Historical Milestone Highlights 2016 Opening Weekend
LAS VEGAS (March 23, 2016) – The Tampa Bay Storm will host the Orlando Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa for the Arena Football League’s 3,000th game to kick off the League’s 29th Season on April 1 at 7 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN3/Watch ESPN. The Storm-Predators rivalry dates back to 1991.
“The longevity and perseverance of the Arena Football League is a testament to the high-quality, action-packed and authentic nature of the sport,” said AFL Commissioner Scott C. Butera. “It also recognizes the quality of our athletes, coaches and operational professionals. Having Tampa Bay and Orlando involved in our 3,000th game could not be more appropriate. The rich history of both teams is symbolic of our great game. The combined total of 17 Hall of Famers between the two speaks volumes to what this rivalry has meant to our history.”
A rivalry that has been brewing almost since the inception of the League, the “War on I-4” officially began on June 1, 1991, in Tampa Bay. The expansion Predators dropped the Storm 51-38 in Tampa’s only home loss of the season. The Storm would even the score later that season, taking the second meeting in Orlando, 26-16.
This year’s addition features Tampa Bay QB Adam Kennedy (2,865 passing yards and 43 TDs with New Orleans in 2015) throwing to the receiving duo of T.T. Toliver (112 receptions for 1,536 yards and 35 TDs) and Julius Gregory (98, 1,036 and 27). Orlando counters with QB Randy Hippeard (2,297 passing yards and 61 TDs) targeting receivers Brandon Thompkins (100 receptions for 1,266 yards and 23 TDs) and Larry Brackins (68, 756 and 29).
ESPN3 kicks off its schedule of AFL games with two contests on opening weekend, including the first game of the 2016 season – an American Conference matchup between the Philadelphia Soul and their rival Cleveland Gladiators, slated to kickoff at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, April 1.
CBS Sports Network kicks off its AFL schedule when the Arizona Rattlers travel to take on the Portland Thunder on Friday, April 1, 2016 (10 p.m. ET), while the ESPN2 schedule kicks off on Saturday, April 2, with a Week 1 matchup between the American Conference champion Jacksonville Sharks and LA KISS at 9 p.m. ET.