Tag Archives: Arizona Rattlers

AFL Power Rankings, Week 11

I don’t have enough fun and interesting facts for a full post, so here are a few to tide you over until next week.

  • Until Week 10, no team had surrendered a safety all season. The LA KISS have now given up two in two weeks (no one else has surrendered one).
  • Jacksonville’s three defensive TDs against Tampa Bay exceeded their non-offensive output for the rest of the season combined (they had one defensive TD and one special teams TD).
  • Tampa Bay reached 10 touchdowns surrendered first, getting all the way up to 11 in just 10 games. Yes, opposing defenses average more than a touchdown per game against the Storm.

Here are your power rankings:

  1. Philadelphia (1.21)
  2. Arizona (1.12)
  3. Jacksonville (1.10)
  4. Orlando (1.02)
  5. Cleveland (0.99)
  6. Los Angeles (0.93)
  7. Tampa Bay (0.81)
  8. Portland (0.78)

Jacksonville improved their ranking by annihilating Tampa Bay. Portland couldn’t capitalize on the Storm’s poor performance, losing by a lot to Arizona. Orlando and Cleveland’s dead-even battle resulted in almost no movement for both teams. And Philadelphia has started running away with No. 1 honors.

This is a big week for our rankings – the No. 1 and 2 teams will battle, as will 3 and 4. The biggest disparity in a matchup this weekend is between Cleveland and Portland, and the first game between those two teams went to overtime. Enjoy the games and hopefully we’ll shake things up next week!

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.

 

Facebook Cover Schedules, Vol. 2

After we covered the American Conference yesterday, we still had four teams (and their fans) that needed Facebook cover schedules! Again, when I made these, my template was set for 2015 Facebook rules – since Facebook LOVES changing arbitrary things all the time to make it impossible to keep one set of standards, the current setup for profile pics will probably block out the “2016” part of your schedule. You’ll just have to remember what year it is on your own.

Without further ado, here are the National Conference schedules:

2016 Arizona Rattlers' home schedule

2016 Cleveland Gladiators' home schedule.

2016 Los Angeles KISS' home schedule

2016 Portland Steel's home schedule

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

Game Photos: Arizona Rattlers 69, Portland Thunder 42

While I was covering Friday’s game, I was also taking photos. A few of the photos I took are up on Flickr now (it’s just so much easier to batch upload). Includes terrible refereeing, big plays, and fine work by a guy out there on the field for the pizza promotion.

In fact, I liked his action sequence so much I won’t make you go to Flickr to see it.

Pizza Challenger

Game Preview: Portland Thunder (3-7) vs. Arizona Rattlers (8-2)

The Arizona Rattlers come into the Rose City this Friday pushing to stay within striking distance of the undefeated San Jose SaberCats for the top seed in the conference.

The Thunder, meanwhile, will try to hold on to their playoff position. Their 3-7 record ties them with the Spokane Shock and Las Vegas Outlaws for third in the conference, and a superior conference record (and head-to-head win) gives them an advantage over the Shock. The Shock and Outlaws play each other this week, so they’ll lose at least one spot if they lose.

Duane Brooks leads the Thunder into battle against the Arizona Rattlers this Friday. The Rattlers are better in all four offensive and defensive categories than the Thunder. Can special teams make up the difference?

Portland is looking to rebound from a loss to the previously winless KISS. Special teams continues to be a strong point for the Thunder, with Duane Brooks returning two kickoffs for touchdowns and jumping into a tie for 10th in AFL history with six return touchdowns in a season. He still has eight games to go, putting Hunkie Cooper’s record of eight kick return touchdowns in 2002 in jeopardy.

The Rattlers have given up a return for a touchdown this season, and Brooks himself managed a 34-yard return against them in the first matchup, so he has a chance to move closer to history.

To be successful, however, the Thunder need to try to prevent Brooks from having so many opportunities to return kicks – the defense needs to make some stops. After last week’s game against the KISS, the Thunder defense is dangerously close to becoming last in the league in defensive stop rate.

The bad news on that front is that Arizona quarterback Nick Davila has returned to the lineup. The Rattlers got along pretty well without him, winning everywhere but San Jose, but his return elevates them back up to elite status as an offense. Last week, he posted 275 yards on 60 percent completions and threw nine touchdown passes without turning the ball over against what had been the league’s third-best defense (they’re now fourth).

The main question most fans have is whether or not Alex Carder will get any action at the quarterback position. After intriguing fans with some deep strikes against San Jose, many (including me) thought Carder would get the nod against the KISS last week. Does the fact that the team is likely to lose this week change the thinking process? Let the younger player start since the team is unlikely to win anyway, and let him try to shock the league?

Whether it’s Carder or Rowley under center, I have to take the Rattlers in this one. They’re just too strong a team – they’re three-time defending champions for a reason. Rattlers 71, Thunder 42.

Arena Football League Midterm Grades

All 12 Arena Football League teams have made it through the midpoint of their season, so it’s an ideal time to hand out mid-term grades.

I took the offensive and defensive success rates, added them up, then let the SaberCats set the curve, giving them an overall 100 percent grade. Everyone else gets their grades adjusted based on that 100-point scale.

The National Conference’s average grade was a 73.6; the American Conference tops that with an average grade of 75.3. However, the National Conference has a huge disparity, with both the two top teams and four of the five bottom teams. The American Conference is the AFL’s middle class, with four of their six teams earning Cs halfway through the year.

San Jose SaberCats A+ 100

They have the best offense and defense in the league, they’re 10-0, and they still have potential to do more. When they look sloppy and bad, they win by 20. What happens when they play well?

Arizona Rattlers B+ 88.3

Yup, the Sabercats are wrecking the league so badly that no one else scores in the A range. Arizona’s offense has had some hiccups while working through missing their receivers early in the season and then their quarterback problems with Davila’s injury and Coleman’s leaving the team. The Defense has been really good; San Jose’s defense has just been ridiculous. If this team gets healthy, they are definitely still a threat to the SaberCats. Continue reading Arena Football League Midterm Grades

Choosing your team for the 2015 AFL season

Great! You chose to be an Arena Football fan based on my last blog post. Now, what team should you root for? Check out my newest flow chart over at ArenaFan (here’s a small portion of it below).

Part of the "Pick your 2015 AFL Team" flowchart over at ArenaFan