AAL Regular Season Radio Games of the Week
March 24, 2018 Florida Tarpons @ High Country Grizzlies (Boone, North Carolina) March 31, 2018 Triangle Torch @ Atlanta Havoc (Buford, Georgia)
April 7, 2018
Cape Fear Heroes @ Richmond Roughriders (Richmond, Virginia)
April 28, 2018
Georgia Doom @ Cape Fear Heroes (Fayetteville, North Carolina)
May 4, 2018
Upstate Dragons @ New Jersey Flight (Trenton, New Jersey)
May 19th, 2018
Carolina Energy @ Cape Fear Heroes (Fayetteville, North Carolina)
May 26, 2018
Upstate Dragons @ Florida Tarpons (Lakeland, Florida)
June 2, 2018
Cape Fear Heroes @ Glens Falls Gladiators (Glens Falls, New York)
Rules adopted by the league to enhance the game: The TE rule is in, so look for the big guys up front to help keep the chains moving.
Either LB can blitz, but only one per play. The Jack does not have to line up over the TE, and he can drop back 6 yards and cover wall to wall.
Another great addition is the Defensive Lineman can twist on the pass rush. In most leagues the DL have to stay in their own lane, now AAL linemen can rush whatever gap they like. Add to that a blitzing LB and the pressure on the QB to get rid of the ball will be ratcheted up from what fans are used to seeing.
Perhaps the most interesting rule change is on the kick-off. Without AFL nets, most arena leagues feature the Uno. Kick it through the uprights on a kickoff and you're awarded a point. The rule provides an advantage to teams with a high skilled kicker. Now, if your kicker can't boom it over the back wall or put it through the uprights they can kick a squibbler into the opponents endzone and try for a touchback. A successful TB is an Uno. The rule will put a stronger emphasis on special teams which should make the game more fun for the fans.
af insider editorial
The news coming out of the first weekend for arena football's newest league was mixed. While there were some definite triumphs there were also issues that will need correcting as the league moves into the future. Perceived by the industry as a purely minor league, the teams playing over the weekend proved to be anything but. Both the Atlanta Havoc and Richmond Roughriders were dominant in their contests. The Roughriders are incorporating a lot of new players into Coach Zimmerman's scheme, not the least of which is QB Rakeem Cato formerly of the Montreal Alouettes and Greg Hardy, the DE from the Dallas Cowboys hoping to reignite his career after some off the field problems sidelined him. Both men played well and appear to be well on their way towards mastering the indoor game. The same can't be said for their opponent, the High Country Grizzlies. The team from Boone, NC lost their head coach during the off-season and some additional front office turmoil have them struggling to find their footing in the early going. The team has plenty of talent for new coach Scott Meserve to work with so expect some improvement as the season continues.
The expansion franchise Atlanta Havoc hosted their first ever game in the Buford City Arena. The arena has been derided by some as being just a high school stadium, but after visiting it I can tell you there are at least a dozen teams playing indoors who would swap their building for this one in a heartbeat. It features great sightlines, comfortable seating, easy ingress and egress, tailgating fans, and a modern overhead scoreboard that'll rival anything the NBA has to offer. The field itself was a bit wrinkled which created some tripping hazards for the players and an advertisement banner fell off the boards and needed to be removed from the field. The game itself was a blowout 48-21 against a good Florida Tarpons team. After the game, Florida's coaching staff said the O-line and DB's experienced some communication issues which accounted for the Atlanta sack machine beating up Tarpons QB Chris Wallace pretty thoroughly while wide receivers Ryan McDaniel and Malachi Jones torched the Florida secondary for 2 TD's apiece.
The third game was the expansion Jersey Flight visiting the Rochester Kings in upstate NY. This was an OT thriller which the Kings claimed with a one-point victory. The story coming out of this game had more to do with league issues than the gameplay. A source in the arena told us the officials used Can-Am rules in the first half of the game which caused confusion and problems for the visitors. If true this is more than just a simple training issue, this is a monumental error no league should ever commit. The other issue was field conditions. Two sources told us the field itself was rolled out directly onto the ice surface left in place for the hockey team. Again, like the officiating, this type of mistake should never happen. Player safety is of tantamount importance and A player commenting anonymously said between the field conditions and the officiating the game shouldn't even count. I doubt the league will agree, but the question remains whether these are simple growing pains which can and will be corrected or is this endemic to the league and likely to plague it all season long?
One other note, more than one person in recent weeks has taken notice of the league website and called its quality into question. When compared to the NAL, CIF, IFL, or AFL, the AAL web presence is clearly bringing up the rear. It doesn't look bad, but it is in desperate need of updating. As of Thursday 22 March, the 17 March games do not seem to appear anywhere except in the standings. The latest news story is from a few weeks ago, and there doesn't seem to be any game stats available. Also, and there is no RSS feed. Again, we are wondering if this is just growing pains or will it be a long-term problem for the league. With the folding of Glens Falls, and Vermont right before the season began, it is imperative the new league get things right because, as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression and the website is certainly one of the first things any new fan is going to see.
If the play on the field is an example of what to expect and the league can iron out the problems surrounding the game, it will rival any of the other leagues as an entertainment value for the fans.