Blog Entry

A fond farewell to the Arena Football League

Posted on: August 4, 2009 4:36 pm

So the Arena Football League is dead.

I know most people could care less, but I for one am disappointed to see it go. Perhaps its because I grew up in a city that featured one of the league's all time great franchises -- the Orlando Predators.

For a couple of years in the mid to late '90s I actually had season tickets. Predators games were great fun and ticket prices reasonable.

It almost had a college football type atmosphere, especially games against the rival just up I-4, the Tampa Bay Storm. No wine and cheese crowds at Predators games that's for sure.

The early Predator teams featured a player by the name of Barry Wagner and he was a beast. In one unforgettable game, back when I was a true diehard and would make sure the catch Predators games on the tube, Wagner (a wideout/defensive back) would catch two touchdown passes, get two two-point conversions and recover an onside kick all within the final 49 seconds of the game to help the Preds rally from a 42-32 deficit to a 50-49 victory.

Admittedly though, after moving from Orlando, I hadn't paid much attention to the sport. I catch a Predators game here or there when I came across it while clicking through the channel lineup, but Arena football wasn't appointment television.

I'm not really sure why that is because I truly enjoyed the product. Yeah it had a short field and funky rules, but in its heart it was football, and I love football.

I think a lot had to do with the major media never treating it as much more than a niche sport. And maybe that's because the fans never really demanded it be treated more than a niche. Maybe it was poor marketing by the AFL. Imagine how cool AFL fantasy football could be?

I think the biggest problem is that the league watered itself down with too much expansion. There's only so many good football players to go and the best, of course, head to the NFL. I think the AFL was at its best when it had 12 teams, 14 teams max. And af2? What the heck was that all about?

Coincidentally, I was actually in attendance at one of the very first AFL games -- maybe even the very first. It was the summer of '87 and we were in the Chicago area visiting relatives. The Rosemont Horizon wasn't very far from where my grandparents lived and as I recall the big sign outside was advertising a game between the Chicago Bruisers and Pittsburgh Gladiators. All I knew about it was that it was a new fangled football league and, as I said earlier, I love football, so I was able to talk my mom into taking me to the game.

I can't really remember all that much about the game (it was more than 20 years ago after all and I was 12), but I still have the game program tucked away somewhere in my closet.

In any case, I'll always have fond memories of the Arena League and the Orlando Predators.


Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: August 11, 2009 9:23 am

A fond farewell to the Arena Football League

my bad, for our english teacher it "stretch"

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: August 11, 2009 9:20 am

A fond farewell to the Arena Football League

You might want to put your emotion aside for a second. Im pissed on the fans behalf. Just for the record, yes there is only one sports station in this town. 

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: August 11, 2009 9:16 am

A fond farewell to the Arena Football League

No, Im not angry at the fact that it failed.  I just find it irritating that the fans keep getting screwed.  What happens to the season ticket holders, the people that followed that league every season, poured money into the support of the franchises; how the league just streches and yawns and says its done indefinetly. Now theres another league starting before the Arena leagues body is even cold. There is no room in this country for a second football league. How many times are these NFL washouts going to attempt this and how many times is the public going to fall for it?

Since: Aug 21, 2007
Posted on: August 7, 2009 3:28 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: August 7, 2009 10:42 am

A fond farewell to the Arena Football League

Wow BCM, why so angry? And who made you listen to it on the radio? Not even I went that far.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: August 7, 2009 8:43 am

A fond farewell to the Arena Football League

You guys cant be for real.  What a bunch of garbage.  I live in Tampa where the most historic team in that joke of a league resided. I lost all respect when the AFL became the NFLs bitch farm league.  Thank God I dont have to listen to that crap onthe radio anymore.

I hear that new failure, or rather football league the UFL is supposed too be great, with 4 whole teams and all. you should watch that crap now

good riddens

Since: Dec 7, 2007
Posted on: August 5, 2009 3:55 pm

A fond farewell to the Arena Football League

Brian, I was a KC Brigade season ticket holder and really enjpyed the AFL product.  Its too bad that they lost control of costs and what the league wanted to be originally, a inexpensive football alternative. 

When David Baker left the commissioners office, the handwriting was on the wall.  With no strong league guide, everyting collapsed. Hopefully a league will come back and take its place.

Besides, I'll miss having John Elway coming into KC as the Denver owner every year, and getting to boo him in tribute to everything he did to the Chiefs. LOL.

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