Sunday, March 23, 2003

Following in footsteps of defunct Rockers



By Ryan Ernst
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Cincinnati Rockers couldn't make Arena Football stick in Cincinnati. Now, it's the Cincinnati Swarm's turn.

The Rockers played in the Arena Football League; the Swarm will play in the Triple-A Arena system, the 21-team arenafootball2. The venue, U.S. Bank Arena, is the same.

But if the new franchise's general manager, Matt Dunne, has his way, the outcome will be dramatically different than the Rockers' two-season run (1992-93).

"I don't want to speculate on how (the Rockers) failed," he said. "But we're going to go after the hardcore football fan and families. We're going to have all kinds of promotions. There will be something going on all the time to complement all the action on the field."

Dunne said the organization is planning outdoor tailgate parties on the plaza level of the arena featuring musical acts before games. Players will be available for autographs following every game.

So far, Dunne said the franchise has received a good reaction from fans and ticket sales are going better than expected, signs that Cincinnati might be able to support both NFL and af2 franchises.

"We think it's a viable product that complements NFL football," he said. "We're in a different season; we're not meant to compete with the NFL. It's a complement for the fan. They can get a year-round fill of football."

But inevitably, the fate of the new franchise will rest at least in part with on-field success.

In the Rockers' first season, the team was 7-4 and made the playoffs. In their second and final season, they went 2-10.

• Ticket information: For season and group ticket packages ($72-$232), call 421-3222. For individual tickets ($9-$29), call Ticketmaster at 562-4949.

The great indoors

The history of Arena Football:

1981: NFL marketing veteran James F. Foster attends an all-star indoor soccer match in Madison Square Garden and draws the outline of a miniature football field over a hockey rink on a manila envelope. He then adds notes describing a new type of indoor football.

1986: After the fall of the United States Football League, Foster sets up a test game in Rockford, Ill., to gauge public response.

1987: The Chicago Bruisers, Denver Dynamite, Pittsburgh Gladiators and Washington Commandos field teams in the inaugural Arena Football League season. ESPN airs the championship, won by Denver, live.

1990: The U.S. Patent Office issues patent No. 4,911,433 for Arena Football Game System, making it the only sports league in history to play a patented, rival-free game.

1992: The Cincinnati Rockers begin their first season, becoming the league's 12th team.

1993: The Rockers follow up their 7-3 campaign with a 2-10 record in their second and final season.

1996: In its 10th season, the league's attendance tops five million and surpasses one million for the season.

1999: AFL Board of Directors approves the creation of arenafootball2, a Triple-A league.

2002: The Dallas Desperados begin their first season, becoming the AFL's 16th team.

Roster

PlayerPos.HtWt.College
Satoru AbeDS5-11180-- (Japan)
John AdletaOL/DL6-4285N.C. State
Andy AracriFB/LB6-2285Miami U.
Chris ArchieWR/LB6-4204Cincinnati/E. Mich.
Christian BatchellerQB6-3230Washington & Lee
Jon CainOS6-1170Wilmington
Ramon DavenportWR/DB5-9180Muskingum
Chris DisantoOL/DL6-2300West Chester
Kenton EvansQB6-4215Tennessee St.
Eddie EvistonQB6-2220Georgetown (Ky.)
Matt GoreskiOL/DL6-2300Ottawa (Canada)
Mathias HauckOL/DL6-5320Dartmouth
Jay JohnsonWR/DB6-1200Notre Dame
Jim JonesWR/LB6-1202Widener
Chris KnipperOL/DL6-5275Iowa
Mike LeaksWR/LB6-0190Graceland
Tony LockeWR/DB5-10185Ohio State
Miguel MerrittFB/LB6-0260Alabama
Chazz MooreDS6-1195Cal St.-Northridge
Kurt MurphyOL/DL6-2292Ohio State
Jermaine NorwoodFB/LB5-11235Findlay
B.J. PaulusWR/DB5-11195Georgetown (Ky.)
Claudio PesceWR/DB5-10195C.W. Post
Brian PollardWR/DB5-9175Florida
Nick RiceFB/LB6-2255Thomas More
Ryan RussellWR/DB5-10180West Liberty
James ScottWR/LB6-1185Cincinnati
Derrick ShepardOL/DL6-2300Georgia Tech
Bobby SippioDS6-3215Western Kentucky
Aaron SmithFB/LB6-2285Cincinnati
Danny SmithQB6-3230Miami U./So. Illinois
D.J. SuttonDS5-8175Boston College
Mutsumi TakahashiWR/DB5-9171-- (Japan)
Victor VrabelOL/DL6-3300Kent State

Head coach: Chris MacKeown; Assistant head coach: Brian Wells; Defensive coordinator: Vinnie Clark; OL/DL coach: Adam Shackleford; Offensive assistant: Reginald Seals; Defensive assistant: Jackie Cooper; Defensive backs assistant: Tim Washington; Special teams assistant: Brian Milne

Home again

Swarm players and coaches with local ties:

Coaches: Brian Wells (Thomas More assistant), Vinnie Clark (ex-CAPE player), Jackie Cooper (UC player and assistant, Summit and Withrow coach, Mount St. Joseph assistant), Brian Milne (ex-Bengals FB), Reginald Seals (ex-Wilmington player).

Players: Danny Smith (Miami), Nick Rice (Newport, Thomas More), James Scott (UC), Aaron Smith (UC), John Adleta

(Loveland), Ramon Davenport (Withrow), B.J. Paulus (Georgetown, Ky.), Chris Archie (UC), Andy Aracri (Miami), Eddie

Eviston (Georgetown, Ky.;

Newport Central Catholic),

D.J. Sutton (Hamilton).

Rules

• Eight players on the field for each team; 20-man active rosters.

• Players play offense and defense except kicker, quarterback, offensive specialist and two defensive specialists. Non-specialists may substitute only once per quarter.

• No fair catches. No punts.

• Four points for a drop-kicked field goal.

• The receiving team may field any kickoff or missed field goal that rebounds off the net.

• Forward passes that hit the sideline barrier, from goal line to goal line, are alive and can be caught if a receiver's foot - only one is required - is in bounds. Any fumble or backward pass hitting the boards and rebounding on the field is alive.

• A runner can touch the sideline barrier, push off and keep running if his feet are in bounds and a defender did not contact him.

• The field must be an indoor, padded surface. It must measure 85 feet wide by 50 yards long with 8-yard end zones.

• Goal posts are 9 feet wide; a crossbar height is 15 feet.

• Overtime periods are 15 minutes.

Swarm 2003 schedule

MARCH

WkDayOpp.Time
1Sat.29@ Louisville7:30 p.m.
APRIL

WkDayOppTime
2Fri.4@ Birm.8:30 p.m.
3BYE
4Sat.19CHARLESTON7:30 p.m.
5Sat.26@ G. Bay8:30 p.m.
MAY

WkDayOppTime
6Fri.2LOUISVILLE7:30 p.m.
7Sat.10ALBANY2 p.m.
8Sat.17@ San Diego10 p.m.
9Sat.24HAWAII2 p.m.
10Sat.31QUAD CITY7:30 p.m.
JUNE

WkDayOppTime
11Sat.7@ Quad City8:30 p.m.
12Sat.14GREEN BAY2 p.m.
13Sat.21@ Mohegan7:30 p.m.
14BYE
JULY

WkDayOppTime
15Thu.3ROCHESTER7:30 p.m.
16Sat.12@ Peoria8 p.m.
17Sat.19PEORIA7:30 p.m.
18Sat.26@ Wichita8:30 p.m.




NCAA TOURNAMENT
Full coverage at Cincinnati.com

MEN'S TOURNAMENT
Maryland 77, Xavier 64
Underdog Xavier has upset in mind
Daugherty: Bookends on XU's roster
Coaches experts on Terps
Majerus has the big blues
UK, Utah still have ties to '98
Apology ahead for UC's Machock
Gators-Spartans: Things could get rough
Cowboys will test Orangemen
Butler now faces Louisville's press
IU ready to mount a charge
After spurning Spartans' offer, Gators' Roberson must face them

MEN'S TOURNAMENT - SATURDAY'S GAMES
East: OU's Bookout covers for ailing Price
Midwest: Little-known Novak burns Mizzou
South: UConn turns to top guns
West: Hot-shooting Irish burn Illini
NCAA Tournament at a glance
NCAA Tourney notebook
NCAAs: The Skinny
NIT: Providence tops College of Charleston

WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
New coach rebuilds XU from guards up
UC faces an uphill battle at home
Living legend roams Texas sidelines
Wright happy to be home
Women's tournament at a glance
Lady Vols have no problems at home

REDS / BASEBALL
Reds fans get first look
Graves lets go of bothersome pitch
Blue Jays 4, Reds 1
Harnisch is pleased with performance
Reds Q&A
It's the same old Angels, champs or not
Devil Rays release Vaughn

BENGALS / NFL
Bengals look to turn weakness into strength
Bengals Q&A
Rams bolster line with trade for Saints' Turley

PREP SPORTS
D-I state title: Moeller 73, Brookhaven 65
D-III state title: Reading 50, Sugarcreek Garaway 44
LeBron leads Ohio team to third state title
Ky: No. 1 Mason Co. 86, Lou. Ballard 65
Princeton's Davis joins elite crowd

GOLF
Tiger tames field, leads by five shots
Sorenstam closes in on 1st win of season

HOCKEY
Rangers keep slim hopes alive
Mighty Ducks beat Norfolk in overtime

NBA
Hawks stop O'Neal's shot at victory for Pacers
Hill won't give up despite surgeries

HORSE RACING
New York Hero tames Lion
Rider Cooksey injured in Turfway Park spill

TRISTATE SPOTLITE
Merchant's Harvard finale is memorable
Enquirer Page Two power rankings
Swarm gear up for af2 season
Following in footsteps of defunct Rockers

PLAN YOUR DAY
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