With four of the 20 weeks of the Arena Football League's regular season in the books, every team has played three games--or one-sixth of their schedule--so far. So what does that mean to this ardent arena football fan?
Not much, really. It's more of a simple observation than anything else.
Here a some thoughts about the Arena Football League's Week Four, though, that hopefully hold a little more meaning.
Former Arizona Rattlers and Chicago Rush great Sherdrick Bonner made his debut on NET10 Arena Football Friday this week, providing color commentary for a game between the San Jose SaberCats and the Spokane Shock. If Friday night was any indicator, his broadcast career will be as successful as his player career was.
I am, indeed, a Chicago Rush homer, but that has nothing to do with why I enjoyed Bonner's work so much. I found him to be very articulate, full of interesting insight into the game, and not just filling the air with noise or fake excitement. Bonner knows that you don't have to sell the game to the people who are watching. Instead, give us educated commentary backed by in-depth knowledge of the game and its rules. Bonner did just that.
Bonner joins the very, very small group of announcers in any sport that don't send me straight off the deep end. If every Arena Football Friday game could be broadcast by Bonner, Kurt Warner, and Anthony Herron, I'd be in heaven.
So the Philadelphia Soul lost on Sunday night. Meh. (Do the cool kids still say "meh"?) I didn't expect it to happen against the Cleveland Gladiators, but I expected it to happen at some point. No knock against the Glads there. They just looked out-of-sorts in their first two games. When Dutton is hot, though, wowser. (Do the cool kids still say "wowser"? Did they ever?)
The sky isn't falling in Philly. The Rush will lose at some point, too. The Soul are still an incredibly talented team and will no doubt get things squared away for their final 15 games.
New Orleans VooDoo
The Milwaukee Mustangs are looking a little scary. I'm not sure how much I like the idea of my Rush having to face them twice this year. Those games are going to be dogfights. The 'Stangs have it going on on both sides of the ball, and this Marcus Everett kid seems to be working out pretty well for them. Same goes for that Gino Guidugli guy. They also have one of the coolest helmets in all of professional football.
It's a darn shame that only 3,116 people turned out for their home opener.
Milwaukee was the worst-drawing team last season, too, averaging just 3,953 fans per game. I don't get it. Come on, Milwaukeeans, I know you have your Milwaukee Bucks and your Milwaukee Brewers, but can't you find a little room in your hearts for the Milwaukee Mustangs, too?
Kansas City Command
Speaking of low attendance, the Kansas City Command had a paltry 2,833 fans show up for their second home game of the season. I guess an argument could be made that it's because the Command are 0-3, but this was only their second home game. Have the Command lost that loving feeling already? I know their offense is ... um ... how can I put this delicately? ... an abomination, but they still have quite a good defense. No. 2 in the league, in fact, in total defense. And in case you missed it, Matt Gutierrez was just traded from the Rattlers to the Command on Saturday, so methinks that there is some change in the air at the quarterback position in Kansas City (I'm fairly certain that the cool kids never said "methinks.").
Kansas Citians have until May 5 to sell out the Command's next home game. I know you can do it.
If you folks in Milwaukee and Kansas City aren't interested in your teams, I'd sure love to have a team here in my home city of Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Mustangs or the Indianapolis Command sound pretty darn good to me.
25th Anniversary Football
I don't know why it still bothers me so much, but it does. I really want a 25th Anniversary arena football, but when I went to buy one at Allstate Arena a couple weeks ago, the nice young lady behind the counter sheepishly informed me that they're $100 a piece. And then she cringed, waiting for me to shoot the messenger.
I think I let out an involuntary "Holy CRAP!" but quickly apologized to her and assured her that I know she's not the one who set the price.
I'll never get one thrown to me in the stands because I sit in the press box during Rush games. Even if I didn't, though, the statistical odds are pretty darn low that 1) Russ Michna will send one in my direction out of the thousands of people in the arena, 2) I'd catch it, and 3) I wouldn't be peer-pressured into giving the ball to a nearby kid. Dang kids.
I knew that I could go to Wal-Mart and buy an official NFL football for $90--or for $75 on Amazon--so I'm a little stunned that an arena football is $100, even if it is a special 25th Anniversary edition.
I'm hoping that the price will go down as the season progresses, since it would be a little funny-looking to be using the Silver Anniversary ball during the league's 26th season. Or maybe the league will offer a coupon to members of its AFL Field Pass--the new official fan club of which I am proud to be member No. 4--for something like 50 percent off a football. That'd be cool.
I briefly entertained the thought of running on to the field and swiping the ball from the center's hands during a play, but as much as I like Rush JLB Kelvin Morris, I have no doubt that he'd clothesline me before I could make it to the dasher boards with the ball. Then I'd have a concussion, whiplash, a broken sternum, some tazer burns, dirty pants from where I soiled myself while getting tazed, a jail sentence, a hefty fine to pay, an eternal banishment from Allstate Arena, and still no Silver Anniversary ball.
I think I'll just hold out hope for a coupon, instead.