10 Things I Noticed During Arena Bowl 32
Last night's Arena Bowl Championship was a lot of fun and felt like a throwback to the 90's when the Firebirds were kings of the town. Just like in 1999, area fans will never forget where they were and who they were with when the 2019 Albany Empire won Arena Bowl 32. Here are some random thoughts about the game last night with some other observations that have nothing to do with football mixed in.
- While nothing will ever compare to the frenzy that the 1999 Arena Bowl was, last night's championship game felt very much like a big-time event with a big-time atmosphere. Fans were genuinely into it for most of the game, despite the large lead Albany had through most of the game.
- The loudest I've ever heard the TU during a sporting event was during the interception returned for a touchdown in the first quarter. There was a cheer, followed by a rumble unlike anything I've heard in that building.
- Shorter breaks and less antics during time outs (I think ESPN had something to do with this) made the game flow much more enjoyable. There was less 'start and stop' than usual.
- The halftime show with the dogs and 'Simon Says' guy was surprisingly entertaining. On paper, I would have scoffed at it, but it played out brilliantly in front of the large crowd.
- I can do without the PA announcer screaming at me to make noise. As a fan with some knowledge of the game, I know when it's time to get loud. Every play is NOT do-or-die. And please don't guilt me for 'chillin' for 3 minutes while I drink a beer.
- Throwing out hot dogs to fans is arguably the greatest on-field promotion ever. I caught one, scarfed it down in 25 seconds, and felt like I won the lottery.
- I love watching coach Rob Keefe give hand signals to his Empire defense from behind the opposing team's offensive line. Sometimes I miss plays on the field because of it. It's sign language on speed!
- Fans sitting in the party-zone should not be allowed to relax. Perhaps get some ringers or college kids to dress up in wacky outfits and come up with some clever cheers. Those end-zones are where the real 'Evil Empires' need to be.
- Quentin Sims is really, really, really good!
- Fans wearing the old Firebird jerseys or the t-shirts with those caricature drawings of the players from the 1990's are my favorite fans. Period.
- Kudos to the entire Empire support staff, players, coaches and management for giving the area a chance to believe in, and root for a team that we can truly call our own.
- And finally, please don't move to Milwaukee!