Massachusetts Marauders
Established 1988
Folded 1994
Played in Worcester Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts
League/conference affiliations
Arena Football League (19881994)
Team colorsMaroon, fuchsia, black, white
Head coachDon Strock
Team history
  • Detroit Drive (1988–1993)
  • Massachusetts Marauders (1994)
League championships (4)
(as Detroit Drive) 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992
Conference championships (4)
Prior to 2005, the AFL did not have conference championship games
Division championships (1)
Playoff appearances (7)
Home arena(s)

The Massachusetts Marauders were a professional arena football team that was based in Worcester, Massachusetts. They were a member of the Arena Football League (AFL) from 1988 to 1994. The team was established in Detroit in 1988, as the Detroit Drive and was a member of the AFL in 1988 and in all subsequent years through 1993. The club then moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1994 and played in that city through the end of the 1994 season.

The franchise has four AFL championships, all while it was based in Detroit. The first three occurred in back-to-back-to-back fashion from 1988 to 1990, and the final one occurred in 1992.


Detroit Drive (1988–1993)

Expansion (1988)

Main article: 1988 Detroit Drive season

In 1987, Mike Ilitch began negotiations with the Arena Football League (AFL), to join for the 1988 season.[1] The Drive began play in 1988 as a member of the AFL.[2] Under head coach Tim Marcum, the Drive finished the regular season 9–3 after starting the season 2–3.[3][4] Two of the Drive's losses came at the hands of the Chicago Bruisers, who finished the season with one loss. The Drive would get a chance at revenge when they advanced to ArenaBowl II against the Bruisers,[5] and they were able to defeat the Bruisers 24–13.[6]

Back-to-back (1989)

Main article: 1989 Detroit Drive season

With the AFL suspending operations prior to the 1989 season,[7] the league was revived and decided to play a short season, but that forced the Drive to begin the 1989 season by replacing quarterback Rich Ingold, who didn't want to take the pay cut of the short season.[8] The Drive won ArenaBowl III 39–26 over the Pittsburgh Gladiators.[9]

3-peat (1990)

Main article: 1990 Detroit Drive season

Head Coach Tim Marcum stepped away from the Drive in 1990 to join the University of Florida's football staff, and was replaced by Perry Moss.[10] The Drive bolstered their offense by signing quarterback Art Schlichter[11] (Who would become the AFL's MVP in 1990). Moss lead the Drive to a 6–2 regular season record and they remained a dominant force, leading the going to ArenaBowl IV, where they defeated the Dallas Texans 51–27.[12]

The return of Marcum (1991)

Main article: 1991 Detroit Drive season

Marcum returned to coach the Drive in 1991. The Drive traded Schlichter to the expansion Cincinnati Rockers, partly because the league believed that since he'd grown up in the area and starred at Ohio State, he'd lend the new franchise needed credibility.[13][14] However, another factor was the compulsive gambling that had derailed his NFL career almost a decade earlier. Despite Ilitch's efforts to keep Schlichter on the straight and narrow, by the end of 1991 it was no longer safe for Schlichter to stay in Detroit.[15]

The Drive didn't miss a beat, finishing with the best record in the league for the fourth season in a row. However, despite hosting ArenaBowl '91, they were defeated by the Tampa Bay Storm, ending their three-year reign as league champions.

A fourth title (1992)

Main article: 1992 Detroit Drive season

In 1992, the Drive played in the Northern Division. The Drive won ArenaBowl VI, claiming their fourth title in five seasons.

Final season in Detroit (1993)

Main article: 1993 Detroit Drive season

Following the 1992 season, Ilitch purchased the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball and Vitto was transferred to the Tigers front office. Marcum assumed GM duties for 1993 and led the team to its final Arena Bowl. Ilitch sold the Drive so that they would not compete with the Tigers for attendance.[16] Ilitch still claims that he only kept the Drive because they were constant contenders.[citation needed]

The Drive had, arguably, the best management team in the league. Owner Mike Ilitch, General Manager Gary Vitto, and Head Coach Tim Marcum are all in the AFL Hall of Fame.

Massachusetts Marauders (1994)

Main article: 1994 Massachusetts Marauders season

The new owners moved the team to Worcester, Massachusetts as the Massachusetts Marauders, playing their home games at the Worcester Centrum, but folded after going 8–4 and making the semifinals in their first and only season. Whereas the Drive averaged over 14,000 fans a game during their six seasons in Detroit, the Marauders averaged less than 7,400 a game. Nearly three years after the Marauders folded, Dan DeVos won their assets in bankruptcy court and used them to launch the Grand Rapids Rampage, who played until 2008.

Later AFL in Detroit

Detroit later received a second Arena Football team, the Detroit Fury. The Fury played from 2001 to 2004 in The Palace of Auburn Hills and were co-owned by William Davidson, owner of the Detroit Pistons and William Clay Ford, Jr., son of the owner of the Detroit Lions. The Fury were never as successful as the Drive, compiling a 22–41 record and averaging 8,152 fans per game before they folded in 2004.

While the Drive's history was relatively brief, they had an inarguable importance in the history of Arena Football, with ArenaBowl trips every year of their existence, and creating the first dynasty in the Arena Football League.

Notable players

Arena Football League Hall of Famers

Detroit Drive Hall of Famers
No. Name Year inducted Position(s) Years w/ Marauders
88 John Corker 2002 OL/DL 1988–1993
98 Dwayne Dixon 1998 WR/LB 1988–1991
Mike Ilitch 2002 Owner 1988–1993
27 George LaFrance 2011 WR/DB 1988–1993
Tim Marcum 1998 Head Coach 1988–1989, 1991–1993
Perry Moss 2000 Head Coach 1990
1 Gary Mullen 1998 WR/DB 1989–1992
29, 35 Tate Randle 1998 WR/LB 1988, 1990–1992
44 Alvin Rettig 1998 FB/LB 1988–1993
62 Jon Roehlk 1999 OL/DL 1988–1993
Gary Vitto 1999 General Manager 1988–1993

Individual awards

All-Arena players

The following Drive/Marauders players were named to All-Arena Teams:

Head coaches

Name Term Regular season Playoffs Awards Reference
W L T Win% W L
Tim Marcum 19881989, 19911993 40 8 0 .833 10 2 [17]
Perry Moss 1990 6 2 0 .750 2 0 [18]
Don Strock 1994 8 4 0 .667 1 1 [19]

Video games

The Drive and Marauders both appeared on the game EA Sports Arena Football as hidden bonus teams.


Main article: List of Massachusetts Marauders seasons


  1. ^ "Detroit may get arena football". Ludington Daily News. July 8, 1987. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  2. ^ David Webster (March 25, 1988). "Arena football hits Detroit". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  3. ^ Andrew Bagnato (May 28, 1988). "Controversial Call Lifts The Undefeated Bruisers Over Drive". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  4. ^ Gary Tuma (July 7, 1988). "Detroit driving with Ingold at QB". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  5. ^ "Chicago Bruisers, Detroit Drive Square Off in ArenaBowl". Los Angeles Times. July 30, 1988. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  6. ^ Andrew Bagnato (July 31, 1988). "Drive Downs Bruisers For Arena Bowl Title". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  7. ^ "Football; Arena Football Is Halted". The New York Times Company. February 21, 1989. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  8. ^ Mark Madden (June 22, 1989). "Rich Ingold will pass on Arena Football's short season". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  9. ^ "Drive Arena Bowl Champs". The Argus-Press. August 18, 1989. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  10. ^ Brian Campbell (August 22, 1992). "Moss Caught In Role Reversal". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  11. ^ "Schlichter signs pact with Drive". The Times-News. May 10, 1990. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  12. ^ "Schlichter drives Detroit to another Arena football title". The Argus-Press. August 13, 1990. Retrieved February 15, 2013.
  13. ^ "Rockers bail out Schlichter". The Daily Sentinel. July 20, 1992. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  14. ^ Schlichter, Art (2009). Busted: The Rise and Fall of Art Schlichter. withJeff Snook. Orange Frazer Press. ISBN 978-1933197678.
  15. ^ Jeff Long (April 1995). "Art Schlichter's Fall From Glory". Columbus Monthly.
  16. ^ Bill Shea (January 22, 2012). "Arena Football League wants rematch with Detroit". Crain Communications Inc. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  17. ^ "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Tim Marcum". ArenaFan. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  18. ^ "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Perry Moss". ArenaFan. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  19. ^ "ArenaFan Online: AFL Coaches: Don Strock". ArenaFan. Retrieved September 23, 2013.