After a week of rumors and dueling press releases, it is over. The 20+ year run of the Arena Football League appears to have come to an end. The league owners have decided to suspend the 2009 season. They say they are looking for an economic model that will work. Good luck. Suspending a season is the equivalent of a highly coveted high school football player "re-opening" his recruitment - rarely (if ever) does it mean good news for the original plank holders. Former Michigan kicker Remy Hamilton is officially out of work and I have something to write about today.
I am not sure why, but I have always been a sucker for professional football alternatives. I am too young to remember ever watching the WFL in the 1970's, but I do remember when the Memphis Southmen signed Larry Csonka away from the Miami Dolphins. In the 1980's I loved the USFL and the Anthony Carter led Michigan Panthers. I even tried to watch the XFL for a game or two in 2001. But since 1987, the AFL has been something unique. I have to admit that every once in a while it was fun to sit down and watch football played in a hockey arena, even if they did routinely score 60+ points per team.
Sadly it is time to say adios to the league that gave us the Detroit Drive (4 time AFL champions). The league that gave Art Schlichter a chance to make some money (so he could make some more bets) and Jeff Smoker a job other than delivering pizzas. The league that gave Kurt Warner a stage to throw for 10,000+ yards and make the improbable jump to the Super Bowl. The league gave John Bon Jovi an opportunity to own a football team and deliver a championship to Philadelphia. Most importantly has been a place that has allowed many former Wolverines a chance to keep playing football.
Former Michigan Wolverine AFL players (HT: Arenafan.com)
Remy Hamilton (Active player)