It has been the express philosophy of It’s Still Football to not respond directly to comments because personally, I’m always terrified I’ll say something stupid, and inadvertently start the Rhetoric War that has been prophesied and bring down the Internet.
I also think that I influence a lot more than I do.
If you would care to click to continue, I’m going to address the question of whether or not we actually like arena football or if we just like being mean.
I think we’ve been pretty charitable to the established AFL fan base. I liked the game I went to, and we’re not being any harder on the bad teams than we would be on the Detroit Lions or Pittsburgh Pirates, or my beloved-but-wretched-beyond-belief Chicago Blackhawks. We’re primarily a humor site, and we’re two sarcastic dudes. We make fun because it’s what we do, and mean no offense. We’re mostly hoping we can make you laugh. Don’t forget, we’re new to the sport, and so our analysis may not be as in-depth as, say, arenafan.com or arenafootball.com.
As an aside, it’s weird that the comment about our negative commentary would show up on the post that I thought was one of the more flattering to both the league and their fans. I was mostly making fun of Peter King. Peter, is that you? It’s an extremely clever disguise.
Here’s the thing: if I may speak for both of us, I think we’ve been pleasantly surprised that we’ve actually become interested in the AFL. We may rely overmuch on analogies to NFL teams, but remember: we had the idea to blog this all out partially to see if the partnership with ESPN would give the sport an air of greater legitimacy. (Early answer? Meh.) JF said to me in an e-mail, “The problem with the AFL getting main-stream appreciation is this: it’s a modification of a sport that is all but a religion in this country. NFL/college gridiron football is holy, which is why the masses don’t accept a junior league hybrid. I think the atmosphere in the arena was a lot of fun, but you can’t deny that the quality of play is poor in comparison.” It’s not a dig against those who follow arena football, or even really against the players. Sometimes it’s just bad football – missed reads, screwed up assignments, poor decision making, that sort of thing. It’s just how it is, and I’m still amused, so I’ll keep watching.
As for strategy discussions, it kind of seems like everything’s the “get open” play from your backyard. The most consistently successful strategy seems to be figuring out who the weakest defensive back is on the other team, and lob it over his head, because there’s never any help soon enough. Between that, camouflaging your routes, and occasionally hoping your big guy can knock down enough people, there’s not a ton of strategy involved. The defense is crippled by rule, and there’s not enough room to run sweeps or get a run play going, unless you’re in the red zone. I wasn’t following the league when everybody was playing both ways, but since there’s offensive and defensive specialists, you don’t really have to worry about compensating for extra fatigue. But, we’ll be on the lookout for more strategy, break down some game film, and maybe it’ll seem less like the Bill Cosby routine.
In any event, we’re going to continue to mostly make jokes, and our compliments may occasionally be backhanded, but trust us: we really have gotten into this game. It’s a gimmick, but it’s a gimmick that we like, and can deal with, because, hey: if nothing else, it’s still football.