Shockingly, Access Does Not Equal Hot Fun

28 07 2007

As part the It’s Still Football Arena Bowl XXI Grand Tour, we were invited to the now-annual AFL Combine. Photographic and videographic evidence to follow, once J makes that happen. In the interest of… being lazy, really, let me make my observations via bullet points:

  • There were a lot of people there. Like, a shocking amount. The thing was held in the New Orleans Saints’ practice facility and it was relatively full – the place is a barn with a 100-yard field, and a conservative estimate would be 100+ prospective DBs and WRs, a baker’s dozen kickers, probably as many quarterbacks, and there were linemen and running backs and stuff that we didn’t see. People want to play in the AFL! They want to play enough to show up to what essentially amounts to an open audition. That’s pretty cool, right?
  • A combine is bor-ring. Watching guys run curls for twenty-five minutes will not rock your world. Rarely, something exciting would happen – somebody would either miss a pass spectacularly, or make an awkward-but-fun-to-watch catch, but realistically, random fans might not be so interested. They’ll be interested in the results, as there were probably a couple QBs who were reasonable, and I’m sure some of the kickers will show up in the kicker’s death march that is the AFL.
  • Watching kickers drill is mind-numbing. I kept hoping a game of HORSE would break out or something. I think they were getting bored, because some of them trying to kick over the net or fire rockets off of the taut nets on either side. Again, it seems like, with a few exceptions, teams go through up to three kickers in a season, because THE GOALPOSTS ARE VERY SKINNY. And maybe that messes with your psyche. I like the idea of a roomful of shattered shells of kickers hanging out somewhere. They’re all just sitting around muttering “what do you want from me?” and “deceptively narrow, deceptively narrow…” under their breath.
  • Coach Hoensee got bored and was leaving by the time we got in. I assume. He was walking away as we were walking in.
  • The AAFL’s combine was yesterday, apparently. Apparently they’re serious about this. 400 people were there… I think that the AFL’s beat that, but I’d have to check the paperwork we recieved as MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA. At least one guy attended both. Which seems like an exhausting weekend. And expensive.

We managed to miss the event at the children’s hospital, which I’m sure was heartwarming. We talked to Nicole O’Malley for about 12 seconds, pretending to be actual journalists, and she… seemed pleased. Our investigative journalism skills extended only to reading her name tag. There were a couple of kids that were chucking mini-AFL footballs around the lobby so a) that’s cool, and b) those kids couldn’t have been that sick. We presume the actual visitation brought smiles to the faces of kids like this:

Sick kids are not funny. I mean it.

All right, all right, but you try to make doing nice things for sick kids funny.

Tonight: Styx and hopefully athlete or famous person sightings! Otherwise, the only exciting thing that’s going to happen this week is the actual game, and we can’t have that. Once we distill the footage from Media day, we’ll post that. It’ll be chock full of penetrating coverage. Example:

The game on Sunday could rest on this.

The foot of a kicker is worth more than my life

Yes, indeed. We asked if we could take a picture of Peter Martinez’s foot, and he obliged. The best part was that he wasn’t very adept at standing on one leg (or perhaps didn’t anticipate being asked to), and wobbled a little bit. Had he fallen over and hurt himself, I think we would’ve been lynched. Now THAT’D be a story: “Bloggers Injure Kicker, Are Murdered.”




4 responses

28 07 2007

Coach Hoensee got bored and was leaving by the time we got in. I assume. He was walking away as we were walking in.

…and you didn’t ask him what grocery store he got clipped at? Come on, guys!

29 07 2007

You didn’t really doubt that the AAFL was serious, did you? You should visit their website at I think that was the second of four tryouts for the AAFL…..and I undertand they have over 2,000 registered for the next two. Maybe you “members of the media” aren’t aware of this, but people like me and my friends from Birmingham are all fired up about this league.

29 07 2007

You didn’t really doubt that the AAFL was serious, did you?

It’s not unreasonable to presume an announced new pseudonational full-field football league (or indeed, an announced new regional indoor football league, for that matter) will collapse under its own windmill-tilting weight before the first kickoff–history is littered with “no really we’ve got this great idea for THE PIGSKIN GAME!” startup leagues that went nowhere (anybody remember the “Fan Ownership Football League?”)

Personally, I think it’s just as likely that the AAFL is simply a bunch of aging college sports execs banding together for one last big profitable scam as it is that the league will take the field. But as a fan of all off-brand football, I am cautiously optimistic. (even though I have significant misgivings about a league whose selling point is “It’s just like college ball, but PROFESSIONAL!”)

Anyway, uh, back on topic. Go Commissioner Baker! and Hey, You Guys, Grab Coach Ho and Ask Him Where He Shops Already!

29 07 2007

Hey, You Guys, Grab Coach Ho and Ask Him Where He Shops Already!

Seriously. I’m having enough trouble getting over my disappointment in my parents for not high-fiving him when they saw him at the Streamwood Steak ‘n Shake.

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