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.


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).


• 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


1Sat.29@ Louisville7:30 p.m.

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

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.

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

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

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Following in footsteps of defunct Rockers

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