The Grand Rapids Rampage
is an Arena Football League
team that began playing as a 1998 expansion team.
The Grand Rapids Rampage franchise dates all the way back to the Arena Football League’s first game in 1987. Originally the Washington Commandos, the team became the Detroit Drive in 1988 and, in 1994, became the Massachusetts Marauders for one season. Three years later, DP Fox Ventures, L.L.C. bought the team and moved it to Grand Rapids. Only the Tampa Bay Storm (then the Pittsburgh Gladiators) join the Rampage in claiming ties to the AFL’s inaugural season.
The team as under its current name goes back to 1997. They began play as a professional team in 1998 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when Dan DeVos purchased the Detroit Drive/Massachusetts Marauders franchise out of bankruptcy court. Grand Rapids is the smallest market in which the AFL currently has franchises. The Rampage began play in the Van Andel Arena, which is also the home of the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins. They compete in the Central Division of the American Conference.
The Grand Rapids Rampage started play in 1998 under coach Michael Trigg. In 2001, with notable players Clint Dolezel, and Terrill Shaw, the Rampage went on to win their first ArenaBowl. This game was broadcast live on the ABC Network.
The Rampage's official mascot is a Rhinoceros named Blitz.
The Rampage had a rivalry with the Nashville Kats, one which dates back to the original Kats. This rivalry solidified with the Rampage's defeat of Nashville in ArenaBowl XV.
The Rampage also share a rivalry with the Chicago Rush, known as the Amtrak Classic, after the Amtrak railway system which connects the two cities. On July 6, 2008, the Amtrak Classic added an interesting chapter as the Rampage, losers of their last six meetings with Chicago, defeated their heavily-favored opponents on the road. Grand Rapids entered the game as a 6 seed, and upended the #1 seeded Rush 58-41, in a game of controversial penalties and brawls.
The Rampage's logo is a red rhinoceros. It's end zone is unique as being to only end zone that does not feature a team name or city. It simply says Arena Football in red with a black background.
- On Sunday, June 23, 2002, the Rampage hosted a game against the Georgia Force. After a low-scoring first quarter, the Rampage took a 28-15 halftime lead. However, the Force refused to go down, as they had a 41-35 lead with only 12 seconds left in the game. On one play, Quarterback Clint Dolezel threw a game-winning 31-yd touchdown pass to Offensive Specialist Steve Smith (who hadn't played a down that game until the final play). The Rampage would win 42-41. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this is ranked at #13.
- On Saturday, February 5, 2005, in a road game against their division-rival, the Colorado Crush, Rampage Quarterback Michael Bishop became the very first Arena Football League player to run for 100 yards in a single game. It was only Bishop's third-ever start, yet he accomplished this amazing feat on just six attempts. Despite falling 72-56, Bishop's fancy feet helped set a bold new record. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this is ranked at #12.
- In a pregame warm-up, Quarterback Michael Bishop threw a pass from one end zone, across the field, through the uprights, and into the stands. It displayed Bishop's athletic talent. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this is tied at #9.
- On Monday, March 24, 2008, The Rampage set the AFL record for the most points scored in a single game by a road team, beating the Kansas City Brigade 92-52. James MacPherson went 24-27, nine touchdowns, and 307 yards in his first start for the Rampage. MacPherson would later go one to break the franchise record for touchdown passes in a later game.
|1998 || 3 || 11 || 0 || 4th AC Central || --
|1999 || 8 || 6 || 0 || 2nd AC Central || Lost Week 1 (Albany
|2000 || 6 || 8 || 0 || 3rd AC Central || Lost Week 1 (Nashville
|2001 || 11 || 3 || 0 || 1st AC Central || Won Week 2 (Chicago
Won Semifinals (Indiana
)Won ArenaBowl XV
|2002 || 8 || 6 || 0 || 2nd AC Central || Lost Week 1 (Carolina
|2003 || 8 || 8 || 0 || 2nd AC Central || Lost Week 1 (Detroit
|2004 || 1 || 15 || 0 || 5th AC Central || --
|2005 || 4 || 12 || 0 || 4th AC Central || --
|2006 || 5 || 11 || 0 || 4th AC Central || --
|2007 || 4 || 12 || 0 || 5th AC Central || --
|2008 || 6 || 10 || 0 || 2nd AC Central || Won Wild Card (Arizona
Won Divisional Round (Chicago
Lost AC Championship (San Jose
!Totals || 71 || 107 || 0
|colspan="2"| (including playoffs)
Notable Players, Past and Present
Venue location and front office
The Grand Rapids Rampage currently play in the Van Andel Arena
, which is located in downtown Grand Rapids
- Head coach: Steve Thonn
- Defensive coordinator/Director of Player Personnel: Ron Selesky
- Offensive/Defensive Line coach: Darrin Kenney
- Special Teams Coach and Fullbacks/Linebackers coach: Paul Reinke
- Football Operations Manager/Assistant coach: Rod Miller
The Grand Rapids Rampage are currently endorsed by Nutrilite
, the official dietary supplements of the Grand Rapids Rampage. Nutrilite
products are sold through Amway
corporation, and Quixtar
in North America.