Tag: Alliance of American Football

New Football League Has Successful Kickoff (without a kickoff)

The new Alliance of American Football (AAF) made its debut over the weekend and was surprisingly successful. The league, which features a few different rule changes including no kickoffs, had higher television ratings than other sports they were competing with. Early reviews have been favorable as they drew 2.9 million fans for the Saturday televised game for CBS. It’s still early to decide what that means but it is always good to get off to a good start.

Here are the results of the games that were played:

Orlando Apollos 40, Atlanta Legends 6

The Apollos were led by their coach Steve Spurrier and a defense that stifled the Legends. They held Atlanta to just 162 yards after the opening drive of the game, forced four turnovers and never let Legends’ quarterback Matt Simms to get in sync.

San Antonio Commanders 15, San Diego Fleet 6

The Commanders opened their season in front of 27,857 fans at the Alamodome as quarterback Logan Woodside completed 18 of 36 passes for 255 yards and two interceptions. The Commanders’ defense had six sacks and snagged three inceptions while limiting the Fleet to 295 yards of total offense.

Birmingham Iron 26, Memphis Express 0

The Iron and Express started out as a defensive struggle for about three quarters before they took control with the running of former NFL running back Trent Richardson scoring twice and the Iron defense shutting down Express quarterback Christian Hackenberg. It was announced that the Pittsburgh Steelers have become an affiliate of the Iron. This means that former NFL players who most recently played for the Steelers will be allocated to the Iron.

Arizona Hotshots 38, Salt Lake Stallions 22

With most of the other AAF games being defensive games, the Hotshots and Stallions put up the points. The Hotshots pulled away in the third quarter to take a 35-16 lead. Hotshots quarterback John Wolford and receiver Rashad Ross connected for 103 yards along with two touchdowns in the games. Wolford’s touchdown pass to Jhurell Presley made it a 19-point game as the Hotshots pulled away.

Week 1 Standings:

  • Eastern Division
    • Orlando (1-0)
    • Birmingham (1-0)
    • Atlanta (0-1)
    • Memphis (0-1)
  • Western Division

    • Arizona (1-0)
    • San Antonio (1-0)
    • Salt Lake (0-1)
    • San Diego (0-1)

Week 2 Schedule:

  • Salt Lake at Birmingham
  • Arizona at Memphis
  • Orlando at San Antonio
  • Atlanta at San Diego
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Will The AAF Succeed?

aaf_leagueThis weekend a new professional football league will kick off their inaugural season.  The Alliance of American Football (AAF) opens business with teams in Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis, Birmingham, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Phoenix.  The AAF is hoping to fill the football void now that the National Football League (NFL) season is over.  This new league isn’t the first to try playing during the NFL’s offseason.  Several other leagues have tried and failed.

The United States Football League (USFL) was probably the most successful spring football league which was not associated with the NFL.  The played three seasons from 1983-1985.  The league made an immediate impact as they signed some of the top college talent when they signed three consecutive Heisman Trophy winners Herschel Walker, Doug Flutie and Mike Rozier. Other notable players/coaches included:   George Allen, Jim Kelly, Marv Levey, Steve Young and Reggie White.  The only radical rule difference was that the USFL adopted the two-point conversion.  The NFL did not start the two-point conversion until 1994.

Most people say that the reason that the league failed was when Donald Trump became owner of the New Jersey Generals and pushed for the league to move to a fall schedule to compete with the NFL.  The USFL also filed antitrust lawsuit against the NFL and won the suit but was only awarded $3.76 in damages.  The league was not able to recover and folded before it could move to the fall in 1986.  Many football experts feel that if the USFL had not deviated from their spring schedule that they would have lasted longer.

Perhaps the most successful off-season league was when the NFL backed the World League of American Football/NFL-Europe.  The league kicked off as the World League of American Football (WLAF) in 1991 with ten (10) teams in North America, Canada and Europe.  This league served mostly as a developmental league for the NFL.  After the 1992 season, the league suspended play for two seasons.  The league had better success with their Europe franchises than those in North America so when the league returned for the 1995 season, the league focused more on the European teams.  In 1998 they changed the league name to NFL-Europe.  Unfortunately, the league was terminated after the 2007 season at the league was losing about $30 million a season.

The first edition of the XFL played in the spring/summer of 2001.  The league was the idea of WWE guru Vince McMahon.  The league only lasted one season.  The league was known more about entertainment rather than the quality of play on the field.   The XFL secured a television contract with NBC after that network lost their NFL games.  The XFL had some interesting rules such as the opening scramble instead of a coin toss to determine possession.  Players lined up at their 30-yard line and raced to recover the ball at midfield.  The XFL also eliminated the kick for point after touchdowns with the option of a one, two or three-point conversions depending on distance from the goal line.  If a punt travel at least 25 yards, the kicking team could recover to gain possession.  There was also no fair catches allowed.    After losing $35 million dollars, the league folded after one season.  The new XFL is scheduled to come back in 2020.

A couple of other leagues failed to kickoff.  One was called the Professional Spring Football League (PSFL).   The league was scheduled to begin in 1992 with ten teams.  Each team had already been in training camp and trimming down their rosters in preparation for the season.  The league folded just 10 days before the season opener.  The league’s championship game was to be called the “Red, White and Blue Bowl” and was scheduled to be played at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC on July 5, 1992.

Another rather interesting attempt was called the All American Football League (AAFL) which was scheduled to start in the spring of 2007.  The league was hoping to appeal to college football fans with teams located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas.  The teams would play in college football stadiums during the spring and players had to have a four-year university degree to be eligible to play.  Teams also did not have nicknames but instead adopted their home state logo for their helmets.  On March 13, 2008 the league announced that the 2008 season would not take place and hoped to begin in 2009; however, they never got off the ground.  It was reported that the league lost some of their major investors which led to the demise of the proposed league.

It is hard to say whether or not the AFF will succeed where these other leagues failed.  Many of the cities have been burned repeatedly by failed teams and leagues of the past.  It will be a difficult sell.  It is very difficult for leagues to survive the finances needed to sustain them.  With the AAF working with the NFL, this could be a significant advantage.  Places franchises in cities without an NFL franchise is also a good idea.  Only two of the AAF’s eight teams (Atlanta and Arizona) play in current NFL markets.

Personally, I don’t feel like this league will fare differently than any of the other leagues before them.  Although football is a popular sport here in America, I think most fans need a break from their sport to recover and get ready for the next season.  Mentally most fans need a break from it.  If the NFL truly wants a developmental league, they need to partner with a league which plays during the same time like minor leagues operate in the baseball.  I have always felt that an “NFL2” league could operate in non-NFL cities as a developmental league for the NFL.  The championship game could be called the “SuperCup” and played the week before the Super Bowl and eliminate the Pro Bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Football Season To Continue After Super Bowl With AAF

aaf
Steve Spurrier, Aaron Murray, Trent Richardson and Nick Novak are players set to lead the new Alliance of American Football

It looks like the new Alliance of American Football (AAF) will become a reality as the league’s eight teams are currently in training camps as they prepare to kickoff their inaugural seasons on the Sunday after the Super Bowl.

The Atlanta Legends, Orlando Apollos, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Arizona Hotshots, San Diego Fleet, San Antonio Commanders and Salt Lake Stallions will launch this new league.

I’m not sure what kind of quality football that the AAF is going to offer football fans. Judging by the Twitter posts, most of the videos are of players showing off their dance moves. This makes me skeptical about the actual quality of play. I also wonder if fans will show up to outdoor stadiums during February and March

Week 1 games will be played on February 9 & 10. Atlanta will open their season at Orlando, San Diego at San Antonio, Memphis at Birmingham and Salt Lake will play at Arizona.

When I look at the rosters of the teams, I really don’t see a lot of people that I recognize. Here are some of the notable players that are listed for each team:

  • Arizona Hot Shots
    • Coach Rick Neuheisel
    • QB Trevor Knight (College: Oklahoma, Texas A&M Pro: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons)
  • Atlanta Legends
    • Coach Kevin Coyle
    • QB Aaron Murray (College: Georgia Pro:  Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams
    • QB Matt Simms (College: Tennessee Pro: New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons)
    • WR Stephen Hill (College: Georgia Tech Pro: New York Jets, Carolina Panthers)
  • Birmingham Iron
    • Coach Tim Lewis
    • QB Blake Sims (College:  Alabama Pro: Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
    • QB Scott Tolzien (College:  Wisconsin Pro:  San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts)
    • RB Trent Richardson (College:  Alabama Pro:  Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens)
    • CB JaCorey Shepherd (College:  Kansas Pro:  Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers)
    • K Nick Novak (College:  Maryland Pro:  Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers)
  • Memphis Express
    • Coach Mike Singletary
    • QB Christian Hackenberg (College:  Penn State Pro:  New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals)
    • QB Zach Mettenberger (College: LSU Pro:  Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers)
    • RB Zac Stacy (College:  Vanderbilt Pro:  St. Louis Rams, New York Jets)
    • WR Chris Givens (College:  Wake Forest Pro:  St. Louis Rams, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Orlando Apollos
    • Coach Steve Spurrier
    • QB Garrett Gilbert (College:  Texas, SMU Pro:  St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers)
    • QB Stephen Morris (College:  Miami Pro:  Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans)
    • WR Frankie Hammond (College:  Florida Pro:  Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets)
    • DB Will Hill (College:  Florida Pro:  New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens)
  • San Antonio Commanders
    • Coach Mike Riley
    • RB David Cobb (College:  Minnesota Pro:  Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears)
    • RB Daryl Richardson (College:  Abilene Christian Pro:  St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts)
  • Salt Lake Stallions
    • Coach Dennis Erickson
    • QB B.J. Daniels (College:  South Florida Pro:  San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons)
    • QB Garrett Grayson (College:  Colorado State Pro:  New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos)
    • RB Matt Asiata (College:  Utah Pro:  Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions)
  • San Diego Fleet
    • Coach Mike Martz
    • QB Josh Johnson (College:  San Diego Pro:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders)
    • RB Bishop Sankey (College:  Washington Pro:  Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings)

This new league has the potential for filling the void of football when the Super Bowl ends but we will have to wait and see what kind of quality of product these teams will put on the field.  While the league won’t directly compete with the National Football League (NFL), the survival will depend on how well they are received by football fans – especially in the eight cities which will have AAF teams.  Many of the cities have been the victim of past failed leagues and could be more apprehensive in embracing yet another football team.  I think the league did a good job putting teams in San Diego and Atlanta which San Diego losing the Chargers and Atlanta desperate for a consistent winner.

If nothing else, the AAF could partner with the NFL in becoming a developmental league while former players could use it as a way back into the league.  If the AAF takes hold, they would do well to become a true developmental league and place franchises in markets without NFL franchises.

They need to get off to a good start with the new re-creation of the XFL set to be their competition in 2020.

Alliance of American Football Release Uniforms and Helmets

When asked about his team wearing different color pants for a football game, an old high school football coach said, “The color of the pants don’t matter.  The pants aren’t going to tackle anybody or score touchdowns, it’s the players wearing the pants who will win or lose the game.”

He was right about that.  They don’t make a difference in playing the game but it’s nice to look good doing it.

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is the newest professional football and they will kick off their first season the week after the Super Bowl in Atlanta (GA), Birmingham (AL), Memphis (TN), Orlando (FL), Phoenix (AZ), Salt Lake (UT), San Antonio (TX), and San Diego (CA).  Last week the league released the uniform and helmet designs of each team.  Here’s how I would rank them:

#8 – Atlanta Legends

atlanta

Boring.  I think they could have done better.  I still have issues with the name.  Not that it doesn’t fit Atlanta in some way but it wasn’t very creative and neither are the uniforms/helmet.  The helmet will have a crown which could be a reference to Martin Luther King, Jr.  The colors will be purple and gold with the letters “ATL” up each side of the jersey in gold.  Maybe it will work and if they can do better than the Falcons I don’t think it will really matter.

#7 – Birmingham Iron

birmingham

Boring #2.  The Iron’s colors are black, dark grey and light grey.  They were inspired by the three elements needed to make steel – iron ore, coal and flux.   Not sure what flux is.  With no logo on the black helmet it is much like the non-logo side of a Pittsburgh Steeler’s helmet.  And that name – Iron – singular.  I’m not a fan of singular nicknames for sports teams.

#6 – San Antonio Commanders

san_antonioI like the name but there is a lot of red in their team colors.  The colors are a combination of red, silver and maroon.  The sword is a nice touch and identifies with the Alamo.  San Antonio is a city in need a professional football team that will stay.  San Antonians have been dealt with teams in the World Football League (WFL), United States Football League (USFL), Arena Football League (AFL) and even the Canadian Football League (CFL).  Hopefully this one will stick.

#5 – San Diego Fleet

san diegoAgain with the singular nickname but with the strong navy influence, I guess this name works.  It is expected that jilted Charger fans might come aboard.  The colors are grey, dark grey and gold in a military style design.  The helmet includes a battleship which is pretty fitting with the player’s number on the other side of the helmet.

#4 – Arizona Hotshots

arizonaNot a fan of the name but the uniforms identify them with designs based upon the United States Forest Service firefighters.  Their jersey is gold with an orange collar and green sleeves.  The helmet is gold with a green face mask.  The primary logo features two crossed fire axes on a shield.  I don’t think it will be hard to distinguish this team as an Arizona-based team.

#3 – Memphis Express

MemphisI was unsure where to place this one on my list.  I really like the uniform and design but it’s hard for me to identify this with Memphis.  I suppose the name is derived from Federal Express which is based there.  The helmet is a gradient from blue to read with a jet ascending from back to front.  The jersey is blue with red sleeves and collar.

#2 – Salt Lake Stallions

salt lakeThis is one of the team’s that I think got it right with the name, logo and colors.  The only thing that puzzles me is the helmet logo.  The logo looks more like wings rather than a horses’ mane which I assume is what they were thinking.  The jersey is silver with a light blue collar and sleeves, darker royal blue for the player numbers.  Not bad.

#1 – Orlando Apollos

orlandoThis is my favorite of the eight teams.  I think they got it right with the name and designs.  Orlando is another city which has been through several failed leagues and franchises.  Maybe this one will make it.  The team colors are orange, blue and white.  The helmet features a logo of Apollo ready to shoot his arrow inside of a faint hint of the letter “O”.

So now we need to wait to see which players will wear these uniforms and helmets.

 

Names/Logos Set For Alliance of American Football Teams

AAF TeamsOkay, the wait is over (if you were really waiting for this).  The newest professional football league has now released their team names and logos.  The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is scheduled to kickoff on February 9, 2019.

So here they are.  These are your 10 teams:

  • Orlando Apollos
    • Stadium:  Spectrum Stadium
    • Coach:  Steve Spurrier
  • Atlanta Legends
    • Stadium:  Georgia State Stadium
    • Coach:  Brad Childress
  • Memphis Express
    • Stadium:  Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
    • Coach:  Mike Singletary
  • Birmingham Iron
    • Stadium:  Legion Field Stadium
    • Coach:  Tim Lewis
  • Salt Lake Stallions
    • Stadium:  Rice-Eccles Stadium
    • Coach:  Dennis Erickson
  • Arizona Hotshots
    • Stadium:  Sun Devil Stadium
    • Coach:  Rick Neuheisel
  • San Diego Fleet
    • Stadium:  San Diego County Credit Union Stadium
    • Coach:  Mike Martz
  • San Antonio Commanders
    • Stadium:  Alamodome
    • Coach:  Mike Riley

I don’t love or hate any of these names/logos for these proposed teams.  They didn’t pick any of the names I had expected such as Memphis Hound Dogs, Orlando Wizards, Birmingham Bulls, San Diego Breakers and San Antonio Outlaws.  Hopefully they will not end up in the graveyard of failed leagues.  Orlando, Memphis, Birmingham and San Antonio have had teams in many of the failed leagues in the past so it will be interesting to see if the fans of these cities will embrace the newest teams or will wait to see their teams fold again.  Arizona and Atlanta are the only teams with active National Football League (NFL) teams in the same city but with the spring schedule, they will not compete head-to-head.  I was a little surprised that the AAF failed to place a franchise in St. Louis.  Maybe that is in their future plans as well as expansion into the Northeast U.S.

So how will the AAF be different than the NFL?

  • AAF will get rid of kicking the extra point.  Instead, teams will go for two.
  • Play clock will be reduced to 30 seconds
  • No kickoffs.  Teams will start with the ball at the 25 to begin play.
  • Instead of an onside kick, a team can keep possession of the ball by attempting a scrimmage play from their own 35-yard line and gaining at least 10 yards.

So will the AAF survive where the USFL, WFL, CFL and other leagues failed?  It seems they are off to a good start and have some legitimate people running the league.  The last sustained attempt at an alternative spring league was the United States Football League which lasted from 1983-1986.  The league folded when the plans were made to move to the fall and compete head-to-head with the NFL.  Maybe the AAF will not repeat the mistakes of the past.  If it works, we may have access to football year-round.  That’s enough to make football haters cringe.

 

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.

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.