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Columbus Destroyers
Arena Football League (AFL)
2004, Relocated from Buffalo, NY
Folded/Ceased Operations
Nationwide Arena
Columbus, Ohio
Team Owners
Jim Renacci, Joey Galloway and Mark Hamister
Team Colors
Navy Blue, Red, Silver Blue, White
Team Mascot Bruiser
Wild Card playoff berths
1: 2007
Conference titles
1: 2007
ArenaBowl titles

The Columbus Destroyers were an Arena Football League (AFL) team based in Columbus, Ohio. The team was founded in 1999 as the Buffalo Destroyers, based in Buffalo, New York, and relocated to Columbus in 2004. They folded along with the original incarnation of the AFL following the 2008 season, after a total of ten seasons of play. The Destroyers played their home games in Columbus' Nationwide Arena. Their last coach was Pat Sperduto.

Franchise history

The Destroyers moved to Columbus after the 2003 Arena Football League season. They played their home games in downtown's Nationwide Arena, which they shared with the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Destroyers were sold to John H. McConnell, founder of Worthington Industries and majority owner of the Blue Jackets, and accountant Jim Renacci. Also owning a stake in the team is NFL wide receiver and former Ohio State football standout Joey Galloway. Mark Hamister, who owned the team during the Buffalo tenure, initially stayed on as a minority owner, but would eventually sell his share.

The Destroyers, over their first two years, would often market people with the team who are also associated with The Ohio State University football program, rather than the team itself. In the 2004 season, it relied heavily on head coach, former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce, and front office worker Chris Spielman. In the 2005 season, Spielman became head coach of the team and much of the Destroyers merchandise bore his name. However, as the 2006 season approached, the team appeared to have dropped marketing Ohio State personalities, instead promoting the Destroyers playing "Fast-forward football". Since then, the Destroyers have enjoyed more success, finishing 7-9 in 2006 and making a run all the way to ArenaBowl XXI in 2007.

Despite high hopes, the 2008 Destroyers weren't able to capitalize on the previous two years success and finished with a 3-13 record. It was announced at the end of the season that Destroyers ownership and Doug Kay had reached a decision that he would not return as head coach.

The Destroyers had been better received in Columbus than they were in Buffalo, as their attendance levels were some of the highest in the AFL, and they were regularly covered in the media. Home games were televised locally on Columbus Sports Network, but this coverage ceased after the network folded. All games were broadcast on their radio partner Wink 107.1 FM. The rights to the "Columbus Destroyers" and "Buffalo Destroyers" brands are currently held, along with the rest of the league, with Arena Football League. So far, there have been no discussions to place an AFL team in Columbus or Buffalo.

Season by season

Columbus Destroyers
Season Conference Division W L T Finish Win Pct. (%) Playoff results
2004 National Eastern 6 10 0 4th .375 Did Not qualify
2005 National Eastern 2 14 0 4th .125 Did Not qualify
2006 National Eastern 8 8 0 4th .500 Did Not qualify
2007 National Eastern 7 9 0 4th .438 Won Wild Card Round (Tampa Bay) 56–55
Won Divisional Round (Dallas) 66–59
Won Conference Championship (Georgia) 66–56
Lost ArenaBowl XXI (San Jose) 55–33
2008 National Eastern 2 14 0 3rd .188 Did Not qualify
The AFL suspended operations for the season

External links