August 04, 2009
Instead of bemoaning the death of Arena Football, how about we give it a round of applause for sticking around more than 20 years? Given the life span of other leagues that tried their hand at professional football, 20 years is a borderline miracle. I say, "Well done," AFL people.
I remember watching the first Arena Bowl as a young lad in 1987. I was in a shady hotel room (a habit I never would break) on a humid August night, listening to Lee Corso call the action as the Denver Dynamite laid the wood to the Pittsburgh Gladiators. Denver WR/DB Gary Mullen dominated.
I don't remember much else, though. I used to enjoy recapping the scores on Deadspin weekend posts, but after Arena Bowl I, I don't think I ever watched more than four or five plays at a time.
For me, Arena Football fell into the category of "Things I'm glad exist, but am unlikely to ever spend money on," alongside cheese in a spray can, or Microsoft Works. It was nice to know that Arena Football was around if I ever needed it, but as it turned out, I never really did. Sorry.
Anyway, after suspending operations for last season, the league was hoping to get the business side of things straightened out and return for this season. That won't be happening. During its self-induced hiatus, someone killed our economy, and that made a return difficult.
So it's gone. The UFL will be the latest league to give it a go this coming fall, and while I wish it nothing but the best, if it lasts for an Arena-like 20 years, I will be absolutely shocked.
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