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Is Arena Football
by Randy Snow
Originally posted on ArenaFan.com, Friday, November 18, 2005
Is Arena football finally becoming mainstream in American
sports culture? Fans who have followed the league for years already consider
Arena football to be a natural fixture on the national sports landscape. But
even they may be surprised at some of the places the league has been showing up
the last couple of years.
Consider the following:
2003 - Tony Stallings, a player for the af2 Louisville Fire won Animal
Planetís "King of the Jungle" reality show.
2003 - An episode of the ESPN show "Beg, Borrow and Deal 2"
showed contestants trying to kick field goals at the home field of the af2
Tennessee Valley Vipers in Huntsville, Alabama.
2004 - Players from the AFL Los Angeles Avengers and the af2 San Diego
Riptide were featured on the ESPN reality show "I'd Do Anything."
Contestants had to return kickoffs without blockers against a team of current
2004 - On MTVís "The Real World Ė Philadelphia," cast
members worked briefly for the AFL Philadelphia Soul, which is co-owned by Jon
June 2004 - An article published in ESPN The Magazine declared the Arena
Football League to be the fifth major sports league in the country behind the
NFL, NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball.
2004/2005 - On the WB Network show "Reba," the character of Van
had a tryout with an Arena football team. In subsequent episodes, he made the
team, was traded to Denver and eventually suffered a career ending injury.
May 2005 - The newspaper comic strip "Blondie" mentioned Arena
football during a conversation between Dagwood Bumstead and the neighbor boy,
Elmo. Elmo suggested that the only thing that would be more fun than Arena
football would be Arena golf.
August 2005 - The af2 Arena Cup championship game was televised
nationally on Fox Sports Network.
September 2005 - The af2 Amarillo Dusters were featured on the Discovery
Times Channel show "Only in America."
September 2005 - An episode of "The Simpson's" TV show on FOX
featured an Arena football reference. Bartís friend Millhouse made several
suggestions to his parents for a family outing. One suggestion was that they
could go to an Arena football game of the (fictional) Springfield Stun.
February 2006 - EA Sports will release its first ever Arena football
More AFL Mainstream Evidence
The Arena Football League has had major write-ups in the last few years in
Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine and USA Today, to name a few, and the
leagueís national TV exposure on NBC and Fox Sports Network brings the game to
millions of people around the country every week. Even the af2 is reportedly
close to having its own national television deal.
You may not even be aware of it, but footage from a 1998 Arena game between the
Grand Rapids Rampage and the Tampa Bay Storm has been showing up in various
national TV commercials for the last couple of years. One is a Best Buy
commercial where two guys are in the store staring at a wall of TVís that are
all showing the football footage and then one of them faints from the
excitement. Another is an Aaronís Rent to Own commercial featuring Terry
Bradshaw. He is sitting in a reclining chair watching the same Rampage footage.
Add to all of this the fact that Arena football merchandise is sold around the
country at Champs Sports stores and you have to come to the conclusion that the
AFL is finally working its way into the national consciousness.
So, where will the Arena league be showing up next? Well, many Arena players
have been featured as extras in movies such as the recent remake of "The
Longest Yard." Could it be just a matter of time before a major motion
picture storyline revolves around players on an Arena football team?
Iíd go see that! Pass the popcorn.
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