Monday, March 05, 2007

From the 25-yard line.

Yes that's right, sports fans, we went to see our Arena Football League team, the Colorado Crush. We got free tickets from work, which inspired several jokes about such things as, "That's how they fill the stands." However, upon arrival at the Pepsi Center, we found that there were lots of Crush fans that went all the way, with faces painted, jerseys, even Crush helmets, in attendance. The place looked about 80 percent full, which was much more than I expected.

Our seats were section 224, and we had no idea where they were. Or the fact that they were on the Club Level, where two gentlemen in suits turned away several others but we were waved on through with, "Come right ahead." This was the next step just below a suite. Jeff was the guy that took our orders, handing us a menu that included mixed drinks. When Joe ordered a Diet Pepsi, Jeff ventured, "With a shot?" We got personal, in-seat service the rest of the game.

Oh yeah, the game. There was the usual modern onslaught of flashing lights, jumbotrons, blaring 80s music, and a deep-voiced announcer that sounded like a cross between Wolfman Jack and Michael Buffet. He boomed "Your Colorado Crush" about a hundred times.

Arena Football is 8-man football played on a 50-yard field. (I called it "half court" football, but it does go from 1 to 25 and back to 1 again.) You probably know about the crazy narrow field goal space and the nets that keep the ball in play. One guy can be in motion on offense, going all over the damned place. Only one of the two linebackers can blitz, and the other must stay between the tackles.

The pace of the game is fast and furious, but somehow it seems like they're all not trying very hard. I dunno. I guess NFL guys just get paid more and hit harder. It was fun to watch, and there were some cute plays run after they stopped doing "Throw It To The Motion Guy" for about a quarter.

The atmosphere is much more silly than an NFL game, with lusty booing of the other team and considerable on-field celebrations (remember those?). Which is to say, more fun too. We had a good time and we'll do it again. If I can get free tickets. They need us! We're the "9th Man"!

One more thing: Your Colorado Crush lost 44 to 42. They were in command of the game until the third quarter, when the opposing quarterback left the game on a stretcher. Amazingly, the next play by the new QB was a 44-yard TD (that's far in this league, folks) and they never looked back again. Scripted like a movie.

When was the last time you saw an 86-point football game?


JasonWinter said...

There was that San Diego-Cincy game this year...

But yeah, I'm always a little disappointed that we didn't go to see that minor-league AFL franchise in Norfolk. The Nighthawks, I think? I still remember one of the taglines from the commercials:

"Catch a ball, it's yours to keep."
"Catch a player, well..." (with shot of guy getting knocked over the boards)

Aussie-Askew said...

Does it avoid the delays involved in swapping the whole team out every time the ball changes hands? If so, sign me up!
And I appreciated the irony that you didn;t think they were tackling hard (seems like a game that favours mobility and stamina over brute force) but still the quarterback had to be stretchered off.

Shocho said...

We did see a guy take a header over the boards and land on the sound guy's laptop, which was quite entertaining.

Probably less delays with only 8 guys on a side Juz. I think the stretchered off guy landed wrong or something.

Bygood said...

I've followed the Arizona Rattlers since their first year and still contend that the AFL games give Phoenixians some of the most bang for their entertainment buck.

Part of the reason it seemed like the hitting might have been at reduced speed is because rules require defenses to play essentially straight-up. No hiding players, no stunting, etc. Plus the majority of practices are spent focused on offensive technique vs. defensive since that's how the league is built.

Nonetheless, even in the AFL, defense wins championships :-)