Release - Storm Hosts Orlando Predators Saturday, May 5May 3, 2012 - Arena Football League (AFL) Tampa Bay Storm
In a rivalry that dates back to 1991, when the Storm moved to St. Petersburg from Pittsburgh and Orlando entered the AFL as an expansion team, no team clearly holds any semblance of dominance in the series. Tampa Bay and Orlando, separated by approximately 90 miles, are separated by even less on the gridiron.
As a matter of fact, very little separates the two teams in the greatest rivalry of the Arena Football League, that is to say a measly nine points. Over the course of the previous 48 games, of which each team has won 20 regular season contests and four playoff contests each, only nine points separate the teams as Tampa Bay has accumulated 2,146 points to Orlando's 2,137.
Home field advantage and regular season records are thrown out of the window when these teams meet. Each team has gained little advantage as each team has a home record of 11-9 during the regular season.
Meanwhile, records often mean little in the series. In 1991 when the Storm won its first ArenaBowl the team lost its season opener to the expansion Orlando Predators. The Predators went on to finish the season 3-7.
Similarly in 1998, the Storm entered ArenaBowl XIII heavy favorites against the Predators only to lose in the title game. Conversely, in 2000, when Orlando won its second ArenaBowl, Tampa Bay, 5-5 at the time, knocked off a 9-1 Predators team. Again in 2008 Tampa Bay entered the contest 2-5 against Orlando's 6-2 record only to win the game 48-41.
Surprisingly, for how close the series has been over the history of the War on I-4, many twists and turns have come about. Of the 40 regular season games only 12 games have been decided by less than a touchdown. In 2010 the Predators knocked off the Storm in the season finale by 15 points, only to turn around play the Storm the next week in the playoffs and lose by one point on a missed field goal on the final play of the game.
Even the amount of points scored in a game ranges wildly, as the lowest combined points scored is 42 points, while the highest combined total is 132 points. When these two teams play all bets are off as to what kind of game it will be, a barn-burner, a barn yard brawl, a tight game or a thrashing.
The one thing that does remain consistent is the intensity, passion and fierceness the rivalry brings when these two teams get together and the memorable moments each and every game brings to its fan base.
The Five-Time World Champion Tampa Bay Storm celebrates its 25th season in the AFL. Bright House Family Four Packs starting at $59 and single-game tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com or by visiting the McDonalds Ticket Office at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Group tickets and season ticket packages are still available, for more information call 813.301.6600 or visit www.tampabaystorm.com .
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