Two-time Arena Football League MVP returning to Times Union Center

ALBANY-- The news Albany Empire fans have been hoping to hear arrived Wednesday afternoon.

Quarterback Tommy Grady, voted the Arena Football League's Most Valuable Player in both of his seasons with the Empire, has signed a contract to play for Albany's expansion franchise in the National Arena League.

“Let me be clear,” Empire coach Tom Menas said, “Tommy Grady is the best indoor football player in the United States, regardless of the league. Period. It’s not even close, and I’ve coached in all those leagues, and I can tell you that with 100 percent certainty.”

In two years with the Empire, Grady started every game, leading the AFL in quarterback rating, passing yardage and touchdown passes in both seasons. Albany compiled an 18-6 regular-season record and 4-1 postseason mark during its two years in the league.

Grady, 36, is among the most prolific players in the history of indoor football. He played nine seasons in the AFL with five franchises (Oklahoma City, Utah, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Albany), passing for 38,062 yards (sixth-most in AFL history) and 850 touchdowns (fifth).

“I watched all his film before I offered him a contract," Menas said. "Like any quarterback, like any player, they’ve got to be evaluated. He’s exceptional. Don’t get me wrong. But we wanted also to see that he fit into our playbook that we’re going to use this year. We customized some things when the opportunity came about that would fit Tommy’s profile.”

In addition to his two MVPs with Albany, Grady won the AFL's top award in 2012 with Utah. He was voted MVP of the 2019 Arena Bowl, completing 16 of 25 passes for 200 yards and five touchdowns in the Empire's 45-27 nationally televised victory over the Philadelphia Soul.

Grady remained in the Capital Region after the Arena Football League folded in November 2019.

Menas hinted that other players familiar to the area's fan base will be signed in the coming days.

"We’re making a run for it this year," he said. "The idea that we’re an expansion team and we hope we’re competitive … B.S. We’re going for it.

"If we don’t win with this roster, it isn’t going to be because of the roster. It’s going to be because I blew it. We didn’t do something right as a team. It’s not going to be because the players aren't talented enough. The players are plenty talented. We need to win now."


The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. The National Arena League will kick off its fifth season in 2021. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at For more information about the NAL visit,,,