1998 Results | Game Coverage
Who: Iowa Barnstormers at Tampa Bay Storm
The Coaches...Iowa - John Gregory, 40-20 in his fourth season with the Barnstormers, 40-20 in four AFL seasons.
Tampa Bay - Tim Marcum, 47-13 in his fourth season with the Storm, 102-25 in ten AFL seasons.
In 1998:Tampa Bay (10-2) - Defeated San Jose 45-23, lost to Nashville 54-52, defeated Houston 56-25, defeated Florida 44-29, defeated New Jersey 81-42, defeated New York 65-33, defeated Orlando 42-34, defeated Albany 63-42, defeated Orlando 56-30, defeated Houston 62-46, defeated Florida 59-18, lost to Nashville 49-43.
Iowa (5-7) - Lost to Arizona 61-40, lost to Grand Rapids 45-27, lost to Orlando 28-6, lost to Portland 53-47, lost to Houston 55-21, defeated Grand Rapids 48-47, lost to New York 54-46, defeated Nashville 46-43, lost to Houston 72-65, defeated Albany 55-48, defeated San Jose 44-41, defeated New Jersey 58-49.
The Game:The Storm will attempt to rebound from their first loss in over two months, as they host the surging Iowa Barnstormers in a game with significant postseason implications for both clubs. Kickoff at the Ice Palace will be at 7:40 p.m. on Saturday, July 25. The game will be the Storm's final regular season home game of 1998; the Storm is assured of hosting at least one postseason enocounter. Struggling without QB Kurt Warner, Iowa began the year 0-5, but since bringing in Aaron Garcia, Iowa has reversed its fortune, going 5-2 since. The 'Stormers have also won four of their last five and three in a row.
Injury FrontWR/DB Cornell Parker (hamstring---IR), WR/DB Kevin Jackson (index finger---IR), OL/DL Sylvester Bembery (ACL/MCL-right knee---IR).
ThunderclapsTrough Time - To fill the two vacant roster spots created by the year-long league suspensions of Wayne Walker and Cedric McKinnon, the Storm activated FB/LB Tony Jones from the suspended list and signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneer nose tackle Robert "Pig" Goff. Jones sat out most of the season, working for Pepsi-Cola, after spending the previous three seasons with the Storm. He was second on the club in rushing last year, gaining 88 yards and scoring five times. He will be deactivated for the game against Iowa.
Meanwhile, Goff will be activated---wearing jersey number 60---and will make his Arena Football debut. He played from 1988-89 with the Bucs under the direction of martinet coach Ray Perkins before being slopped off to New Orleans in a trade in 1990. He played in New Orleans through the 1995 season, recording two sacks in his final campaign.
McKinnon was only activated for two games---at Florida on May 23 and at home against Orlando on June 27. He tallied three unassisted tackles, one assit and one sack, and lost two yards on three carries on offense. Walker missed Weeks Three through Six with a groin injury, but played in all other games, catching 27 passes for 448 yards and eight touchdowns, finishing fourth on the team in all those categories.
Living Out a Counry Music Song - For the Storm, it was like losing the wife, the truck and the dog all at once as they suffered their first loss in over two months, failing to gain revenge on the Nashville Kats in a 49-43 loss in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 16,121 at the Nashville Arena on Friday night. The Kats became just the second team all-time and the first since Orlando in 1993 to beat the Storm twice in the regular season. In 1993, though, Tampa Bay gained the upper hand on the Preds, defeating them in the semifinals.
The Storm forced four Nashville turnovers, but failed to capitalize, giving away the ball three times. QB Peter Tom Willis tossed two interceptions, the first time he's doubled up on passes to the other team since the Week Two loss to Nashville at the Ice Palace. Willis had thrown just four interceptions in the Storm's nine-game winning streak that followed the first defeat at the claws of the Kats. Tampa Bay also set season highs in penalties (15) and penalty yardage (93). 26 of those yards came on a particularly painful sequence in the third quarter, which included an unnecessary roughness call and two unsportsmanlike conducts, allowing the Kats to move the ball from the Kats' six-yard-line to the Tampa Bay 18-yard-line.
On the positive side, FB/LB Andre Bowden doubled his season touchdown total, scoring three times.
Magic Numbers - The Storm's magic number for clinching home field advantage throughout the postseason continues to stand at one. By virtue of falling to Nashville, the Storm enters Week 13 with something left to play for---home field advantage throughout the postseason. Tampa Bay can finish no lower than fourth, and, as a result, is guaranteed to host a home game in the first round.
Iowa is one of the Storm's potential first-round opponents. However, even if the Barnstormers win their final two games, they will still require outside help from opponents of the New Jersey Red Dogs and San Jose SaberCats. Six teams have clinched postseason bids: Tampa Bay, Arizona, Nashville, Orlando, Albany and Houston.
For the Record(s) - WR/LB Stevie Thomas needs seven touchdowns to get to 150 for his career...K Bjorn Nittmo is two field goals away from tying the single season franchise record of 14 set by Jorge Cimadevilla in 1995...Nittmo is also four points away from tying Cimadevilla's record for points by a kicker of 111, also set in 1995...In addition, with three more extra points, Nittmo will tie the Storm's single-season record set by Cimadevilla in 1996...FB/LB Les Barley is three scores away from tying the single season team record of 15 rushing touchdowns set by Andre Bowden in 1993...Barley, who has a team- leading seven sacks, is also one sack away from breaking Bowden's single- season sack record of seven, set in 1992...Bowden could tie that mark with another sack; he recorded his sixth in the third quarter against the Kats...OS George LaFrance continues to add to his team record for missed field goal return yardage; he now has 404 on 21 returns, easily bettering his 288 yard- record in 1996...LaFrance needs one more receiving touchdown to tie his single-season team record of 30 and two more overall touchdowns to tie his one-year standard of 32; both marks were set in 1996...If the Storm holds to their average of just under 277 yards per game, they will break the franchise's single-season record for total offense; the club is on pace for 3,877 yards, which would beat the record of 3,853 set two years ago...The Storm needs to hold Iowa and Grand Rapids to a total of 74 points or less in order to become the first team to yield fewer than 500 points for a season since the league went to a 14-game schedule in 1996.
If Not for Nashville - Obviously, the Storm would stand undefeated were it not for those pesky, frisky and ornery Kats. The Kats have been involved in two of the Storm's three games decided by ten points or less; Tampa Bay's other close game came in a 42-34 win at Orlando in Week Seven. The Storm has given up an average of 51.5 points per game to Nashville, while allowing just 32.2 to the rest of the league. Tampa Bay has also averaged 57.3 points against everyone but Nashville, scoring 47.5 against the Kats. Tampa Bay's per-game scoring margin is - 4.0 against Nashville and + 25.1 against the rest of the opponents on their schedule.
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? - While it's the Nashville Kats who made the Storm cry last week, it's Storm tradition that the opponent who is next on the schedule will be the ones to pay for the defeat. Tampa Bay has teed it up 25 times following defeat, posting an impressive 20-5 ledger in those games. In the 20 wins, the Storm has been dominant, winning by an average of 20.1 points. Ten of those wins have come by more than 20 points.
The Storm has also played 12 home games immediately following losses. In those games, the Storm is 10-2, with the defeats coming in a 38-37 setback to the Las Vegas Sting on June 24, 1995 and a 44-28 loss to New Jersey on June 14, 1997. Overall, the Storm has outscored opponents by 17.3 points per outing in home games following losses, and on six occasions has one by more than 20 points. Four times, the Storm's margin of victory has exceeded 30 points.
In more recent times...After a rotten 4-5 beginning to the 1997 season, the Storm reversed their fortunes, coming home 5-2 and finishing with a semifinal loss. Factor that finish in with the Storm's start to 1998 and the aggregate total is 15-4, an impressive total, even with last week's loss factored in. In that span, the Storm has not lost two in a row. After a 61-38 loss to Iowa on July 19 of last year, the Storm turned around and hammered Florida 48-22. Following the heartbreaking overtime defeat to Arizona in overtime to end the 1997 season, the Storm responded by giving the big-toothed SaberCats a root canal by a 45-23 margin. And after the first loss to the Kats in Week Two, Tampa Bay clobbered Houston 56-25. In those three games, the Storm has won by an average of 26.3 points per game.
Series HistoryIowa and Tampa Bay have met twice, but only once in the regular season. The Storm defeated the Barnstormers 42-38 in ArenaBowl X in 1996, but fell last summer in a regular season home tilt.
08/26/96 - Tampa Bay 42, Iowa 38 - It was the first time the Barnstormers and Storm met up, and the game couldn't have been any bigger, or, as it turned out, any better. The game saw four lead changes in the first half before Ron Moran's one-yard run tied the score at 28-28 going into halftime. After that, the Storm took control---relatively speaking---but never truly gained a comfortable upper hand. As it turned out, the Storm would take the lead for good on a 21-yard pass from Jay Gruden to Ivan Caesar with 5:46 left in the third quarter. Iowa responded with a Mike Black field goal on their next possession, but that was not enough as the Storm motored right back down the field, finally scoring on a seven-yard pass from Gruden to Game MVP Stevie Thomas 3:05 into the fourth quarter. Iowa responded with a Warner touchdown pass to Chris Spencer before the game turned into a resounding defensive struggle in the final minutes, culminating with a heroic goal-line stand by the Storm in the final minute that gave Tampa Bay their second straight title. The game was witnessed by a vocal and intervening crowd of 11,411. Vocal because they were loud, drowning out Gruden's signals most of the game, and intervening because fans in the front row repeatedly grabbed Storm receivers as they ran sideline routes in front of the boards. But that ninth defender did not keep the Storm from a fulfilling championship, their fourth and the sixth for coach Tim Marcum. Box Score
07/19/97 - Iowa 61, Tampa Bay 38 - Game Coverage
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