The Fifty Yarder Pocket Guide to Differences Between the NAL and AAL

Most folks are unaware of the arena football landscape and often ask me how the various tiers differ. The third tier, which is where the AAL resides, is particularly tricky to explain, in part because players here are often deluded into believing there is little difference between their world and that of the National Arena League. So, in doing a little housekeeping before the AAL playoffs, I’ve swept up some scraps that weren’t singularly worthy of blog material but, bundled together and superimposed over my impressions of the NAL, they offer a convenient pocket guide on how the two leagues vastly differ. Let’s try a few out for fun.

For instance, in the NAL, one team wins each game while another loses it. However, in the AAL one team wins the game but the other can get a no-decision, as we’ve seen. That’s a messy problem at season’s end, as total wins don’t balance against total losses, but that’s Tier 3 for you. Here’s a few more:

In the NAL, when the play goes into the crowd, the rule is that you get to keep the ball but you must return the player. In the AAL, the game stops until you give back the ball because no one brought a spare along.
In the NAL, time is taken to announce each player to the crowd as he runs through a fog tunnel and light show. In the AAL, the PA announcer finds he can save time by simply announcing each fan to the players.
In the NAL, receivers leap into the crowd chasing misdirected passes. In the AAL, offensive tackles leap into the crowd chasing misdirected fans.
In the NAL, depth charts list all the players who can play a given position. In the AAL, depth charts list all the positions your guys have to play because the offensive line had “scheduling conflicts” and couldn’t make the trip.
In the NAL, coaches start their stud quarterbacks, who shred the defense. In the AAL, coaches start themselves at quarterback and shred their shoulders.
In the NAL, coaches will give you play time if you exploit weaknesses, create big plays, and evade tacklers. In the AAL, Federal judges will give you hard time if you exploit loopholes, create fictitious write-offs, and evade income taxes.
In the NAL, your owner hands you a game check by Tuesday and all you want to say is, ‘Thanks!’ In the AAL, your owner can’t make payroll because he dipped into the coffer paying off that boob job for his wife and all you want to say is, ‘C U next Tuesday.’
For housing, your NAL owner sets you up in a spot where you can rock into the wee hours with your posse in tow. In the AAL, your spot was towed in the wee hours by the repo guy after your owner missed another lease payment.
In the NAL, players can opt in to their team’s short-term disability insurance program. In the AAL, owners can opt out of the postseason and cancel their insurance policies all that much earlier.
In the NAL, kickers drop a deuce on their opponents. In the AAL, owners drop a deuce on their players.
And finally, in the NAL teams ante up big franchise fees and build the kitty. In the AAL, teams fold faster than a losing hand at a casino table.

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