One thing should be clarified right off the bat — this is not an article about the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA.
This article is about a semi-professional Tulsa based football team known as the Oklahoma Thunder playing in the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL), a national semi-professional football league that spans from Maryland to New Mexico.
The Thunder have played in this league for four seasons, including their current campaign, and previously in the World Football League (WFL) from 2008-2010.
The Thunder have been in existence since 2007, predating the Oklahoma City Thunder by a year and have amassed five divisional titles and four straight championships in the World Football League and GDFL combined.
The Tulsa area has hosted some form of mid-level minor professional football dating back to the 1970s. The Thunder call Spartan Stadium on the Bixby High School campus home right now, but they have played in various venues in the Tulsa area, including LaFortune Stadium, and S.E. Williams Stadium on the campus of Booker T. Washington High School.
The Oklahoma Thunder are considered one of the best semi-professional football teams in the United States and certainly one of the most successful in terms of wins and losses. The head coach and offensive coordinator of the team is Rashid Lowe, who is in his 6th season and his third season as head coach.
Prior to assuming the helm as head coach, Lowe served as the quarterback and linebackers coach for the Thunder. He was once head coach of Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington Hornets.
Lowe has been a private strengthening and conditioning coach, training several athletes from OU, Arkansas, TU, Seattle Mariners, OSU, Wyoming, as well as professional fighters. In his playing days, he won four straight 5A state championship with McClain High School, and he played linebacker at Missouri Southern State University.
The team is 2-0 in the current GDFL season, defeating the Arkansas Gators 58-6 on June 7th and they defeated what was considered the second-best football team in the USA when they came from 11-points down to defeat the Wichita Falls Nighthawks 38-34 last Saturday night. Since inception; the Oklahoma Thunder have an impressive 79-4 record, including a 40-0 stretch for the period 2008-2010 inclusive. Really great play.
The draw of the Thunder, beyond the fantastic level of talent is the fact that these players are easily approachable stars that play for love of the game of football. Scouts for professional leagues often attend games and some players make the squads of NFL teams.
Currently the Thunder are working with the Elite Football League of India and they have long range plans in process for a potential reality series produced by the Discovery Channel according to team owner Steven Roper.
The next Thunder game is a tilt with Dallas Anarchy this Saturday night at Spartan Stadium in Bixby, with kickoff set for 7pm. Tickets are $5 and are available at the gate or by visiting oklahomathunder.net.