This week, more than a decade after the Toledo Bullfrogs were supposed to begin play in the Arena Football League’s development league, Toledo Sports Arenas Inc. unveiled the defunct franchise’s unused uniforms.
In September 2008, Toledo Sports Arena Inc. — a non-profit organization led by the owners of the International League’s Toledo Mud Hens and East Coast Hockey League’s Toledo Walleye — announced an af2 expansion team was coming to the Huntington Center, then known as Lucas County Arena.
The franchise was named the Bullfrogs as an homage to the Great Black Swamp, the glacially fed wetlands that previously encompassed Northwest Ohio, and the frog infestation that plagued the city when it was founded. That history has also been reflected in a mosaic on the floor of the Lucas County Courthouse and Jail and as part of a city-wide project at the turn of the century where artistically modified giant frogs were placed throughout the metropolitan area.
The league folded due to economic hardships following the 2009 championship game, and the Bullfrogs never played a down as a result. But the team made its way back into the news this week when Mud Hens and Walleye creative director Dan Royer shared the uniform designs the team would have worn during their inaugural season in 2010.
The home jerseys would have been dark green with an orange collar and sleeve cuffs; black sleeve caps that mimic a frog splashing in the water; and a custom number font that includes light green waves on a white background. The team’s wordmark would have been prominently displayed on the chest, while a secondary logo — a frog’s eyes peeking over the surface of the water — would have been on the sleeves.
The pants were also dark green with orange piping and a black splash effect at the bottom.
The dark green helmet would have had the same design as the sleeves and pants, with a black splash accompanying a black facemask. It would have also featured an additional secondary logo, with a frog’s tongue wrapped around a dragonfly.
The overall design was carried over to a white road set and black alternate uniform, as well as an all-orange “Color Rush” set — though Royer certainly took some liberties by calling it that, considering the NFL’s Color Rush program did not begin until 2015. That look included an orange helmet with a green splash, as well.
With most of the af2 using templated Russell Athletic designs at the time, it’s a shame these uniforms never saw the light of day — or, rather, bright arena lights.
Photos via Toledo Sports Arenas Inc.