Garcia, Grady Set To Have Texas Sized Showdown In San Antonio
The 2012 Arena Football League postseason will kick off on Friday night from the Alamodome, where the San Antonio Talons and the Utah Blaze are set to do battle. This is going to be quite the test between two teams that have never had all that much playoff success in their histories. This will be the first playoff game for the San Antonio edition of the Talons, though the Tulsa Talons are 0-1 in their AFL postseason history. This is going to be the fourth playoff game in the history of the Blaze and their first game since the relaunch of the league in 2010. Utah is just 0-3 in those games, though.
San Antonio was always figured to be one of the favorites this year in the Central Division, especially with the signing of QB Aaron Garcia in the offseason. Garcia was brought to the Lone Star State to be the face of the new franchise, just as he was three seasons ago with the Jacksonville Sharks. Two years into his tenure in Jacksonville, Garcia delivered an ArenaBowl championship. Now, he hopes to do the same with the Talons in his first year with his seventh AFL team.
It was a banner year for Garcia to say the least, as he broke the AFL record for the most games played in a career with 209. Garcia also set personal records for most completions in a season (405), most attempts (610), most passing yards (4,985), and most passing touchdowns (118). The 118 touchdowns was the second most in the league this year and the second most in the history of the AFL in a single season as well.
Not only is this the first playoff game for the city of San Antonio in AFL history, but it is also the first game for the newly named Talons' COO and Executive Vice President, Keith Recine. Coming over from the Orlando Predators, Recine knows just how important it is to get into the playoffs and win games when getting there. He told ArenaFan.com, "We are incredibly excited to bring the Talons to the national stage on the NFL Network this Friday night. Our fans are incredibly pumped up, and we plan to give them a great show and a victory."
Victory certainly won't be easy for the Talons, knowing that they have one of the most prolific offenses in the history of the AFL coming to town.
QB Tommy Grady set all sorts of records this year for quarterbacks. ArenaFan's own Andy Lopusnak dug up all of the great single-season records that the Utah signal caller broke this year. He threw for 5,870 yards and 142 touchdowns, absolutely obliterating the league records that existed prior to this season. What's most impressive about Grady though, is that he was just ridiculously efficient for the entire campaign. Grady threw at least five TD passes in every single game this year, and he threw for at least seven scores in 15 consecutive games. His average of 7.89 TDs per game might never be broken in league history.
Not only did Grady have all three of his wide receivers end with at least 1,000 receiving yards this year, but two WR Shaun Kauleinamoku had 898 receiving yards and 16 TDs as the squad's fourth best receiver as well. Keep a particularly close eye on WR Aaron LeSue, who had 56 receiving touchdowns this year, and WR Tysson Poots, who might be the AFL's Rookie of the Year in 2012 after racking up 108 catches, 1,167 yards, and 30 scores in just 11 games.
The Talons were able to get the best of the Blaze twice this season. In Week 1, San Antonio kicked off its inaugural season by logging a 54-48 victory, while in the Beehive State, the Talons triumphed 64-61. In both cases, San Antonio was huge down the stretch. It outscored Utah 22-7 in the fourth quarter of the second meeting and scored the last two touchdowns of the game to make sure that its first ever game in the Alamodome proved to be a triumphant one.
This is the first playoff game for both of these coaches, as neither have been the head man on the sidelines for a postseason game.
According to BetOnline Sportsbook, the Talons are favored by three points, while the 'total' has opened as the highest of the weekend at 124.
Friday night's kickoff starts at 8:00 p.m. (ET), and live television coverage can be found on the NFL Network.