How Jeff Fisher is helping bring back the Nashville Kats and Arena Football League

The Nashville Kats are returning and bringing former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher with them.

Fisher will serve as a senior adviser for the franchise when the league relaunches in 2024.

The original Arena Football League was founded in 1986, played its first season in 1987 and lasted 22 years before going bankrupt in 2008. The league returned in 2010 and lasted through the 2019 season. The Nashville Kats were in the league from 1997 to 2001 and 2005 to 2007.

                  Former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher through the years

The late-Titans owner Bud Adams owned the Kats in their second stint. Fisher, 65, was coach of the Titans from 1995 to 2010 and the St. Louis/L.A. Rams from 2012-16.

“I have always been a big fan of Arena Football, especially the Nashville Kats when they played here," Fisher said. "It is so entertaining with so many talented players and coaches. And in that setting, the fans become so much a part of not only the game, but the overall experience.”

Fisher, who led the Titans to the Super Bowl in the 1999 season, also served as an adviser at Tennessee State when former Titans running back Eddie George was hired as the Tigers coach in 2021. Fisher left TSU in 2022 to become coach and general manager of the Michigan Panthers of the USFL.

The Nashville Kats in their first stint were the AFL's Organization of the Year in their inaugural season in 1997, made the playoffs every season and played in the Arena Bowl in 2000 and 2001.

When the Kats returned, they went 6-9-1 in 2005, and then 8-8 in 2006 and returned to the playoffs. The Kats were 7-9 in their final season and just missed the playoffs.

Nashville Kats receiver Cory Fleming (12) attempts to break free of a couple Florida Bobcats defenders, including Otis Mounds (42), during the Arena Football League action at the Nashville Arena June 26, 1998. Fleming had two touchdown catches from quarterback Andy Kelly in their 49-46 victory.  FREEMAN RAMSEY / THE TENNESSEAN

The Kats played at Bridgestone Arena, formerly Nashville Arena, in their previous stints. The average attendance for home games in their eight seasons was 12,302.

The new franchise is owned by Nashville Arena Sports, LLC and will play its home games at Municipal Auditorium, with the season opener set for April 27, 2024. The team will play one regular-season game at the new F&M Bank Arena in Clarksville. The teams will play 10 regular-season games.

The team’s ownership group is led by sports and entertainment attorneys Tamara Dadd Alan, CEO, and Nancy D. Eckert, COO/general counsel and former Brentwood Academy and Penn State football player Gregg Johnson, who is also the team’s general manager.

Greg Pogue, owner of Pogue Media Inc., host of the "The Greg Pogue & Jon Burton" sports talk show on WNSR 560 AM/ 95.9 FM, and play-by-play broadcaster for TSU, also will serve as an adviser.

"The Nashville Kats were and will be again such a viable part of the Nashville and Middle Tennessee sports and entertainment landscape,” Alan said. “We have a wonderful opportunity to build on that. Most of all, we just want to have some fun.”

The new Nashville Kats ownership group includes Greg Pogue, Nancy D. Edcket, Gregg Johnson, Tamara Dadd Alan and Jeff Fisher. The Arena Football League will return to Nashville in 2024. 

Johnson has already begun his search for a coach.

"I’m extremely honored to be an integral part of building an Arena Football team this city will be proud of with the goal of bringing AFL championships to my hometown of Nashville,” Johnson said. “Our ownership group is aware of the past successes of the AFL in Nashville, and we are eager to expand on that brand and become yet another viable offering in the Music City entertainment and sports landscape.”

The other teams in the league include the Oregon Blackbears, Iowa Rampage, Wichita Regulators, Salina Liberty, Southwest Kansas Storm, Rapid City Marshals, Albany Firebirds, Washington Wolfpack, Orlando Predators, Billings Outlaws and West Texas Desert Hawks.

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the AFL,” AFL Commissioner Lee Hutton said. “Nashville fans are incredibly passionate about football so we’re excited for fans in that market to have the opportunity to engage with their team in a special way.”

Season and individual game tickets are expected to go on sale in December. Contact or visit for more details.