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Arena Football League

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Most of these leagues couldn't organize a bake sale, and you want them to create a pyramid and interleague competition? Goooooood luck.

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17 hours ago, Sodboy13 said:

Most of these leagues couldn't organize a bake sale, and you want them to create a pyramid and interleague competition? Goooooood luck.

 

To add, those people who have been in those leagues for more than a year or two probably can't be in the same room with the guys from other leagues without a brawl erupting.

 

A number of leagues literally exist only because of "screw you guys I'm setting up my own league with blackjack and hookers."

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34 minutes ago, rams80 said:

 

To add, those people who have been in those leagues for more than a year or two probably can't be in the same room with the guys from other leagues without a brawl erupting.

 

A number of leagues literally exist only because of "screw you guys I'm setting up my own league with blackjack and hookers."

This is the 'second wave' of league creation in indoor football. The first happened at the tail end of the NIFL's life. The 'good teams' jumped ship to form the UIF, while a lot of smaller leagues just started popping up all over. Such as the AIFL/AIFA/AIF. When teams get put off by their current league, they simply jump to another. It settled for a while, but over the past three years it's ramped back up.

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There was great hope for Arena Football when the AFL signed with NBC in 2003.  The league even moved its season in order to accommodate the network's preference.  The level of play was extremely high, as the league was paying salaries good enough to retain many great veteran players.  Also extremely high were the NBC production values.  The network put on an enjoyable pre-game show hosted by the affable Al Trautwig; and each game was called by excellent announcers.  The optimistic view was that this was the beginning of the the sport becoming entrenched in North America, and of the AFL's path to becoming the fifth major league.  (I admit that I shared this optimistic view.)

It didn't happen, partly on account of the prejudices of American fans.  American fans love football; but they evidently don't want any more of it than the NFL can provide.   This attitude doomed not only the AFL, and the highly entertaining XFL, and the CFL's U.S. expansion, but also the NFL's own WLAF.  

(Pre-emptive note:  This is not what killed the USFL.  The USFL killed itself when it followed the lead of a certain orange-hued monster and switched from spring to fall.  The quasi-religious refusal on the part of fans to accept non-NFL football seems to be a new-ish phenomenon, as the USFL was well on its way to establishing itself permanently in the spring.  But it moved to the fall and unwisely gambled on winning an anti-trust suit, not counting on being thwarted by a sloppy judge and poorly-informed jurors.)

Another part of the failure of the AFL to make it to the next level was down to the flaws inherent in the sport of Arena Football.  Even though this sounds strange to say, the problem is that there is too much scoring.  There is so much scoring that the expectation exists of a touchdown on every possession.  Arena Football people in fact talk in terms of "stops"; so deep is the expectation of touchdowns that holding a team to a field goal is called a "partial stop".  Furthermore, standard strategy at the end of a half is to try not to score until there are only a few seconds left on the clock, lest you give your opponent another possession -- and another expected touchdown.

 

Seeing a plethora of TD passes is cool in a way; and, when considered in isolation, almost every one of these catches is beautiful.  But a game that consists nearly exclusively of TD passes back and forth eventally loses its appeal, and even gets somewhat fatiguing to watch.  And, needless to say, watching a team situated near the opponent's goal line try not to score is not interesting at all (though it's still better than the foul / free-throw farce that goes on at the end of a basketball game).

One might think that a game with a lot of scoring would make point swings likely.  But that's not the case with Arena Fooball.  While there is too much scoring by one standard, there is still too little scoring by the standard of coming back from a deficit.  

Commentators sometimes compare Arena Football to basketball (from whence the term "stop" was borrowed).  But in basketball, a team can be down by eight or ten baskets and still come back to win (as the Nets' opponents demonstrate with alarming regularity).  Each team has an opportunity to go on extended runs.  

By contrast, in Arena Football, if one team gets down by even two touchdowns, the game is often over.   A team that has established its ability to score regularly on its opponent is unlikely to lose that ability during the course of a game; so a comeback by the other team is highly improbable.  Of course, comebacks can happen and have happened.  But they don't happen often enough; and so there is a powerful incentive to tune out of a game whose scoreline develops a gap of 14 or 17 points.

There are any number of potential fixes to this: make it three downs to get a first down; don't have first downs at all; make field goals worth more; etc.  But none of these variations were ever considered by the AFL.  So, no matter how many fans sampled Arena Football while it was magnificently presented by NBC, very few of them deemed the game worthy of their continued attention.

The NBC contract ended after the 2006 season, and NBC did not renew.  The AFL's owners later shut the league down for a year in order to get out of paying the players what they had contractually agreed to pay them.  A group of owners then re-started the league under the odious single-entity model that has allowed MLS to prevent its players from establishing their true market value.  (Of course, even without single entity, the AFL's players, unlike MLS's players, would have no great market value; so the theft that is going on there is far less than that which the MLS owners are guilty of.)

The second-generation AFL is a shadow of its former self.  Ironman football is gone, having been ditched just before the shutdown of the original league.  Two years ago, two teams folded before the end of the season.  And the league's champion that year folded after the season.  Last year, the league had eight teams -- and put all of them into the playoffs.  This year, after another round of foldings and defections to other leagues, the AFL almost had to go with four teams, until it convinced the owner of its new Washington team to also take on a team in Baltimore.

Arena Football is at its lowest ebb, at a state comparable to the original league's first season in 1987.  Only now it's going in the opposite direction.

I really cared about the CityHawks and the Dragons; and I loved their logos.  (I have hats from both teams.)   But that Arena Football League is long dead; and the current version is seemingly not far behind.

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The other challenge with the product in today's current environment is normal football is FULL of scoring. I remember when it was crazy to see a college game in the 40s for both teams. Now they happen all the time. You don't need Arena Football to see tons of scoring.The sport lost that niche. 

 

It threw the Ironman niche away, like you said, so that one is gone too.

 

Also, when the league started the NFL was full of stadiums that were also baseball stadiums and you were far from the field. Now all the new stadiums give you a ton of access and get you as close as the NFL allows. That niche of being close to the game is gone too.

 

 

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I feel like the AFL is fun to watch, they just need to bring in more teams and big name players

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3 hours ago, ImmortalChef said:

I feel like the AFL is fun to watch, they just need to bring in more teams and big name players

Bring in big name players is a little tough with the NFL casting a giant mega million dollar shadow over them.

 

 

With the Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade coming into the league, it'll be hard deciding which team to root for.

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3 hours ago, ImmortalChef said:

I feel like the AFL is fun to watch, they just need to bring in more teams and big name players

which will never happen because they cant afford anything other than CFL rejects, even when TO went to arena football he was way past his prime and no one cared to watch him. also new owners wont come into a league like the AFL that has been bleeding money since its last reincarnation. 

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What people don't realise is that the original AFL, the one that rose to such heights, died, RIP, eight years ago. The current AFL that started up shop in 2010 is nothing more than the bones of the AF2 dressed up as the old AFL. It'll never rebound because these aren't owners/businessmen with the capital (or business sense, in all likelihood) to build it back up to those levels. The whole thing is a minor league of a minor league driving itself into the ground as it tries to overachieve.

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19 hours ago, Ice_Cap said:

What people don't realise is that the original AFL, the one that rose to such heights, died, RIP, eight years ago. The current AFL that started up shop in 2010 is nothing more than the bones of the AF2 dressed up as the old AFL. It'll never rebound because these aren't owners/businessmen with the capital (or business sense, in all likelihood) to build it back up to those levels. The whole thing is a minor league of a minor league driving itself into the ground as it tries to overachieve.

 

This may well be true in the long run.  However, Ted Leonsis has certainly proven himself to have significant capital and business and marketing sense.  His presence as owner of the Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade is probably the best thing the current AFL has going for it.

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Such a shame to see the AFL in the shape that it is now. I feel like they should do a whole lot more to bring people to their side, especially those disgruntled with the NFL the way that league is nowadays. Teams in Oakland, San Diego and St Louis might help heal the wounds of the NFL leaving those markets, if only for just a couple years.

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1 hour ago, dcameronh said:

And I found this Arena Bowl History page.  Pretty cool.  No Arena Bowl XXX logo yet that I have seen though.

 

http://www.afldigital.com/index.cfm?view=arenabowl

 

They really hit a rough patch from 2012-2015. Those just seem very bland and amateurish. 

 

21 minutes ago, neo_prankster said:

Such a shame to see the AFL in the shape that it is now. I feel like they should do a whole lot more to bring people to their side, especially those disgruntled with the NFL the way that league is nowadays. Teams in Oakland, San Diego and St Louis might help heal the wounds of the NFL leaving those markets, if only for just a couple years.


I think most see it as a knockoff sport. Not real football and a bit boring compared to the real thing. I'd rather watch the CFL or a minor/developmental league that fielded 11 players and teams don't average 50 points a game. I'm probably in the minority, but I think the US could have a league below the NFL that succeeds. Just needs some good management and quality of play. Something the UFL and XFL lacked.

 

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1 minute ago, VDizzle12 said:

 

They really hit a rough patch from 2012-2015. Those just seem very bland and amateurish. 

 


I think most see it as a knockoff sport. Not real football and a bit boring compared to the real thing. I'd rather watch the CFL or a minor/developmental league that fielded 11 players and teams don't average 50 points a game. I'm probably in the minority, but I think the US could have a league below the NFL that succeeds. Just needs some good management and quality of play. Something the UFL and XFL lacked.

 

 

Isn't Pac Pro gonna take the field next year? I certainly hope they are able to play.

 

Also, I really do wish the A11FL was able to play. :(

 

Especially when there are guys coming in to the NFL that could've either stayed in college another year OR could have took the time to develop had there been a spring league still active.

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9 minutes ago, neo_prankster said:

 

A - Isn't Pac Pro gonna take the field next year? I certainly hope they are able to play.

 

Also, I really do wish the A11FL was able to play. :(

 

B - Especially when there are guys coming in to the NFL that could've either stayed in college another year OR could have took the time to develop had there been a spring league still active.

A - probably not (and that's being incredibly generous)

 

B - you say that as if this were a viable either/or option. If a player thinks he's ready, he'll leave for the NFL. If not, he'll stay in college, not go to a developmental league that will have less eyes on it than the official developmental league of the NFL (i.e., NCAA D-I).

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47 minutes ago, VDizzle12 said:

I'm probably in the minority, but I think the US could have a league below the NFL that succeeds. Just needs some good management and quality of play. Something the UFL and XFL lacked.

 

By the middle of the 2001 season, the XFL teams had really gottent their act together, and the level of play soared.

Watch this mid-season game between the Hitmen and the San Francisco Demons, played at the San Francisco Giants' ballpark.
 

 

Not only is it a generally well-played and exciting game, but the broadcast is excellent.  No clowining around, no Jesse Ventura / WWE goofiness. The Demons' starting quarterback, Arena Football veteran Mike Pawlawski, is out injured; so he serves as a sideline reporter, giving great insight on each play call.

The crowd is into it.  Both teams' uniforms look great.  This is fun to watch.

 

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@Ferdinand Cesarano

 

I agree! Even the Championship Game's broadcast quality and level of play on the field was light years ahead of that first game. No goofiness that detracted from the product on the field.

 

The XFL had what other startup leagues didn't: Good financial backing from the start, a large platform (NBC) in which people could watch the games. Just a lot of issues with the XFL prevented it from really taking off, they should have never mixed WWF talent with the league, at all.

 

I think a lot of people couldn't help but think the league was "rigged," or "scripted" because it was associated with Vince McMahon and the then-WWF. The NFL actually got a lot of ideas from the XFL!

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Is Under Armour the official uniform supplier of the AFL? I've noticed three teams (Tampa Bay, Washington, Baltimore) wearing UA.

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