The National Arena League (NAL) announced today that the Orlando Predators will join the league for the 2019 season. Assuming the Maine Mammoths and Lehigh Valley Steelhawks find owners, this will put the NAL at eight teams.
National Arena League Welcomes Orlando
The Predators are joining the New York Streets in being the newest addition to the league. Teams that will for sure play in 2019 include the Carolina Cobras, Columbus Lions, Massachusetts Pirates, and Jacksonville Sharks. The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks and Maine Mammoths are still questionable, as new owners have yet to be found that we know of.
There have been many things that has lead up to this point with Orlando. There was a post from former arena star, Kenny McEntyre, stating that there would be an arena football team in Orlando.
In the post, McEntyre states, “Well my goal and dreams were always to own a professoinal Arena football team. After a year of working and busting my butt[,] my dream has become a reality. I am the first Black majority owner of a professional football team. The Orlando Terminators will play our first game in the Amway Center in April 2019. Formally the Orlando Predators.. More details will follow[.] Please be patient..”
For an unofficial release, this was a lot of information. There was an answer as to who the owner is (McEntyre), where the football team will be located (Amway Center in Orlando, FL), the team name (Terminators), and when the team will kick off (April of 2019). With this information, it is just a matter of time as to when the league would officially announce this news to fans.
Something was brought up later on; the Orlando Predators name was found on a trademark website. This was Orlando’s name back in the Arena Football League (AFL) days. A newly formed Facebook page also posted a photo claiming to be back, but gave no further details.
Something that has changed since this original post is the team name. McEntyre originally said that he is forming the Terminators, but the league decided to own rights to the Predators name, bringing back the original team’s name in Orlando.
What About the Rivalry with Jacksonville?
The Jacksonville Sharks and Orlando Predators were separated after the Sharks moved to the NAL and the Predators folded. The Sharks were quick to find a new team to pick on, as they fought with the Columbus Lions in the very first game in NAL history and the very first championship game in the NAL. This sparked heated games both in the 2017 and 2018 season. With Orlando returning to the scrum, what would this mean for the rivalry with Jacksonville? Nobody really knows because games haven’t been played, but “The War on I-4” should return to its natural state and the Jacksonville and Orlando rivalry should continue. What would that mean for Columbus? That is where it gets really tricky. If the rivalry between Jacksonville and Columbus were to end, there is always the Carolina Cobras after the Cobras embarrassed the Lions in the second NAL championship game 66-8.
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