AFL could reach tipping point moment with ArenaBowl XXIX
GLENDALE, AZ - "Tomorrow could be the tipping point for the Arena Football League." –Ron Jaworski
ArenaBowl XXIX is just 24 hours away, and the match-up between the Arizona Rattlers and the Philadelphia Soul is just about everything the AFL could have ever asked for. These two teams are now both 15-3 this year with one loss for each of them against the other one.
Both teams are on fire; Arizona has won nine straight games, while Philadelphia has won six in a row. The last time both teams entered the ArenaBowl on winning streaks of at least six games was back in 1997, which just happens to be the only time the Rattlers won an ArenaBowl here in the desert.
The argument could be made that this is the best quarterback match-up we've had in the history of the ArenaBowl. Considering the fact that both Nick Davila and Dan Raudabaugh are firmly in the primes of their careers, this is clearly the best of the three matchups between the two aces of the AFL.
Aside from that, the only arguments which I could listen to as better matchups are ArenaBowl X between Jay Gruden's Tampa Bay Storm and Kurt Warner's Iowa Barnstormers and ArenaBowl XVIII between Mark Grieb's San Jose SaberCats and Sherdrick Bonner's Rattlers. The next in line would probably be a young Davila against Aaron Garcia in ArenaBowl XXIV. Those three games, for good measure, were arguably the three best in the history of the ArenaBowl.
That's what prompted Ron Jaworski to call this game the "tipping point" for the AFL.
Though Thursday's Media Day was supposed to be all about the Soul and the Rattlers, Jaws stole the show with the best speech of the afternoon. Philly's owner had the whole room buzzing with his passionate speech about the growth of the sport of arena football both here in the United States and worldwide.
And he's right. Though this year was clearly a rebuilding year for the AFL and there's certainly more rebuilding left to do in the years to come, steps have been taken to assure that there shouldn't be any more going backwards. The past owners who helped bring the AFL down over the course of the last seven years – owners which Jaworski affectionately and eloquently referred to as "turds," are all gone, and clearly, more owners of NHL or NBA teams are going to end up joining this league eventually. When that happens, things are really going to start taking off again, and that could bring this league back to a similar stature which it enjoyed in the mid-2000s.
And it all starts again with ArenaBowl XXIX on Friday night.