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The Indiana Firebirds were a team in the Arena Football League. The team was based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Home games were played at the Conseco Fieldhouse, also the home of the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association and Indiana Fever of the Women's National Basketball Association.

History


Originally called the Albany Firebirds, the team was based in Albany, New York from 1990 to 2000.[1][2] At that time, home games were played at the Knickerbocker Arena (now known as the Times Union Center). After the move, the Firebirds competed in the Central Division of the AFL's American Conference.

The Firebirds were very successful during their tenure in Albany. They won six division titles, made nine playoff appearances, and won the 1999 ArenaBowl championship.

On October 19, 2000, the Firebirds announced they would be relocating to Indianapolis.[3] The 2004 Firebirds just missed the playoffs after a disappointing 0–5 start. However, they finished the season winning eight of their last eleven games and were considered by some a potential contender for the 2005 Arena Bowl championship led by 2004 Rookie of the Year, quarterback Zachary Paget.

However, in early September 2004, Indiana Firebirds owner Dave Lageschulte announced that his company, Lags Football LLC, would cease all business operations for the Firebirds. Lageschulte had been actively, but unsuccessfully, pursuing local investors to purchase the Firebirds since he had assumed ownership in 2002.

On September 20, 2004, the date of the announced sales deadline, the Arena Football League announced the termination of the Firebirds franchise and that the players would be made available to continuing AFL teams in a dispersal draft. However, within the week the team was purchased by Scott and Todd Hines, who run H3 Sportsgear, a sportsgear company based in Indianapolis. With AFL approval, it was hoped that the Firebirds could remain operational in Indianapolis. However, this bid floundered due to concerns that the low sale price would devalue the worth of the other 18 franchises. The former Firebirds players were made available in the dispersal draft conducted on October 14, 2004, marking the end of one of the AFL's longest-running franchises.

After the move of the Albany Firebirds AFL franchise to Indiana, an AF2 team called the Albany Conquest took to the field to replace the arena football void left by the departure of the Firebirds. After eight seasons and troubles with fielding a winning team in recent seasons, Conquest owner Walter Robb contemplated shutting down the Conquest franchise. Then, on Friday, October 3, 2008, Robb announced the return of the team for the 2009 season but renamed as the Albany Firebirds in the hopes of "re-branding" the team.[4]

Season-by-season


Notable players


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

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

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

Head coaches


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