The Massachusetts Pirates professional arena football team has called the DCU Center home since early April of 2018 and have just announced an exciting 3 year extension. The Pirates also recently announced that they have joined the most prestigious and longest running league in the country, The Indoor Football League for the 2021 season and beyond.
Pirates Team History:
Raise the Jolly Roger
2017: At a press conference in November, Jawad Yatim, Founder, Co-Owner, General Manager and President of the Massachusetts Pirates announced his team would begin its initial season in the spring of 2018.
2018: On April 7, 2018 the Pirates took the field at the DCU Center in Worcester and arena football had returned to the city. After winning its opener against the Maine Mammoths the Pirates would compile a league best 11-5 record to earn the top seed in the playoffs. A late season injury forced quarterback Sean Brackett to miss the post season and the Pirates playoff run lasted only one game. Despite missing almost three regular season games, Brackett was named the league Most Valuable Player. Wide receiver Devonn Brown and offensive lineman Cornelius Lewis earned All-NAL first team honors while lineman Fred Ruff and Brackett were named to the second team. Defensively, defensive back Kiante Northington, who led the league with 12 interceptions and the teams’ sack leader, defensive end JD Griggs, were All-League first team honorees. Linebacker Nick Haag and DB John Hardy-Tuliau were named to the second team. Head Coach Ameer Ismail was the NAL Coach of the Year and even the team’s mascot, “Arthur” was honored as the league’s best.
2019: In year two, the Pirates named Anthony Payton Head Coach. After a slow start the Pirates went on a six-game winning streak to secure their second consecutive playoff berth. Only a controversial call in the final seconds against Carolina kept the Pirates from advancing to the league’s championship game. The season was highlighted by the in-season signing of Dexter McCluster, former All-Pro kick returner for the Kansas City Chiefs. At season’s end, wide receiver Mardy Gilyard had set single season National Arena League scoring records with 33 touchdowns (29 receiving and four rushing) and 198 points. Gilyard was named as a First Team All-NAL performer along with defensive end JD Griggs and defensive back Lawrence Austin. Four Pirates earned All-Second Team honors including quarterback Sean Brackett, kicker Mike Weaver and offensive linemen Thomas Claiborne and Tre Jackson. Wide receiver Thomas Owens was also named the NAL Offensive Rookie of the Year. As an organization, the Pirates excelled off the field as they were recognized as having the Best Community Relations and Best Media Relations departments in the National Arena League.
Charting a Championship Course
2020: With the goal being to win a championship, the Pirates hired a three-time Super Bowl champion to lead them. Former New England Patriot fullback Patrick Pass was elevated to Head Coach after serving as Director of Player Development in 2019. His staff includes Offensive Coordinator Reggie Gray, a two-time Arena Football League Champion and Defensive Coordinator Rayshaun Kizer, who ranks third all-time with 67 interceptions in the AFL.