|League||Arena Football League|
|Team history||Pittsburgh Power
|Arena||Consol Energy Center
|Based in||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|Team colors||Black, Gold
|Owner(s)||Matt Shaner, Lance Shaner, Lynn Swann|
|Head coach||Derek Stingley|
|Mascot||Pittsburgh Spark Dance Team|
The Pittsburgh Power is an Arena Football League team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that began play in March 2011. The team plays its home games at the Consol Energy Center, which they share with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. The team is part of the league's American Conference East Division. The Power share the same color scheme (black & gold) as Pittsburgh's other professional sports teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, and the Pittsburgh Pirates of the MLB.
Pittsburgh was the fourth city added for the 2011 AFL season, joining the San Jose SaberCats, Kansas City Command and their new in-state rivals the Philadelphia Soul - who were all returning to the Arena Football League after a two-year absence.
Pittsburgh's prior AFL history
Prior to the announcement of Pittsburgh's 2011 expansion team, the city was the home to the Pittsburgh Gladiators, one of the four original franchises of the Arena Football League in 1987. The AFL's very first league game, not counting the playtest games at the Rockford MetroCenter and the Rosemont Horizon, was played in the Pittsburgh Civic Arena between the Gladiators and Washington Commandos. The Gladiators would go on to lose ArenaBowl I to the Denver Dynamite, 45–16, that season in a game played at the Civic Arena. Two years later, the team lost ArenaBowl III, held at Joe Louis Arena, to the Detroit Drive by a score of 39–26.
The following season was the Gladiators' fourth and last in Pittsburgh after co-owner Bob Greis decided to move the franchise to Tampa, Florida. The team was renamed the Tampa Bay Storm. Greis, who had several business interests in Florida, sold the franchise a few years later. During the Storms' first year in Tampa, the team defeated the Detroit Drive, 48–42, to win ArenaBowl V. The Storm remained in Tampa and reached the playoffs in each of their next 15 seasons, winning four more AFL titles.
In 2011, Jerry Kurz, the commissioner of the Arena Football League, stated to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the Gladiators move to Tampa had nothing to do with the attendance for the games. He instead stated that the issues that prompted the team to relocate had more to do with the lack of additional accoutrements at the Civic Arena, such as updated luxury suites.
The current AFL policy is to give expansion teams in markets previously served by AFL teams the same name as their predecessor, since the league owns almost all rights to all team names in the league's history. However, because the unrelated Cleveland Gladiators already use the "Gladiators" name, that required the adoption of a new franchise name. Incidentally, the Power's logo is a thunderbolt, the same as a previous Cleveland AFL team, Cleveland Thunderbolts.
The team was originally rumored to be called The Pittsburgh River Wizards, according to sports blog Inside Pittsburgh Sports and by Pittsburgh-area radio host Mark Madden. The team name was changed to the Power before the official announcement by the team.
On August 20, 2010, Matt Shaner was revealed as the principal owner and general manager of the team. His father Lance, as well as former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lynn Swann, an NFL Hall-of-Famer and Republican 2006 gubernatorial nominee, is also part of the team's ownership group. Shaner's family owns the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center Hotel. Like Swann, Matt Shaner was once a political candidate. In 2008 he ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. After the Colorado Crush, Kansas City Command, and Philadelphia Soul, the Power are the fourth team in Arena Football League history to have a former NFL player as part of its ownership group.
The Power played their first game in franchise history on March 11, 2011 at Consol Energy Center in front of 13,904 fans. They lost to the Philadelphia Soul in overtime by a score of 58–52. Despite this loss, the Power led the East Division with a 7–4 record at the end of week 13. However, they lost five of their final seven games, falling to 9–9 at the end of the season and finishing second in the division.
On March 9, 2012, the entire Pittsburgh Power roster was released prior to its opening game against the Orlando Predators due to a labor disagreement between the owners and the players' union. However, with the aid of a few replacements, the team managed to win 40–26. Following the victory, 22 of the 24 released players were offered their jobs back (quarterback Kyle Rowley and kicker Taylor Rowan being the lone exceptions), with 18 immediately accepting and returning to the team. Neil Purvis signed a contract a few days later, bringing the total to 19. Defensive backs Josh Lay and Tyrrell Herbert and offensive lineman Dan Jones elected not to re-sign with the Power and were consequentially placed on the League Suspension list. Jones was traded to the Kansas City Command on May 2, 2012.
On April 14, the Power orchestrated the largest comeback in Arena Football League history. Down 48–17 in the third quarter to the Orlando Predators, backup quarterback Derek Cassidy led the team on a 34–3 run, taking the game into overtime. After the Predators kicked a field goal to make it 54–51, P. J. Berry returned the ensuing kickoff 38 yards to the Predators' 19-yard line. On the very next play, Cassidy connected with Christian Wise for a touchdown to win the game 57–54.
On June 8, the Power were scheduled to face the Cleveland Gladiators at Quicken Loans Arena. However, due to yet another labor dispute, the Gladiators failed to field enough players and forfeited, making the Power the first team in Arena Football League history to win in this manner.
With a 5–13 record, the Power failed to qualify for the playoffs with a last place finish in the division.
Pittsburgh Power roster
Other league exempt
Refuse to report
Rookies in italics
List of seasons
|Season||Team||League||Conference||Division||Regular season||Postseason results|
|Total||17||29||(includes only regular season)|
|0||0||(includes only the postseason)|
|17||29||(includes both regular season and postseason)|
- "List of Teams". Arenafootball.com. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
- Rossi, Bob (2010-08-19). "Arena Football League coming to Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- DiPaola, Jerry (2011-02-24). "Indoor football returns to the City of Champions". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2012-02-07.
- Anderson, Shelly (2010-08-20). "New arena football team called Pittsburgh Power". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "Expansion Arena Football League team to be announced on Friday". Inside Pittsburgh Sports. 2010-08-19. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- Rossi, Bob (2010-08-20). "Pittsburgh Power unveiled as arena football expansion team". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "AFL Box Score: Philadelphia Soul @ Pittsburgh Power (Mar 11, 2011)". Arenafan.com. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Chase, Chris (2012-03-12). "Entire Arena Football team cut during pregame meal at Olive Garden". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "Cleveland forfeits matchup against Pittsburgh". ArenaFan.com. June 8, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Manoloff, Dennis (June 8, 2012). "Cleveland Gladiators players' strike causes forfeit loss to Pittsburgh Power". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved May 16, 2013.