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.

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Holy Mother of God, Utah Wins! Philly Loses! (Also, MN(A)F Preview)

5 05 2008

Ah, yes, the low-hanging fruit of posting this Far Side picture. In this allegory, Utah’s the door, by the way.

Holy flaming dog-poop! Utah won their pillow fight with Kansas City for their first victory of the season! Success and joy abound, for Coach/GM/Incompetent Buffoon Danny White’s urge to kill is subsiding! I could cover this in the Weekend in Review that tends to go up on Wednesday-or-not-at-all-sorry-about-that, but screw it. 1-9, baby! No zeroes here! All right! Let’s you, me, and our 12,000 friends celebrate.

Wait – 12,208 people saw this game? For real? An 0-9 Utah draws 12,000? What were they giving away, gold bullion? Was it “Full price ticket for the first wife, all extra wives are free” night? (Ah, yes, polygyny jokes in re: Utah. Will you never get old?*)

On the other hand… the completely mysterious Cleveland Gladiators managed to capitalize on smashing Matt D’Orazio’s bones to a fine powder, forcing a somewhat-rusty Tony Graziani into the game. Cleveland… controlled the clock? I mean, it was a relatively low-scoring affair, and the Gladiators got four rushing touchdowns out of Marlon, excuse me, Marlion Jackson, so… presumably… I seriously have no idea what to make of Cleveland. I have to presume that Bernie Kosar now just wears a cape and a zorro mask and hides in shadows, leaping out at unsuspecting owners.

[Ominous voice] No team remains unbeaten. No team remains winless. [/Ominous voice]

As for tonight’s tilt in Tampa between the semi-mighty Chicago Rush and the mostly-spastic Tampa Bay Storm, well, let’s just say our loyalties are divided. On the one hand, a human being who’s been nice to us, which allows us to overlook the fact that it seems that he’s on his back a distressing amount of the time and while he gets his stats, there hasn’t been as much, you know, winning as one might like. On the other hand: blatant homerism! WOO! Our city rocks the hardest! We have deep dish pizza and beef sandwiches and HOLY SHIT: MARIO’S ITALIAN LEMONADE OPENED FOR THE SUMMER LAST WEEK.

[The sound of a chair being flipped over, doors slam, minutes pass]

Where was I? Oh, yes: torn between whatever the opposite of a rock and a hard place is. Here’s the analysis: Tampa Bay hasn’t done well against defensive pressure, which is the only thing Chicago’s consistently shown. If Brett Dietz, the Finnish Flash, can escape from the Rush D, they’ve got a puncher’s chance. Michna’s a good kid, but he doesn’t quite have ice water in the veins yet. You know when you turn on the tap to “cold,” and you run your hand under the stream and say to yourself, “Well, I could drink that, or I could see if there’s anything left in the Brita,” but it’s colder than tepid? That’s what Michna has. Chicago has the defensive edge, and they’re even on offense.

My theory? Chicago pulls out a squeaker, but Tampa Bay gets some sort of moral victory. OR, if the Storm do pull this one out, expect them to go on a second-half run, a la last season.





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.”





Wiki-Worthy: T.T. Toliver

9 04 2008

In this semi-regular series (which has been defunct since two installments in the 2007 season), we shall examine someone affiliated with the Arena Football League who meets Wikipedia’s strict standards for inclusion, and then attempt to either elaborate on the entry or make a joke about their alma mater or arrest record. Today, Orlando Predators WR Antoine “T.T.” Toliver. 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‘.