Lively Tales About Dead Teams

2006-2008 Kansas City Brigade

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Kansas City BrigadeArena Football League (2006-2008)

Born: October 3, 2005 – Arena Football League expansion franchise
Folded: August 2009

Arenas:

Team Colors:

Owners: 

Arena Bowl Championships: None

 

The Kansas City Brigade were the first of several attempts to establish the sport of Arena Football in Kansas City. Former Kansas City Chiefs star Neil Smith and his agent Tyler Prochnow were the team’s original investors.  They bought into the Arena Football League for a reported $16M – $18M in October 2005.  The duo’s expansion bid appeared stalled during the summer of 2005. But then Hurricane Katrina struck and devastated New Orleans. The AFL’s popular New Orleans Voodoo club would be unable to participate in the 2006 season as the city rebuilt. The disaster gave the AFL expansion committee new urgency to get a deal done with Prochnow and Smith. Kansas City was announced as the AFL’s 18th city in October 2005. The league stocked Kansas City’s roster with 15 refugee players from the homeless Voodoo franchise.

The club announced it’s name and logo a month later in November 2005. Going for a military theme, the team oddly misfired by pairing an Air Force-derived stealth bomber logo with a team name

Within a matter of months Prochnow brought local mortgage baron Chris Likens into the ownership group. Over the course of the next year, Likens would assume control of the franchise. Prochnow’s original group departed and Likens installed various relatives into what became effectively a family-run business.

Neil Smith’s former Chiefs teammate Kevin Porter was installed as Head Coach. The Brigade’s debut season in 2006 was brutal on the field. Voodoo holdover Andy Kelly struggled at quarterback and the Brigade shipped him out midseason. The position never solidified, contributing to a 3-13 last place finish. The team was a popular draw at Kemper Arena though. Announced attendance of 15,234 per game for eight home dates was third best in the 18-team AFL.

The 2007 season saw a dramatic turnaround. Porter returned for another season at the helm. The Brigade finished 10-6 and earned their first and only postseason appearance. They lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Colorado Crush. But the novelty of Arena Football appeared to wear thin in Kansas City. Attendance dipped 24% to 11,632 per game.

In 2008, the Brigade left Kemper Arena and moved into the brand new 17,000-seat Sprint Center. The team reverted to its expansion season form and lost its first six game en route to a 3-13 season.  The franchise earned a bit of national media attention late in the season by signing former Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Quincy Carter. Carter started the final three games of the season for the Brigade.

The Arena Football League collapsed suspended operations following the 2008 season and later filed for bankruptcy in August 2009. A low-budget spinoff of the league re-emerged in 2010 and gradually lured back a few of the original AFL’s former owners. The Likens family revived the Brigade in 2011 with a slight re-branding “Kansas City Command”). The Command played to paltry crowds at the Sprint Center for two more seasons before shutting down for good in 2012.

 

 

Kansas City Brigade Video

Short highlight reel from the Brigade’s 2006 debut season at Kemper Arena

 

Links

Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs

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Written by Drew Crossley

November 15th, 2017 at 12:28 am

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