By: Jonathan Odom
Tired of dealing without football games? Well maybe you just haven’t been aware of the Arena Football League. The AFL is in its 26th season and when the NFL season normally begins, the AFL post-season normally begins as well. Each year only 8 teams from the league make the playoffs, four from the American Conference and four from the National Conference. This enables the playoffs to last three full rounds and end at least one week before the NFL season kicks off. With one game of the first round already being played on August 1st and August 3rd, the first round of the 2013 playoffs continues with the 12-6 Jacksonville Sharks taking on the 7-11 Tampa Bay Storm here in Jacksonville, FL at the Veteran’s Memorial Arena.
So who are the Jacksonville Sharks? They play at Veterans Memorial Arena and are in the fourth year of the franchise. They have won the Division Title each of those four years and have already brought home one Championship two seasons ago in 2011. They have a regular season record through four seasons of 48-22 and a playoff record of 4-2 with the one of those losses coming to the Philadelphia Soul in last seasons’ Conference Championship. The Championship season from 2011 was won against Arizona in Phoenix, AZ. The score to that game was 73-70, a total of 143 points and the highest scoring ArenaBowl Championship in league history. The previous high was 131 points in a 69-62 game.
The Jacksonville Sharks come out of the American Conference and this year hold home-field advantage through the first two rounds. The third round, or Championship game will be held in Orlando, FL. The other three teams joining the Sharks from the American Conference include their first round opponents: the Tampa Bay Storm, who are 7-11 and just this past week lost to the Sharks 52-44. With the first game ending 64-55, this is the second loss of the season for the Storm courtesy of the Sharks. On the other side of the American Conference, the first round holds a match-up between the Orlando Predators and the Philadelphia Soul. These two teams have also met twice this season, with both games going to the Soul by a combined score of 122-74.
Taking a look at how the Soul have destroyed the Predators this season by at least 20 points each games, it appears that match will be an easy victory for them. As for the Storm, they have kept it close with the Sharks this season in both games, losing by eight and nine points respectively. However, going against the Storm is the fact that they are on a seven game losing streak since week 11 when they were 7-4. Eight of the 11 games they’ve played in the state of Florida have been lost to their opponents, and their home record being at 2-7. Looking at the contests between the four teams from this season, we could be seeing a Conference Championship between the Soul and the Shark in Jacksonville, FL on August 10th.
If you’re local to Jacksonville or the surrounding areas these could be two good games to get out and go see if the Sharks win the first round against the Storm. Sure it is not your normal NFL season but it’s still football, high paced, and allows for fan interaction if you decide to sit close enough. What football fan wouldn’t want to potentially get involved in the game and not be ejected for it? High scoring action, fat paced game-play, and for as little as $22 bucks to go see the game August 3rd, at Jacksonville Memorial Arena. That’s not even the best part; those $22 tickets are Buy One, Get One Free. That’s a great deal to go see a lot of touchdowns by a team that won the Championship just it’s second season in the league, which was also just two seasons ago. If you’re looking to take advantage of this BOGO offer, the tickets are available in sections 107-110, 118-121, 300-301, 306-307, 317-318, & 323-324.