in '92 and '93.

My 2

The Worst Officiating Crew in the Arena Football League is Referee Jerome Boger, Umpire Rick Nelson (isn't he a dead singer?), Head Linesman Kavin McGrath, Line Judge Darrel Leftwich and Back Judge Rich Wilborn. These 5 buffoons in zebra stripes called the worst game I have ever witnessed. The AFL really needs to review this group of blind lunk-heads and help them find new employment.
I know I don't care for the new "neutral ground" ArenaBowl format, even if it is going to be in Las Vegas (for the next 3 years apparently). I certainly understand the huge logistical challenge the front office of the AFL faces every year when they have to plan and execute an ArenaBowl within a terribly short period of time, but they've managed. I've never heard a fan complain. And yes, having the ArenaBowl in the western world's "adult sandbox" might very possibly draw fans who've never thought much about the game but who love Las Vegas and all its glitter. But is this truly a "fan-friendly" or "family-oriented entertainment" decision? What of the cost that must now be borne by every fan wishing to attend an ArenaBowl? Now, rather than the AFL using its combined resources to pull off the game, each fan individually will have a week or so to come up with airfare and lodging cash (assuming both can be had with such short notice) in addition to buying a ticket to the game. Yeah, yeah, the league is setting up a ticket package with a refundable deposit, but will this include airfare and lodging? Besides, I know I'm not going if my precious Predators aren't, so I'm certainly not forking over any money this soon! The ArenaBowl isn't the Super Bowl, for which people will literally spend tens of thousands of dollars just to say they were there, or willingly work for years as an "event monkey" at a stadium hoping to be picked by some shyster to work "the big game". The AFL has always touted its heralded "AFL Fans' Bill of Rights" as something unique to the sporting world, a pledge that has carried this league along and brought it to where it is today. I hope this decision does not spell the beginning of the end of the "rights" we as fans have enjoyed. This league exists today because its fans have stuck with it through good and bad times and because its players have been willing to play arena football more for the love of the game and the chance to be noticed than for money, which has only recently been worth a dang. One of the rewards for sticking with this game has been the chance that I, a regular work-a-day guy (ok, I know some of you are snickering at that...), have a real chance to revel in the glory of an AFL World Championship just like the big-wigs and faux celebre FOX "somehow" manages to spotlight at its Super Bowls and World Series games. I have been fortunate enough to attend 2 ArenaBowls, one with my team on the road, the other at home. I still don't know which win was sweeter: being with my father-in-law and watching our Predators dismantle the Storm in front of a stunned and silenced home crowd at the Ice Palace in Tampa (just down Interstate 4 from Orlando, the famed "War on I4") in 1998 or sitting in my very familiar section 211 row L seat 1 chair with loads of friends around chewing our fingernails to the bone as Predator's K David Cool squeaked a field goal through the narrow uprights with no time left on the clock to break a tied game and and beat the Kats in 2000. All I know is that the AFL has decided to take the opportunity to live these experiences away from all its fans now, and I for one think they've made a huge mistake.

2005 Orlando Predators Schedule and Results

away games are in italics





WolfMark's MVP

Regular Season

Sun 30 Jan Noon Colorado Crush@ Preds 39, Crush 36 1 - 0 WR Justin Skaggs
Thu 3 Feb 9 pm Arizona Rattlers Preds 51, Rats 40 2 - 0 RB Idris Price
Fri 11 Feb 7:30pm Tampa Bay Storm# Preds 61, Storm 46 3 - 0 DS Reggie Doster
Thu 17 Feb 8:30pm Dallas Desperados# Preds 28, Desperados 42 3 - 1 OS Travis McGriff
Fri 25 Feb 8:30pm Chicago Rush# Preds 48, Rush 35 4 - 1 OS Jimmy Fryzel
Sun 6 Mar Noon San Jose SaberCats@ Preds 38, Cats 57 4 - 2 WR/KR Jerrian James
Sun 13 Mar 3:00pm New Orleans VooDoo Preds 63, VooDoo 52 5 - 2 DS Kenny McEntyre
Sat 19 Mar 1:00pm Georgia Force# Preds 47, Force 49 5 - 3 QB Joe Hamilton
Fri 25 Mar 7:30pm Austin Wranglers Preds 51, Wranglers 21 6 - 3 WR Jerrian James
Sun 3 Apr Noon Los Angeles Avengers@ Preds 55, Avengers 54 in OT 7 - 3 WR Jerrian James, DL EJ Burt
Sat 9 Apr 7:30pm Tampa Bay Storm# Preds 42, Storm 54 7 - 4 OS Jimmy Fryzel
Fri 15 Apr 7:30pm New York Dragons Preds 72, Dragons 60 8 - 4 QB Chris Sanders
Fri 22 Apr 7:30pm Georgia Force# Preds 52, Force 49 9 - 4 DL EJ Burt
Sat 30 Apr 7:00pm Philadelphia Soul Preds 60, Soul 64 9 - 5 WR Jerrian James
Sat 7 May 4:00pm Austin Wranglers# Preds 42, Wranglers 56 9 - 6 OS Cory Fleming
Sun 22 May 3:00pm New Orleans VooDoo@ Preds 51, VooDoo 40 10 - 6* OS Jimmy Fryzel/WR Cory Fleming


Sun 29 May 3:30pm New York Dragons@ Preds 47, Dragons 42 11 - 6 WR/LB Cory Fleming
Sat 4 Jun 3:00pm Georgia Force@ Preds 58, Force 60 11 - 7 WR Cory Fleming


Sun 12 Jun Georgia Force vs Colorado Crush Force 48, Crush 51  
Last Updated 6/5/05 *-Cliched playoff berth **-Cliched Southern Division Title @-NBC #-Sun Sports

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