I remember back when I was in college, back in 2006, EA Sports and Arena Football banded together to create a video game. That was the true heyday of arena ball.
There was once quite a bit of crossover between guys that have played in both the NFL and the Arena league, including names you may recognize like Rohan Davey, Shaun King, Jared Lorenzen, Tommy Maddox, Todd Marinovich, Adrian McPherson, Mike Vanderjagt, and of course, Kurt Warner.
So how can a team that finished the regular season 2-10, who then losttheir first playoff game, end up winning the league championship? That's an interesting question.
The Arena Football League has fallen on some rough times over the past few years, and only four teams - all located on on the east coast - remain active. Those four teams are the Philadelphia Soul, Washington Valor, Baltimore Brigade, and Albany Empire. To further put in perspective the plight of the league, all but one of those teams are less than three years old, and two of the teams are owned by the same person.
So with just four teams in the league, everyone had to make the playoffs, including the Washington Valor who wrapped up their season at 2-10 and "secured" a four seed.
In the first round of those playoffs, the Valor lost to the top-seed Albany Empire in a close one, 57-56. That tight score will come into play further here in a bit, so keep it in mind. Here's where things get interesting. The AFL has adopted an interesting home and home format that many major soccer tournaments apparently use, meaning the Valor and Empire squared off again, and Valor won the rematch 47-40. With both teams winning one game, the team chosen to advance is the one with the highest aggregate score from the two games...so the Valor - who were 3-11 at this point - got to advance to the title game.
There, they beat the Baltimore Brigade 69-55. The championship game was the first time the Valor had topped the 56 point mark all season long.
So, defying all logic, the team that managed to string together two wins in a row are now celebrating an Arena League title.
Can college football hurry up and get here already?