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Extra, Extra! Everything you need to know about the Tampa Bay Storm as season winds down

Connor Akeman
Monday July 18, 2016

 Thank you, Jacksonville Sharks. You saved us all. With your loss to the lowly Portland Steel on Saturday night, you saved us all from the dreaded “one-win teams bowl” at Amalie Arena this Saturday night between the Tampa Bay Storm and Portland Steel.

Of course, this doesn’t make Saturday night’s game any more appealing. Fans aren’t exactly rushing to the box office for this one. If anything, Storm fans are staying far away as the last meeting between the teams turned into a 68-35 blowout in favor of the Steel just a few weeks ago. One of many low points this season for the Storm.

Statistically speaking, this Saturday night’s game might just be the worst matchup the Arena Football League has seen in many years. In the last two seasons, the Tampa Bay Storm and Portland Steel (formerly the Portland Thunder) have played 65 games combined. They have combined to win 15 of those games.

So naturally, here are some reasons to at least tune in or even head out to the final Storm home game this weekend…

QB Controversy?

Storm QB Adam Kennedy has certainly made a case for himself to be thrown back into consideration for the starting job. Kennedy, who entered the game for the injured Jason Boltus on Saturday night against Philadelphia, completed 17-of-26 passes for 241 yards and five touchdown passes while adding one on the ground. By far, his best numbers of the season. Kennedy was the starter for the Storm out of training camp this season.

“I thought my backup quarterback came off the bench and played a helluva game tonight… We just aren’t there yet,” Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels said about Kennedy’s performance against the Soul.

Toliver Show

At this point, the ageless wonder T.T Toliver is singlehandedly worth the price of admission. Setting new records week to week, so it seems. On Monday night in Los Angeles, Toliver broke the all-time record for all-purpose yardage in a career, passing the mark previous held by the great Barry Wagner. Toliver now holds records for basically every major category possible for a wide receiver in the Arena Football League. Impressive stuff from the 39 year old.

Busy, Busy

When the ball rings off the net for the first time at Amalie Arena on Saturday night, the Tampa Bay Storm will be playing for the THIRD time in the past thirteen days. Three games in less than two weeks is difficult, I don’t care who you are. In fact, this isn’t the first time the Storm have run into some suspect scheduling this season. Earlier in the year, the Storm played a Monday night game in Philadelphia before traveling back home for a Friday night game in Orlando the same week. Very odd.

“We’re still making some silly mistakes,” Storm head coach Lawrence Samuels said after his team lost to the Soul for the second time this season. Our guys are still motivated and still competing… And I just hope everyone sees that.”

We see it, coach. I see it. The fans see it. Unfortunately, it’s just not translating. This team is fighting. And if you recall the ending of the Storm’s most recent road contest in Los Angeles, literally fighting… but, it all counts I suppose.

So finish strong. Make a late season push. And let it start right now, right here against the Portland Steel. In the final appearance in front of the home fans in 2016, give them something to cheer for again. Win this game. And come on out, fans. Do your part for the final time this season.

I’ve heard there are still plenty of tickets to go around.

Connor Akeman is a freelance sports writer and aspiring radio broadcaster who resides in Tampa, FL. A Tampa native, he considers himself emotionally invested in the Rays, Buccaneers, and Lightning by enjoying season tickets to all three teams. He has followed the Storm since the early Tim Marcum days and can remember attending his first ever Arena Football game in 2007. Studying Mass Communications/Journalism, Connor graduated from the University of South Florida in May 2017. He has spent time with and has been published by the Orange County Register in Anaheim, CA as well as other outlets. He currently contributes to of SB Nation. You can follow Connor on Twitter @ConnorAkeman.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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