Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In the Arena

While flipping through the channels on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I stumbled upon yet another arena football league. It's called the Indoor Football League, not to be confused with the American Indoor Football Association or the Arena Football League (the granddaddy of all arena football leagues, which shut down in 2008 and was re-launched this year under the same name). The game, which featured the West Texas Roughnecks verses the Amarillo Venom, was being shown on a weird channel provided by my cable system that I rarely watch but usually seems to be airing local high school sports or infomercials.

I didn't watch the game for very long. The last arena football game I had watched prior to this match was the 2008 Arena Bowl, which turned out to be the final game of the original Arena Football League's first incarnation. That broadcast was kind of interesting because the commentators apparently had access to both team's playbooks. The announcers were diagramming and calling the plays out as the coaches were sending them in from the sidelines. It was kind of weird, but it held my interest in a game and a sport that I cared little about longer than a more conventional broadcast would have. The IFL game that I saw featured no such insider information from the broadcast booth, but it did feature a stoppage of play that lasted a minute or two while Amarillo's quarterback and head coach searched for a contact lens that popped out of the QB's eye on the previous play. The IFL ain't the NFL, the XFL, the Arena League, or even the now defunct arenafootball2 league, but I'm sure that Gary Bettman is more that a little jealous that a third-tier semi-pro arena football league can get their games televised nationwide on basic cable. Check your local listings for the next IFL game in your market and start developing some allegiances so you're be ready to go when the 2011 NFL season is canceled.

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