Wait...don't say "Oh no, not another reference to the Sports Guy again...". Fear not; just a confession: I love Arena Football. It's everything good about professional football, with none of the bad. Players make very little money, the gameplay is fast and exciting, and it's got all the trappings of great fun. And at ticket prices that start at less than $10, it's cheaper than a bad movie!
What I really love about Arena Football is the fans. In San Jose, the team's mascot? A guy on a Harley, who rides around and throws T-shirts into the crowd. And I mean, CROWD. The arena is PACKED. And y'know what? Everyone is having a good time. Picture a sporting event without the obnoxiousness and adults and kids just kicking back. More a picnic atmosphere than a football game.
Of course, I love alternative football leagues. USFL? Yep, I was a big fan of the New Jersey Generals (Doug Flutie AND Herschel Walker on the same team!), and went to a couple of Boston Breakers games. XFL? To me, a great reason to go to PacBell...I mean, SBC...I mean AT&T Park to watch an event that is NOT baseball: the San Francisco Demons were nothing to write home about, but it was still a lot of fun. How about NFL Europe? Yep, I'm watching the Sea Devils, under Jack Bicknell (former Boston College head coach, and yes, Doug Flutie's mentor) this season on the NFL Network. CFL? Go Stampeders! Oh, did I mention Flutie won the Grey Cup (their Superbowl) a few times, with a few different teams there?
Arena Football, though, has been my favorite (even if Doug Flutie never played in it :-)). Good marketing, core development, and they even lost those Zubaz pants they used to wear when they first started. Now, with owners like John Elway and Jon Bon Jovi, not to mention Jerry Jones (owner of the Cowboys), the league is starting to be a real competitive place.
This last week, I was in Chicago for meetings. I got there early, and, in the lobby of the building, what do I see? The Arena Football League headquarters offices! Still early, but they were open, so I slipped in for a peek!