Being a pro football fan in MIchigan can be a rough proposition. Only in the last season or two have the Detroit Lions given fans much hope for a Super Bowl. But pro football wasn't always so futile in the state. Grand Rapids was once home to a championship team - and now calls are mounting for the team to return.

Like the Detroit Lions, the championship team in Grand Rapids played in an indoor stadium - Van Andel Arena, but only played on a 50 yard field. It's the Grand Rapids Rampage Arena league team that is sparking comeback hopes.

The Rampage existed in West Michigan from 1998 to 2009 and had a championship banner in Van Andel after the team won the 2001 Arena Bowl - the league's championship game. It was a game that was nationally televised by ABC as part of that networks Wide World of Sports programming with the iconic Brent Musburger on the call. Highlights for a quick view are archived on YouTube.

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The Arena League has existed in 3 incarnations. A first run from 1987 through 2008 - the league that included the Rampage. A second run from 2010 to 2019 and a newly formed venture for a 2024 season.

One of the teams set to play in the newly reformed Arena Football League is the Iowa Rampage - not a direct descendant of the Grand Rapids team, rather a new establishment in 2023. However the fledgling team folded after a single game.

Eagle-eyed Arena football fans spotted the end of the Rampage and immediately thought of bringing the team with that memorable name recognition to Grand Rapids.

Van Andel Arena currently hosts popular professional hockey, basketball and volleyball teams. Shouldn't there be room for a resurgent Rampage?

A Question of Rampage Mascots

The Iowa Rampage used a angry King Kong-esque ape as its mascot, perhaps inspired by the 1986 arcade game Rampage which used Kong as one of its characters of building destruction.

The Grand Rapids Rampage used a charging rhinoceros named Blitz as its mascot.

Is there an appetite for Arena Football back in West Michigan? Only the scions of the city can answer that.

But should the Rampage ever return, they can do so with a proud championship banner hanging at Van Andel - the most recent pro football championship for the state of Michigan and impressive historical records like a 92-point performance in 2008 over Kansas City - the highest point total ever scored by a visiting team in Arena League history.

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Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison

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