Nashville Kats open season as fans welcome back Arena Football League team for third time

Arena football is back in Nashville, and it couldn't have come soon enough for some longtime fans.

"I hope they realize what a good thing they had," said Bowling Green's Bob Bubnis, who was an avid Kats fan when the team was here from 1997 to 2001 and 2005 to 2007. "Before, it was amazing. We have been pumped. (His son Bob Jr.) even had trouble going to sleep last night. As soon as we found out they were coming back, we got tickets. I hope a lot of other people did, too.

"Nashville needs football in the offseason like this."

Beginning their third run in Nashville, the Kats opened the season Saturday night at Municipal Auditorium, defeating the Minnesota Myth 47-12 in front of an announced attendance of 5,704.

Though the arena was about half-full for the game, the crowd was loud and lively. Pregame festivities included a performance by Blanco Brown, who sang the national anthem.

"The fan base is still here," Kats president of football operations Jeff Fisher said. "Some of the demographics are different. People are (moving in) every day, wanting to have a good time. This is a good time."

The enthusiasm of the crowd wasn't lost on Kats players.

"That's what I expected . . . I expected nothing less from Nashville fans," said quarterback Ramone Atkins, a veteran Indoor Football League player before joining the Kats. "I was looking forward to it, and they showed up and showed out. Every single one of us felt what they were giving us tonight. We carried that energy on to the field."

Nashville Kats land heavyweights to launch new team

Fisher and Kats play-by-play announcer Eli Gold, the longtime legendary voice of University of Alabama football, are big names to help usher in the new era of Kats football.

But the two entered this season with vastly different backgrounds with indoor football. In fact, Fisher, the former Tennessee Titans and L.A. Rams coach, admitted he never had time to watch the former Kats teams play.

"I didn't even know they were practicing behind us in the indoor (practice facility) at night while we were in the offices," said Fisher, who added he was able to keep up more with the team the second time, when Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams also owned the Kats.

Fisher most recently was head coach of the USFL's Michigan Panthers in 2023 and was an adviser on Eddie George's Tennessee State football staff in 2021. Why is arena football and the Kats his latest football venture?

"This city has blessed me and my family," Fisher said. "I'm trying to continue, and will always say thank you in any way I can. This is one of those ways. This is entertainment. It's fun. There's a great fan base still here, and we're going to re-introduce it to a new generation. This is a fun opportunity to bring back something that, for a lot of households, was special."

Gold, who spent 35 years behind the mic at Alabama, was quick to jump on the new opportunity after having been a broadcaster for the AFL in the past. 

"I have done a lot of Arena Football League over the years," said Gold, who was joined by Nashville Predators announcer Pete Weber during Saturday's opener. "I know the game pretty well. I'm excited about it. It's a great product.

"It really was (a great atmosphere Saturday). A very good crowd showed up. I'm excited how it worked out.

Nashville Kats overwhelm Minnesota Myth in opener

The Kats dominated the opener, building a 47-0 lead before finishing with a 47-12 victory over the Myth.

Atkins was 8 of 14 for 161 yards and four touchdowns to lead Nashville, which outgained Minnesota in yardage 234-74.

Thank you to the Tennessean for the article.