Obscure Sports News (6/4/18)

 

wpll
Women’s Professional Lacrosse League Begins Play With 5 Teams

Alliance of American Football (AAF): The proposed new springtime AAF officially announced San Diego and Birmingham will be its sixth and seventh team locations. The AAF plans to start play with eight teams in February 2019 and previously announced teams for the markets of Atlanta, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

American Arena League (AAL): The Richmond Roughriders defeated the Jersey Flight 74-65 on Saturday night at the Richmond Coliseum, advancing their record to 9-1.  By defeating Jersey, Richmond ensured itself the Northern Division title in the AAL with one game remaining in the season, a home game next Saturday against the High Country Grizzlies. The game marked the indoor football debut for new receiver Robert Meachem, who was a Super Bowl champion in the NFL. Meachem was eased into the action, though, with Rashaad Carter continuing to take the bulk of the catches for the Roughriders.

Arena Football League (AFL):  The Albany Empire (5-2) won their fifth consecutive game on Saturday night in a back and forth battle against the Baltimore Brigade (5-2) at the Times Union Center by a score of 61-53 in front of a crowd of 8,057. The game was even throughout, but thanks to a late defensive touchdown by the Empire, Albany took the lead and momentum and never looked back. Albany maintained its third quarter dominance by allowing just 7 points. So far on the season, the Empire has outscored opponents by 61 total points in the third quarter.

Current League Standings:

  1. Baltimore Brigade (5-2)
  2. Albany Empire (5-2)
  3. Philadelphia Soul (4-3)
  4. Washington Valor (0-7)

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL):  The Minnesota Wind Chill secured a 22-18 victory over the Indianapolis Alleycats at home on Saturday. The Alleycats, now 7-2 had their six-game win streak snapped by the Wind Chill. The first place Alleycats fell to second place in the division while the Wind Chill remain in third.

Division Leaders:

  • South:  Dallas Roughnecks (7-1)
  • West:  Los Angeles Aviators (7-2)
  • East:  Toronto Rush (8-0)
  • Midwest:  Madison Radicals (6-1)

Champions Indoor Football (CIF):  Mario Esparza kicked a 19-yard field goal in overtime as Bismarck Bucks erased a 25-point deficit to beat the Omaha Beef 41-38 and eliminate the Beef from playoff contention. The Beef (4-8) led 38-13 in the second quarter after a 1-yard touchdown run by John Gibbs.  But Tray Boone answered with a 50-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and the Bucks (5-6) slowly chipped away at the lead. Esparza kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie the game as time expired in regulation.

Indoor Football League (IFL):  The Iowa Barnstormers (10-2) beat the Arizona Rattlers (10-3) 41-38 Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, sweeping the 3-1 series. At the start of the third quarter Drew Powell marched the ball in for an Iowa touchdown, 34-28. Iowa’s wide receiver Skyler Scott ran the ball 7-yards for the touchdown, 41-31. Jeff Ziemba completed a pass to Jamal Miles for the Arizona touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead and the Barnstormers won 41-38. With the win, the Iowa Barnstormers have swept their three game regular season series against the Arizona Rattlers, being the only team in the IFL to give Arizona a loss so far this season.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL):   The Denver Outlaws handed the Charlotte Hounds their first home loss of the season, and completed a season sweep against them, in a 16-13 win on Saturday night.  Denver scored five of the first six goals of the game and Wes Berg had two goals in a 30-second span in the first quarter. Ryan Brown scored with just under six minutes left in regulation to cut Charlotte’s deficit to 14-13. The Outlaws would answer with goals from Eric Law and Chris Cloutier to close out the game.  The Hounds started the season 4-0, but have now lost two of their last three, with both losses coming at the hands of the Outlaws.

Major League Rugby (MLR):  The Glendale Raptors remained as the only undefeated team in the league with a 47-10 win over NOLA Gold in a steamy game played in New Orleans.  Temps were over 90 degrees but the Raptors jumped out to a 19-0 lead and never were threatened.  With seven tries on the day, Glendale trails Seattle by just one point in the league standings while remaining the only unbeaten side in MLR. The Raptors have two remaining home games, hosting the Houston Sabercats on June 8 after a quick turnaround from this weekend’s play, then the Seattle Seawolves on June 16. Glendale’s final regular season match is on the road, the team traveling to California to tackle San Diego Legion. Glendale will play host to the league semifinals on June 30, with matches at Infinity Park deciding which of America’s professional rugby teams will compete for their first championship title. The top four teams in the league will gather in Glendale, competing in a double header that kicks off at 5pm Mountain Time. Winners of each match will then travel to San Diego on July 7 for the first ever, American professional rugby championship.

National Arena League (NAL): The Jacksonville Sharks (6-3) took down the Columbus Lions (4-2) in a back and forth second-half battle with a score of 67-65. This is the second time Jacksonville has faced the Lions this season. Sharks Quarterback Adrian McPherson had his best game as a Shark tonight, and is rapidly improving. His 26-of-37 for 327 yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception performance helped the Sharks take the lead multiple times this game. Leading receiver, Antonio Vaughan had a 100-yard performance with eight receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns. McPherson used his targets wisely, as Chris Gilchrist finished the night with 90 yards and three touchdowns, Cody Saul had 55 receiving yards with one touchdown, and Tom Gilson had a game that helped the team out tremendously by having four receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns.

The league has also registered the “Nashville Kats” as the potential name of a future team to be announced. A Nashville-based team was reported to be close to playing in the 2018 season of the NAL but decided to wait another season. The original Arena Football League had two versions (1997-2001 and 2005-07) of teams called the Nashville Kats. More recently, a team called the Nashville Venom played two seasons (2014-15) in the former Professional Indoor Football League.

National Lacrosse League (NLL):   Goalie Matt Vinc of the Rochester Knighthawks forced a third and deciding game in the NLL Cup Final. Vinc finished with 47 saves and the Knighthawks used a four-goal run in the second quarter to catapult them to a 13-8 victory over the Saskatchewan Rush in Game 2 of the best-of-three final on Saturday night.  Game 3 will go down on June 9th back at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon where the Rush earned a 16-9 win in the series opener.

National Pro Fastpitch (NPF):Shellie Robinson and Alexa Peterson both hit home runs but it wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Comets to avoid a sweep at Chicago as the Bandits collected six extra base hits on the way to a 12-5 win on Sunday at the Ballpark at Rosemont. The Bandits used a pair of walks and two singles to score two runs off Cleveland rookie Devin Brown in the top of the first. Jiang Xinyue drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third and scored on Robinson’s opposite field homer, the first four-bag hit in Cleveland Comets history.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL):  The North Carolina Courage fought to draw the Houston Dash in their fourth consecutive road game. After finding themselves trailing by one early in the second half, the Courage turned to a new face to provide the late-game heroics as rookie Frannie Crouse netted the equalizer to earn the point.

Current League Standings:

  1. North Carolina Courage (30 pts)
  2. Seattle Reign FC (18)
  3. Orlando Pride (16)
  4. Portland Thorns FC (15)
  5. Chicago Red Stars (15)
  6. Utah Royals FC (14)
  7. Houston Dash (14)
  8. Washington Spirit (8)
  9. Sky Blue FC (1)

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA):  The Las Vegas Aces got a 26-point, 12-rebound double-double from rookie of the year candidate A’ja Wilson, and season-scoring-highs off the bench from Dearica Hamby (14 points) and Kelsey Bone (10) en route to an 85-73 victory over the Washington Mystics (5-2). It was the Aces’ (1-4) first win since relocating from San Antonio last fall.

Current League Standings:

Eastern Conference

  1. Connecticut Sun (5-0)
  2. Washington Mystics (5-3)
  3. Chicago Sky (3-3)
  4. New York Liberty (2-2)
  5. Atlanta Dream (2-3)
  6. Indiana Fever (0-6)

Western Conference

  1. Los Angeles Sparks (4-1)
  2. Seattle Storm (5-2)
  3. Phoenix Mercury (4-3)
  4. Dallas Wings (3-3)
  5. Minnesota Lynx (2-5)
  6. Las Vegas Aces (1-5)

Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL): The new WPLL started its inaugural 2018 season this weekend with five teams called Baltimore Brave, New England Command, New York Fight, Philadelphia Fire and Upstate Pride (Albany, NY). The league will play a total of nine regular-season games with playoffs starting in mid-July. The former commissioner of the United Women’s Lacrosse League (UWLX), which started play in 2016, is the organizer of the WPLL.

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Obscure Sports News (5/16/18)

rochester
Rochester Knighthawks edge Georgia Swarm 9-8 to advance to National Lacrosse League final

 

Alliance of American Football (AAF) – Announced that they will place a team in Salt Lake City, Utah when they begin play next spring.  Salt Lake City joins Orlando, Atlanta and Memphis and will play at Rice Eccles Stadium, which is the home field for the University of Utah.  The Memphis team has announced that former Chicago Bears’ great Mike Singletary will be their head coach.

American Arena League (AAL) – The Georgia Doom upset the Richmond Roughriders 56-44 in Macon, Georgia after the Doom replaced head coach Derek Stingley with Defensive Coordinator Gerald Dockery.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The Toronto Rush (4-0) held on to defeat the Montreal Royal 21-18 to stay undefeated and atop the East Division standings.  Montreal drops to 2-3.  In other divisions, the surprising Atlanta Hustle are tied with the Dallas Roughnecks at 4-1 in the South.  Madison is 5-0 in the Midwest but Indianapolis (6-1) is right on their heels.  The West seems to be wide open as 2.5 games separate the first and last place teams.  The Los Angeles Aviators and San Diego Growlers are tied for first with 4-2 records.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The Albany Empire (2-2) defeated the Washington Valor (0-4) 53-42 on Friday night at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in front of a crowd of 9,036. Empire quarterback Tommy Grady threw for 257 yards and seven touchdowns earning himself the game MVP award. Empire receiver Malachi Jones had six receptions for 120 yards and three receiving touchdowns, while chipping one rushing touchdown and earning himself Offensive Player of the Game. Terence Moore was named Defensive Player of the Game with six total tackles and a fumble recovery.

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) -The Omaha Beef made just enough plays to edge out the Bismarck Bucks in an offensive explosion 79-78.  After a tough game last week against Sioux City, John Gibbs showed what he can potentially be for Omaha. A week ago, Gibbs had one touchdown in the air and two on the ground, but it was the three interceptions that hurt the Beef the most. Saturday night, Gibbs had eight total touchdowns (7-passing/1-rushing) and most importantly, no interceptions. Gibbs found receivers Daniel Mckinney, Brandlynn Clark and Jerimiah Eaton open all game. Mckinney lead the receivers in receptions (6) and total touchdowns (5), Clark added two touchdowns, and so did Eaton, with one of his touchdown catches coming with under 10-seconds left in the game.

Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL) – The online, fan-involved indoor football league has delayed their start date to the summer of 2019.

Indoor Football League (IFL) – The six-time world champion league leading Arizona Rattlers (9-1) defeated the Green Bay Blizzard (1-8) by a score of 62-26 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Rattlers have extended their current win streak to eight.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – The Denver Outlaws fell 24-22 in a back-and-forth, high-scoring game to the Chesapeake Bayhawks on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Despite scoring a season-high 22 goals and rallying from a five-score fourth-quarter deficit, Denver was never able to overcome a Chesapeake 13-point third quarter and four two-goal tallies. Midfielder Drew Snider led all scorers with a career-high six goals-representing only the 20th six-goal game in Outlaws history.

Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Glendale Raptors were named the Major League Rugby Team of the Week the league announced today. The Raptors have jumped out to a perfect 4-0 start after a 31-27 win against the San Diego Legion. Facing a 21-10 deficit in the second half, Glendale used strong defensive pressure paired with timely stops to swing the momentum of the match. Down three with under 10 minutes to play, Raptors’ flanker Zach Fenoglio finished off a sequence of phase play with a try and the ensuing conversion proved to be enough for Glendale.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Columbus Lions stunned the Carolina Cobras 55-54 when Columbus quarterback Mason Espinosa found Durron Neal for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired then kicker Lindsey Wolfe made the extra point for the win.

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – The Rochester Knighthawks edged the Georgia Swarm 9-8 in the Eastern Division final while the Saskatchewan Rush knocked off the Calgary Roughnecks in the West final.  Rochester and Saskatchewan will faceoff for the NLL title with Game 1 at Saskatchewan on May 26th.

National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) – Added the Minnesota Whitecaps to the league as their fifth team joining Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and Metropolitan in 2018-2019.  The Whitecaps were already an independent team which started in 2004 and played in the short-lived Western Women’s Hockey League in 2010-2011.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – The Orlando Pride (3-2-3, 12 points) earned a 2-1 win over Portland Thorns FC on Saturday afternoon, defeating the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions in front of over 17,000 fans at Providence Park. The match not only marked the Pride’s first win over Portland in Club history, but extended the team’s unbeaten streak to five straight games. Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Christine Nairn got on the score sheet for the Pride, both putting in their first goals of the 2018 season.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Los Angeles Sparks and defending champion Minnesota Lynx will tip-off the league’s 21st season on May 20th.  The league will again have 12 teams with the only relocation being the Las Vegas Aces which moved from San Antonio.

Obscure Sports News (5/9/18)

nightwatch
Nightwatch win first game since 2016

 

AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL)

They finally did it.  The Nashville Nightwatch of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) shocked the Austin Sol 22-20 on Sunday to win their first game since 2016.  The Sol rallied from a 13-11 halftime deficit to lead 16-15 through three quarters, but the NightWatch were better down the stretch. Nashville opened the final quarter on a 4-1 run and never trailed again in their 22-20 triumph.  The last win for the Nightwatch was a 30-26 win against Jacksonville on July 9, 2016.  I was at the game and it was the highest offensive output for the team in its history and looked promising for 2017.  The Nightwatch went winless the next season.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL)

Albany Empire’s quarterback Tommy Grady and defensive back Marrio Norman have been named as the offensive and defensive players of the week for Week 4, respectively.  Grady (6’7, 245, Utah) led the Empire to their first win in team history on 20-of-29 passes for 221 yards and 5 touchdowns. The former Ute currently is second in the League in pass completion percentage (67.0%) and third in passing yards (733) and passing touchdowns (16).  Norman (6’1, 205, Coastal Carolina) had a dominant defensive game in the Empire’s 47-23 win over the Washington Valor. The six-year veteran recorded 10.0 total tackles, two interceptions for 32 yards, while returning one of those interceptions for a 12-yard touchdown. Norman ranks second in total tackles with 20.5.

Last week’s scores:

  • Albany Empire 47, Washington Valor 23
  • Baltimore Brigade 31, Philadelphia Soul 21

ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL (AAF)

The proposed new springtime AAF has announced Memphis as its third franchise when the league starts play in February 2019. The Atlanta and Orlando markets were previously announced as franchise locations. The AAF is reported to be in discussions with Arizona State University (Tempe) for use of its Sun Devil Stadium as home to a possible Phoenix area AAF franchise.

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE (AAL)

John Banks caught three touchdown passes, and George Jenkins graduate Reggie Ellis contributed his second spectacular touchdown catch in as many weeks as the Florida Tarpons tamed the Austin Wild, 50-30, for their first win of the 2018 season Sunday afternoon at the RP Funding Center.

Other scores:

  • Richmond Roughriders 82, Peach State Cats 22
  • Atlanta Havoc 74, High Country Grizzlies 32
  • Carolina Energy 98, Savannah Coastal Outlaws 13
  • Jersey flight 70, Upstate Dragons 6

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL (CIF)

Shannon Winesberry’s victory-sealing, 33-yard interception return in overtime Saturday night proved to be the difference as the Quad-City Steamwheelers won at Bismarck 45-32. Bismarck got half of their four touchdowns in the final 56 seconds, taking advantage of two Quad-City field-goal misses to rally from a 32-17 deficit to force overtime.  The Steamwheelers scored on the first possession of the extra session, with a 22-yard reception from Davenport’s Keyvan Rudd setting up a short Tyler Williams TD run.  The game ended on the next step, thanks to Winesberry and a defense that forced four turnovers and kept Bismarck from scoring on eight of 13 possessions.

Current Standings:

  • North Division
    • Sioux City Bandits (5-3)
    • Salina Liberty (6-2)
    • Quad Cities Steamwheelers (4-3)
    • Bismarck Bucks (4-4)
    • Omaha Beef (3-5)
    • Kansas City Phantoms (2-6)
  • South Division
    • Duke City Gladiators (7-1)
    • Amarillo Venom (6-1)
    • Texas Revolution (2-5)
    • Wichita Force (3-5)
    • Dallas Marshals (1-8)

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE (IFL)

The six-time world champion and first place Arizona Rattlers (8-1) defeated the Cedar Rapids Titans (1-8) by a score of 57-42 at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Rattlers have now won their seventh straight game.The two teams would trade punches early, but a dominant third quarter by the Rattlers would prove to be too much for the Titans.  Offensively for Arizona, Quarterback Jeff Ziemba completed 12 of his 20 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns. Ziemba also had a rushing touchdown. RB Darrell Monroe rushed the ball 20 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns.

Other scores:

  • Iowa Barnstormers 49, Sioux Falls Storm 42
  • Green Bay Blizzard 47, Nebraska Danger 25

MAJOR LACROSS LEAGUE (MLL)

The Florida Launch dominated the Denver Outlaws 16-7 at FAU Stadium on May 6 to improve their record to 3-1.  With the return of Kieran McArdle, the Launch led an assertive offensive attack against that Outlaws. Dylan Molloy, Mike Tagliaferri, and McArdle led the team in goals, with each player putting up a hat trick. Tagliaferri posted his first MLL goal as well as his first MLL hat trick.  On defense, Alec Tulett led the team, causing four turnovers and collecting four ground balls. In the cage, Austin Kaut stopped 21 of the 28 shots he faced for an impressive .750 save-percentage.

MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY (MLR)

In a match that featured a little bit of everything, the Legion (2-1) knocked off the SaberCats (1-2) 35-32 on the back of outside centre Anthony Salaber’s three-try performance.   Both teams came out of the gate playing extremely fast, and it paid off for the SaberCats rather quickly. They struck first when scrum half Connor Murphy kicked to some space behind San Diego’s back line. A favorable bounce ended up in the hands of wing Alex Elkins who produced the ball to outside centre Osea Kolinisau. Kolinisau used his one move to ground the ball on the goal line and was awarded the first try of the match. Fly-half Sam Windsor nailed the conversion and the SaberCats were out to an early 7-0 lead.

The SaberCats, with only four minutes to play, had their chances to put the match away. Murphy attempted to pin San Diego deep with a box kick, but he didn’t get all of the ball and Audsley scooped it up off the ground to give San Diego a chance to win it with a try.

Houston forced San Diego’s attack into touch and had one more chance to finish the game with a successful lineout. The ensuing lineout was not thrown straight, and the Legion would have an opportunity at a lineout of their own. The phase play that stemmed from that lineout was extended when an errant pass that went out of bounds in stoppage time was brought back to the spot of a penalty, and Tony Purpura finally put a stamp on the game with a try on the goal line.

Audsley kicked the conversion and the Legion escaped with a 35-32 win.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE (NAL)

The Massachusetts Pirates trailed the Columbus Lions by 15 points early in the third quarter of their National Arena League marquee matchup Sunday when quarterback Sean Brackett threw his second interception.  The defense took the field and proceeded to make the first of three straight stops, all of which the offense turned into touchdowns as the Pirates outscored the Lions, 29-7, over the final 25 minutes to post a 44-37, last-second victory.

nal
Massachusetts Pirates celebrate big win over Columbus Lions

Other scores:

  • Jacksonville Sharks 48, Maine Mammoths 31
  • Carolina Cobras 65, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 3

NATIONAL LACROSS LEAGUE (NLL)

The Calgary Roughnecks extend their post-season winning streak against their Colorado to 8-0 with a 15-12 win. With the win, the Roughnecks will advance to face the Saskatchewan Rush in the West Division on Sunday, May 13, at 5:00 p.m.  The Mammoths controlled the first half, going on a six goal run en route to a 7-3 advantage heading into the break. Although Colorado outshot the Roughnecks 50-46, Calgary dominated the second half outscoring the home team 12-5 including two empty net goals to conclude the night.

In the East, the Rochester Knighthawks eliminated the New England Black Wolves 15-11 to advance to the East final against the Georgia Swarm on Saturday.

SOUTHERN PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE (SPHL)

The Huntsville Havoc won the SPHL title by defeating the Peoria Rivermen 4-2 to win the series 2 games to 1.  Huntsville knocked off the Mississippi Riverkings 1-4, 4-3 (ot) and 5-2 in the first round and then dethroned the defending champions, Macon Mayhem, 4-6, 8-2, 3-2 (ot) in the semifinals.

Obscure Sports News (5/3/18)

ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL (AAF)

The proposed new springtime AAF announced Atlanta will become home to the league’s second franchise. The AAF recently announced Orlando as its first franchise location and plans to announce six additional markets over the coming weeks. A team in Southern California is expected to be one of the next six markets.

AMERICAN ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE (AUDL)

The Raleigh Flyers (4-2) split their Texas road trip last weekend as they lost to the Austin Sol (2-1) 25-23 in overtime then rebounded in Dallas to defeat the Roughnecks (3-1) 24-20.  Check out this highlight of Justin Allen’s 90-yard heave for Raleigh at the end of the third period here.

AUDL Division Leaders:

  • Midwest:  Madison (3-0)
  • South:  Atlanta (3-0)
  • East:  Toronto (3-0)
  • West:  San Diego (3-2)

Locally, the Nashville Nightwatch and Tampa Bay Cannons were both winless going into Saturday’s game.  The Cannons had five goals by Jordan Huston in a 25-13 win.   The Nightwatch return to their home field this Sunday at 2 p.m. against the Austin Sol.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE (AFL)

The Washington Valor were defeated, 67-51, by the defending-champion Philadelphia Soul Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center. Valor wide receiver Josh Reese set a career high with three receiving touchdowns while Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw five touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP.

Current Standings:

  • Philadelphia (3-0)
  • Baltimore (2-1)
  • Washington (0-2)
  • Albany (0-2)

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENT FOOTBALL LEAGUE (GDFL)

The Huntsville Rockets defeated the Chattanooga Eagles 22-19 in one of the top game last weekend.  The Rockets (1-0) take the top spot in the league.  Here are the rest of the top 10 teams:

  • #2 Georgia Crush (1-0)
  • #3 Mississippi Road Warriors (0-0)
  • #4 Starkville Steeldogs (0-0)
  • #5 Missouri Cyclones (1-0)
  • #6 River City Pythons (1-0)
  • #7 Oklahoma Outlaws (2-0)
  • #8 Memphis Blast (1-0)
  • #9 Chattanooga Eagles (0-1)
  • #10 Alabama Sabers (0-1)

MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE (MASL)

The Orlando SeaWolves will join the MASL next season.  The SeaWolves will play at Kissimmee’s Sliver Spurs Arena.  The new team will be part of the MASL’s 2018-19 alignment when the season kicks off in December.

MLR
Glendale Raptors defeat Seattle Seawolves in Major League Rugby action.

MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY (MLR)

The Glendale Raptors took their 1-0 record to the Pacific Northwest for a rain-soaked slugfest against the Seattle Seawolves on Saturday night.  In front of a sold-out crowd at Starfire Sports Complex and under the pouring rain, the Raptors (2-0) made the most of their chances and were able to defeat a strong Seawolves (1-1) side by a score of 19-15.

Current Standings:

  1. Glendale Raptors (9)
  2. Seattle Seawolves (6)
  3. Houston SaberCats (6)
  4. NOLA Gold (5)
  5. San Diego Legion (5)
  6. Austin Elite (2)
  7. Utah Warriors (1)

NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE (NLL)

The defending NLL champions, Georgia Swarm (11-7), clinched the Eastern Division title while the Saskatchewan Rush (14-4) took the Western Division title as the regular season ended last weekend.  Rochester, New England, Colorado and Calgary also clinched playoff berths.    It took a 16-11 win by the Swarm over the New England Black Wolves in the final regular season game to clinch the Eastern Division title.

Alliance of American Football to Kickoff in 2019

alliance-of-american-footballAnother professional football league has plans in the works to fill the void for football fans in the offseason of 2019 when the Alliance of American Football (AAF) plans to begin play in February 2019 with eight teams with the championship to be played on the last weekend of April 2019.

Yes, we have heard this one before haven’t we?  The last time we heard something like this was a league called Major League Football which failed before it even took the field a couple of years ago.  Of course, there were the more notable leagues such as the United States Football League (USFL), XFL and World League of American Football/NFL-Europe.

What makes this one so different?

This new league is backed by television and film producer Charlie Ebersol, Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian, four-time All-Pro Jared Allen and two-time Super Bowl champions Justin Tuck and Troy Polamalu so this kinda gets your attention that it could be a legitimate effort.

Personally, I love the rule changes that this league will offer such as:

  • Eliminating kickoffs and allowing the offense to start on the 25 yard line
  • In place of the onside kick, the trailing team will receive the ball on their own 35 yard line facing fourth down and 10.
  • Instituting a shorter play clock and fewer commercial breaks in the interest of shortening the total time of game
  • Eliminating the extra point requiring two-point conversions after every touchdown

The league will have eight teams playing 10-game schedules.  There is no word yet on where those eight franchises will be located but is planned to be announced in June. I would guess that teams would be placed in New York, Chicago, Orlando, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Diego, San Antonio and San Jose.  I would think a new league would want to take advantage of cities that have been snubbed by the NFL.

The CBS Sports Network will televise games during the season.

The AAF will not be affiliated with the National Football League (NFL) and will most likely have their rosters filled with players who aren’t drafted by NFL teams, former players or players that have been cut from NFL teams.

Other spring leagues that have failed in the past:

  • United States Football League (1983-1985)
    • usflKey Personnel:  David Dixon, Donald Trump, George Allen, Sid Gillman, Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, Marv Levy, Bill Polian, Steve Young
    •  Teams
      • Arizona Wranglers/Outlaws
      • Birmingham Stallions
      • Boston/New Orleans/Portland Breakers
      • Chicago Blitz
      • Denver Gold
      • Los Angeles Express
      • Michigan Panthers
      • New Jersey Generals
      • Oakland Invaders
      • Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars
      • Tampa Bay Bandits
      • Washington Federals/Orlando Renegades
      • Houston Gamblers
      • Jacksonville Bulls
      • Memphis Showboats
      • Oklahoma Outlaws
      • Pittsburgh Maulers
      • San Antonio Gunslingers
  • World League of American Football/NFL-Europe (1991-2007)
    • wlafKey Personnel:  Tex Schramm, Oliver Luck, Mike Lynn
    •  Teams
      • Birmingham Fire
      • Montreal Machine
      • New York/New Jersey Knights
      • Ohio Glory
      • Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks
      • Sacramento Surge
      • San Antonio Riders
      • Amsterdam Admirals
      • Barcelona Dragons
      • London Monarchs
      • Frankfurt Galaxy
      • Berlin Thunder
      • Cologne Centurions
      • Rhein Fire
      • Scottish Claymores
      • Hamburg Sea Devils
  • XFL (2001)
    • xfl2Key Personnel:  Vince McMahon, Tommy Maddox, Galen Hall
    •  Teams
      • Birmingham Thunderbolts
      • Orlando Rage
      • New York/New Jersey Hitmen
      • Chicago Enforcers
      • Las Vegas Outlaws
      • Los Angeles Xtreme
      • San Francisco Demons
      • Memphis Maniax
  • Major League Football (2014) – never played
    • mlfbKey Personnel:  Wes Chandler, Dave Campo, Ted Cottrell, Galen Hall
    •  Teams
      • Alabama Airborne
      • Arkansas Attack
      • Florida Fusion
      • Northwest Empire
      • Ohio Union
      • Oklahoma Nation
      • Oregon Crash
      • Texas Independence
      • Utah Stand
      • Virginia Armada
  • Professional Spring Football League (1991) – never played
    • psflKey Personnel:  Vincent Sette, Rex Lardner
    •  Teams
      • Arkansas Miners
      • Carolina Cougars
      • Miami Tribe
      • Nevada Aces
      • New England Blitz
      • New Mexico Rattlesnakes
      • Oregon Lightning Bolts
      • Tampa Bay Outlaws
      • Utah Pioneers
      • Washington Spirit
  • All-American Football League (2010) – never played
    • AAFL_LogoKey Personnel:  Doug Dickey, Shane Matthews, Mike Jones, John Fontes, Andy Kelly
    •  Teams
      • Alabama
      • Arkansas
      • Tennessee
      • Florida
      • Michigan
      • Texas
    • Note:  The league teams had no nicknames and were going to target college football fans including playing in college football stadiums.

A-11 Football League (2014) – never played af11

  • Key Personnel:  Scott McKibben, CEO & Executive Director at Oakland Alameda Coliseum Authority.
  • Teams
    • Bay Area Sea Lions
    • Chicago Staggs
    • Dallas Wranglers
    • Denver Gold
    • Los Angeles Express
    • Michigan Panthers
    • New Jersey Generals
    • Philadelphia Stars
    • Tampa Bay Bandits

So will this new Alliance of American Football make it and walk past the graves of other failed leagues?  I love football but I have to admit that it has always been difficult to get into spring football leagues.  As much as I love football, I like having the break and having a second-class football league doesn’t seem appealing to me.  Football leagues usually cost a lot of money and new leagues have to be able to suffer the financial losses to survive.

The new AAF hopes to involve fans in the league with a better version of the NFL.  Fans will be able to stream AAF matchups live via a free app, while also accessing integrated fantasy options with real prizes — for themselves and the players they root for. Ebersol also says the league will offer “family pricing” with more affordable tickets to games.

Do I think it will last?  No.  History is against it.  It will be an accomplishment if it lasts two seasons.