Albany Empire Secure Top Seed & Arena Bowl Homefield
The regular season finale carried series postseason weight for the Albany Empire. A win would lock up the number one seed in the playoffs and a big crowd would give the Empire homefield advantage if they were to reach the Arena Bowl in three weeks.
The most recent matchup with the Philadelphia Soul was still deeply burned into the Empire's memory. A 75-74 loss at home on the very last play of the game; Shane Austin to Darrius Prince in the back of the end zone. Still, a win over Philly on Saturday night and Albany would take the top seed in the playoffs setting up a first round meeting with a two win Washington team
The Empire carried out revenge for that loss a few weeks ago with 71 points on offense and a much better defensive effort, limiting the Soul to 57 points.
The attendance factor is a new rule this season in league of only four teams. Going into Saturday night's game against the Soul, Albany needed at least 8,300 people at the Times Union Center in order to clinch the highest average attendance this season. The Empire did far better than that figure; more than 10,000 people filled the seats downtown.
The playoffs start next week in a home and home, two game format. If the Empire split with Washington, the tiebreak will come down to aggregate scoring, whichever team scores more points in those two games combined. The Arena Bowl is Saturday, July 28.