Tag Archives: New Orleans Voodoo

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

Breaking down the #AFLTop50

I have a new infographic up at ArenaFan, this time going into the player-selected top 50 players in the AFL that the league provided this offseason.

All in all, the list had a definite winners’ bias – with 11 defensive backs selected, three top-ten interception guys somehow didn’t make the list – Cameron McGlenn of the New Orleans Voodoo, who was fifth in the league with 11 interceptions, and Eric Crocker and Varmah Sonie of the Portland Thunder with 10 and 9, respectively. Sonie also forced three fumbles, but it wasn’t enough to get him on the list

They also didn’t care much about offensive linemen, as only two, Richard Ranglin and Michael Huey, managed to crack the top 50, the only position for which I couldn’t make a full first-team squad out of the votes.

The below graph shows that San Jose has amassed more Top 25 players than any other division has for 2015. If any team seems to have the talent edge coming into the season, it’s them. Position breakdowns, the color key, and more data are found on the graphic over at ArenaFan. Check back later this week for a Thunder breakdown!

(Data accurate as of 3/21/15)

This is where the top 25 players in the league are, by team. In each division, there is one team with no players in the top 25 - Las Vegas, Portland, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay.
This is where the top 25 players in the league are, by team. In each division, there is one team with no players in the top 25 – Las Vegas, Portland, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay.

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

AFL 2015 Schedule Cover Images: American Conference

I wanted to take on a project yesterday, so I decided to make these Facebook cover images for anyone who’s an Arena Football League fan. If Facebook told me correctly in its sizing guide, the sides will drop off on mobile and you’ll still have a pretty good-looking cover image with the home schedule. And when you view them on the web, you’ll get the added bonus of being able to see your team’s away schedule!

Here are the American Conference images (NOTE: Philadelphia’s looks a little off because of where your profile picture will cover up; I wanted the logo to still be visible. It’ll look better on an actual page):

Cleveland Gladiators Schedule FB Cover Image

2015 Jacksonville Sharks Schedule Cover Image

2015 New Orleans Voodoo Schedule Cover Image

2015 Orlando Predators Schedule Cover Image

2015 Philadelphia Soul Schedule Cover Image

Tampa Bay Storm Cover Image

Note: I was working on these until nearly 3 a.m., so it’s possible I made some errors in transcribing the schedule. Let me know if your team’s is wrong and I’ll do my best to fix it quickly! If you’re a fan of a National Conference team, check out that set here.

Breaking Down the 2015 Thunder Schedule

The AFL released their schedule on Friday!

After the Pittsburgh Power quit suddenly, prior to the original 2015 schedule release date, the league has finally moved on without the Power and allowed the rest of the league to move forward. Here’s what the schedule looks like (for full schedule with dates/times, click here):

2015 AFL Schedule
2015 AFL Schedule in grid format

The season kicks off on March 27 with the Tampa Bay Storm hosting the Cleveland Gladiators, followed by Matthew Sauk’s return to Portland with the Los Angeles KISS.

The game against the KISS kicks off a three-game homestand to start the season for the Thunder, who then go on a brutal three-game road trip that will amass nearly 8,000 miles in travel distance in three weeks as they’ll take on the three-time defending ArenaBowl champions, the National Conference runner-up, and a Philadelphia team that has made it to the ArenaBowl in two of the last three years.

Aside from the early part of the season, however, Portland’s schedule looks relatively nice. They have their bye weeks as evenly spaced out as possible, with a home game following each bye. They also get their East Coast trips out of the way early, with their last long journey being to Orlando in Week 9.

The Thunder, by virtue of their location, will travel more than any team in the league, however, assuming Philadelphia stays in Florida for their Jacksonville-Tampa Bay road trip, traveling 19,946 miles via air this season (though the team will probably bus to Spokane, making the trip longer).

They’ll also face the toughest road slate of anyone in the league, with opponents carrying a 2014 winning percentage of .625, the rough equivalent of an 11-win team (actually 11.25). The good news for Portland fans is that the home schedule should be a bit easier, with the fifth-easiest slate in the league.

Unfortunately for the Thunder, the 3-15 KISS probably aren’t going to be as dysfunctional as they were in 2014; they acquired a great offensive coordinator in former Portland coach Matthew Sauk. They picked up Adrian McPherson, the stud quarterback they didn’t have last year. Sauk is also the new director of player personnel – all he and his staff did in 2014 was find two All-Arena performers, a Grey Cup (CFL) champion, and a half-dozen guys who have signed NFL contracts.

It should be an interesting year for the Thunder, who are basically starting over with a new secondary and a new coaching staff. In a week or two we’ll know more about what the team may look like as we see what happens in the expansion draft and dispersal draft!

NOTE: For more schedule analysis on a league-wide basis, check out my article over at ArenaFan.com. The site and its members  have a wealth of knowledge about the league and have extensive statistics dating to the creation of the league in 1987. Please give them a visit.

#ThunderTopPlay, New Orleans Final

Never give up. The 2014 Portland Thunder never did, and these two plays provide an example of the great things that happened because of that effort.

First, Eric Rogers fights off being wrapped up when he catches the ball and punches it into the end zone between two defenders that just can’t catch up.

Secondly, KC Obi gets deep on his assignment with one of the AFL’s top return men, Larry Beavers Jr taking it up the opposite side of the field. Obi shows why hesitation kills and comes out of nowhere to end the return.

To vote in the Florida Final, click here.

To sign up for the Thunder’s 2014/15 Open Tryout and earn your chance to make 2015’s #ThunderTopPlay, click here.

Thunder Top Play, NO region 1 vs. 4

Eric Crocker picked off the most passes for the Thunder. Eric Rogers scored the most touchdowns. That Crocker and Rogers would help the Thunder pull off their fourth win of the season is no surprise -Crocker’s pick-six started the game against the Voodoo off right for the defense, and Rogers’ final touchdown was the final offensive score of the game.

Which big play moves on to the regional finals?

To vote in today’s other matchup, click here.

2014 Thunder Top Play, Day 6: De-Fense!

You don’t win games without defense in the Arena Football League. Against the New Orleans Voodoo, the Portland defense came up with several big hits and big plays.

Prior to this interception from Sonie, Sonie forced a fumble that the Thunder couldn’t fall on and Voodoo WR Chase Deadder picked it up and ran it the rest of the way for a touchdown. This time, the Thunder took the ball and kept it.

Meanwhile, remember when KC Obi ended the game early for LA KISS returner AJ Cruz? He also ended the game for the Voodoo’s Larry Beavers with this great reaction tackle.

Which defensive play moves on?

To vote in today’s other matchup, click here.