After dropping the first three games and looking like the Cleveland Browns, the Gladiators finally prove that they are on the same level that they were during the 2008 season, the first year of the franchise. After starting the season 0-3, the Gladiators defeated the Spokane Shock 72-68, Iowa Barnstormers 70-56, and the Tulsa Talons 68-55. The three losses were against the Arizona Rattlers 61-56, Chicago Rush 59-56, and the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz 63-50. Now you may get the sense that there is a huge winning streak on the horizon. Maybe there will be a string of wins or at least a winning record to get them into the playoffs.
The Gladiators are the fifth best team in the Arena Football League according to this weeks coaches' poll. Five other teams have a record of 3-3. The Milwaukee Iron stand on top with a 5-1 record, followed by the Jacksonville Sharks with a 5-1 record as well. Chicago is the third best team with a 4-2 record, followed by Spokane, also having a 4-2 record.
Gladiators starting Quarterback John Dutton and Wide Receiver Ben Nelson received the Russell Athletic Offensive Player of the week award. Dutton became the seventh player all time in AFL history to reach 30,000 passing yards and just the sixth player all time to throw for 600 touchdowns in a career.
Nelson caught a season best 202 yards on 13 catches and six touchdowns in the win against Tulsa. He caught the game winning touchdown. He leads the league with 144 points.
For those of you who are astonished by these numbers, I should remind you that arena football is not like the N.F.L. There is a 50 yard field instead of a 100 yard field. Scoring is much easier in this league.
The Gladiators play at Jacksonville this Saturday, then return for a home game against Chicago on May 29.
The Arena football League was suspended last year due to financial difficulty.