Do They Still Play Indoor Football?

With the demise of the Arena Football League (AFL) in the off-season, indoor football leagues are still surviving but some just barely above semi-pro football.

Here’s a look at the indoor leagues that I have found which are scheduled to play this season:

Indoor Football League (IFL) is starting their 11th season with 13 teams. The IFL is currently the oldest arena/indoor football league. The Sioux Falls Storm won last year’s championship which was their seventh title.

Current teams are: Arizona Rattlers, Bismarck Bucks, Cedar Rapids River Kings, Duke City Gladiators, Frisco Fighters, Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers, Oakland Panthers, Quad City Steamwheelers, San Diego Strike Force, Sioux Falls Storm, Spokane Shock and Tucson Sugar Skulls.

On August 20, 2019, the Duke City Gladiators joined the IFL after winning back-to-back CIF championships. On September 10, the Oakland Panthers, co-owned by former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, joined the IFL for the 2020 season. On November 1, the league added the Spokane Shock after it was resurrected by former NFL player Sam Adams, with the Spokane team reacquiring the Shock brand following the Empire’s folding in 2017. The Bosselman family were looking to sell the Nebraska Danger, but no owner was found before the deadline for participating in the 2020 season. On November 24, 2019, the IFL added a thirteenth team in Frisco, Texas, owned by the Germain family called the Frisco Fighters. The Germain family also purchased the sponsorship rights for the IFL, the management rights of the league’s communications and marketing department, as well as a second expansion for the 2021 season in Columbus, Ohio.

The season begins March 7th. For more information on this league, go to goifl.com.

The Champions Indoor Football (CIF) league currently has seven teams and will be kicking off their fifth season. The Duke City Gladiators won their second league championship last season.

Current teams are: Omaha Beef, Salina Liberty, Sioux City Bandits, Wichita Force, Amarillo Venom, Oklahoma Flying Aces and West Texas Warbirds.

During the offseason, the CIF lost the Bismarck Bucks and Quad City Steamwheelers to the IFL. When the 2019 schedule was released, both the West Michigan Ironmen and the Kansas City Phantoms had been removed as members. On May 9, the Texas Revolution folded during the season. At the end of the season, the Duke City Gladiators won their second consecutive championship and then withdrew from the league, eventually joining the IFL. Following the season, the league announced it had partnered with the National Arena League (NAL) to create a new league for the 2020 season under a new identity with two conferences: the CIF and NAL. However, it was announced on October 10 that the deal had been postponed, with both leagues playing their own individual schedules in 2020.

The CIF season will start on March 8th. For more information about this league, go to gocif.net.

The National Arena League (NAL) will start their third season with seven teams. The Jacksonville Sharks won their second title last season.

Current teams are: Carolina Cobras, Columbus Lions, Jacksonville Sharks, Jersey Flight, Massachusetts Pirates, Orlando Predators and West Virginia Roughriders.

Following the season, the NAL announced it had partnered with Champions Indoor Football (CIF) to create a new league for the 2020 season under a new identity with two conferences: the CIF and NAL. The Massachusetts Pirates chose to not join the merged league and the New York Streets were not mentioned as an included team. However, it was announced on October 10 that the deal had been postponed, with both leagues playing their own individual schedules in 2020. The Pirates rejoined the NAL and the league then added two teams that had originally been given conditional approval to join in the 2018 season, the Jersey Flight and the West Virginia Roughriders (then known as the Richmond Roughriders), from the American Arena League.

The NAL season kicks off on April 4th. For more information about this league, go to NationalArenaLeague.com.

The American Arena League (AAL) enters their second season with 10 teams. The West Virginia Roughriders were crowned league champions last season.

Current teams are: Carolina Cowboyz, Carolina Predators, Charlotte Thunder, Indianapolis Enforcers, Louisville Xtreme, Music City Fire, Pennsylvania Union, South Florida Thunder, Tampa Bay Tornadoes and West Michigan Ironmen.

I can’t tell you when the new season starts because their website is currently down.

The newest league is the American West Football Conference (AWFC) which enters their second season with three teams. The Idaho Horsemen won the league’s first title in 2019.

Current teams are: Idaho Horsemen, Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks and Yakima Canines.

For the 2020 season, the league announced expansion teams in Yakima, Washington, and the San Francisco Bay Area, although the Bay Area team never launched. In February 2020, the Reno Express was removed from the schedule and the Tri-Cities Fire folded, which led to the Idaho Horsemen and Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks both announce they would play independent schedules. The league then announced it would be playing the 2020 season with three teams — Idaho, Wenatchee, and Yakima — while looking for non-league teams to fill in the lost games including the minor outdoor team, Tri-City Rage, filling in for the Fire’s six scheduled away games.

The AWFC’s second season starts March 17th. For more information about this league, go to americanwestfootballconference.com.

There is also another indoor league named Arena Pro Football (APF) however, it is difficult to find any information about this league and functions more as a semi-pro league.

THE FUTURE OF INDOOR FOOTBALL

These five indoor football leagues are what’s left of the sport. Except for the IFL, the state of indoor football doesn’t seem to be very stable. The Arena Football League mentioned they might come back in some kind of format but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening.

What I would like to see for these leagues to merge into one nationwide league divided into geographic regions. Develop some regional rivalries and created some stability. I think that having two or three levels would help to grow the sport better. I just think these leagues would do well working together than as separate entities.

I still think there is a place for arena/indoor football. It is still an exciting variation of the outdoor version. No, it’s not the same but it’s still a lot of fun to watch. These five leagues are trying to keep it alive.

Sports Thoughts

Nashville’s third major league sports team kicked off over the weekend as Nashville SC made their debut in Major League Soccer (MLS) in front of over 59,000 fans at Nissan Stadium. The local news folks said this was the largest crowd to watch a professional soccer game in state history. That’s a pretty good start. The team was pretty competitive too with a narrow 2-1 loss to Atlanta United. As the season goes on, it will be interesting to see how strong the support will be for the remaining 16 home games. One expert said that if Nashville can average 20,000 that it would be a good level to maintain. I’m thinking they should be able to do it since they will fill the void between the Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans seasons.

Ratings for the new XFL spring football league have been steadily dropping since their opening weekend. I watched some of the game yesterday between the DC Defenders and Tampa Bay Vipers. There were a LOT of empty seats in the stadium. Tampa is a difficult market anyway and it doesn’t help that the Vipers were 0-3 going into the game. The XFL is nearing the midway part of the season. It will be interesting to see how strong they finish or if they will give it up like the Alliance of American Football (AAF) did a year ago. The XFL will now have competition from Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

As I was channel surfing, I landed on one of the ESPN channels showing a cornhole tournament. Seriously? This backyard/tailgate game has become serious competition. They even have their own professional organization called the American Cornhole League (ACL). And people think bowling is boring….

For the first spring since 1987, there will no Arena Football League (AFL). The league died over the winter after drowning in debt and lawsuits. That’s a shame. The AFL was actually a good version of football played during the spring. The league had lots of high scoring and action. Their best season was probably in 2008 when they had 17 teams and averaged almost 13,000 fans per game. There are other indoor leagues but none of them have been the same caliber as the AFL.

Former Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback, Tony Romo, signed a sweet $17 million deal to continue with CBS as an broadcaster of NFL games. That’s a lot of money. Romo is good for sure but $17 million?

I am tired of hearing all the speculation of where Tom Brady will end up. I really don’t care. He’s at the end of his career and may have one more season left so what does it matter? I guess folks are thinking that team will win the Super Bowl if they have Brady. The latest rumors have been the Raiders or Titans. I just wish he would sign with someone already. Be done with it.

Four Central Kentucky newspapers laid off their sports reports last week. The sports departments at the the Advocate-Messenger, Jessamine Journal, Interior Journal and Winchester Sun were eliminated. All are owned by the same company, Boone Newspapers, Inc. Most were blindsided by the news. Now that’s pretty cold-hearted.

Seattle’s new National Hockey League (NHL) expansion franchise still does not have a name. They are scheduled to start playing next season. I’m not sure what the delay is. The most popular vote is for “Sockeyes”. I think that’s some kind of fish in the region. Seems fitting for a hockey name.

I have not been following college basketball but a glance at the latest rankings have Kansas (26-3) leading the men and South Carolina (29-1) leading the women. It’s about time for March Madness. Get those brackets ready.

Arena Football League Sacked

aflIt appears that the crazy version called the Arena Football League (AFL) has folded.  The AFL, which was a condensed, indoor version of football has been lighting up the scoreboard with pinball football since 1987.

If the AFL were a cat, it is on it’s 9 1/2 life.  While the league office suggested that the league might continue in some form as a “travel/touring” league, most football experts believe that this is the final blow.  The news came as a surprise to many players and fans of the AFL.

In a statement released Tuesday, the league office said it is still searching for ways to continue operations in the future, but also acknowledged it is laying off employees.

“These closures have resulted in the elimination of various staff positions and is a direct consequence of the current financial constraints facing the AFL, which include extensive legacy liabilities and a recent multimillion dollar litigation filed against the league by an insurance carrier that provided coverage for the AFL between 2009 and 2012,” the league said in a statement. “Those liabilities, which are all related to prior league operations, severely constrain the league’s ability to expand and operate.”

The litigation that spurred the move was filed against Arena Football One by National Union Fire Insurance Company two weeks ago in New York Supreme Court in an effort to compel arbitration, alleging the league did not pay insurance premiums when National Union was the insurer from 2009 to 2012.

The suit alleges Arena Football One owes National Union over $2.4 million.

If the petition of arbitration is declined by a court, National Union has requested it be viewed as a complaint for breach of contract by the court, potentially leading to a lawsuit. The next appearance date for the petition is Dec. 18.

The AFL launched in 1987 with four teams and eventually as many as 19 teams in 2001.  The league even created their own second-tier league called AF2 which played from 2000-2009.  I attended many of the Macon Knights’ AF2 franchise.  The game was exciting to watch and high scoring.  Arena football was played on artificial turf over a hockey-rink sized field with “rebound nets” on each end where the ball was still in play when it bounced off of them.  The league also played in the winter/spring so as not to compete with college football or the National Football League (NFL).  The NFL never totally used the AFL as a developmental league which would have probably saved them.

The AFL had just four teams in 2018 but expanded to six before the 2019 season. Those six teams are based out of Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Columbus, Philadelphia and Washington. The league went bankrupt in 2009 and even had to cancel the season before ultimately being brought back.

It doesn’t appear that there is much hope that the AFL will rebound to play again.  While there are still other indoor leagues, the AFL was always the “major league” among them.  It is doubtful that another league could rise to a major league caliber indoor league.  Even the other indoor leagues are in a state of flux with mergers and teams jumping to other leagues.  The only way a league could get a good footing on the indoor game would be with the backing of NFL financing and that is not likely to happen.

 

 

Football Friday (8/16/19)

Albany Empire rolls to ArenaBowl title

While our traditional American football season is approaching, there are still teams and leagues around the world playing the sport.  Here’s a recap of news from around the world:

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Albany Empire finished up its seasonal theme “unfinished business” with a dominating second half en route to a 45-27 victory over the Philadelphia Soul in the Arena­Bowl 32 Sunday night before a crowd of 12,042 at Times Union Center.

Game MVP Tommy Grady, who won the last two seasonal MVPs, tossed five touchdown passes, four of them to Quentin Sims, and the Empire defense came up big with numerous turnovers and possession stops for Albany, which went 10-2 in the regular season and then dominated its two-game semifinal series. Sunday was much the same in the second half against the third-seeded Soul.  Read more…

CANADA

Current Canadian Football League standings:

East Division

  1. Hamilton Tiger Cats (6-2)
  2. Montreal Alouettes (3-4)
  3. Ottawa RedBlacks (3-5)
  4. Toronto Argonauts (1-6)

West Division

  1. Winnipeg Bluebombers (7-2)
  2. Calgary Stampeders (5-3)
  3. Saskatchewan Roughriders (5-3)
  4. Edmonton Eskimos (5-3)
  5. British Columbia Lions (1-8)

GERMANY

The Allgäu Comets  withstood a furious late comeback by the Marburg Mercenaries to defeat their German Football League South rivals 22-19 and move closer to a playoff berth with four games to go in the season.

The Comets had taken a 22-7 lead with less than two minutes remaining when Marburg scored two late touchdowns to narrow the gap. But Allgäu’s Danny Wynne pounced on the second onside kick attempt to secure the win.

Marburg came into the game as winners of six of the last seven games with the best passing offense in the league. Read more…

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

NALThe Jacksonville Sharks (14-1) will host the Carolina Cobras (10-5) this weekend in Jacksonville for the NAL Championship.

These two teams met last year in the playoffs. This was a game where tensions were high, as there were multiple ejections for unsportsmanlike conduct in the game. The Cobras blew this one open early, scoring the first 26 points and leading 39-7 at the half. The Sharks tried to fight back in the second half but could not get any closer than 21 as the Cobras won for the third time in a row 73-48, taking the series to 3-1 Cobras. This win not only dethroned the defending NAL Champions, it sent the Cobras to the NAL Championship where they destroyed the Columbus Lions 66-8 to become the 2018 NAL Champions.

WOMEN’S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Team Finland scored a touchdown with under 10 seconds left on the clock to break a tie and defeat Sweden 27-20 in the second round of the IFAF 2019 Women’s European Championships inLeeds, England.

With the win, Finland now has a chance to capture their second straight European title.

This was a tale of two halves. The two teams combined for 40 points in the second half after Finland took a 7-0 halftime lead.

Running back Tytti Kuusinen was again outstanding scoring two touchdowns while Mari Jääskeläand Anne Rasilahti scored one apiece. Sanni Seppälä kicked three extra points. Read more…

(Thanks to American Football International and Our Sports Central for their stories)

Monday with Milton

I’m all over the place today.  I’m calling it “miscellaneous Monday” because I’m a bit scattered today with a variety of issues on my mind.

Let’s start with the fun stuff…

Albany wins ArenaBowl 32 title

Remember the Arena Football League?  No?  Well, they played ArenaBowl 32 last night in Albany, New York.  The Albany Empire defeated the Philadelphia Soul 45-27 for the title.  I’ll have more details on my “Football Friday” post this week about it.  Let me just say that I have always been a fan of the league but their management has really screwed things up over the years.  Last season they were down to only four teams in the league and was close to closing up.  Reports indicate that they will revive the Cleveland Gladiators and maybe another team to their lineup.  Rumors continue circulating that Nashville might be one of those teams.

Macon Bacon eaten by Marlins

I read this weekend where the Macon Bacon, a collegiate summer league team in the Coastal Plains League, were playing in the championship against the Morehead City Marlins.  I have to laugh when I see that the Bacon had to knock off the Savannah Bananas in the playoffs.  Unfortunately, the Bacon lost the finals in game three last night 6-2.   There was an Instagram post last week showing Kevin Bacon wearing a Macon Bacon hat.  Who else would you expect Kevin Bacon to support?

New York Empire wins pro frisbee league title

The New York Empire defeated the Dallas Roughnecks 26-22 yesterday to win the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) championship.  The Empire completed an undefeated season to win their first title.  I’ll have to admit that I haven’t followed the AUDL as closely this season since we lost our Nashville franchise but I’m glad to see that the league continues to play.  I have heard rumors that other franchises might fold in the off season so it will be interesting to see what the league will look like next season.

Now some grumblings…..

Lowe’s delivers….whenever

We had some issues with Lowe’s this weekend with an order we had placed.  We were told the delivery would be Sunday but when had not heard anything from them, we called to be advised they were out-of-stock on an item and that the delivery would be on Tuesday.  This is unacceptable.  People make plans to be available for deliveries and take off from work – sometimes without pay – to be ready and when they don’t come or even communicate changes something needs to be done.  It is clear that Lowe’s does not communicate with everyone in the chain and apparently they fail in communicating to the local stores.  The acting store manager apologized but it seems that the online/phone ordering place “forces” the information to the local store and puts the local store in a bad situation if the item is not in stock.  Lowe’s needs to get it together if they want people to shop online.  My advice for you is to go to the local store and place the order.

School bus stop issue

Now that school has started, we have had an issue with students using our driveway as the bus stop.  Weird since we have no children at home ourselves right?  One of our neighbors informed us when we moved in that the bus stop had been moved to our driveway.  Now that we want this changed, it is taking an act of Congress to get it done.  I have contacted our homeowner’s association and the transportation department of the school yet it seems they can’t communicate to the bus driver to change the location to the stop sign on the corner which is just 25 feet from our drive way.  I am told they have “no control” over the situation.  Seriously? Can’t they tell the driver to stop the dang bus at the stop sign instead of our driveway?  The problem is that the kids tend to wander around and even up to our front door.  This could be a problem if they were injured on our property.  I guess I’m going to have to be one of “those” neighbors.

Beware of anonymous surveys

I found out this morning that our management is asking for our office to complete a survey and my area of work is one of those areas to be surveyed.  The surveys are anonymous.  That’s never a good thing in my experience.  You can only look at social media to see how mean people can be and now we have this anonymous survey.  Well, I am having to brace myself this one.

Automatic Weapons Debate

Why is this even a debate?  Why does the average citizen need an automatic weapon?  Yeah, I know the whole “Second Amendment Rights” but where’s the common sense in all of this?  If I go into a Chipotle, Walmart or Starbucks and someone is proudly carrying an automatic weapon simply because they can, I’m leaving.  Why be a dumb ass and scare the crap out of people?  I guess we need IQ scores to go along with background checks and mental health exams.  Good grief people!

What can I say?  It’s Monday.  Here’s what Forbes.com says about how to beat the “Monday blues” (yes, I’m totally going to make fun of these)…

  1. Identify the problem [the problem is MONDAY.  I think we’ve clearly identified it]
  2. Prepare for Monday on Friday [What???]
  3. Make a list of things you are excited about. [I’m excited about Friday]
  4. Unplug for the weekend [Oh yes, I definitely agree with this.  Some people need a life.]
  5. Get enough sleep and wake up early [Are you kidding me?  I already get up at 4:55 a.m.  So should I not even go to sleep??]
  6. Dress for success [It’s too much work to dress up and look pretty]
  7. Be positive [I’m positive that I do NOT like Mondays]
  8. Make someone else happy [Okay, now I’m getting nauseous]
  9. Keep your Monday schedule light [Suggestion…why do we just eliminate Monday?]
  10. Have fun at work [If it were fun it wouldn’t be called work.  Where does this person work?]
  11. Have a post-work plan [Is it Friday yet?]

 

Have a good week and be careful out there.  Keep your automatic weapons at home please.

 

 

Football Friday (8/2/19)

GDFL

Oklahoma meets Middle Tennessee for GDFL Title

It’s already football season around the world, let’s take a look at what’s happening this week:

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Philadelphia Soul defeated the Washington Valor 69-33 at Capital One Arena on Sunday afternoon behind a big day from Darius “Money” Reynolds. With the win, the Soul will take a 36-point lead back to Philadelphia next weekend for the second game of the home-and-home series. The team with the highest aggregate score after both games will advance to play the winner of the Albany Empire-Baltimore Brigade series in ArenaBowl 32.  Read more…

The Albany Empire (10-2) defeated the Baltimore Brigade (7-5), 61-26, in front of 9,085 fans at the Times Union Center on Saturday night. The victory gives the Empire a 35-point lead over the Brigade in the aggregate score of the home-and-home playoff series. The second game of the series will be on Saturday, August 3 at 7 p.m. at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore. Read more…

AUSTRIA

The Swarco Raiders staged a second half rally to defeat the Dacia Vienna Vikings 42-34 Saturday in St. Polten to capture Austrian Bowl XXXV and finish off a perfect, undefeated season. The Raiders fell behind early and trailed the entire first half. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that Swarco pulled even and then took the lead for the first time. Quarterback Sean Shelton completed 14 of 22 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another one. His leading target, Patrick Donahue, had 105 yards receiving scoring two touchdowns while Adrian Platzgummer had three receptions for 58 yards. Running back Sandro Platzgummer had eight carries for 85 yards and a touchdown while teammate Tobias Bonatti had eight for 84.  Read more…

CANADIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

The Toronto Argonauts pulled off an incredible fourth quarter comeback against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last week, completing a game-winning touchdown drive in the final seconds to edge Winnipeg 28-27.  Argos quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson had his strongest performance of the season, completing 37 of 49 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns to lead Toronto to its first win.  Read more…

Current Standings:

East Division

  1. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-2)
  2. Montreal Alouettes (3-2)
  3. Ottawa Redblacks (2-4)
  4. Toronto Argonauts (1-6)

West Division

  1. Winnipeg Bluebombers (5-2)
  2. Calgary Stampeders (4-2)
  3. Edmonton Eskimos (4-2)
  4. Saskatchewan Roughriders (4-3)
  5. British Columbia Lions (1-6)

EUROPE

Team Sweden’s offense sputtered at times but caught fire when it needed to defeat France 7-0 and advance to the finals of the IFAF 2019 U19 European Championships. This is the second time in the history of this tournament that Sweden has reached the final. Both defenses played lights out football making the offenses work for every yard. Sweden kept the vaunted French running attack neutralized much of the game. France reached the Swedish red zone twice but squandered their chances with penalties and miscues. In fact, France was flagged 13 times for 128 yards. Each time they had a semblance of a scoring chance, a penalty would take them out of range. Or an interception. Read more…

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Middle Tennessee counter punched its way to another postseason victory vs. the Erie Express.  Eleven seconds after Erie took its only lead in Saturday’s Xtreme Conference final for the Gridiron Development Football League playoffs, the Bulldawgs responded with the game’s decisive points.  The Nashville franchise scored when quarterback Eric Chapa connected with wide receiver Tyran Moore down the left sideline for a 52-yard touchdown with 3 minutes, 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter.  Its defense made it hold up for a 32-27 win at Dollinger Field.  Read more…

The #1 seed in the Impact Conference, The Oklahoma Thunder throttled the #3 seeded River City Pythons to reach the GDFL National Championship (Gridiron Bowl X) this Saturday in Broken Arrow, OK – recording a 55-0 shutout. This was the Thunder’s fourth shutout of the season and first game in which its defense held an opponent to negative total yardage. As typical for the Thunder this season, the offense utilized a combination of explosive plays in both the passing and rushing attack to control the game from the start. Standout RB Adidas McDonald spearheaded the rushing attack behind a veteran offensive line and rushed 9 times for 148 yards and three touchdowns. That total included an impressive 76-yard touchdown run immediately after another long run that got called back due to a penalty.  Read more…

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

The Massachusetts Pirates (8-6) were able to build momentum heading into the playoffs next weekend with an impressive 50-35 victory over the New York Streets (4-10). The Pirates swept the season series from the Streets four games to none. With the seeding already locked, Pirates backups saw a significant amount of playing time. The Pirates were guided by an impressive performance by Alejandro Bennifield who completed 16 of 30 passes for 171 yards and four touchdowns. In his debut as a Pirate, receiver Rannell Hall caught eight passes and two touchdowns and added 98 yards receiving to lead the Pirates receiving corps. New York was led by quarterback Cody Williams who passed for 174 yards and four touchdowns. Read more…

Final Regular Season Standings:

  1. Jacksonville Sharks (13-1)
  2. Carolina Cobras (9-5)
  3. Massachusetts Pirates (8-6)
  4. Columbus Lions (6-8)
  5. New York Streets (4-10)
  6. Orlando Predators (2-12)

(Thanks to American Football International and Our Sports Central for their reports)

Football Friday

Let’s take a look at American Football news from around the world this week:

WVRoughriders

West Virginia Roughriders win AAL Title

AMERICAN ARENA LEAGUE

Staring a 15-0 deficit in the face, the West Virginia Roughriders (13-0) didn’t blink as Jarrett Brown overcame a terrible start to account for more than 200 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns in a 55-29 triumph over the Carolina Energy Saturday inside a raucous WesBanco Arena crowd estimated at nearly 4,500.

Brown got the Roughriders going with a 14-yard touchdown scamper with 90 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Placekicker Anthony Prevost, the smallest player on the roster, took a pitch from holder Steve Penasuk and bulled his way into the end zone for a 15-8 reading.

A 7-yard scoring strike from Brown to Chad Walcott in the back of the end zone put the hosts back ahead 27-22 with 47 ticks left before the half. A safety on Carolina for holding in the end zone 21 seconds later bumped the count to 29-22. The first series of the third quarter summed up the second half as defensive end Shawn Oakman sacked Colon and forced a fumble he recovered at the Energy 1. Three plays later, Brown speared Beavers Jr. in traffic for a 35-22 lead.

This marks the second championship for the franchise as it won the 2017 Arena Pro Football title as the Richmond Roughriders. It’s also the third championship for the City of Wheeling as the Ohio Valley Greyhounds won the National Indoor Football League crowns in 2003 and 2004, going 14-0 the second season.

ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Darius Prince scored three touchdowns as the Soul beat the Albany Empire, 54-43, on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center to improve to 6-4. With the win, the Soul clinched their eighth straight playoff berth.  Facing a tough Albany defense, the Soul scored eight touchdowns in as many red zone trips as quarterback Dan Raudabaugh passed for 231 yards and seven touchdowns.

Current standings:

  • Albany Empire (8-2)
  • Philadelphia Soul (6-4)
  • Baltimore Brigade (6-4)
  • Washington Valor (5-5)
  • Atlantic City Blackjacks (4-6)
  • Columbus Destroyers (1-9)

CHAMPIONS INDOOR FOOTBALL

The Duke City Gladiators are now headed to the CIF Champions Bowl for a second consecutive year, as they beat the Amarillo Venom on Saturday 70-62 for the Southern Conference Championship. The Gladiators trailed at the half and couldn’t find a rhythm on offense and defense but they were able to turn things around in the second half though, as they scored 44 points and held off the Venom for the win. The Gladiators will now host the Salina Liberty in the CIF Championship game on July 13th in Tingley Coliseum.

The Salina Liberty are now one win away from accomplishing that goal, but not until after a few heart-stopping moments during a 44-42 victory over the Omaha Beef on Saturday night in the CIF playoff semifinals at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center. What looked to be an easy victory turned into a nail-biter as Omaha scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes and attempted a two-point conversion play with no time left that could have sent the game into overtime. Linebacker Dontra Matthews was at the right place at the right time, knocking down Omaha quarterback Derrick Bernard’s pass to give the Liberty the win and send them into the league championship game.

GRIDIRON DEVELOPMENTAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Erie moves up from # 2 to the # 1 spot in the Nation after the # 1 team in the nation the Oklahoma Thunder tumbles to # 3 after losing to the #4 Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs who move up to # 2. The #3 Huntsville Rockets drop a road game fall to # 4 after losing to the Thunder a week ago!!! Tri_City Outlaws remain idle at # 5.

  1. Erie Express
  2. Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs
  3. Oklahoma Thunder
  4. Huntsville Rockets
  5. Tri-City Outlaws
  6. River City Pythons
  7. Cleveland Cobras
  8. Joplin Crusaders
  9. Georgia Crush
  10. Howard Huskies

INDOOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

UNITED CONFERENCE:  SIOUX FALLS STORM 52, IOWA BARNSTORMERS 50

The Sioux Falls Storm played the Indoor Football League’s reigning champions Iowa Barnstormers on Saturday, June 29 in the United Conference Championship. The Storm won their 15th Conference Championship after defeating the Iowa Barnstormers 52-50. Quarterback Lorenzo Brown completed 15 passes for 208 yards and five touchdowns. He also had three rushing touchdowns. Wide receivers Damian Ford tallied 144 yards for two touchdowns, Kent Shelby had 22 yards and one touchdown, Damond Powell had 22 yards and one touchdown and Brandon Sheperd had 11 yards for one touchdown. Kicker Parker Douglass made four extra points. Defensive back Trey Wafford led the Thunder Defense with 10 tackles and one pass break-up. Defensive lineman Charles Williams had one pass break-up. Defensive back Joseph Blount had one fumble recovery.

INTENSE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP:  ARIZONA RATTLERS 62, NEBRASKA DANGER 45

The six-time World Champion Arizona Rattlers (15-0) moved one step closer to their seventh title on Saturday as they defeated the Nebraska Danger (8-8) 62-45 in the Intense Conference Championship in front of 13,579 fans at Gila River Arena.

NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE

Thomas Owens caught three touchdowns and returned an onside kick for a score to lead visiting Massachusetts (6-4) to a 61-37 win over Columbus as the Pirates increased their winning streak to five games. Quarterback Sean Brackett completed 20 of 30 passes for 205 yards and five touchdowns, while Owens was his top target with eight catches for 110 yards. Defensive back Lawrence Austin led the Massachusetts defense with 4½ tackles and two interceptions. Austin’s first interception set up the Pirates at the Lions’ 6-yard line, and four plays later Mardy Gilyard rushed into the end zone from 3-yards out for his 24th touchdown of the season to put Massachusetts up, 7-0. After Columbus (3-7) took a 10-7 lead to start the second quarter, Brackett found Owens for a 4-yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates back on top, 14-10. The Lions rallied for another score to retake the lead, but the Massachusetts offense got in gear, as Devonn Brown reeled in a 22-yard touchdown pass to put the Pirates up, 21-17. Austin’s second interception on the next Columbus play from scrimmage set up a Mike Waver 44-yard field goal to send the Pirates into halftime up, 27-17. Massachusetts kept up the scoring in the second half, as Owens added a 27-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter and a 13-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tight end Mitchell Bell grabbed a 7-yard touchdown pass and Quayvon Hicks added a 5-yard touchdown run before Owens capped the scoring with his onside kick return from 7-yards out.

Current Standings:

  • Jacksonville Sharks (9-1)
  • Carolina Cobras (7-3)
  • Massachusetts Pirates (6-4)
  • New York Streets (3-7)
  • Columbus Lions (3-7)
  • Orlando Predators (2-8)

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUES

AUSTRIA
The Austrian Football League playoffs kick off this weekend with the Wild Card Round. The Swarco Raiders finished the regular season in first place with an undefeated 10-0 record and earned a bye into the semifinals. Their arch rivals, the Dacia Vienna Vikings wound up second at 7-3 and also earned the right to play in the semifinals. The Vikings three losses came at the hands of Swarco to whom they lost twice, and the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants. The four teams battling it out in the wild card playoffs this weekend are the third place Prague Black Panthers, the Danube Dragons who finished fourth, the Giants and the SonicWall Mödling Rangers.

HUNGARY
The Fehérvár Enthroners will face the Kiev Capitals in Hungarian Bowl XIV on Saturday, July 6 at Hidegkuti Nandor Stadion in Budapest. The game is historic. This is the first time ever that a team from Budapest did not make it to the HFL championship game. On top of that, both teams are preparing to play in their first ever title game.

POLAND
The Wroclaw Panthers overcame mistakes and a stubborn battle from the defending champion Bialystok Lowlanders to down the Lowlanders 28-14 and capture Polish Bowl XIV at Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw this past weekend. Panthers quarterback Tony Dawson was a key to the win after throwing three touchdown passes and running another one in himself. Wide receiver and Game MVP Przemysław Banat along with Benji Barnes and Kacper Fiedziuk also scored for Wroclaw. For Bialystok, quarterback Rex Dausin scored on a one yard plunge and rookie kick returner Rafał Królewski scored on a kickoff return.

SWITZERLAND
The Swiss Federation of American Football – SAFV – National League semifinals kick off this weekend. The defending champion and 9-1 Calanda Broncos who finished first during the regular season will take on the fourth place 4-6 Basel Gladiators in one semifinal. The other features the second place Geneva Seahawks who finished with an 8-2 record against the 6-4 Bern Grizzlies who ended the season in third place in the SAFV National League standings.

 

 

How ‘Bout Them Dawgs, ArenaBowl and Frisbee Final Four

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Bulldawgs Win, Washington Wins ArenaBowl, Final Four set in AUDL

This isn’t a “false start” on the college football season and I’m not talking about THOSE Dawgs.  I am talking about the lesser known Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs who have advanced to the championship game of the Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) after defeating the Erie Express 14-7 on Saturday.  Never heard of these Bulldawgs?  I haven’t heard much about them except for an occasional post on my Facebook feed.  Rahim Muhhamed scored from nine yards out with 1:05 left to break open a 7-7 tie to give the Bulldawgs the winning score.  They will now face the Oklahoma Thunder in Birmingham on August 11th for the title.  The Bulldawgs are made up of many players from the previous Nashville Storm semi-pro team that played in Nashville for many seasons and were one of the top teams in semi-pro football.  I also did not know that the Bulldawgs were playing their home games at Ensworth which is probably the closest high school to me.  Gridiron Bowl IX will be the third in a row for the Oklahoma Thunder who defeated the OKC Outlaws 20-0. The Thunder will be going for their third straight Gridiron Bowl championship. With the Bulldawgs victory, this makes it the third year that the Thunder will take on a team from Tennessee in this game. In 2016, they defeated the Nashville Storm at home. Last year it was the Chattanooga Eagles that fell victim. Now the Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will try to make the third time a charm.

The indoor football version of the Super Bowl was played this past weekend as the four-team league crowned the Washington Valor as ArenaBowl XXXI champions when they beat the Baltimore Brigade 69-55.  The Valor had only won two games during the regular season and was the last place team entering the postseason.  The league REALLY needs some more teams or a better playoff format.  Washington quarterback Arvell Nelson put the Valor on the board first with a touchdown during the second quarter. Nelson had a record-setting game with 223 yards passing and five touchdowns.

MVP: QB Arvell Nelson – 23/33 passing, 223 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, ArenaBowl-record 15 rushing attempts, 42 rushing yards and an ArenaBowl-record five rushing touchdowns

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: WR Doug McNeil III – eight receptions, 95 receiving yards and four total touchdowns

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: DB Svante Davenport – 2.5 total tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery

Championship weekend is set in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) as the Dallas Roughnecks, New York Empire, Madison Radicals and Los Angeles Aviators won their division title games to advance.  Dallas edged the Raleigh Flyers 20-19, the New York Empire upset the Toronto Rush 18-17 and Madison topped the Indianapolis Alley Cats 27-18.  The Los Angeles Aviators clinched their division title last week against San Diego.  Dallas is the only participant which has won a title (2016).  Madison, which is hosting Championship Weekend, has been runner-up in two final fours (2013 & 2015).

 

Obscure Sports Report (7/13/18)

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Seattle Seawolves win MLR title, USA wins Quidditch World Cup and National Marbles Tournament crowns champions

American Arena League (AAL) – After shocking the Richmond Roughriders last week to win the championship, the Atlanta Havoc’s future appears to be in doubt.  The team is facing some uncertainty with ownership and arena issues.  The Havoc played in Buford, Georgia and may be looking for another location.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) – The league enters into the final weekend of the regular season.  Teams will be fighting for playoff berths or positions this week.  The Midwest Division is the only division with all three spots secured as the Madison Radicals will win the division with the Indianapolis AlleyCats and Minnesota Wind Chill taking the 2nd and 3rd places.  The Los Angeles Aviators will be the top-seed in the West with the San Diego Growlers, San Francisco FlameThrowers and San Jose Spiders competing for the other two playoff spots.  The Toronto Rush is the top team in the East with the New York Empire and DC Breeze game this weekend determining who finishes second.  A loss by New York will force them to play a must-win game Sunday against the Philadelphia Phoenix as the Montreal Royal will be cheering for Philadelphia.  The Dallas Roughnecks and Raleigh Flyers have clinched the top spots in the South.  Austin and Atlanta will be fighting for the final spot.

Arena Football League (AFL) – The AFL will start their unique playoff format this weekend as all of its’ four teams will be in the playoffs as they will be a two-game series where the aggregate score will determine the winner.  If teams are tied after the two games, they will play overtime to determine the winner.  Strange but something different this year in the AFL.  The Albany Empire will play at the Washington Valor and the Baltimore Brigade will travel to Philadelphia to play the Soul.

Big 3 Basketball League (BIG3) – The teams will take the court in Detroit this weekend for Week 4 of the season.  Former Detroit Piston great Rick Mahorn will try to get his team, Triology in the win column for the first time this season.  Triology won the title in the league’s inaugural season last year but have struggled so far this season.  Tri-State and the 3-Headed Monsters are currently at the top of the league at 3-0.

Gridiron Development Football League (GDFL) – It’s playoff time in the GDFL this weekend as 12 teams strive for Gridiron Bowl IX.  The Lexington Red Dragons host the Buffalo Spartans.  The winner will advance to play at the Erie Express in the second round.  The Huntsville Rockets play at the Georgia Crush in Macon, Georgia this weekend.  The Middle Tennessee Bulldawgs will host the winner next weekend in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Alabama Sabers host the East Alabama Predators.  The Mississippi Road Warriors await the winner.  In the final first round matchup, the Oklahoma Thunder will try to defend their title when they travel to play the Tri-City Outlaws.  The Oklahoma Outlawz will host the winner.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – After a 14-9 home win over the Charlotte Hounds, the Dallas Rattlers became the first team to clinch a spot in the Major League Lacrosse playoffs.  The Rattlers are at 9-2 followed by the Chesapeake Bayhawks (8-2) and Denver Outlaws (7-4).

Major League Quidditch (MLQ) – The league and the Boise Grays have arrived at the mutual decision to disband the franchise for the remainder of the 2018 season. Following reports of both player and referee misconduct at the Boise Grays vs. Salt Lake City series on June 16, MLQ launched an investigation. In addition to collecting statements from various parties in attendance at the series, MLQ and Grays leadership engaged in a series of discussions to determine the fate of the squad. MLQ and the Grays leadership determined the best option for both parties would be to disband the Boise Grays for the remainder of the 2018 season.

[Also, you folks at MLQ need to do a better job of updating your website and standings.]

Major League Rugby (MLR) – The Seattle Seawolves defeated the Glendale Raptors, 23-19, to win the inaugural MLR Championship and claim America’s Championship Shield at Torero Stadium in San Diego.  Outside centre William Rasileka and eight-man Riekert Hattingh put together consecutive tries for a one-point lead, 20-19. A penalty kick for good measure was all the Seawolves needed to upset the top-ranked Raptors.

Major League Soccer (MLS) – The Atlanta United leads the Eastern Conference with 40 points while FC Dallas leads the Western Conference with 35 points.

National Arena League (NAL) – Their is a logjam at the top of the league’s standings with the Columbus Lions (8-3), Massachusetts Pirates (9-4), Carolina Cobras (7-4) and Jacksonville Sharks (8-5) with four weeks remaining in the regular season.

National Marbles Tournament – Madison Johnson of Allegheny County, PA and Joshua Johnston of Ambler, PA  are this year’s 2018 National Champions.

National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) – The Chicago Bandits scored 21 runs in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Beijing Eagles to break the franchise’s single-game record and polished off a six-game sweep with a comeback win in the nightcap Thursday at Parkway Bank Sports Complex.  Emily Carosone, Gwen Svekis and Sammy Marshall launched home runs in the 21-0 rout as part of a 23-hit attack.  The Bandits maintained their lead in the standings at 36-12 and stayed two games ahead of USSSA Pride.

National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) – Thanks to goals by Debinha and Jessica McDonald, the NWSL North Carolina Courage defeated the Washington Spirit 2-0 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary on Wednesday evening. The Courage have won all three meetings against the Spirit, with a 4-2 victory at Washington on April 14th and a 1-0 victory at home on May 12th. The Courage improved to 13-1-3 with 42 points on the National Women’s Soccer League season, 13 points ahead of second place Seattle Reign FC in the standings. The attendance was 3,409 for the midweek game.

Quidditch World Cup – The United States defeated Belgium 120-70 to win the 2018 World Cup played in Florence, Italy.  It was the fourth appearance in the final for the USA team and their first title since 2014.  The USA topped Britain in the semifinals while Belgium advanced to their first cup final after defeating Turkey in their semifinal match.

Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – The Atlanta Dream (10-9) return to action this weekend after a franchise record-setting 106-89 victory over the Washington Mystics Wednesday in D.C. Atlanta set a new WNBA Record when four players notched 20+ points and at least five assists in a game (Angel McCoughtry – 24 PTS, 6 AST, Jessica Breland – 23 PTS, 7 AST, Tiffany Hayes – 21 PTS, 5 AST, Renee Montgomery – 21 PTS, 5 AST).

World Team Tennis (WTT) – The six-time WTT champion Washington Kastles will open the 2018 season this weekend at the New York Empire.  The WTT will have six teams this season with the Orange County Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators and Springfield Lasers joining Washington and New York.

 

 

Indoor Football Update (6/27/18)

American Arena League (AAL) – The Richmond Roughriders will host the Atlanta Havoc this weekend for the AAL championship.  The Roughriders won the Arena Pro Football title last year over the Florida Tarpons.  For more information:  American Arena League

Arena Football League (AFL) –  The Albany Empire defeated Baltimore Brigade 56-49 on Saturday night at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore’s regular-season home finale. The Brigade dropped to 7-3 with only their second loss in the past seven games. Baltimore leads the Empire and Philadelphia Soul , both 6-4, by a half game in the AFL with two games remaining in the regular season. It was the Brigade’s first loss at home this season. Brigade wide receiver Brandon Collins finished with 10 receptions for 131 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Randy Hippeard was 24-for-41 passing for 292 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. Quarterback Tommy Grady completed 14 of 20 passes for 199 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Empire. The Brigade will take on the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday followed by a game against the Washington Valor on July 7.  For more information:  Arena Football League

Champions Indoor Football (CIF) – The Duke City Gladiators broke open a close game in their semifinal playoff game against the Texas Revolution.  With four minutes left in the fourth quarter, it appeared the Gladiators were on the way to a comfortable victory with a 35-21 lead and had the ball at the Texas 5 with a first down. QB Caleb Holbrook then threw toward receiver Dello Davis but Davis lost a tug-of-war for the ball, the Revs defender Frankie Solomon II who  wrestled it from Davis and returned the ball to the Gladiators’ 12. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Texas failed to execute an onside kick and the Gladiators took over at the Revs’ 21 and kept possession until the late score, a 20-yard pass from Holbrook to Juwan Lewis for a 41-28 win.   The Sioux City Bandits edged the Salina Liberty, 45-39, in their semifinal game to advance to the Champions Bowl this weekend in Albuquerque.  For more information:  Champions Indoor Football

storm

Sioux Falls Storm Advances To 9th Straight United Bowl

Indoor Football League (IFL) – In the IFL semifinals, the Sioux Falls Storm stunned the Arizona Rattlers by a score of 69-68 in front of 16,479 fans in Phoenix.  A blocked extra point following a Rattlers touchdown became the difference, as the Storm were able to score and convert the point after to escape with a one-point win. At the start of the fourth quarter, Sioux Falls regained the lead with a two-yard touchdown run by Lyle McCombs, bringing the score to 59-55.  A two-yard run by Verlon Reed put the Arizona back in the lead 62-59.  Sioux Falls tied the game at 62 with a 30-yard field goal with 3:30 remaining.  The Rattlers took over in Storm territory after a late hit penalty by Sioux Falls. With eight-seconds remaining, kicker Sawyer Petre missed the potential go-ahead field goal to force overtime.  Arizona started overtime with the ball, and Reed connected with Dezmon Epps for a 16-yard touchdown on fourth down. The point-after attempt was blocked by Sioux Falls, keeping the Rattlers lead at six.  The Storm scored on their first play, a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brown to WR Damien Ford. The point-after attempt was good, giving the Storm the win.  The Storm will play the Iowa Barnstormers this weekend in the United Bowl in Des Moines.  The Barnstormers defeated the Nebraska Danger 48-17 in the other semifinal game.

A new ownership group has taken over the IFL’s Cedar Rapids (IA) Titans franchise and plans to keep the team in the city for the 2019 season. The Titans joined the IFL as a 2012 expansion team. The team’s previous ownership also owned the Cedar Rapids Rampage of the Major Arena Soccer League. That Rampage’s future in the city is over if a new owner does not come forward, since its ownership will be operating a new Orlando-based MASL expansion team for the 2018-19 season.

For more information:  Indoor Football League

National Arena League (NAL) – A three touchdown night from fullback Derrick Ross helped the Jacksonville Sharks reach the franchise’s 100th win.  Ross and the Sharks broke the game open with 37 unanswered points and routed the Maine Mammoths 51-21 to earn the team’s 100th all-time victory Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Arena. The Sharks (7-4) have reached 90 regular-season victories combined in the National Arena League and its former home, the Arena Football League, to go with 10 postseason wins.  Ross, who had devastated the Mammoths (2-8) in two previous matchups this season, brought his touchdown total against Maine to eight on the year.  Quarterback Adrian McPherson rebounded from his previous loss to Carolina, completing 20 of 29 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns, two to Chris Gilchrist. Former University Christian standout Jenson Stoshak led the Sharks with eight receptions for 56 yards.  For more information:  National Arena League

National Gridiron League (NGL) – The NGL is a proposed new spring indoor football league that plans to start play in 2019 with 12 teams aligned in 2 divisions. The NGL currently lists an Eastern Division with the Virginia Redbirds (Roanoke) and five teams called the Destroyers, Blue Bombers, Pioneers, Stampede and Firebirds with no assigned markets. The Western Division has the Kansas Kapitals (Topeka) and five teams called the Bighorns, Twisters, Mudcats, Outlaws and Redsticks with no assigned markets.  For more information:  National Gridiron League