Much more than a team
With 1:42 left in the third quarter it happened.
Manchester Wolves kicker Connor McCormick just made a routine extra point making the score 41-41, but I knew what the extra point really meant.
If you’ve read my articles in the past you already know what I’m getting at, and it’s a simple statistic that has determined the outcome of every Green Bay Blizzard game this season.
Coming into the second round match-up with the Wolves, the Blizzard was 12-0 when holding a team to 40 points or less, and 0-5 when allowing 41 points or more.
So, as I sat and glared at the scoreboard in the Resch Center on Saturday night, I realized this was the moment that would determine the story of the Blizzard this season.
The statistic and tempo of the game had me feeling this would be the end to the run at an ArenaCup for the Blizzard, but I also knew this was a team that had come so far in 2008.
This was a team with the number one defense in arenafootball2, which was capable, and often did, shutdown an opponent’s offense.
This was a team that went through three quarterbacks before finding a leader in Collin Drafts, and a playmaker in Gino Guidugli.
This was a team that became only the sixth franchise in af2 history to record 50 sacks in a season, and was led by the lineman of the year Joe Sykes.
This was a team that had the first player in arena football history to score 10 touchdowns and record 10 sacks in ironman Gus Tyson.
This was a team that had the face of the franchise, ‘Superman’ Robert Garth, come back to Green Bay where he belongs.
This was a team that won in my opinion the toughest division in af2 from top to bottom, the Midwest Division.
This was a team that led the af2 with eight players on the All-af2 team.
Lastly, this was a team, but I started to realize in the fourth quarter it was something more than that.
At the end of the game on Saturday night when I watched Wolves quarterback Brian Jones run into the end zone for the two-point conversion, and ultimately the 55-54 win, I knew what the loss meant and began to understand what I was watching all season.
It meant there wouldn’t be a third-straight trip to the American Conference Championship game, and the Blizzard was 0-6 when an opponent scored 41 points or more.
Yes, a simple statistic could tell you the outcome of every Blizzard game this season, but it doesn’t tell you the story of this team.
Because as I leaned against the boards and said my goodbyes to the team I had gotten to know so well, I realized I wasn’t watching a team all season, the 2008 Green Bay Blizzard was a family.
A family that opened its doors for me to be a part of it.