The Orange Tornadoes and Newark Tornadoes were two manifestations of a long-lived professional American football franchise that existed in some form from 1887 to 1941 and from 1958 to 1970, having played in the American Amateur Football Union from 1888 to 1895, the National Football League from 1929 to 1930, the American Association from 1936 to 1941, the Atlantic Coast Football League from 1963 to 1964 and 1970, and the Continental Football League from 1965 to 1969. The team was based for most of its history in Orange, New Jersey, with many of its later years in Newark. Its last five seasons of existence were as the Orlando Panthers, when the team was based in Orlando, Florida. The NFL franchise was sold back to the league in October 1930. The team had four head coaches in its two years in the NFL – Jack Depler in Orange, and Jack Fish, Al McGall and Andy Salata in Newark.
The Orange Tornadoes can trace their roots back to the Orange Athletic Club. The Orange A.C. was originally an amateur football team that began play in 1887. The team's first ever game was a 36–0 loss to the Seton Hall University football team. By the 1890s the Orange became a semi-pro team. In 1892, the team practiced under electric lights at night to prepare for an October 8 game against Rutgers College. The Orange A. C. would go on to win that game 22–10. In 1893, the team won the American Football Union Championship, after posting an 8–2 record. In 1902, the Orange A. C. played against Philadelphia Phillies and the Philadelphia Athletics of the first National Football League. The team also played in World Series of Football in that year, at Madison Square Garden. In 1902, Orange lost to All-Syracuse, 36–0. However, the team returned to the World Series of Football in 1903, when they played the Watertown Red & Black and the eventual champion, the Franklin Athletic Club. Orange lost to Watertown, 11–0, and to Franklin, 12–0. However, it did manage to defeat the Oreo Athletic Club of Asbury Park, 22–0.