Around this time last year, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and company were gearing up for the launch of inaugural season for the L.A. KISS. The duo proclaimed their team was gunning for a berth in the Arena Bowl, which as any sports fan knows for an expansion team is a pretty lofty, if not unrealistic expectation. Needless to say, with all of the hullabaloo surrounding the team, it had a big bull's eye on its back and it failed to meet expectations. A promising 2-1 start turned into a 3-15 season that was a headache for everyone involved, which was shown on Fourth and Loud.
"You're never going to come out and think you're going to have a .500 season," team president Schuyler Hoversten says more measuredly. "You obviously start the season thinking that you have the chance to win it regardless of the guys you have in the locker room. We believed we could win but it just didn't work out."
See also: Our cover story on the L.A. KISS
This offseason, the team acted quickly to put last year's nightmare behind them. Like any expansion team, the talent level just wasn't there for the KISS. Voicing displeasure with the expansion draft process, Hoversten said the KISS was left to choose players from the bottom 10 percent of every team's roster to fill out their roster. Add to that issues at quarterback and offensive line that were never solved, along with a revolving door of players - they had 90 suit up for them and it's only a 21 man active roster - and it's no surprise that the KISS finished as bottomfeeders.
"It's hard for a team to become a team when you don't know who you're playing with," Hoversten laments. "If nothing else, it established the bottom for our fans in terms of their expectations. They saw the worst and we can only go up from there."
However, with the acquisition of former Florida State star Adrian McPherson to helm the quarterback position, the team has high hopes for 2015. Calling him a "game changer," Hoversten is excited about the impact the quarterback will have on the field this season. He's confident that the KISS will take the leap to at minimum hover around the .500 mark and if nothing else, they'll be markedly improved with a stronger roster.
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All wasn't lost for the KISS in its maiden voyage. They promised an in-game experience unlike anything else seen in sports: they were right. Between the team being lowered from the rafters, the cheerleaders, the giveaways and the bands playing, it's safe to say the product outside of football was a smashing success. It's early in terms of planning, but so far, the bands are going to remain a part of the mix.
"It's about reinventing ourselves and doing what's never been done," Hoversten explains. "We look at what other teams are doing as something we won't do since we don't want to replicate it and want to continue to be pioneers in our space."