Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Arena Football League close to folding, saddening former Tampa Bay Storm coach Tim Marcum

TAMPA — To Tim Marcum, the Arena Football League was like a child.

He was with it from the start.

He nurtured it, became arguably its biggest promoter and was its most successful coach, winning seven ArenaBowl titles, including three with the Storm.

"It was my baby," Marcum said.

On Tuesday, several news outlets — from to the Associated Press — reported the AFL is on the verge of folding and declaring bankruptcy.

Though no official announcement has been made regarding the league's future, James Guidry, regional director of the AFL players association, told AP on Tuesday that it "seems to be inevitable at this point" that the AFL will soon announce it has ceased operations. Guidry said the players association will accept the owners' decision.

Founded in 1987, the AFL last year canceled the 2009 season.

Despite that move, Marcum and others hoped that with some reorganization, the league could return in 2010. On its official Web site, a headline still reads "AFL working to resume play in 2010."

The question is, what went wrong?

From humble beginnings, the sport seemed to have carved a successful niche. ESPN aired many of its games, it had celebrity owners in John Elway and Jon Bon Jovi, and the league was an option for fans who might not have been able to afford taking the family to an NFL game.

"It was a success story," said Marcum, who was let go by the Storm on June 30.

Initially, players weren't paid much. But as the league grew, so did salaries. Several players earned more than $100,000 a year in recent seasons, Marcum said. The league minimum, he said, was $2,000 a week.

By contrast, according to Marcum, players make $250 a week in the AFL's offshoot, af2. That league, of which the AFL owns 50.1 percent and which has teams mostly in medium-sized markets such as Boise, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash., "is solvent, self-funded and pays its bills," reported.

"It's really a sad thing," Marcum said of the AFL's demise. "We only have ourselves to blame. It's our leadership's fault. We owed $14 million, and when you owe that much something's wrong. You did it the wrong way. I really feel like we'd be playing football right now if it hadn't been for all that debt."

Arena Football League close to folding, saddening former Tampa Bay Storm coach Tim Marcum 08/04/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 10:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion


    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.