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The Las Vegas Posse was a Canadian Football League team that played the 1994 season as part of the CFL's short-lived American expansion. The Posse was one of the least successful CFL teams, both on the field and off.


On the field

The Posse had notable football talent such as QB Anthony Calvillo, KR Tamarick Vanover, RB Jon Volpe, LB Greg Battle and K Carlos Huerta. The franchise also had an experienced coaching staff with Head Coach, Ron Meyer who had previous coaching experiences with UNLVmarker and in the NFL, and also had future Winnipegmarker Blue Bombers coach Jeff Reinebold as one of their Assistant Coaches. Carlos Huerta won the Jackie Parker Trophy as the Most Outstanding Rookie of the West Division that year.

The Posse started with wins over the Sacramentomarker Gold Miners and Saskatchewanmarker Roughriders, but things quickly went downhill. Players openly complained about the apathy of their coaches and teammates.

The Posse finished the season 5-13 and finished last in the West Division and next-to-last in the CFL.

Off the field

When the Posse started the 1994 season it was clear that CFL football would not last in Las Vegasmarker. The team played at Sam Boyd Stadiummarker on the eastern edge of Las Vegas, far from the central area of the city. The Posse practiced in a smaller-than-regulation field (only 70 yards long) at the Riviera Casino and Resort, where a sign read "Field of ImPOSSEable Dreams." The end zones at Sam Boyd Stadium were only 15 yards long, instead of the usual 20 yards. The stadium was uncovered and offered no protection from the infamous Las Vegas summer heat. Head coach Ron Meyer was seen at many a practice running drills with no shirt on in the sweltering heat. Local interest in the team was virtually nonexistent.

The most memorable moment for the franchise occurred on July 8, 1994, when the team played the Sacramento Gold Miners in the first ever CFL match involving two American based teams. The Posse defeated the Gold Miners 32-26 at Sacramento's Hornet Stadiummarker.

There were also several infamous moments. At the team's first home game against Saskatchewan the singer of the national anthems, Dennis K.C. Parks, had only a vague knowledge of the Canadian anthem and so improvised something that made "O Canada" sound somewhat like "O Christmas Tree". Two weeks later he was brought to a game in Toronto, Ontariomarker where he sang it properly. On another occasion Posse head coach Ron Meyer asked the "Showgirls" to loiter behind the bench of the B.C.marker Lions in an attempt to distract the opposition. The scheme did not work and Las Vegas lost the game 39-16.

The Posse never had strong attendance, but when attendance started to decrease management unsuccessfully tried to sell tickets by employing tactics such as:
  • Reducing ticket prices to US$9 for each seat. The few who bought season tickets for about US$750 (in more expensive categories) were given extra tickets to make up for the price difference.
  • Advertising their scantily-clad cheerleaders, the "Showgirls", and by staging halftime bikini contests.

The Posse's penultimate home game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had an announced attendance of only 2,350 people — the lowest recorded attendance in CFL history. Many of those in attendance were fans who made the trip from Winnipeg. The Posse's last home game scheduled against the Edmonton Eskimos was moved to Commonwealth Stadiummarker in Edmonton due to the dreadful attendance at Sam Boyd Stadium. The Posse's average attendance was a dismal 8,953.

In the end

A group led by singer and business mogul Jimmy Buffett attempted to buy and relocate the franchise to Jacksonmarker, Mississippimarker, but the deal fell through. The Posse were then quietly folded and a dispersal draft was held for its players in 1995.The Ottawa Rough Riders Drafted Mississippi State defensive end Darrell Robertson who had been killed in a December 1994car accident. This was reported in a June 1995 Sports Illustrated article. Ottawa head coach Jim Gilstrap "the league didn't know he was dead until we told them, and we didn't know until we couldn't find him.

After the dispersal draft another group from Miamimarker tried to purchase the remains of the Posse and move the team to Miami. The deal was that the franchise would return for the 1996 season as the "Manatee." In order to introduce the Miami fans to the CFL game, a pre-season game was played at the Orange Bowlmarker between the Baltimoremarker Stallions and the Birmingham Barracudas in 1995 (Baltimore won the game by a score of 37-0). With most of the American based teams disbanding following the 1995 season, the deal fell apart.

Despite the Posse's failure, the Posse was the first effort by any borderline-major or major professional sports league to place a team in Las Vegas proper; this is something that the major leagues have traditionally avoided due in part to Las Vegas's gambling reputation, as well as the fact that the city has only recently grown to major size. Future professional football leagues would emulate this, with the XFL's Las Vegas Outlaws, the Arena League's Las Vegas Sting and Las Vegas Gladiators, and the UFL's Las Vegas Locomotives all residing in the city.

Players and builders of note

Active in the CFL

See also


External links

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