Grand Rapids Rampage

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Grand Rapids Rampage
Established 1998
Folded 2009
Played in Van Andel Arena
in Grand Rapids, Michigan
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (19982009)
  • American Conference (1998–2009)
Last uniform
Team colorsRed, black, silver, white
Owner(s)Arena Football League
Head coachSteve Thonn
Team history
  • Grand Rapids Rampage (1998–2009)
League championships (1)
Conference championships (0)
Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games
Division championships (1)
Playoff appearances (6)
Home arena(s)

The Grand Rapids Rampage was an arena football team based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The team began play in 1998 in the Arena Football League as an expansion team. They were last coached by Steve Thonn. Their home arena was the Van Andel Arena.


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.

The team under its final name dates 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 was the smallest market in which the AFL had a franchise at the times of its disbanding. The Rampage played in the Van Andel Arena, which is also the home of the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins. They competed 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 was a Rhinoceros named Blitz.[1]

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.[2]

The Rampage also shared 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.

On March 5, 2010, it was announced that the Rampage were officially out of business and had no plans to return.[3]


The Rampage's logo was a red rhinoceros. Its end zone is unique as being the only end zone that does not feature a team name or city. It simply says Arena Football in red with a black background.

Rampage highlights[edit]

  • 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.[4]
  • On Saturday, February 5, 2005, in a road game against their division-rival, the Colorado Crush, Rampage quarterback Michael Bishop became the 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 feat on just six attempts. Despite falling 72–56, Bishop's helped set a bold new record. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this is ranked at #12.[5]
  • 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. On the AFL's 20 Greatest Highlights Countdown, this is tied at #9.[6]
  • 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 on to break the franchise record for touchdown passes in a later game.


Notable players[edit]

Arena Football Hall of Famers[edit]

Grand Rapids Rampage Hall of Famers
No. Name Year inducted Position(s) Years w/ Rampage
13 Clint Dolezel 2012 QB 2001-2003
84 Fred Gayles 2002 WR/DB 1998

Individual awards[edit]

All-Arena players[edit]

The following Rampage players were named to All-Arena Teams:

All-Ironman players[edit]

The following Rampage players were named to All-Ironman Teams:

All-Rookie players[edit]

The following Rampage players were named to All-Rookie Teams:

Venue location and front office[edit]

The Grand Rapids Rampage played in the Van Andel Arena, which is located in downtown Grand Rapids.


Head coach Tenure Regular season
record (W–L)
record (W–L)
Most recent coaching staff Notes
Michael Trigg 19982003 43–41[7] 3–4[7] AFL Coach of the year (2001).[7]
ArenaBowl XV winning head coach.[7]
Assistant coach: Will McClay (1998 - 1999)
became head coach
of the Philadelphia Soul (2004).
Bob Cortese 2004 1–10[8] 0–0 Let go during the season
Rick Frazier 2004 0–5[9] 0–0 Replaced Bob Cortese during the season.
Sparky McEwen 20052007 13–35[10] 0–0 Grand Rapids assistant coach (2001 - 2003).
Steve Thonn 2008 6–10 2–1 DC / Director of Player Personnel:
Ron Selesky
Line coach: Darrin Kenney
ST Coordinator and FB / LB coach:
Paul Reinke
Manager of Football Ops. / Assist. coach:
Rod Miller


  1. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2005-01-10. Retrieved 2006-03-23. External link in |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Rampage down Kats in Arenabowl". OurSports Central. August 19, 2001. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c d "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Michael Trigg". Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  8. ^ "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Bob Cortese". Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  9. ^ "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Rick Frazier". Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  10. ^ "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Sparky McEwen". Retrieved 2008-10-24.

External links[edit]