Itís ARENA FOOTBALL
So we have some new heroes in our lives. A group of business people allied as Arena Football One a few years back when they saw the demise of the AFL coming, and did something about it.
Thanks business guys of Arena Football One. Their story will be written when all of the dust settles from the new move.
While the corporate part of the Arena Football League went bust and its players, coaches and fans got sent packing, we can now look ahead to a tomorrow that will come with Arena Football in it.
So for old time sake and for the future of the sport, let’s refer to it as Arena Football. No, let’s say for all time’s sake, call it ARENA FOOTBALL.
You can’t say I didn’t set out warnings about the league office of the AFL. Look at some of my past articles. It was clear that they neglected the individual franchises and cared more about hanging with ESPN and NFL celebrities than they did about any AFL player or team.
One thing is for sure that can never happen again. I’d like to know some ESPN guys, but not if I lose my house in the process. And hopefully Ron “Jaws” Jaworski and some of the better bigwigs from the past will show back up. Not all of them were off base in their motives.
The first most important thing about Arena Football is the players. Fans are not risking their health and safety playing the toughest version of football ever devised. Real people are. Though the two are solidly connected, it is the players that literally give it their all.
“It’s good to see the game coming back,” said Two-Time ArenaBowl champion Dan Frantz. “As a kicker, not only do you get to be involved in a very important aspect of the game, but you get time to see the talent of the players on the field. It’s good to see that the new ownership includes so many people involved with the original game.”
Anyone that hangs around Arena Football long enough learns how amazing this version of football truly is.
We all realize that the game is coming back in a more conservative business plan. Whatever the pay scale and benefits structure is implemented for the players, the new version had better see to it that salaries and perks grow even better than they were in the AFL.
There deserves to be million dollar players in Arena Football. There should be well-off coaches’ league wide.
Successful franchises and owners doing well will benefit them to the point where player’s salaries are never a worry to the bottom line.
If the players are rewarded, then everyone else will be too.
After all, Arena Football is professional football.
A “new economic model” can’t exclude financial growth when all goes well. And it will.
Teams are run as much by business people as they are athletes. A coach is just as included in the money aspect of the team as they are with the on field excitement..
The new structure of Arena Football is between the player and their team.
“I couldn’t be happier to be back in Chicago,” said Mike Hohensee newly reappointed Headcoach for the Rush. “There’s no way to put into words what we all have been through, but I know the only way forward is to focus on winning football.”
As teams finalize their rosters for the upcoming season in March 2010, the game is still played between the lines. Everything else supports that.
“What happened to the AFL left a lot of people hurt and many still are,” said Hohensee.
“We can only look forward. There is no use in looking backwards. And my hope is that for those that loved the game, from those that were employed by the league to those fans that will always be important to us; we should build the future together.”
As Hohensse took a moment to himself, what he said next is true no matter at what time in history they are pronounced:
“But the future is in the old saying about taking it one day at a time. If I do, the players do and everyone else that loves this game, makes that important to their lives, we can’t go wrong.”
To the point.
Arena Football fans are wonderful and devoted to this version of football and were the reason I and so many other questioning seekers came back for my second and third game and stayed until the AFL dissolved before my eyes.
Arena Football is the best sports ticket in town.
Which unfortunately brings me to the point.
Too many fans wanted a free ride to games. A free ticket is only important in very limited quantities and for very good reasons. Though like germs on a plate of food, they sicken an otherwise healthy body when there are too many.
An empty seat is one not paid for. Try paying your mortgage with a house filled with freeloaders. You will end up in the same line as the AFL.
Many fans failed the AFL. Every empty seat must be thought of like a weak offensive line. Your team will always lose.
Unless every dedicated fan makes his and her point to spread the love about Arena Football, there will be football fans that will never come to this game for many unsound reasons.
There is nothing more important than buying a ticket to the business of professional anything.
Professional means you are paid to play it. It also means you have to pay to see it.
If buying a ticket isn’t important to you, you are not a fan and you are not a part of this game. We will miss you as much as we will the terminated employees of the AFL league office.
As we have all read by now, the AFL was bought out of the bankruptcy courts by a group of people that know pro sports is not run on hype.
It didn’t take an MBA from Harvard to see that the AFL corporate office appeared to be living on means to no ends.
The creation of Arena Football 1 may just turn out to be the coolest of success stories. I’m betting they will be very successful. The game of Arena Football is just too good a product.
The foundation of the salvation of the league is not in some wild-eyed investment company. No, thank goodness. It was claimed by people that have been in this game a long time but were unable to stop the madness of smoke and mirrors on the business side of things.
“As a founding member of the AFL,” said William Niro, “I was proud to be part of an incredible success story. I was equally distressed by the demise of the league over the past 12 months. As owners of the new Chicago Rush, we intend to dedicate ourselves to bringing jobs to the area, to create opportunities for our players, coaches and staff, and to give our loyal fans a team that they can cheer on to victory.”
To see the future of Arena Football, one needs only listen to its owners that didn’t fold up their tents:
“What AFL fans will see in AF1 is the structure and the spirit of the game back on the indoor field,” said Dan Newman, owner of the Bossier-Shreveport (La.) BattleWings. “Remember, we never shut down for a moment.
Newman owns one of the new teams slotted in Arena Football 1.
It will be hard for me not to be a fan of the Battle Wings.
“We’ve assembled ownership that knows the game well,” said Newman. “That starts from the first handshake we give to a player or fan and it continues beyond the end of the season.”
Thank you Mr. Newman.
So now what?
What this means for the fans of the game known as Arena Football is that we can start feeling right again.
The eventual chaos of hype that felled the AFL should not rear its ugly head in the new version.
What failed the AFL were not players and their pay . . . but certain behaviors at the corporate and league office level that seemed to never look on the field as the place for their pay.
Now, it’s unfair to say that Bon Jovi, Elway and the NFL/ESPN Boys were not fun to have around, but they could have saved the AFL from bankruptcy proceedings. Now for sure, these guys put their time and money into the game, but they failed and that’s the bottom line in sports or business.
So for the past Coach Hohensee, it will be left in the rear view mirror as Arena Football moves forward.
What we know right now is that the AFL is done. It’s pieces being picked up as part of the Bankruptcy proceedings finalized on December 18th.
Led by Board Member William Niro and Counsel Pia N. Thompson, the league took possession of the assets from Bankruptcy Trustee Alex Moglia at a closing ceremony Friday morning in Chicago. “We had to run the gauntlet of well financed and powerful opposition to secure the assets for the future of the Arena Football game and our new league. In the end, we prevailed because of the unwavering commitment and trust that the members had in each other to make something special happen,” said Niro. “We can now focus our full attention on the 2010 season.”
Closing the transaction now allows Arena Football One (AF1) and it’s member teams, if they desire, to adopt and use the team names, trademarks and logos of the Arena Football League. Current team ownership groups in Chicago, Orlando, Arizona and Tampa Bay have expressed their intent to operate their new team under the former AFL team name, as have all the former arenafootall2 (af2) teams that will be playing in AF1.
Almost one year after the AFL announced suspension of the 2009 season, the AF1 has seized the opportunity to organize and develop the Arena Football game into the future.
"With the AFL asset purchase complete, AF1’s players, coaches, and team staffs are proud to carry on the tradition of providing quality, fan-friendly, affordable Arena Football to our fans across the country,” said Commissioner Jerry Kurz. “Our 2010 Inaugural Season is just around the corner and our teams look forward to a great season of competitive play.”
Formed in 2009, the Arena Football One League boasts teams from coast to coast and will commence its Inaugural Season in the Spring of 2010.