Minor league football coming to MCU Park

The Brooklyn Paper
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Score! Brooklyn is getting its first football team in 70 years.

The Brooklyn Bolts will rumble into Coney Island’s MCU Park for the Fall Experimental Football League’s inaugural season this October. The team is slated to play three home games of its six-game season at the ballpark. With New York City’s two National Football League teams playing home games in New Jersey, the new league’s commissioner said there is plenty of room for a real New York team.

“Brooklyn is very attractive to us,” said Brian Woods. “It’s an under-served and up-and-coming sports market.”

The league is not affiliated with the NFL, but Woods said he wants it to become a farm program for the gridiron juggernaut. Rules will match the national league, and most of the players are NFL training camp alums who didn’t make the cut this season, he said.

The league is also fielding teams in Boston, Miami, and Omaha.

The Cyclones — itself a farm team for the New York Mets — will handle marketing, ticket sales, and day-to-day operation, according to Woods.

“They understand the developmental-league model and local marketing,” he said.

So of course there will be wacky theme nights — though it is not clear yet what they may be, according to Cyclones vice president Steve Cohen.

“The challenge is that it’s only three games,” Cohen said. “You have to cram a lot in a short season, but we want to do as much as possible to keep fans entertained.”

The last professional football team to tackle Brooklyn was an early NFL team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, who also called a baseball stadium home, sharing Ebbets Field with the more famous Dodgers from 1936 until 1944. Eventually, through a convoluted series of sales, moves, and name changes, the football-playing Dodgers became the Baltimore Colts in 1953.

The Bolts’ name is a reference to the Thunderbolt roller coaster and continues the tradition of christening teams for Coney Island thrill-rides — plus it is fiercer than other names the team kicked around, Cohen said.

“It was a little more intimidating than ‘The Bridge,’ ” he said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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