It won't come as much of a consolation, but it's difficult to define the inaugural season of the Albany Empire franchise as anything but a success. That's despite Saturday night's result in what was essentially a 'win and you're in' game for a spot in the Arena Bowl.

In this two game home-and-home playoff series with aggregate scoring, the Empire brought a 1-point lead into Saturday night's game at the Times Union Center; the slimmest of margins for error. With four wins in the regular season and one in the postseason against the Valor, Washington was closing the gap with each game that passed.

In front of more than 9,200 people, the Valor pulled even and passed the Empire. Albany is sure to continue to clean up on the postseason awards, but the 47-40 loss might be what most of the players remember. This is a team that was built from the ground level in a very short period of time and still finished in first place in the regular season before bowing out of the playoffs as the top seed.