The most useful information we could provide for the now in-progress season would be a little synopsis of the teams that play in the Arena Football League. So, clearly, I’m going to do something different. I’m going to choose teams that are no longer in the league, and mock them incessantly.
You might want to have this handy-dandy chronological chart open in another window, because it’s my cheat sheet, and it’s awesome.
Now, Part II: The Weird Year, 1988.
The Roanoke Award for Mysteriously Vanishing Teams:
Los Angeles Cobras, New York Knights, New England Steamrollers (1988)
I was hoping that in the time that’s elapsed in between BKaTs, I would’ve figured out what happened in 1988 to cause Maryland and Denver to cease playing football, and Los Angeles, New York, and New England to show up for one year, and one year only. I’m still totally baffled; it’s like some institutional secret. The Knights sucked, and won no games at home, which might have contributed to things. So, clearly, I’m going to make stuff up. The Washington Commandos and Denver Dynamite put on a Broadway musical in 1988. It was a revival of South Pacific. Everybody hates South Pacific – wait, it occurs to me that I might be thinking of Carousel. Okay, Washington did South Pacific, and Denver did Carousel.There. They both can suck. Meanwhile, Los Angeles bet New York that they couldn’t turn Detroit from a nerd to a hot girl and take them to the Arena Bowl. During the playoffs, Detroit discovered that Los Angeles didn’t really care about them, chose themselves, and won Arena Bowl II. Los Angeles realized they really did care for Detroit, but by then it was too late. New York and Los Angeles then… got into a duel because the Knights accused the Cobras of having defamed their character and because of something about Federalism. New York shot Los Angeles in the liver, which basically ended their (New York’s)
political Arena Football career. New England’s dad got transferred to another state, and nobody really thought about them again. Plus, they were pretty boring.
- You May Have Heard Of: You ought to have heard of Matt Stevens (Los Angeles), who, as a UCLA QB in 1986, faked taking a knee on the last play of the half, and threw a hail mary pass instead to put UCLA up 31-0. That’s obscene. And hilarious. Thanks, Wikipedia! Marty Zendejas also played for LA, but you’d really only know his brother(?), Tony, and that’s if you played too much Tecmo Super Bowl. Nobody I recognize played for New York or New England.
- Logo: There’s the New York Knights/New York Knights reference, but part of the problem is getting a good look at any of the logos involved in The Natural, and the other part of the problem is the football/baseball thing, but still, New York, put a lightning bolt patch on there somewhere. It’d be a clever homage. 4/10 for not being as ugly as the New England Steamrollers abomination. Seriously? What’s on his armband there? A map of New England? Algae? And he’s on wheels… and your typography is… what? 7/10, because we’ll run out of room at the top of the scale in a week or 30, when I finally finish this mess. The Cobras logo is actually kind of nice, in comparison. Simple, interlocking LA with a cobra hanging out in there unobtrusively. Thank you, LA, for not being grotesque. 3/10.
A Digression, Wherein I Accidentally Discover Something Delightful:
Apparently, there was a “showcase” game between the 1986 “playtest” game and the 1987 season. This pitted the Chicago Bruisers against… the Miami Vise. I assume I’ll stop giggling about that sometime in 2009. Good on you, Jim Foster. I need to get to the library and do some actual primary source research on this, but until then, I’m just going to yank the best copy directly from the Wikipedia (of course) entry:
This would be the only game the Miami Vise would ever play however, and Miami wouldn’t get a team in the AFLuntil 1993. Technically, the Vise weren’t even a Florida-based team to begin with, as they were created out of Foster’s imagination and consisted of mostly of college players located in the midwest. At the time though, the players were sworn to secrecy so fans could believe the team was actually located in Miami.
More to come, including the Detroit Drive, Albany Firebirds, and New Orleans Night, who wore Zubaz. I will 1) have to find a better picture, and 2) recalibrate the scale of bizarre uniforms.