|Team history||Erie Explosion (2011-present)
Erie Storm (2010)
Erie RiverRats (2008-2009)
Pittsburgh RiverRats (2007)
|Arena||Erie Insurance Arena|
|Based in||Erie, Pennsylvania|
|Colors||Black, orange, white
|Head coach||Shawn Liotta|
|Championships||1 (CIFL 2013)|
|Division titles||2 (2011, 2013)|
The Erie Explosion is a professional indoor football team based in Erie, Pennsylvania. The Explosion are currently a member of the Continental Indoor Football League. The Explosion began play in 2007 as the expansion Pittsburgh RiverRats in the American Indoor Football Association before becoming the Erie RiverRats until 2010, when they became known as the Erie Storm. In 2011 the team (along with the rest of the eastern portion of the AIFA) joined the Southern Indoor Football League and, because of copyright issues, became known as the "Explosion". In 2012, they joined the United Indoor Football League after the SIFL broke up; the Explosion played one season in the UIFL. The Explosion are owned by Bill Stafford. The Explosion play their home games at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pennsylvania.
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Logos and uniforms
- 3 Players of note
- 4 Coaches of note
- 5 Season-by-season
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Explosion began play in 2007 as the Pittsburgh RiverRats, playing that season's home games at the Rostraver Ice Garden in Rostraver Township, Pennsylvania. The "RiverRats" name and logo were originally supposed to be used by the Reading Express, but that team chose the Express branding instead, freeing it up for use by another AIFA team.1
On August 20, 2006, the RiverRats signed quarterback David Dinkins, formerly of the Erie Freeze of the AIFA, and designated him as the team's franchise player for the 2007 season.
The RiverRats played their first game on February 3, 2007 on the road in Tupelo, MS, but lost 54-34 to the Mississippi Mudcats. Their first home game was on February 18, 2007 which they lost 35-28 to the Reading Express.
Pittsburgh won its first home game by beating the Danville Demolition 47-21 on March 4, 2007, and then won its first away game by beating Danville a second time, on March 9, 2007, by a score of 34-29.
The team finished their inaugural season at a respectable 7-7 record, good for fourth place in the Northern Conference and a wild-card playoff berth. Unfortunately, the Rats were eliminated in the first round, losing 42-24 to the eventual conference champions Reading Express.
|February 3||Mississippi Mudcats||Away||Lost 34-54|
|February 18||Reading Express||Home||Lost 28-35|
|February 23||Canton Legends||Away||Lost 11-45|
|March 4||Danville Demolition||Home||Won 47-21|
|March 9||Danville Demolition||Away||Won 34-29|
|March 17||Johnstown Riverhawks||Away||Lost 13-43|
|March 30||Johnstown Riverhawks||Home||Won 47-42|
|April 14||Florence Phantoms||Home||Won 66-60|
|April 21||Huntington Heroes||Away||Lost 34-55|
|April 28||Canton Legends||Home||Won 62-33|
|May 6||Reading Express||Away||Lost 40-57|
|May 12||Erie Freeze||Away||Won 52-45|
|May 19||Erie Freeze||Home||Won 86-72|
|May 25||Huntington Heroes||Home||Lost 26-69|
|June 9||Reading Express (Playoffs)||Away||Lost 24-42|
On January 8, 2008 the RiverRats announced they would be leaving the Mon Valley in favor of Erie for the 2008 season, renaming themselves the Erie RiverRats.2 They replaced the city's previous AIFA team, the Erie Freeze.3 The RiverRats have several Freeze connections, including many of the Freeze's best players: QB/WR David Dinkins, cornerback Jovon Johnson (himself an Erie native), kicker J.R. Cipra, center Jonathon Sitter, and defensive tackle Roosevelt Benjamin. League owner Michael Mink stated that he considers the RiverRats to be a consolidation of the original RiverRats and the Freeze4 with the team retaining the RiverRats name, franchise and management structure.
The team signed Rod Rutherford, a former NFL backup, as the starting quarterback in the middle of the 2008 season. It is said that Dinkins recommended Rutherford to the team, and Dinkins (who originally was playing quarterback) moved to wide receiver to accommodate his arrival.
At the end of the 2008 season, five RiverRats (QB Rod Rutherford, OL Anthony Peluso, K J. R. Cipra, LB Glenroy Watkins, & LB Roosevelt Benjamin) were named onto the AIFA Eastern Conference All-Star team.
|March 9||Carolina Speed||Home||Won 42-21|
|March 15||Canton Legends||Away||Won 38-24|
|March 22||Columbus Lions||Away||Won 54-48|
|March 31||Reading Express||Home||Lost 34-44|
|April 11||Huntington Heroes||Away||Lost 24-54|
|April 18||Baltimore Mariners||Home||Won 55-40|
|April 25||Baltimore Mariners||Away||Won 49-17|
|May 3||Canton Legends||Home||Won 50-48|
|May 9||Huntington Heroes||Home||Won 47-43|
|May 17||Huntington Heroes||Away||Won 52-31|
|May 24||Florence Phantoms||Away||Lost 27-57|
|May 31||Canton Legends||Home||Won 45-37|
|June 7||Reading Express||Home||Won 51-32|
|June 14||Reading Express||Away||Lost 26-66|
|June 21||Rochester Raiders¶||Away||Lost 6-41|
|July 3||Reading Express (Playoffs)||Away||Lost 57-67|
¶ Exhibition match
In 2009, the team's head coach and several players departed for the Wheeling Wildcats, and as a result, the RiverRats struggled all season to score points and missed the playoffs for the first time, finishing with a 3-11 record under head coach Steven G. Folmar.
|March 15||Baltimore Mariners||Away||Lost 32-60|
|March 28||D.C. Armor||Home||Lost 30-34|
|April 4||Carolina Speed||Away||Lost 12-38|
|April 11||Reading Express||Away||Lost 13-47|
|April 18||Harrisburg Stampede||Home||Lost 31-34|
|April 26||Reading Express||Home||Lost 48-66|
|May 2||Fayetteville Guard||Away||Lost 28-58|
|May 10||Baltimore Mariners||Home||Won 53-50|
|May 23||Harrisburg Stampede||Home||Won 54-44|
|May 30||Harrisburg Stampede||Away||Lost 29-53|
|June 6||Carolina Speed||Home||Lost 21-51|
|June 13||Reading Express||Away||Lost 27-45|
|June 20||D.C. Armor||Away||Lost 28-47|
|June 27||Florence Phantoms||Home||Won 60-20|
On September 8, 2009 the RiverRats announced that Shawn Liotta would return to Erie as the head coach for the 2010 season. In December, it was announced that owner Jeff Hauser had sold a stake in the franchise to a local group that included Jeff Plyler (owner of Plyler Overhead Door of McKean, PA) and Bill Stafford (owner of several Subway restaurant locations in Erie), among others. Hauser will maintain a smaller stake in the team, which immediately dropped the RiverRats name. The team will remain in the AIFA, and the team adopted the corporate name "Erie Professional Football, Inc." in December 2009, in anticipation of a new franchise name to be announced in January 2010.5
On January 5, 2010, the team announced the four finalists of the name-the-team contest; Storm, Blizzard, Pulse, and Punishers. On January 14, 2010 the team was officially named the Erie Storm via a press conference, in which the team logo and colors were also released.
On May 5, 2010, Lake Erie College based in Painesville, Ohio has asked a court judge to order the Erie Storm not use the Erie Storm name due to similarities with their own name the Lake Erie Storm. As of October 2010, the name "Storm" has been dropped, and the team is once again using the name "Erie Professional Football," which remains the name of the team's corporate entity.
|March 7||Reading Express||Home||Won 41-28|
|March 14||Harrisburg Stampede||Home||Lost 34-41|
|March 27||Reading Express||Away||Lost 51-53|
|April 3||Harrisburg Stampede||Away||Lost 19-58|
|April 16||Richmond Raiders||Home||Won 44-35|
|April 25||Reading Express||Home||Won 41-34|
|April 30||Richmond Raiders||Away||Won 53-39|
|May 8||Harrisburg Stampede||Away||Lost 35-54|
|May 14||New Jersey Revolution||Home||Won 40-38|
|May 22||Fayetteville Guard||Home||Won 55-52|
|May 29||New Jersey Revolution||Away||Won 68-58|
|June 5||Baltimore Mariners||Away||Lost 51-34|
|June 13||Baltimore Mariners||Home||Lost 39-37|
|June 19||Fayetteville Guard||Away||Won 65-58|
On December 3, 2010, the team announced its new identity as the Erie Explosion, including a new logo, but retaining the same color scheme as the Storm previously had. After dealing with the legalities of the previous name, the ownership of the Explosion have secured the legal trademark of the new name, ensuring that this will be the last re-brand in the foreseeable future.7 The Erie Explosion was also one of 6 AIFA teams which were merged with the SIFL prior to the 2011 season. The Explosion announced the signing of Quarterback, Adam DiMichele, along with former local Erie Strong Vincent star, Maurice Williams, and college star receiver David Ball.
On May 21, 2011, the Explosion set a single-game franchise record, including an unofficial indoor football record, for the most points scored in a 138-0 blowout win over the Fayetteville Force after the Force was forced to restock its team with scrubs in an ownership change.8 The margin of victory is the third-highest in all of professional football, and the highest in over 100 years: only the 1903 Massillon Tigers (who won a game 148-0) and 1904 Watertown Red & Black (who won a game 142-0) have had wider margins of victory.
Erie was only one of the six charter AIFL markets to have continuously held an AIFL or AIFA team since the AIFL's founding in 2005, counting both the Freeze and the RiverRats/Storm.
|March 20||Harrisburg Stampede||Away||Won 46-25|
|March 26||Trenton Steel||Away||Won 76-73|
|April 1||Carolina Speed||Away||Won 39-36|
|April 9||Trenton Steel||Home||Lost 62-65|
|April 15||Harrisburg Stampede||Home||Won 89-35|
|April 23||Richmond Raiders||Home||Won 74-54|
|April 30||Harrisburg Stampede||Away||Lost 40-41|
|May 7||Richmond Raiders||Away||Won 65-50|
|May 13||Trenton Steel||Home||Won 90-79|
|May 21||Fayetteville Force||Home||Won 138-0|
|May 26||Trenton Steel||Away||Lost 78-53|
|June 4||Harrisburg Stampede||Home||Won 71-32|
|June 18||Albany Panthers (Playoffs)||Away||Lost 43-68|
On August 25, 2011, the Explosion left the SIFL and joined the Ultimate Indoor Football League. The change reunited Erie with Andrew Haines, who founded the city's previous indoor football team, the Erie Freeze.9 (The Explosion's departure came two weeks before the SIFL broke up into the Lone Star Football League and the Professional Indoor Football League, neither of which included Pennsylvania in their territories.) Shortly before the start of the season, kicker J.R. Cipra and Dinkins announced they would be coming out of retirement to return to the Explosion.
After one season in the UIFL, in which the team made the playoffs but lost in their second game, the Explosion left the league.
The Explosion left the UIFL after the 2012 season. The team remained idle for about a month, while fielding offers to join four different leagues. Owner Bill Stafford ultimately decided to join the Continental Indoor Football League.10 The Explosion finished with an undefeated regular season record of 10-0 securing the 2013 CIFL regular season championship and the #1 seed in the leagues playoff format. The Explosion hosted the Kentucky Xtreme in a league Semi-Final game May 5, 2013. They defeated the Xtreme 55-6. The Explosion defense held the leagues number 1 offense to 1 first down in the first half. The Xtreme did not score until 13 minutes remained in the game. The defensive charge was led by Ricardo Kemp who had 2 interceptions in the game. The Erie Explosion hosted the CIFL championship game on Mothers Day, May 12, 2013, where they beat the Saginaw Sting, 37-36, to win the 2013 CIFL championship. The 2013 CIFL championship is the Erie Explosion's first championship, as well as the city of Erie's first championship in any league of indoor football.
In June, 2013, the Explosion agreed to terms with the CIFL to return for the 2014 season.11
Erie Explosion roster
Rookies in italics
Note: Statistics are correct through the end of the 2013 CIFL season.
|Shawn Liotta||2007-2008,2010-present||52||18||0||.743||3||5||2013 CIFL Coach of the Year
2012 UIFL North Coach of the Year
|Steven G. Fulmar||2009||3||11||0||.214||0||0|
|Erie Explosion staff|
Special Teams Coaches
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties
|Pittsburgh RiverRats (AIFA)|
|2007||7||7||0||4th Northern||Lost NC Round 1 (Reading)|
|Erie RiverRats (AIFA)|
|2008||10||4||0||2nd EC Northern||Lost ECN Round 1 (Reading)|
|Erie Storm (AIFA)|
|2010||8||6||0||3rd Eastern||Lost EC Round 1 (Harrisburg)|
|Erie Explosion (SIFL)|
|2011||9||3||0||1st EC Northeast||Lost EC Round 1 (Albany)|
|Erie Explosion (UIFL)|
|2012||8||3||0||2nd Northern||Won NC Round 1 (Marion)
Lost NC Championship (Cincinnati)
|Erie Explosion (CIFL)|
|2013||10||0||0||1st League||Won Semifinals (Kentucky)
Won CIFL Championship (Saginaw)
- "Pittsburgh RiverRats Relocate to Erie, PA". www.oursportscentral.com. OurSports Central. January 8, 2008. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
- This Week in the AIFA radio show. Our Sports Central. 17 January 2008.
- "Erie Explosion joins new league". www.goerie.com. Cyberlink and Erie Times-News. August 27, 2011.
- Bob Jarzomski (August 31, 2012). "Erie Explosion join new indoor football league". Erie Times-News. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
- Cory Butzin (June 10, 2013). "Continental Indoor Football League agree to terms with five teams for next season". www.mlive.com. MLive Media Group. Retrieved June 11, 2013.