As the Arena Football League celebrates its 26th season, the Tampa Bay Storm did so as well. The team is the only original franchise remaining from the League’s inaugural season in 1987. The Storm can trace its lineage to the City of Pittsburgh, where it spent its first four seasons as the Gladiators. During the team's time in Pittsburgh, the team tied for the League’s best record in 1987 and 1989 and advanced to the ArenaBowl each of those seasons.
On November 15, 1990, then owner Bob Greis moved the team to the Tampa Bay area and the spacious confines of the 30,000-plus seat Florida Suncoast Dome (now Tropicana Field) in St. Petersburg. In March of 1991, Ken Meyer of Largo, FL, won a “Name the Team” contest and the team was henceforth known as the Storm. That same season the team wins its first ArenaBowl title against the Tim Marcum led Detroit Drive. Local St. Petersburg police officer and Storm legend Stevie Thomas catches the game winner with 39 seconds to give the Storm a 48-32 victory and its first Jim Foster Trophy. Over the course of the next five seasons the team would make three more trips to the ArenaBowl coming away with three more Championships.
In 1993 the team would set a still standing League record as a record 28,745 fans watched a thriller, as the Storm took on ‘War on I-4’ rival Orlando Predators. After the 1994 season Peter ‘Woody’ Kern would purchase the team from Greis and hire AFL Hall-of-Fame head coach Tim Marcum as head coach and general manager of the team. Marcum would lead the team to five more ArenaBowl appearances and come away with three rings (1995, 1996, 2003) prior to stepping down just before the start of the 2011 AFL season.
Complete with new ownership, leadership and vision the transformed Storm has sought to reinvent itself as the preeminent team in the League. This is the first second season that Jeff Vinik, owner and chairmen, and Derrick Brooks, team president, will have together as they lead the franchise into the future. With a rejuvenated look and brand they hope to bring a long run of prosperity to the team’s cherished fans with heightened expectations.