Football Friday

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I Hate To Tell You This But…The XFL May Play Again

1/5/18

The college football semifinal playoff game between Georgia and Oklahoma was a classic.  What a battle between two explosive teams.  Oklahoma jumped out to a 17-point lead in the first half but Georgia came back to win on RB Sony Michel’s 27-yard touchdown run in overtime to propel the Bulldogs to their first national championship game since the early 1980s.  Oh yeah, Alabama beat Clemson to advance as well.  Personally, Alabama should have never been in the playoffs but it is what it is.  The college football national championship will be played on Monday night in Atlanta’s shiny new stadium named after an expensive car.

Did you see that the University of Central Florida finished the season as the only major college to go undefeated? Yep, they finished their perfect season with a win over Auburn.  I read today that UCF is going to have a national championship parade in Disney World.  I know, I had to snicker at that too but, really, shouldn’t UCF had been given a wildcard or something for being undefeated? Yes, I know they play in the American Athletic Conference or something like that but just the fact they went undefeated should have got them somewhere in the playoffs.  It didn’t and – no – they aren’t going to be the official national champions outside of Disney World.  The playoff system won’t be right until they give all the conference winners a chance to play for the national championship.

I don’t know how to pick the Georgia-Alabama game.  I don’t it will be a high-scoring game.  I’m just going to watch the game and not risk jinxing anybody by making a pick.

In other football news:

The Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons rounded out the playoff field for the National Football League (NFL) playoffs this weekend.  Let me just get it off of my chest here – if Derek Henry ever learns to run straight he will be hard stop.  Please!  Pick the hole and run through it!  With that said, I think the Tennessee-Kansas City match up is pretty interesting.  Don’t be surprised if Tennessee wins.  Stranger things have happened.  The Carolina-New Orleans matchup will probably be the best one of the wildcard weekend.  Here’s how I see it going:  Tennessee 21, Kansas City 16; Los Angeles Rams 33, Atlanta 24; Carolina 37, New Orleans 34; Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 17.   Now go place your bets….

There are rumors that the XFL is going to come back.  Lord, I hope not.  You remember that one-year wonder right?  It was put together by WWE’s Vince McMahon.  Who could forget “He Hate Me”?  The league was quite gimmicky.   I used to have a Memphis Maniax jersey.  Dang, I should have kept it.  Don’t hold your breath for the XFL.  Aside from the United States Football League (USFL) – which most think was ruined by our current prez – no other league has been able to survive against the NFL.

Here are some of the best spring football leagues (that actually played):

  1. United States Football League (USFL)
  2. World League of American Football (WLAF)
  3. NFL Europa
  4. XFL

A new indoor football league called the Fan-Controlled Football League (FCFL) – nope I didn’t make this up folks – is planning to kick off this year with eight teams.  This strange league will allow fans to build up something called Ethereum-based FAN tokens and use them to manage the action both on and off the field.  So the games will be controlled by fans sitting in their seats drinking beer and chowing down on their nachos?  Yeah, okay, I think I can watch some grass grow somewhere.

Here are the indoor leagues scheduled to play in 2018 (defending champs):

  • Arena Football League (Philadelphia Soul)
  • Indoor Football League (Arizona Rattlers)
  • Champions Indoor Football (Texas Revolution)
  • China Arena Football League (Beijing Lions)
  • American Arena League (none)
  • National Arena League (Jacksonville Sharks)

Mater Dei of Santa Ana, California are the USA Today National High School Football champions.  They finished at #1 in the USA Today Super 25 poll with a record of 15-0.  Yeah, doesn’t excite me that much either.  Well, here’s the rest of the top ten in the final poll:

  • IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)
  • St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD)
  • St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA)
  • Allen (Allen, TX)
  • Ben Davis (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Pickerington Central (Pickerington, OH)
  • Cypress-Fairbanks (Cypress, TX)
  • Pine-Richard (Gibsonia, PA)

The Rome Wolves (Rome, GA) finished #16 as the highest-ranked Georgia team but I really still can’t talk about it.  Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, TN) over here in my backyard finished #22.

The Jerusalem “Big Blue” Lions shutout Beersheva 45-0 in the Israel Football League (IFL) to remain the only undefeated team at 8-0.  Jerusalem QB David Abell completed 19 of 30 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Lions.

In the American Football League of China, the Shanghai Titans and Shanghai Warriors will meet in the championship game.  Both teams will be looking to become the first team in league history to win two championships.  The Titans defeated the Shanghai Nighthawks 27-14 in their semifinal game as Titans’ receiver Jibril Rasheed scored on a 19-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put the Titans up 27-14.  The game was called early in the fourth quarter due to a fight which broke out resulting in multiple player ejections.  The Warriors defeated the Chengdu Pandaman 26-8.  A four-yard touchdown run by Chris Gardner midway through the third quarter gave the Warriors a 20-0 lead to pull away from the Pandaman. (I’m not making this up)

The Seoul Vikings scored the winning touchdown with nine seconds left to defeat the Goeje Bluestorm to win their fifth Korean National Football League title.

 

 

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Rattlers Strike For Indoor Football League Title

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In their 25th Anniversary season, the Arizona Rattlers rewarded their fans with their first title in the Indoor Football League (IFL).

The Rattlers moved from the Arena Football League (AFL) where they had lived for the previous 24 seasons to the IFL.  The Rattlers defeated the Sioux Falls Storm 50-41 to win the United Bowl championship and denied the Storm of a seventh straight title.

Arizona looked like they would runaway with a total domination of the title game as they put up a 34-7 lead at halftime but held on and an interception in the final minute preserved the win.

The Rattlers defense did not allow a first half touchdown with the only score by the Storm coming on special teams.  Justin Shirk (#30) had 1.5 sacks, a tipped ball, and was in Storm QB Lorenzo Brown’s face all night.  His efforts earned him the United Bowl Most Valuable Player (MVP). Defensive back Arkeith Brown also had a big night, breaking up two passes and grabbing the game winning interception, returning it 46 yards.

The Storm climbed back into the game in the third quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points. WR Judd Harold pulled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brown.  Shortly after Robbie Rouse ran seven yards for another score.  The final score came from DL Brandon Peguese who picked off Sokol and returned it two yards for the touchdown.

The Rattlers finally got back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a seven-yard run by Monroe.  Arizona was also able to follow that up with a 23-yard field goal by Sawyer Petre.  Sioux Falls responded with a five-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Harold, pulling the Storm to within ten.  The Rattlers then extended their lead, again off the foot of Petre, this time a 23-yarder.  The Storm would again close the gap on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Brown to WR Mike Tatum. Petre came up big again for the Rattlers with 47-seconds left, kicking a 28-yard field goal to put the team up by nine.  The Storm drove down the field one last time, but was picked off by DB Arkeith Brown, who returned it 46-yards.

The Rattlers started the season at 4-4 but went on a 10-game winning streak on their way to the title.    It was the first championship for the Rattlers since winning the ArenaBowl in 2015.

The question now is will the Rattlers stay in the IFL or will they return to the AFL if there is stability in the league?  There has been no word of it to this point.  As indoor leagues continue to evolve, it would seem that the IFL is a more stable organization at this time.

 

 

Indoor Football Report

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The Philadelphia Soul (10-0) remained undefeated with a win over the Cleveland Gladiators (3-8), 59-28 in front of 10,580 fans at the Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.   Soul WR Shaun Kauleinamoku led the receivers with six receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns.  WR Darius Reynolds added six receptions for 57 yards and one touchdown and WR Ryan McDaniel tallied six receptions for 56 yards and two touchdowns.  Cleveland WR Michael Preston led the receivers with seven receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns.

Current Standings:

  1. Philadelphia Soul (10-0)
  2. Tampa Bay Storm (7-2)
  3. Baltimore Brigade (3-6)
  4. Cleveland Gladiators (3-8)
  5. Washington Valor (1-8)

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The Sioux Falls Storm (15-2) soared past the Iowa Barnstormers (13-4) 66-32 on Saturday, June 24th in front of 6,225 fans to bring home their eighth consecutive United Conference Championship.   The Arizona Rattlers (13-4) clinched a trip to the United Bowl in their inaugural Indoor Football League season, powering past the Nebraska Danger (9-8) by a score of 62-36 and became the 2017 Intense Conference Champions in front of 15,038 fans at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Downtown Phoenix.  Sioux Falls will host Arizona in the United Bowl on July 8th.

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The Jacksonville Sharks defeated the Monterrey Steel 43-32 in the National Arena League Playoffs for the right to go to the National Arena League Championship on Monday, July 10 against the Columbus Lions. The Shark Tank was filled with 9,483 fans dressed in red as they cheered the Sharks to victory.  Columbus edged the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 52-50 in their playoff game.  The Lions were down 21-9 at the half but used a 23 point 4th quarter to seal the win. Durron Neal led all Lions receivers with three touchdowns while Mike Reeve and Tristan Purifoy added two each in the win.  Jacksonville will host Columbus on July 10th for the NAL Championship.

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The Texas Revolution defeated the Omaha Beef 59-49 on Friday night to win the Champions Bowl III.  The Revolution never trailed in the game as Chris Dixon scored two early first-half touchdowns to help the Revolution build a 39-21 lead at halftime.

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Chris Dixon leads Texas Revolution to CIF Title

 

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Tymere Zimmerman, Jay Jackson and DeLeon Raynor, all of whom were part of a 2012 squad that went unbeaten and won the American Indoor Football crown, turned in clutch performances as the Heroes rallied to defeat the Triangle Torch, 30-24, for the Supreme Indoor Football championship.  Zimmerman helped Cape Fear wipe out an early 12-0 deficit with touchdown receptions of 8 and 4 yards, then Raynor delivered three fourth-quarter interceptions to give the Heroes momentum. Jackson followed the first of Raynor’s picks by hauling in an over-the-shoulder throw by quarterback Ryan Bach for a 27-yard score with 5:02 to play that proved to be the winning points.