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Season off to later start without NBC

Now that NBC and the Arena Football League have parted ways, the league has moved closer to its pre-TV deal scheduling, with the regular season beginning in March and the playoffs ending in late July.

That means Storm fans will have to wait six weeks longer for the season opener. Since 2003, when NBC began broadcasting AFL games, the season has started in late January. Before that the season usually began in April.

This year, the Storm won't play its first game until March 2, but it won't have to wait long to face its former quarterback.

Tampa Bay opens the season against an Orlando team that features Shane Stafford, who played for the Storm for five seasons before signing with the Predators this fall.

Other highlights include a visit to defending Eastern Division champion Dallas March 10 and a trip to Columbus April 29, when new Storm quarterback John Kaleo will take on his former team.

The Storm also announced Wednesday that it has acquired wide receiver T.T. Toliver from the Nashville Kats in exchange for future considerations. Tolliver spent time on the Buccaneers practice squad in 2002 before helping the Storm win the Arena Bowl in 2003. Last year, he caught 78 passes for 1,273 yards to lead the Kats.

David Murphy can be reached at dmurphy@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1407.

FAST FACTS

Storm rolling in

The 2007 Tampa Bay Storm schedule:

Mar. 2 Orlando 7:30

Mar. 10 at Dallas 8:30

Mar. 17 Georgia 7:30

Mar. 23 New York 7:30

Mar. 31 San Jose 10:30

Apr. 7 New Orleans 7:30

Apr. 14 at Orlando 7:30

Apr. 29 Columbus 3

May 6 at Austin 4:05

May 12 at L.A. 10:30

May 18 Arizona 7:30

May 26 at Georgia 7

June 2 at New Orleans 8

June 9 Philadelphia 7:30

June 16 at Grand Rapids 7

June 23 Austin 7:30

Season tickets for the 2007 Storm season are on sale at Champs Sports starting at $99. For more information visit www.tampabaystorm.com or call 813-301-6780.

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