IT LIVES (Bon Jovi-less, and Distinctly Lacking Grudens)

16 02 2010

Perhaps you’ve noticed a subtle buzz around the water cooler; there’s a spring in your step, the source of which you can’t quite identify. The sun shines a little brighter, and strangers smile at each other in the street.

This is probably because olympic curling starts today in Vancouver.

Also, hey: the AFL is back! We don’t even have to call it Arena Football One (1) anymore! According to sources (a profootballtalk.com post forwarded to us at least twice), the old nomenclature was used on a conference call from the league. WOOOO. AIN’T NOTHIN’ STOPPING US NOW!

Albany, not part of the league, don't worry

Rising! Like a phoenix! Or a Firebird! Whatever!

We were going to wait until this clusterfuckery ended, and there were some actual games to be played, or data to be massaged, or characters to be assassinated, but whatever. There was a conference call! Kosar and Ditka are back! It’s a war! Indoors! On the floor! Petit four! Esprit de corps!

Who’s involved?

South Division: Alabama (Huntsville – space camp!) Vipers, Jacksonville Sharks (Al Pacino-coached), Orlando Predators (Now with Zero Grudens),  Tampa Bay Storm (Brett Dietz!)

Southwest Division: Bossier-Shreveport (LA) Battle Wings (served with a side of bleu cheese dressing), Dallas Vigilantes (Dr. Dolezel bought the name Desperado for his own perpetual use, thank you), Oklahoma City Yard Dogz (I will never use this name), Tulsa Talons (formerly the Pittsburgh Phlanges)

Midwest Division: Chicago Rush (Wooo! We’re getting the band back together!), Cleveland Gladiators (Wooo? We’re getting the band back together?), Iowa Barnstormers (Look, it’s not like Kurt Warner’s doing anything), Milwaukee Iron (Wooo. We’re getting the band back “together.” With Ringo’s kid playing the drums.)

West Division: Arizona Rattlers (I wonder if the money-back guarantee’s still good), Spokane Shock (more like shocked to find themselves in Spokane, am I right? Oh, let’s just get through this), Utah Blaze (who are currently holding open tryouts, and that’s really the only news of use on arenafootballone.com)

Conspicuous by their absence: Jaws/Bon Jovi-owned Philadelphia Soul, only the current Arena Bowl Champions; Grudens; ESPN (Hooray? The NFL Network?); San Jose Sabercats and ol’ LazerQBVision; actual useful data.

On the other hand: football games, starting April 10. -ish.





Arizona’s Freebie Watch

14 04 2008

“Free season tickets? Not on MY watch!”

[Gasp!] “LANG CAMPBELL!” [Dramatic chord!]

“YES! It is I! Sent to ensure that the Arizona Rattlers season ticket holders will be disappointed to a mathematically perfect degree!” [Organ run, dramatic chord]

“But, why, LANG CAMPBELL?” [Chord progression] “Why?”

“There’s no time to explain! I must successfully convert this two-point try to put a stake in the heart of both Tampa Bay fans, and cheap Arizona fans!” [Disappears in puff of smoke, successfull two point conversion]

Brett Dietz has been made better than he was before. Better. Faster. Stronger.

“Noooo! You may have won this time, LANG CAMPBELL,” [Dramatic Chord] “But Brett Dietz does not take this sort of thing lying down. Brett Dietz will get you. Oh, yes. Brett Dietz.”





Weekend In Review: The Grudening

8 04 2008

Gruden the Lesser? Maybe not.

The Other Gruden, last seen searching for a whiskey sour.

Well, well, Orlando Predators. We meet again for the first time! We had heard rumor of skilled players present in the Greater Central Florida region, but we assumed that a search for them would be Juan Ponce de Leon-esque: fruitless and impotent, with a chance of mosquito swarms and ending with an unfortunate meeting with a poisoned arrow. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Welcome back to eating at the big kids table, Jay.

ORLANDO 57, Chicago 56 (OT)

If Orlando can stick around until late in the 4th quarter, they seem to be able to pull out the W. That’s reasonably impressive, especially as Shane Stafford isn’t putting up especially gaudy numbers, and their defense isn’t really at the forefront of anyone’s mind. Nevertheless, who’s 4-2 and second in the suddenly WILDLY competitive Southern Mitsubishi Division? I’ll give you a hint: it rhymes with “schmedators.” Plus, we got to see the surprise on someone’s face when one’s quadricep gives out unexpectedly.

See below for scores higher than the one that Michael Wilbon was shocked by.

Read the rest of this entry »





There Are Certain Things We Are Suckers For

26 03 2008

This Pass Will Be Incomplete

Photo stolen. Stolen stolen stolen. Ha!

Ah, AAFL Castoffs, welcome to our practice squads. And our motion pictures, apparently. Jon Beutjer was signed earlier this week to the Tampa Bay practice squad to replace… someone less interesting (Mitch Tanney), who was stolen by Philadelphia to back up their motley crew of pre-triage quarterbacks. So, welcome to the Arena League, Jon Beutjer, you titan of industry, you. You’ve come long way from hurling lightning bolts at John Schweigardt at Wheaton Warrenville North South (including ones that knocked the Carl Sandburg Eagles out of the playoffs in 1999) and then being surly at Iowa and transferring to Illinois simply because you were attacked by your offensive lineman

And how could we forget your illustrious Illinois career, where I personally hated your living guts for ruining the final home game of my undergraduate career? Though I’m forced to admit: the fact that Northwestern was wretched that year probably assisted you in that endeavor.

THEN you played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats! Your official bio refers to you as a tall, pocket passer! Canadians think you’re immobile! That’s really amazing, Jon. Also, it would appear that describing you as “oft-injured” would be cheritable. The fact that you were double-concussed in high school adds additional intrigue to the mix.

Then the AAFL! Oh, it’s so exciting! The possibilities, the geographical team names, the fact that it collapsed like a hot-air balloon hit by a stinger missile… you could’ve been the star to which Lesser Fontes hitched his wagon, but alas, the mortgage industry is full of liars, cheats, and those who eat puppies for a mid-afternoon snack.

Ah, memories, Mr. Beutjer. Perhaps if you had Chris Sanders’ mom in your corner, you could’ve made the NFL. Maybe. Okay, that’s really unlikely, but if it helps you sleep at night, then use it.

Also: you might want to watch Brett Dietz. At least follow his lead in the category of “not being an enormous bindle of dicks.”





What on Earth We Can Expect: The Tampa Bay Storm

13 02 2008

Tampa Flag - yawn.

The City of Tampa flag pays homage to the Stars and Stripes, as well as the banners of Spain, France, Italy, and Great Britain; if the US forecloses on Florida and any of those countries get it on the cheap, they’ll be covered.

Facts:

  • Mitsubishi National Conference, Mitsubishi Southern Division, brought to you by Mitsubishi
  • Arena Bowl Champions 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2003
  • Most successful when uniforms were Zubaz-tic
  • 2007 record: 9-7, lost in first round of playoffs to Columbus
  • If I mention Brett Dietz more than three times in this post, his ghost will appear behind me in the mirror; also, I’ll be a one-trick pony

A Paragraph About Upcoming Horror/Delight:

When TC and I started up this dog-and-pony show last year, the Storm were horrible. Abysmal. Not even worthy of comparison to the 2006 Art Shell Re-Dux Oakland Raiders. Then, (pick your lame metaphor: 1. ‘the storm clouds lifted’; 2. ‘an eye in the storm appeared’; 3. ‘the perfect storm formed’) when rookie QB Brett Dietz took over for injured Stoney Case against Columbus, leading them to a scrappy 34-32 win. The Storm went on to win seven of their last eight games of the season, and lost a nail-biter in the first round of the playoffs. This season, if they can keep the momentum built last year, LAME SAILING METAPHOR we’ll see whether the winds have shifted to Tampa Bay’s favor for the long haul /LAME SAILING METAPHOR.

Bullet Points About People:

  • The QB position is under control.
  • Veteran WR/LB David Saunders from the Destroyers is always a threat to go all the way to the endzone, beach, or grocery store, depending on day’s To Do list
  • Rookie WR Tyrone Timmons of Mississippi Valley State never forgets to remind everyone Jerry Rice went to Mississippi Valley State
  • OL/DL Earnest Certain claims there are other positions people play in football; also, name is comprised entirely of adjectives

The Good:

The offense. Sunshine. Florida oranges. More offense.

The Bad:

High expectations. Retirees on the freeway with their left turn signal on. On the Storm’s website, Earnest Certain is in the pronunciation guide, DB Khalid Naziruddin is not.

Completely Arbitrary Prediction

The Storm finish 14-2, go on to lose the Arena Bowl; JM’s head explodes.

Dietz flies around planet to reverse time, win game, save JM’s head. This also causes JM’s head to explode.





Brett Dietz contract: the INSIDE SCOOP

30 01 2008

Greek God; also, Tampa Bay AFL QB

Not a moment too soon, Tampa Bay resigned Co-Rookie of the Year, and Generally Very Good at Throwing Oblong Objects, QB Brett Dietz to a three year contract. Rumored to be worth about 250,000 total clams, there are also rumored to be certain incentives in Dietz’s new deal. Directly from his contract:

“Also, in addition to monies promised to Brett Dietz over his three years, Brett Dietz is eligible for these additional incentives should Brett Dietz accomplish the following:

  1. If Brett Dietz leads the Storm to an Arena Bowl victory, a statue of Brett Dietz as Zeus hurling lightning bolts shall be commissioned and affixed to the roof of St. Pete Times Forum.
  2. Whenever Brett Dietz scores a stylish running touchdown, Coach/GM Tim Marcum will invite Brett Dietz to his home so they can fraudulently send pizzas and hookers to Ron Jaworski.
  3. For every passing yard completed by Brett Dietz, Brett Dietz will be awarded a ticket. At the end of the season, Brett Dietz can exchange said tickets for a variety of prizes, including, but not limited to, Ring Pops, Nintendo GameBoy cartridges, and a new Schwinn bicycle.”

For the record, if Brett Dietz scores a Flutie-esqe drop-kick field goal, you will see pictures here of me doing whatever Brett Dietz wants JM to do on the interwebs.

Hopefully it’s something along the lines of ‘stuff 100 jellybeans into mouth’ or ‘rub the beard of a professional athlete‘.





Arena Quarterbacks Convene Council of Trent Green

8 10 2007

We at It’s Still Football have been fortunate to obtain the transcript of a hastily-convened meeting of all AFL starting QBs. The topic: the injury to Miami Dolphins QB Trent Green. Here are their assessments of the situation. And, thanks to Awful Announcing, video that – by now – everybody’s seen. For context. Or something.

Dr. Clint Dolezel, Ph. D. (Dallas): You know how I avoid career-threatening injuries like this? I don’t fucking block. It’s actually one of my many doctoral theses, entitled “Why A Quarterback Shouldn’t Have to Block.” Allow me to read to you from the abstract: “This thesis deals with why I never throw a block. I am a quarterback. Blocking occurs when a player without the ball impedes the progress of a defender. If the ball is not in my hands, it is in the air on the way to a receiver, in a receiver’s hands in the end zone, or I am on the sideline, having recently thrown a touchdown pass. In any of these situations, there is no one to block.” I cite my sources. They are impeccable.

Sherdrick Bonner (Arizona): Players now are so big, and fast, and strong that you have to protect yourself against this sort of thing. You have to practice good fundamentals so you don’t get hurt. People are talking about the rules to protect the quarterback so these sorts of injuries don’t happen on an ordinary play, and Mr. Green has to play smart and not lead with his head like that on an extraordinary play. In the Cretaceous Period, when I was a rookie, it was more anything-goes, and we had to know these things, simply to protect ourselves. Plus, there was a chance you’d get eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. So, you know, you had to be alert.

Matt Nagy (Columbus): Let me tell you something. If that [expletive] Coach Walrus calls another [expletive] running play, I’m going to block with his hydrocephalitic noggin. After I RIP it from his BODY. THAT BASTARD. LISTEN TO ME: I KNOW WHAT I’M [expletive] [expletive] [clever new compound expletive] DOING.

Brett Dietz (Tampa Bay): Brett Dietz blocks with textbook form. Brett Dietz leaves the smell of cinnamon and vanilla in the wake of his blocks. Brett Dietz. Brett Dietz’s blocks remove stains from opposing players’ jerseys. Brett Dietz does not fall unconscious, unless it is by choice. Brett Dietz.

John Dutton (Colorado): I’m better than Cleo Lemon! Put ME in! Please. I’m so hungry. Oh, yeah, Trent Green. Tragic. Cut down in his prime. An American Hero. Whatever. Just sign me to a contract. I gots bills to pay.

Jeff Smoker (Nashville): [Drools.]

Matt D’Orazio (Chicago): Here’s what I don’t get: it’s a terrible block, just poor form by Trent, but Travis Johnson just goes after him. That’s just classless, waving your arms about like that. I simply can’t abide that sort of demonstration. Unless it’s by Bobby Sippio. But he usually earned it. By the way, does anyone know who I can throw the ball to next year? No? Okay, I have to call my financial planner.

Chris Griesen (Georgia): If I’m struck in the head, the only effect is the resounding chime, like someone tapped a glass bowl made of the finest crystal. It’s soothing, really. I then get back up and throw a 8-yard out pattern.

Shane Stafford (Orlando): Coach Gruden said he’d talk to us about it more when he gets back from hanging out with his family. I hate it when we have team meetings after Gruden Family Time – he’s always cranky and says “Jon says to do it this way,” in this weird sing-song falsetto. Occasionally he’ll get all weepy, and that’s really awkward. I just don’t want to get hurt.

Tony Graziani (Philadelphia): HEY! I THINK IT WAS A QUESTIONABLE DECISION TO BLOCK IN THAT MANNER BY TRENT, BUT ALSO WRONG FOR TRAVIS TO TAUNT A MOTIONLESS OPPONENT. ADDITIONALLY, I FIND TRAVIS’ APOLOGY LACKING. By the way, how’s my hair?

Mark Grieb: [Squints.] Yes. I know how to block. That’s not how you do it. I do it with the power of my mind. And practice. And community relations. But mostly my mind. [Continues to squint, endlessly.]