Long Live the AFL

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It’s been a difficult week, but the league that I call home is on the verge of folding. The Arena Football League has ceased business operations in six of its local markets. Those markets are Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Columbus, Albany, Washington D.C., and Baltimore. The final determination regarding the fate of the AFL will be made in the next few weeks. Commissioner Randall Boe is still exploring every way possible to bring AFL football back next season.

The closure of local market business operations is due to financial constraints, including multimillion-dollar litigation filed against the AFL by an insurance carrier between 2009-2012. That liability limits the AFL’s ability to operate. To continue operations of the six local markets, the AFL is looking for prospective investors and supporters to help identify solutions to address the financial limitations. One potential idea is that the AFL may begin a touring business model like the Premier Lacrosse League. Teams may travel to different cities and play tournaments each weekend. Ron Jaworski stated “the AFL is not folding” via text message to the Press of Atlantic City.

I consider the AFL to be my original home. I had the pleasure of covering the Philadelphia Soul through their 2019 regular season. Along that ride, the Soul finished the regular season with a 7-5 record on the way to an appearance at Arena Bowl 32. Working alongside my colleagues at the Philadelphia Soul organization, the Arena Football League, Philly Sports Network, and others, we were in the trenches with the players and coaches after each game. The experience was surreal, but the AFL season was something I’ll remember for a lifetime.

The first game I covered for the Philadelphia Soul was a home game against the Albany Empire. It’s almost poetic that the season began and ended with a showdown between the Empire and the Soul. Those two teams almost seemed destined to end the season in Arena Bowl 32. At the end of that game, Albany was victorious and was crowned Arena Bowl 32 champions. Confetti fell from the rafters onto the field and the Empire’s fans were euphoric in celebration.

From day one, I’ve been all-in with the AFL. From the years I’ve watched on television when I was younger to this past season, the AFL has always been electric. Hopefully, the AFL will come to a decision soon that says there is a solution to keep the league alive. Ron Jaworski and Randall Boe are going to keep fighting to the final whistle, which gives a whole new meaning to that expression in this football league. The AFL has had their back against the ropes before, but I have all the faith that they’ll be back.

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