Thursday, March 15, 2007

Still The Funniest Thing I've Seen Today...

Okay, so I'm looking at Our Sports Central last night - it's a generally good web site on minor league sports that suffers from too much content being shoved in your face at once, but I like looking at it to see what new teams have started up in the last couple of weeks. So I start looking into arena football and see the dozens of leagues and teams that have sprouted up seemingly overnight. After researching these leagues, I can only guess that the reason why so many have been created lately is that either:

a) Arenas have open dates that they're desperate to fill at any costs, regardless of whether or not their "tenant" actually has any money to pay them rent, or any future expectations of actually paying them at any point down the road, or:

b) Football players are so desperate to keep playing the game or get an NFL scout to look at them that they're willing to play for teams that set their corporate payday on the 5th of Never, or:

c) Both a) and b).

Which is why I find the EIEIOFL site that I mentioned last night. Being new to it, I can't really tell if the stories are 100% made up, or only 50% made up. But frankly, that's what I love about it - the world of arena football is so pathetically bizarre and twisted today that anything on this site could be 1000% true. You could have a team called the Drunk Valley Lemmings playing in the 100-seat Hank's Repo Coliseum issuing $50,000 challenges to other arena league teams - as long as they agree to play football without insurance and provide the actual football. Does any of this make sense? Who knows? Who cares? It's arena football!!!

My personal favorite EIEIO story (so far - I haven't gone into the archives yet) is this one:

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Teen Purchases NIFL Franchise
Teen Gets Parents Approval, Moves Forward with NIFL Ownership

Robby Johnson, after being grounded by his parents in his first attempt at sports ownership, has announced plans to field an Indoor Team in Hammond in 2007.

At yesterday’s press conference, held on the Johnson’s front lawn, NIFL Commissioner Ohio Indiana declared “this is not only a proud day for the Johnson’s and their entire neighborhood, but is key as we seek high school kids of similar ambition and means for future ownership markets”. Apparently, Robby Johnson has been running a fairly successful lawn mowing business on Oak Street for the past four years, and reportedly banked just over $2600 this past Summer. Commented Commissioner Ohio Indiana “We were lucky here, obviously going forward I doubt we will be able to find potential ownership of similar established portfolios, but we are hopeful”.

Robby first announced his intent to bring an expansion team to Hammond last year. Unfortunately, this was news to Helen and Fred Johnson. According to Helen “We were fairly certain that our son was in his room studying for a History Exam, so we were taken aback to read about his silly football team in the morning paper”. Robby was grounded for the next two months. Said Fred, a man of few words “I’ll give you Indoor Football”.

So where will the Heroes play? Costs have proven exhorbitant at the local high school, in excess of $175 a game, so Robby has literally looked within. As other NIFL Teams have broken barriers and played on Tennis Courts and in Horse Stables, the Heroes will truly have a Home Field advantage. New Owner Robby Johnson states “My parents were really pissed last year, so the only way I could make this work was to have the Heroes play in our basement at home. Sure there will be some quirks at Johnson Family Stadium, but what Arena doesn’t have them.” The Field will measure 14 yards in length, and be 6 yards wide. At an Arena ceiling height of 7’ 6”, an accurate field goal kicker will be key. Final preparations are in place as the pool table, Soloflex, and bean bag chairs will be moved to the back yard this week.

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Quite possibly, the only thing that even approaches the level of insanity in the world of arena football is the one-and-only ABA 2000 (now known as just the ABA, as they have now made it their mission to utterly destroy what little credibility the old, original ABA had in its day). Though the ABA, I think, is a little different - I have come to the conclusion that the ABA is actually run by incredibly smart people who have figured out a way to create the world's first sports franchise Ponzi scheme. It's just the suckers who buy into the league, thinking that they're going to get a chance to run/play for a successful minor league sports team, who are dumb.

In the case of these fly-by-night arena football leagues, everybody's dumb - the players for believing they'll get paid, arena owners for believing they'll have a solvent tenant, owners who believe that their franchise fee will earn them something (ie, a successful team, league promotion, profit), and league management for putting the whole stupid thing together without a solid business plan, ample financial support and a realistic outlook. It's a circle-jerk of morons.

But it sure is high comedy.

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5:30 PM UPDATE: My God, it's all true. They may poke fun at indoor football league news left and right, but they don't make any of it up, and actually back it up with sources.

After checking the archives I've discovered what EIEIO is really all about, which just about blew my mind. I'll summarize it all later. Stay tuned.

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