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Orlando Thunder
Year Founded1991
Year Retired1992
CityOrlando, Florida
Team ColorsLime Green, Royal Blue, Light Blue, Yellow, White
Franchise W-L-T RecordRegular Season: 13-7 Postseason: 1-1
World Bowls (0)



The Orlando Thunder was a member of the World League of American Football from 1991 to 1992 (known as NFL Europe from 1995 onwards). The team played their games in the 70,000 seat Citrus Bowl, and was coached by Don Matthews in 1991 and Galen Hall in 1992. The team's most visible point was their colors - the League wanted to develop new colors which hadn't been used for teams before, hence the vermilion and green that the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks wore, and the fluorescent green jerseys that the Thunder sported.

The team's general managers were Lee Corso and Dick Beam. In 1991 the team played to a 5-5 record, and in 1992 the team had an outstanding 8-2 record, and made it to the World Bowl II championship game before losing to the Sacramento Surge 21-17. Despite the team's success early on however, the Thunder's attendance figures fell from over 19,000 per game in its first year, to just over 16,000 per game its second year, and the team was folded.

Notable players included Joe Howard Johnson, who managed to run back a play which hadn't been blown dead for an Orlando touchdown, and Scott Mitchell, a left-handed quarterback who went on to play in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions.

Notable public relations directors include Nick Gandy 1991 and John Giantonio 1992.


Orlando Thunder Cheerleaders 1991
Orlando Thunder Cheerleaders 1991
Orlando Thunder Cheerleaders 1991
Orlando Thunder Cheerleaders 1991
Orlando Thunder Cheerleaders with Mascot
Orlando Thunder Cheerleaders with Mascot



Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties

SeasonWLTFinishPlayoff results
19915502nd North American East--
19928201st North American EastLost World Bowl II (Surge)
Totals1480(including playoffs)




Raj Bhathal

June 22, 1989

USA TODAY (Arlington, VA)
Author: DON COBLE(c) Gannett News Service

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando is one of three cities seeking two teams in the new World League of American Football, league president Tex Schramm said Thursday.

The 12-team, seven-country league will be owned and operated by the National Football League, assuring the satellite organization of protection against competition.

"It's not a gimmick-like league," Schramm told the Orlando Chamber of Commerce. "We want to start slow and conservatively and do it right. The rivalries will happen after it truely becomes an international league."

Orlando is in competition with Jacksonville and Charlotte, N.C., for two spots in the four-team East Division.

Schramm, former Dallas Cowboys president now in charge of international promotion for the NFL, toured the Florida Citrus Bowl early Thursday, met with Orlando Mayor Bill Frederick and a potential owner.

The NFL is organizing the league to expand boundaries to Canada, Mexico and Europe. The WLAF will play from mid-March to early-July, Schramm said, to keep from directly competing with the NFL.

Players will come from current NFL rosters, free agents and rookies. Some players, especially second-string NFL players in need of seasoning, will play in both leagues.

The NFL will decide "within 30 days" which teams will make up the WLAF, Schramm said. New York and Montreal already are assured teams in the Eastern Division.

The Western Division is a competition between Birmingham, Ala., Memphis and Nashville, Tenn., for two spots, while Los Angeles and Mexico City already have teams.

The European Division is a five-way battle between Milan, Italy; London; Paris; Barcelona, Spain; and Frankfurt, West Germany for four spots.

All teams will be restricted by a salary cap and all players will be considered property of the NFL. Before a player can join a team, he must first be hired by the NFL and made available to all teams. Forty-man teams will be formed in a special draft.

The NFL will be responsible for negotiating a television contract, paying player salaries, travel expenses and game officials, Schramm said. In return, the NFL owners would own a controlling interest in the league.

Local ownership would be responsible for local staffs and promotions.

Orlando and Jacksonville currently have NFL-like stadiums in place. The Florida Citrus Bowl currently seats 52,000 and is being expanded to seat 70,000. Work on the expansion is expected to be complete by January, more than two months ahead of the opening kickoff of the WLAF.

Jacksonville has the 80,000-seat Gator Bowl, while Charlotte must play in a 10,000-seat Memorial Stadium. Groups in Charlotte are trying to land an NFL franchise, promising to build a major stadium adjacent to the 95,000-seat Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord.

The NFL has interest from all three major television networks and five cable companies to broadcast a 10-game reuglar season and three-game playoff.

Schramm said a good showing in the WLAF would impress NFL owners when NFL expansion is addressed.

"I don't think this (WLAF) would be a deterant to having an NFL team," he said. "When the NFL decides to expand, you look at everything you can look at. Certainly, a very successful operation in this league would bode well for expansion."

Orlando has jumped to the foreground of major sports consideration in the past three years. The Naional Basketball Association's Orlando Magic will tipoff its inaugural season in October, while Major League baseball is said to be keen on the Orlando area for expansion in the National League.

Orlando has has three other professional football teams - the Panthers of the Continental Football League, the Florida Blazers of the World Football League and the Orlando Renagades of the Unites States Football League. All three teams and leagues folded under direct competition of the NFL.

--- (Don Coble writes for FLORIDA TODAY).

Copyright 1989, 2009 Gannett Co., Inc. All rights reserved.


Coach Don Matthews

Don Matthews, a.k.a. "The Don", (born June 22, 1939, Amesbury, Massachusetts) is a former head coach of several teams in the Canadian Football League and is the 2nd all-time winningest head coach in the CFL with 231 wins.

Matthews was formerly head coach of the CFL's BC Lions, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Baltimore Stallions, Toronto Argonauts, Edmonton Eskimos, and Montreal Alouettes. He was also head coach of the Orlando Thunder of the World League of American Football.


The Thunder had the most visible uniforms with the flourescent green home jerseys.  These are also the most rare for collectors with game-worn ones being almost non-existent unless you get lucky!  The away jerseys were white.  Towels that were used by QBs and WRs were dark blue.   The 1991 Thunder jerseys and pants were manufactured by Wilson.  The Helmet was made by Riddell with a heavy plastic facemask made by Kra-lite.  Not all players wore this facemask, some still wore the metal-cage style. Players wore Pony cleats and wristbands, sweatbands and gloves were made by Neuman.  I am not sure who made the socks but they have a Thunder min-patch affixed to the calf area. 

The team's jersey was recently voted 2nd worst football jersey of all-time by ESPN voters.

1991 Orlando Thunder Home Jersey
1991 Thunder Away Jersey
1991 Thunder Helmet
1991 Thunder Pants
1991 Thunder Socks


Coach Galen Hall

Galen Samuel Hall (born August 14, 1940 in Altoona, Pennsylvania) is an American football coach. He is currently serving as offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Penn State University.

Hall was previously the offensive coordinator at the University of Oklahoma and University of Florida, and head coach at the University of Florida, and of the Orlando Thunder, the Rhein Fire, the XFL's Orlando Rage.


In 1992, the Thunder uniform only had one change, the jersey.  The home jersey stayed the same as did the rest of the uniform but the away jersey saw the addition of flourescent sleeves.  The lettering appears to be a darker blue also. 

1992 Thunder Away Jersey



Former namesOrlando Stadium (1936-1946)
Tangerine Bowl (1947-1975)
Citrus Bowl (1976)
Orlando Stadium (1977-1982)
Florida Citrus Bowl (1983-present)
Location1610 W. Church Street, Orlando, Florida 32805
Coordinates28°32′21″N 81°24′10″W / 28.53917°N 81.40278°W / 28.53917; -81.40278Coordinates: 28°32′21″N 81°24′10″W / 28.53917°N 81.40278°W / 28.53917; -81.40278
Broke ground1936
OwnerCity of Orlando
OperatorOrlando Centroplex
Surface419 Bermuda Grass
Construction cost$115,000
$38 million (renovation)
Capacity10,000 (1936)
52,000 (1976)
65,438 (2002)
70,000 (2003)
74,635 (2008 (Wrestling)
Capital One Bowl (NCAA) (1947-1972, 1974-present)
Champs Sports Bowl (NCAA) (2001-present)
Florida Classic (NCAA) (1997-present)
UCF Knights football (NCAA) (1979-2006)
Orlando Broncos (SFL) (1962-1963)
Orlando Panthers (CFL) (1966-1970)
Florida Blazers (WFL) (1974)
Orlando Americans (AFA) (1981)
Orlando Renegades (USFL) (1985)
Orlando Thunder (WLAF) (1991-1992)
Orlando Sundogs (A-League) (1997)
Drum Corps International (1996-1998, 2003)
Orlando Rage (XFL) (2001)
WrestleMania XXIV (WWE) (2008)
Jones High School football
Florida Tuskers (UFL) (2009-present)
MEAC/SWAC Challenge (2009-present)

Most information taken from wikipedia.org

1991 Thunder Results, Stats, Roster
1992 Thunder Results, Stats, Roster

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