Monday, July 09, 2007

I, for one, welcome our new AFL overlords

Seaward is right: this is an unbearable week for sports. No real baseball (even though the All Star Game "counts" now) until Thursday and no football for another 6 or 7 weeks. Yes, there is the WNBA but I'll cut off my balls with a rusty spoon before watching that. Yet in the midst of all of this boredom comes the lone beacon of home to get us to real football season.

The AFL, of course.

Through two weeks, things are heating up en route to ArenaBowl XXI. The Dallas Desperados were supposed to run roughshod through the playoffs and bring a title to the Metroplex with relative ease. But they forgot to ask Matt Nagy and the rest of the Columbus Destroyers what he thought about that little plan. That's right, just like last year, a 7-9 team is running rampant through these playoffs. The next two sentences are so incredible, so iconic, they get their own paragraph.

The Columbus Destroyers are one win from ArenaBowl XXI. They are two wins from bringing home Columbus's first professional sports title since the Columbus Quest made it rain in 1997-98.

So it's official: I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Sure, Columbus has their work cut out for them in the persons of the Georgia Force, who rumbled through the regular season at 14-2 and crushed the Philadelphia Soul by 26 yesterday. But Columbus put the hurt to Dallas, scoring 24 points to begin the second half. And if there's one thing that these playoffs have taught us so far, it's that the smaller field levels the scales. And if Matt Nagy, the wily AFL veteran who has methodically guided the Destroyers past better teams for two consecutive weeks can find a rhythm, then me and the rest of the Destroyer DieHards will be booking tickets to New Orleans for the big game in the very near future.

Now a lot of you may not care about the AFL's mutant brand of football. It isn't "Now" (though it is publicised and commercialized to death on the WWL) and it even falls behind the NHL in national popularity (probably). But for the uneducated (read: everyone) I can say from experience that there are a lot of similarities between the AFL and it's cooler, older brother with the car, the NFL. Some details:

- The playoffs are arranged in similar fashion: wild card round, divisional round, conference championships, league championships. There's even that incredibly annoying 2-week wait between games!

- Shitty teams can back into the playoffs and make a splash. The Chicago Rush limped in at 7-9 and won four straight road games last year to win the ArenaBowl title. The Steelers of the NFL did the same thing just weeks earlier in Super Bowl XL.

- Defense? The AFL don't need no stinkin' defense. Last year's ArenaBowl had a final score of 69 (giggity) to 61. So defense doesn't necessarily win championships, but then again neither do the San Francisco 49ers of this decade. Or whatever.

Seek out your AFL playoffs - you won't regret it. And with nothing else on, it's either that or episodes of "John from Cincinnati" on HBO On Demand. And alien football is better than surfing aliens any day of the week.

Note: the tags are all in caps, thus negating the "excessive use of WordCombinationUsingCapitalLetters" tag I so awesomely came up with. Just so you know.

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