Tag Archives: Arena Football

AFL Power Rankings, Week 16

As I predicted, my prediction record took a hit last weekend as Portland continued its three-year streak of getting a win over Jacksonville and LA holding on to defeat Cleveland. I’m down to a mere 10-2 record (11-2 if you count my predicting that I would lose games!) on the season.

My bad week reminds me a bit of Orlando’s week. First, they went from “driving to take the lead” to “down three touchdowns” in a couple of minutes of gameplay against the Rattlers. Since they clinched a tiebreaker advantage over Arizona by losing by less than 18 points, their late field goal to cut the final margin to 17 seemed like a great save.

Then the league decided to change the postseason rules (with one game left in the season for each team) so Orlando and Philadelphia are set to play each other in the second playoff round regardless of what happens – the saving grace was rendered largely moot.

And, to top things off, LA leaped over them into third place in this week’s weighted power rankings. Here they are: Continue reading AFL Power Rankings, Week 16

Are Arvell Nelson and Bernard Morris Backup Quarterbacks?

The stats are in, and it’s unfair to call Arvell Nelson and Bernard Morris “backup” quarterbacks. These guys are every bit as good as the guys who entered the season as starters, and probably should be starting for some of the teams that desperately need a quarterback.

Why do I say that? Check out my full article (with stats) over at ArenaFan.

AFL Power Rankings, Week 10

This season, I’ve still been keeping track of weighted success rates. These numbers only take into account offensive and defensive prowess based on scoring success rates. Drives where there isn’t enough time to score at the end of a half, drives where the winning team just kills the clock, etc. don’t count against totals. Neither do special teams, because the nature of bar balls, onside kicks, etc. seem to be more luck than skill.

Weighted Offense:

  1. Philadelphia, 80% scores
  2. Orlando, 79%
  3. Arizona, 78%
  4. Jacksonville, 75%
  5. Cleveland, 74%
  6. Los Angeles, 67%
  7. Tampa Bay, 54%
  8. Portland, 53%

Weighted Defense:

  1. Philadelphia, 38% stops
  2. Los Angeles, 33%
  3. Arizona, 32%
  4. Jacksonville, 30%
  5. Tampa Bay, 30%
  6. Cleveland, 26%
  7. Portland, 26%
  8. Orlando, 22%

Orlando’s best week was Week 1, which means it gets the least weight in this week’s ratings; Portland’s best week by far was this week. Those last two are likely to change, but the current positioning underscores how badly Orlando’s defense has struggled to get off the field in recent weeks.

The total scores, then, provide a general framework for my Week 10 Power Rankings.

  1. Philadelphia, 1.19
  2. Arizona, 1.10
  3. Orlando, 1.02
  4. Jacksonville, 1.05
  5. Cleveland, 1.00
  6. Los Angeles, 1.00
  7. Tampa Bay, 0.84
  8. Portland, 0.79

I put Orlando ahead of Jacksonville based on the strength of their superior special teams play, which has produced eight touchdowns to Jacksonville’s one (although that one was produced by new acquisition Reggie Gray, who scored this week). They’ve also done a better job of winning games, which is what the sport is all about. Cleveland wins the tiebreaker over Los Angeles on the strength of their seven defensive touchdowns to Los Angeles’ three.

 

AFL Fun Facts, Post-Week 10

I’ve lost my ability to use Photoshop, so no cool graphs or .gifs anymore. All I have for you are fun facts about the Arena Football League as the regular season heads into its homestretch.

  • Two teams have yet to surrender a defensive touchdown – Arizona and Jacksonville.
  • One team has yet to score a defensive touchdown – Tampa Bay.
  • The LA KISS lost their game against the Orlando Predators via a botched FG snap that bounced through the end zone. It was the first safety recorded of 2016.
  • Because of Brandon Thompkins’ two kickoff return TDs in the fourth quarter that kept the Predators in it, the Predators offense took the field for only five drives. The next fewest drives in a game this season is seven, achieved by the KISS (in this game), and the Storm in Week 5. (Portland had the most, 15, in a Week 1 loss to Arizona.)
  • Speaking of Thompkins, he leads a Predators special teams unit that has EIGHT special teams touchdowns in 10 games. Tampa Bay has the second-most with three.
  • Portland’s maligned defense has come up with lots of stops recently. After having three combined stops against first team offenses in their first four games combined, the defense has come up with 3+ stops in three of their last four games, including six stops of Tampa Bay last week (plus two special teams fumble recoveries).
  • On the other hand, Orlando’s defense has melted down recently. After getting more than one stop in each of their first seven games, they’ve managed just one stop in each of the last three. They’re 1-2 in those games, with the win being due to an unforced error on LA’s part.
  • The Philadelphia Soul now lead the league in weighted offensive and defensive success rate, which is why they’re my No. 1 team in my upcoming Power Rankings post.
  • …and Cleveland‘s offense has become pretty darn good under Arvell Nelson. Since he took over as starter, the Gladiators have had 70% or better scoring rates in every game, a number they failed to achieve even once in their first four games. Under Nelson’s leadership, the offense went from Tampa Bay-levels of production to slightly better than Jacksonville’s.

 

AFL Week 2 in Three .gifs

Since Monday’s game will be on CBSSN and therefore inaccessible to me, here are the highlights from the games I saw this weekend.

Tampa Bay at Cleveland: I think this is the only highlight in a game that was pretty ugly and marred by injuries and guys that were never supposed to play this year ending up playing QB for both teams. This interception sealed the win for the Gladiators.

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In fairness to the QB, the defender is nearly invisible in this .gif. Unfortunately for him, real life is not compressed for size and using only 64 colors, so he shouldn’t be quite so invisible.

Portland at Orlando: It was an ugly game considering that the only real stop was the interception on Portland’s last play of the game. The first half was full of slow, methodical drives, and the second half saw lots of penalties and lots more scoring. The Predators’ feed meant lots of camera cuts mid-play, which makes for confusing .gifs and a lot of the game’s best plays were lost to that production.

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The best kick return of the night ended in the returner nearly being carried off the field by the opposing team. The next play was an interception to seal the Predators’ win.

Arizona at Los Angeles: Sorry, this was after my bedtime. I see I didn’t miss much, as Arizona obliterated LA.

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I didn’t watch Arizona vs. Los Angeles. I’ll let this Predator shame me (and haunt you).

The War on I-4 in Three .gifs

The Predators beat the Storm by 51 points on Friday, the worst loss in Tampa Bay’s history. In case you missed the game, these three .gifs summarize it pretty well.

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DE Mike Lewis recovers the fumble for a Predators TD in the AFL Highlight of the Game.
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WR Brandon Thompkins makes the Cutters Catch of the Game for another touchdown.
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DB Varmah Sonie celebrates his first interception of the night. His second ended the game.

AFL Referees: Making NBA Refs Look Perfect

As a resident of the Northwest, and a guy who watches a lot of AFL games, I’ve been subjected to a lot of terrible refereeing. A good 80 percent of the worst refereed games I’ve seen have involved Dave Cutaia’s crew, and I’m sick of it.

When dealing with poor refereeing, I’m used to the NBA’s model, where the idea seems to be to err in favor of the team that’s losing by a considerable amount, or perhaps the home team, to try to keep the game interesting for longer. With Cutaia’s crew, however, it always seems as though they want to be part of the winning team, helping the superior squad gain even more of an advantage through horrific calls and non-calls.

Below are a few photos (and videos) of the most obvious missed calls and made-up calls. Continue reading AFL Referees: Making NBA Refs Look Perfect