A Rampage Of A Good Time

June 13, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — As "We Are The Champions" sprouted lyrical wings and soared through a blizzard of white confetti that was falling from the Van Andel Arena rafters, Grand Rapids Rampage owners Dan and Pamella DeVos and Executive Vice President David Green stood on a platform waiting to be presented the James F. Foster trophy, which symbolizes excellence in the Arena Football League.

But in all the happy havoc that comes from grabbing the grand prize on a game clock kept by a national television network, the ArenaBowl presentation didn't happen. Roll the credits. Cut to commercial. Your local news is next.

Still, the trophy shines just as brightly in the Rampage offices, and Aug. 19 remains a day that everyone at DP Fox Sports & Entertainment will replay over and over and never erase.

"In past games, I was somewhat of a nervous wreck. During the ArenaBowl, and all day long, I wasn't nervous one bit," said Green.

"I have no idea how to explain that," he added. "I don't know whether it was confidence in the team or whatever. Or just having gotten to the ArenaBowl was such a great event itself, that winning was just frosting on the cake."

The championship game and the two previous home playoff encounters that led to the ArenaBowl also added icing to the business ledger. The franchise saw its revenue rise from the sale of playoff tickets and arena sources. But at the same time, the expenses grew. Arena rent, a jump in advertising and playoff bonuses cut into that frosting.

The amount of dollars earned and spent, however, wasn't the most important business issue of the playoff run. Green said the future was. Being able to build on this season for coming years is the objective. Ownership hopes to leverage a world championship into a doubling of season ticket sales come April. Going from 2,500 to 5,000 would accomplish that goal.

But that is for tomorrow's agenda. Today is reserved for reflecting and savoring.

"I think that we have tried to explain to the community what Arena Football was all about and where the league is headed," said Green. "And to a certain extent, I think we have been challenged by really being able to explain it properly and always get the enthusiasm equal to what we were feeling.

"There, being on ABC, with all the hype of the event, that John Elway was in the arena, that Lynn Swann was doing the broadcast, we realized that if we won this game we weren't going to have to explain it anymore," added Green.

Mayor John Logie officially proclaimed Aug. 19 as Rampage Red Day just two days prior to the city's biggest game. For those at DP Fox, red will be the official color of that day for years and years to come.

"It's there the rest of your life," said Green. "You don't do that every day and they can never take it away from you."

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