Another arena football season is here, with the AAL kicking off tonight and the IFL on Saturday. The CIF and MAIFL – a/k/a the AAL East Division – get underway next weekend, the AWFC on March 17, and the NAL on April 4. Among the developmental or “non-professional” leagues, the Indoor Football Association actually got rolling last month and several of its teams have already played three games. The EIFL is set for a March 28 start, and the United Arena League debuts on March 22. Under the ‘where have I heard that before?’ thread, the NGL has made April 18 its first choice for a premiere date.
As we stand on the threshold of a new season, there are a few less-than-desirables that need to be left behind. So, grab a cattail and join us in a Fallonesque look at some.
Go on, git, China Arena Football League game scheduler. What part of ‘arena’ don’t you get? Booking games at an outdoor venue called Field #20 may be a great way for players to take in fresh air as they walk past 19 other fields, but it is not aligned with the core mission of arena football, which is to play with a roof over your head. And where are all your dasher boards? I guess having so much nature at your disposal makes crowding the field of play with unnecessary obstructions rather pointless. May as well give plenty of room to players running out of bounds under the warm Shanyeng sun. So go on, pull those Ray-Bans down and git.
Go on, git, Champions Indoor Football fans who put their league on the same level as the IFL and think that the collapse of the AFL now gives them a seat at the top-tier table. Understand that you are a minor-league affiliate of the IFL, so stop acting like their equal. Your job is to stock them with players and teams looking to better their lot. The list of teams that have headed for greener pastures in the past three years alone is nearly as long as the line outside a California vote center on Super Tuesday. You’d be better off focusing on more pressing issues, like how the front office will backfill your schedules after the next team quits in mid-season. So, do like the Marshals and the Revolution did, and just git.
Go on, git, all this talk of a Massachusetts Pirates NAL championship come summertime. You arrive on the scene every spring just about May, then slip away inconspicuously after another one-and-done August. With all those sexy ex-NFLers and FBSers, you’re like my granddad’s Jaguar: it looks hot when he drives it down to the neighborhood Keno parlor, but then breaks down on the interstate when he’s late for his proctology exam. So go on and git, and make sure you take your AAA card with you.
Go on, git, creator of the declared punt, that marvel of developmental leagues that allows you to hand the ball over to your opponent without so much as a snap. Your vision for the ultimate in pretend plays is right up there with stickball’s invisible runners and golf’s mulligans. You designed a failsafe sturdier than the safety harness strapped to Nik Wallenda as he high-wired a volcano on Wednesday. Thanks to you, losers can check out of bad field position faster than Kramer checked out of the mastering-your-domain challenge on that Seinfeld episode. What better way for a team to proclaim their suckitude than to be unable to gain a first down on a field a quarter the size of a real football field? So go on and git, and take your fake play with you.
Go on, git, last year’s National Gridiron League season ticket holders. You were once dumb enough to lay down $540 for a season that never happened, and now you’re right back there with credit card in hand. Hey, the 2020 NGL schedule just came out but it still looks like a ‘Dear Santa’ list: just because it’s on there doesn’t mean you’re getting it. But that’s okay. You don’t need the formality of an actual game in order to be separated from your money like every other fool. So line up for another season of empty promises, but in the meantime go on and git, and take your fellow suckers with you.
Go on, git, Burgh Defenders equipment guy. While your team waits for a league to take them in, why not spend time sharpening those inventory stocking skills. Just so you know, a good rule of thumb is to order one helmet for each head on your roster. Helmet-share was a program that went out with the head lice epidemics back in junior high. And what’s with those gameday pinnies? It looks like you pulled them from the laundry bin after an Under-13 soccer practice. Hell, players are even rocking them on your team logo. So go on, git on down to a Play It Again Sports location near you and git them players dressed proper-like.
Go on, git, any given Saturday’s opponent of the Reading Raptors. In the last 50 games, you have collectively earned exactly zero victories. A broken clock tells the right time twice a day, but you’ve shown us that a slow one never does. When the over-under for combined wins against the Raptors this season is set at one-half and everyone is still taking the under, it may be time to reassess your game plan. How are the Raptors gaining the advantage on you every single night? Are they deflating footballs or banging on trash cans? As certain as death and taxes are, you being on the short end of the final score is even more of a certainty. It’s time for you all to git.
And finally, go on, git, you assistant coaches in charge of running the 40-yard dash at every combine across the country. You waste the first hour and a-half of the three-hour tryout – not to mention most of the players’ $75 entry fee – timing guys before you even know whether they can throw, catch, or tackle. They give you a stopwatch and a whistle, and you call a conference with fellow timekeepers after every runner to sort out which of three very different times is the right one. A simple rock-paper-scissors exercise would be a much faster arbiter but go on, take your time. After all, it’s not your dime.
Can’t figure out all these leagues? Join the club. Check out our Arena Landscape page for bird’s-eye view.