Lively Tales About Dead Teams

Archive for the ‘Brendan Byrne Arena’ tag

2001-2002 New Jersey Gladiators

leave a comment

Arena Football League (2001-2002)New Jersey Gladiators

Born: 2001 – The New Jersey Red Dogs are re-branded as the Gladiators.
Moved: December 20, 2002 (Las Vegas Gladiators)

Arena: Continental Airlines Arena (19,040)

Team Colors: Black, Red & Gray

Owner: Jim Ferraro

Arena Bowl Championships: None


A pretty much forgotten Arena Football League entry that briefly made its home at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford at the turn of the century.  The franchise was actually formed back in 1997 as the New Jersey Red Dogs, who took their name and logo from a title sponsorship with Miller Brewing’s briefly prominent Red Dog beer brand.

By the end of the 2000 season, the Red Dogs’ original ownership group (which included former Giants Carl Banks, Jim Burt, Harry Carson and Joe Morris) was ready to move on and the team passed into the hands of Miami attorney Jim Ferraro.  The beer sponsorship seemingly ended at this time as well, since Ferraro quickly re-branded the team as the “Gladiators” for the 2001 season.

The new-look Gladiators got off to a grim start when only 3,542 showed up for the first home game of the 2001 season, a listless 52-21 loss to the Carolina Cobras.  The team finished the 2001 season in last place with a 2-12 record and average attendance of 3,312, which was barely a third of the Arena Football League average of 9,188.

New head coach Frank Haege led a turn around on the carpet in 2002 (9-5 record and a playoff appearance). But the team’s improved play failed to translate at the box office and the Gladiators bolted town for Las Vegas in December 2002.

Ex-New York Jets quarterback Glenn Foley signed with the Gladiators in 2002 but failed to best journeyman minor leaguer Jay McDonagh for the starting job and spent the season on the bench.



Arena Football League Media Guides

Arena Football League Programs


1971-1985 New York Cosmos

leave a comment

New York Cosmos YearbookNorth American Soccer League (1971-1984)
Major Indoor Soccer League (1984-1985)

Born: December 10, 1970 – NASL expansion franchise.
Folded: Summer 1985.



Team Colors:

  • 1974: Green, Yellow & Blue
  • 1977: Green & White


  • 1971-1984: Warner Communications (Steve Ross, et al.)
  • 1984-1985: Giorgio Chinaglia, et al.

Soccer Bowl Champions: 1977, 1978, 1980 & 1982


Text coming soon…



New York Cosmos Memorabilia



New York Cosmos Video

Trailer for Once In A Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos



In Memoriam

Former Cosmos head coach Hennes Weisweiler, who managed the club from 1980-1982, passed away on July 5, 1983.  He was 63.

Cosmos founder/owner & Warner Communications CEO Steve Ross passed away on December 20, 1992 from prostate cancer at 65.

Julio Mazzei, who helped bring Pele to America in 1975 and later coached the Cosmos in the 1980’s, died on May 10, 2009 at age 78.

Ex-Cosmos player/owner Giorgio Chinaglia, the NASL’s all-time leading scorer, died on April 1, 2012 at age 65.




1973 New York Cosmos Season Ticket Brochure

June 1978 New York Cosmos Travel Itinerary – Minnesota

March 25, 1979 Cosmos vs. Estudiantes Tecos Game Program

June 11, 1979 – Cosmos Sign Dutch Star Johan Neeskens Press Release

August 31, 1980 – Pele to Don #10 Again in Beckenbauer Farewell Press Release

1982 New York Cosmos Soccer Bowl Press Kit

November 20, 1983 Cosmos Sign Dan Canter Press Release



North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

Major Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Major Indoor Soccer League Programs



1981-1982 New Jersey Rockets


Major Indoor Soccer League (1981-1982)

Born: 1981 – MISL expansion franchise.
Folded: July 1982 – The Rockets cease operations.

Arena: Brendan Byrne Arena (19,069)

Team Colors: Red & Gold

Owner: Ed Tepper

MISL Championships: None


The New Jersey Rockets  were a One-Year Wonder in the Major Indoor Soccer League who played the winter of 1981-82 at the newly opened Brendan Byrne Arena at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford.

A massive crowd of 17,625 turned out for the Rockets’ inaugural home game against the New York Arrows on November 13th, 1981.  The Rockets put up a good fight against the MISL’s three-time defending champions, ultimately losing the match 7-6.  Rockets forward Craig Allen thrilled the crowd with a hat trick.

Unfortunately, the Rockets’ unfavorable schedule gave them little chance to follow up on the excitement.  The team made only one further appearance in New Jersey during the next month-and-a-half, playing seven of their first nine matches on the road.  Once the team did return, crowds settled into the 5,000 to 7,000 range (announced).

Courtesy of the Dave Morrison collection at

Another challenge for the Rockets was the presence of another indoor soccer team at the Brendan Byrne Arena that winter – the mighty New York Cosmos of the rival North American Soccer League.  The Cosmos were playing their first ever calendar of indoor soccer matches during the winter of 1981-82 after disdaining the NASL’s earlier half-hearted (and optional) dalliances with the indoor game.  The Cosmos’ still kind of half-assed it as far as indoor soccer was concerned and attracted nothing like the crowds that swarmed to their outdoor matches at neighboring Giants Stadium in the late 1970’s.  Nevertheless, the competition was an additional challenge for Rockets management, charged with marketing an unfamiliar sport that was basically only three years old.

The Rockets’ roster had a decent amount of veteran talent, including the MISL’s 2nd all-time leading scorer, Fred Grgurev, goalkeeper Alan Mayer and strikers Craig Allen and Wolfgang Rausch.  In early January 1982, the Rockets’ acquired Scottish defender Ian Anderson from the Cleveland Force.  Anderson was a perennial MISL All-Star and, less than a month after arriving in New Jersey, he added additional responsibility as the Rockets’ Head Coach after the team dismissed original Head Coach & GM Timo Liekoski.

The Rockets had a record of 4-13 at the time Anderson took over from Liekoski.  The club did find its form somewhat under Anderson, going 13-14 to finish out the season at 17-27.  The Rockets failed to qualify for the playoffs.

The club’s final appearance came on April 24th, 1982 with a 5-4 victory on the road at the Philadelphia Fever.  The Rockets declared bankruptcy in June 1982 and formally shut down the following month.

In 1983, the owners of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks purchased the Rockets’ MISL franchise rights out of bankruptcy for $500,000.  The MISL’s Dallas Sidekicks debuted in the fall of 1984 and continued to play in various leagues until 2004.  Although two years elapsed between the Rockets’ demise and the Sidekicks’ debut and there was no carryover of players, coaches or identity, there is a loose family connection between the two clubs.


Photo courtesy of Tim Hanlon


New Jersey Rockets Shop

Rockets Retro T-Shirt by Throwback Max


Rockets Video

New Jersey Rockets vs. New York Arrows at Brendan Byrne Arena. November 13, 1981


In Memoriam

Former Rockets player-coach Ian Anderson passed away on November 5, 2008 at age 54.



February 2, 1982 – Rockets Dismiss Head Coach Timo Liekoski Press Release



Major Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Major Indoor Soccer League Programs


2001-2003 New Jersey Storm

one comment

National Lacrosse League (2001-2003)

Born: May 2, 2001 – NLL expansion franchise.
Died: September 17, 2003  – The Storm relocate to Anaheim, CA.

Arena: Continental Airlines Arena (19,040)

Team Colors:

Owner: Jayson Williams


The New Jersey Storm were a short-lived indoor lacrosse franchise owned by recently retired New Jersey Nets All-Star Jayson Williams.  Williams, who reportedly earned $87 million during his 9-year NBA career, paid a $500,000 expansion fee for the National Lacrosse League team and named the club after his alma mater, the St. John’s University Red Storm.

Less than three months after the Storm’s November 2001 debut, Williams accidentally shot and killed his chauffeur at his New Jersey mansion on Valentine’s Day 2002.  He would spend much of the next decade in judicial proceedings before finally entering prison eight years after the incident in February 2010 after pleading guilty to aggravated assaults.  Despite his legal troubles, Williams would remain the owner of record for the Storm until the franchise’s eventual demise in California in 2005.

The Storm struggled on the field and at the turnstiles during their two seasons in New Jersey.  The team finished 5-11 in 2001-02 and 3-13 in 2002-03, missing the playoffs both seasons.

In September 2003, the franchise relocated to Anaheim, California.  The club played two years as the Anaheim Storm before folding in June 2005.



Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: