March 04, 2008

Arenaball is Back

SO I WATCHED and enjoyed every bloody second of Monday night's broadcast of the Arena Football League game between the evil San Jose Sabercats and the likable Chicago Rush. Chicago won, which I liked, and it did so rather handedly, thanks to a bunch of turnovers (or, as we say in arenaball land, "key defensive stops.") In front of more than 15,000 fans -- sweet -- Chicago beat San Jose 70-47 in a game that was actually quite close until midway through the fourth quarter.

One surprise: Bobby Sippio, the Chicago Rush's star wide receiver, got a promotion up to the National Football League, where he is now a Kansas City Chief. Thus, the Rush had to replace their all-star wide receiver, and did so with none other than Damian Harrell, a longtime AFL wide receiver who last night proved he is very good at his job.

I must admit this somewhat disappointed me, as I had seen Mr Harrell play in person when he was playing for the Colorado Crush. I did not care for his antics then, as I was rooting for the Grand Rapids Rampage, and found Mr Harrell's behavior a bit ... well, a bit Florida State. Boorish, to put it bluntly. But he displayed none of that on Monday night and performed brilliantly. I was also very impressed with Chicago's new quarterback, Sherdrick Bonner -- I can't believe the man is 39.

In other arenaball news, the recently moved Cleveland AFL team got 17,391 fans to turn out to the team's inaugural game in the city. That's higher than the typical attendance at an NHL game. Even better, Cleveland beat New York, 61-49. One thing I found particularly amusing: there were reportedly chants of "Pittsburgh sucks" at the game. This would be more impressive if Cleveland was actually playing Pittsburgh. You know, if Pittsburgh had an AFL team. So my opinions are divided. First, I am proud of Cleveland for turning out to watch some great football. Second, these guys clearly -- clearly -- have issues.

***

YES, I'm going to blog about arena football this year. NO, I don't care what anyone thinks about it. But if you're one of my many readers who wonder why I blog about it; well, I guess I think the game has a lot going for it. The good news, however, is that I plan to blog about a lot of stuff besides arena football, so you'll be all set.

***

SPEAKING OF REGULAR FOOTBALL, though -- let me be the first to wish Brett Favre well as he (finally) retires from the game. I'm saving the snark for the end, so bear with me before you pounce on my curmudgeonliness.

There is no denying Favre was everything one wanted in a quarterback. Not only was he an excellent quarterback, he was a fan favorite whom everyone in Green Bay loved. He was a great talent and from all accounts is a great human being, and the sport will be diminished now that he has left the game. This is a man, after all, who won a Super Bowl and set all sorts of records, and it will be a long time before those records are broken.

That said -- and I think I speak for the 89 percent of Americans who are not Green Bay Packers fans -- I'm glad to see Favre finally retire, if only because I don't have to listen for months on end about whether the guy will actually retire. Jesus Christ. It got so bad there I would have almost -- almost -- preferred listening to people blather on about Terrell Owens. Now that Favre has actually left the team, I look forward to a few years free of having to listen about the Packers, except in the context of the squad being worse than Detroit. That's not to say I won't have a soft spot in my heart for Green Bay -- after all, it is Green Bay, the last of the small-town franchises -- but come on. Enough already.

While I'm on a roll here, Packer fans, enough already with the cheeseheads. I'm serious. For one thing, the cheeseheads are a baseball-related invention -- it's true -- and, as such, are lame. For another, it's not even like they're an old-time football tradition -- they got invented in 1987, for Pete's sake. 1987. I was 11. That's not old-time football. Do something old-time football instead, like bring yellow dish towels to the games. You'll find your team gains strength and performs gloriously when they are waved furiously in the chill November wind. Trust me on this.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at March 4, 2008 10:48 PM | TrackBack
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