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Tennessee Valley Vipers


Years of Existence: 2000-2004, 2006-2009
Venue: Von Braun Civic Center (Huntsville, AL)
Accomplishments:
2000 – Championship game appearance
2001 – South Central Division Champions, semifinal appearance
2002 – Southern Division Champions, playoff appearance
2003 – American Conference Champions, semifinal appearance
2004 - Mid-South Division Champions, playoff appearance
2006 -
2007 -
2008 - af2 Champions
2009 - West Division champions, playoff appearance
Lifetime Record: 102-56
Home: 55-27
Away: 47-29
Playoffs: 8-6
Average Attendance: 4,833

The Tennessee Valley Vipers are one of the most successful franchises in AF2 history. However, the team is also known for its several “all mosts.” Despite five winning seasons in a row, the worst being 10-6 in 2000, the team has only appeared in the Championship game one time and the semifinals twice. In 2003, the Vipers began 14-0, but lost the last two games of the regular season. In 2000, the Vipers lost to Quad City 68-59. In 2001, the Vipers were ousted by the Richmond Speed, 51-50. In 2002, they lost in the first round to a Birmingham Steeldog team they had been victorious over twice in the regular season. In 2003 it was another close loss, this time 51-48 to the Macon Knights. In 2004, the Vipers lost to the eventual Arena Cup Champions, the Florida Firecats. Following the 2004 season, the Vipers left the AF2 to join the United Indoor Football League (UIF) where they became the Tennessee Valley Raptors. After a year, the UIF franchise moved out of Huntsville and new ownership brought the Vipers back to the AF2. Because the AF2 owns all franchises and leases them out to owners, the new Vipers retained the records of the old team. However, the new Vipers were completely different. The once great Vipers were replaced with a 3-13 expansion team. The team was seldom competitive with even the lower-level teams in the league, getting blown out by the likes of Macon, South Georgia, and Quad City. For the first time in franchise history, the team missed the playoffs. The 2007 Vipers began 4-2, but then lost five in a row and ended up finishing at 7-9. The team missed the playoffs in a four-way tiebreaker. The Vipers lost four games by one score or less, including the season finale against Louisville, 44-40. In 2008, the Vipers were led by quarterback Kevin Eakin and receivers Alonzo Nix and Maurice Brown. After losing three consecutive games to open the year, the Vipers won seven in a row and finished the year at 10-6. The defense was the story of the season, holding teams to just 43 points per game during the regular season and 38 in the playoffs. After defeating Florida for the second time in three weeks, the Vipers headed to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where they managed to avenge a 77-49 loss by holding the Pioneers two yards short of the enzone on the final play of the game, winning 34-30. The Vipers dominated the Manchester Wolves at home in the American Conference championship game and advanced to Spokane for the Arena Cup. A hard-fought battle went to overtime and after Kevin Eakin went down in the first quarter, backup Tony Colston led the Vipers to overtime. Colston ran in a two-point conversion in overtime to give the Vipers an upset 56-55 victory over the 18-1 Shock. Chris Eakin would lead the Vipers again in 2009, this time throwing for 85 scores to a mere six picks. Injuries at wide receiver hurt the team in the middle of the season, as Chris Bocage was only able to play eleven games, as was Jeremy Grier. An 11-5 record included a dominating 55-39 victory against Tulsa. After losing two of their final three games, including the first home loss in several games, the Vipers would be division champions and host Green Bay. Kevin Eakin passed for eight scores, but an uncharacteristic four picks, three of which came in the last five minutes of the game. Green Bay would escape Huntsville with a surprising 60-56 upset of the defending champions. Following the 2009 season, the Vipers joined the new AF1.


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