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)
|New Jersey Flight||4||2||.667||336||154|
|Cape Fear Heroes||3||3||.500||372||265|
|E. Carolina Torch||2||4||.333||224||223|
|High Country Grizzlies||2||4||.200||242||311|
|Peach St. Cats||0||5||.000||79||328|
* Forfeited at least 1 game
AAL Tiebreaking Procedures
The four postseason participants from each conference are seeded as follows: The league champion with the best record. The league team with the second-best record. The league team with the third-best record. The League team with the fourth-best record.
NOTE: Tie games count as one-half win and one-half loss for both clubs.
TO BREAK A TIE WITHIN THE AAL
If, at the end of the regular season, two or more clubs in the league finish with identical won-lost-tied percentages, the following steps will be taken until a champion is determined.
Two Clubs Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the league.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.
Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference. Strength of victory.
Strength of schedule.
Best combined ranking among league teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
Best net points in common games.
Best net points in all games.
Best net touchdowns in all games.
Coin toss Three or More Clubs
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.
The Speculative Future of the AAL
With all that's going on in the AAL at the moment, AF Insider thought it would be a good idea to address the various situations and rumors around the league, starting with The Richmond Roughriders. The Riders recently said goodbye to OL Malcolm Bunche. He got the call from the New York Giants and has gone to chase his big-league dreams. Congratulations Mr. Bunche the RVA fans will miss you.
Are the Roughriders leaving the AAL?
The answer for the moment is no. Arena football team affiliations are a year to year proposition and, as all experienced fans know leagues are oftentimes year to year propositions as well. Gregg Fornario told AF Insider the team will remain in Richmond as long as the Coliseum is there. We reached out to the City of Richmond and were told the contractor and city are discussing every option from a simple refurbishment of the arena to a complete and total revitalization project covering 20 acres of prime real estate in downtown Richmond, including the 7 acres the stadium is currently occupying. As of this writing, we have reached out but not yet heard back from Mr. Matt Welch at the Richmond Economic Development Authority. The City has said they will make a decision sometime in June of 2018 and SMG, the people who run the Coliseum are not booking anything in past September. If the city moves ahead stadium demolition will begin in December and probably won't be ready until the 2020 or 2021 season. If that happens and the team intends to play ball they'll need to move. So far the rumors have them playing in the Norfolk, or Hampton Virginia, Atlantic City NJ, Louisville KY, Wilmington DE, and Orlando FL. AF Insider's best advice is to ignore the rumors and enjoy 2018 because, as stated earlier, arena football is a year to year proposition.
Is the AAL going away?
AF Insider reached out to Tony Zefiretto who is an executive in the league office. He gave me an emphatic no. The league, he said will play next year. When I asked him if it would be the same teams he was less committal. You can't blame him, with all the rumors currently making the rounds how can anyone make any real guesses about who will be where at the start of next season. I asked him specifically if the Cape Fear Heroes owner, Barbara Speigner was leaving the league and restarting the SIF. His answer was "Whatever she decides to do in the future I wish her good luck." When I pushed him for a better answer he said had heard nothing official about any team leaving the league. I asked him the same questions about both the Roughriders and the Havoc and his answers were exactly the same. Affiliation contracts do not end until after the season ends so teams aren't even legally allowed to announce any plans they may have already made.
According to both Tony, and Jack Bowman, the Rochester Kings are not folding and are planning on playing the rest of their games. We'll see. The canceled game against Jersey counts in the standings as a forfeit and the Flight was awarded a 6-0 victory. So what happened? The story is the arena asked for multiple payments and the team either didn't have the money or didn't want to pay. One way or the other they didn't inform the league office until after 8 pm Friday night and the money needed to be paid by Saturday 8 am. Welcome to the Can-Am amateur hour.
From other sources, I can tell you the only team who may fold during the season could be the East Carolina Torch. The situation is kind of a mess and nobody knows if their current benefactor will remain in the game or not. If he is making a long-term commitment then it's likely he'll follow the Heroes into the new SIF. It is unknown which league the Dragons would choose, or even if they'll play next year.
As for the rest of the teams, nobody really knows anything. Both the Doom and the Energy are good teams who both play in front of mostly empty chairs. The Flight's owners are still running the team, but if they're found guilty of tax fraud they could wind up in jail and that leaves the team in limbo. Anything more would be wildly speculative and, while I love to speculate as much as anyone else, trying to guess the vagaries of arena football plus the court system is a fool's errand. The Flight has been a snakebit franchise right from the start. After most of a winter of indecision, the team finally chose the AAL over the NAL. They put together their team then promptly went up to Rochester and lost the opener in what can fairly be described as a mess of a game. The Kings share the arena with an ice hockey team and for some reason, they don't have any boards to put down on the ice before laying down the carpet. The game itself was marred by horrific officiating. In the first half, the refs used Can-Am rules and AAL rules in the second half. They came home for their opener against the West Maryland Warriors, a semi-pro team, and blew them out. The next day DB John Willians died in a car wreck and then the following Saturday they blew a huge halftime lead against the Richmond Roughriders. Since then they've righted the ship and have put themselves in playoff contention. It's been a heck of a season in New Jersey and it would be nice to see this team make it into the postseason.
What of the High Country Grizzlies?
Before the season they said they felt the NAL was too costly and the travel distances were undesirable. They solved this by joining the AAL, and have played most of their games within a comfortably distanced drive. Has it worked out for them? In the W/L column, it hasn't. The real question is if they've made money in Boone. Here at AF Insider, we find it unlikely they did, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're done. If the losses are acceptable they could choose to stay in the game. Whether or not that's in Boone is another question entirely. Boone is a nice town, but it's very small and there are no beer sales on the Appalachian State Campus.
The AF Insider speculation:
I expect the AAL to remain in place but only a few of the teams that are there now will remain. If you assume all the teams will remain solvent then those likely to remain would be Georgia, Carolina, High Country, New Jersey, Rochester and Peach State. They will be joined by a by a bunch of affiliates stepping up like the New England Cavalry and the New England Bobcats. There are a couple of EIF teams possibly in the mix, but there is no information about this beyond gossip. Leaving the AAL will be the Heroes, Dragons, and Torch if they survive. Also rumored to be heading to greener pastures are the Roughriders and Havoc. The rumors are many and wildly speculative, but the ones we keep hearing over and over again is they're joining the NAL or they're forming their own league. While both of those options sound great to the fans, both are wildly expensive with even less guarantee of payoff then possibly staying in the AAL.
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.