The Daily Helmet: A Look At The Arena Football League More Fleer Stickers Calgary Stampeders
A Look At The Arena Football League
Next week the Arena Football League will begin season number 32. Yes, the league still exists. For the first time since 2001 the league will actually field more teams than the previous season. In 2018 there were only four teams, this year there are six. The league peaked at 19 teams twice in 2001 and 2004. The league recently debuted their uniforms for the new season:
Overall these uniforms are not bad for Arena ball. The Albany uniforms look a lot like the AAF Orlando Apollos (RIP), but I really like the color of the Soul. Not sure what is going on with those stripes, though. The rest are pretty standard forgettable. Let’s take a look back.
The league was the brainchild of former NFL promotions manager Jim Foster, who is said to have come up with the idea while watching an indoor Soccer game in the early 80s. He wouldn’t follow through on his idea until a few years later when he founded the AFL and the league had its inaugural season in 1987. From that point on the league would expand and contract over and over again throughout the years, never really becoming popular. Sure, they got some TV coverage, usually tape delayed late night games on ESPN or occasionally on network TV, but for the most part the league never really caught on.
IS It Really Football?
I have watched plenty of Arena ball over the years, but in the end, as much of a football nut as I am I never really got too into the game. It just seemed silly playing on such a small field. The Buffalo Destroyers (now in Columbus) played four years in my town, but I never got around to going to a game before they moved. The only arena game I have ever been to was this extremely low level league that played one season a few summers ago. The uniforms were horrible and the level of play was worse. The league is also known for not really paying their players much at all. Most of the players have day jobs and moonlight as “professional” football players on the weekends. I do remember staying up late watching the taped games when there was nothing else to do and until the CFL starts I need some football with the AAF gone. Maybe, if I can find where to watch I will give it another try.
You know it can’t be good, if every time an NFL team debuts a new ugly uniform people say they look like Arena uniforms. For the most part, I think the AFL’s biggest legacy is the experimental uniforms over the years. There have been too many teams over the years to list them all here, so I will just go over a few.
Los Angeles Kiss
Of all of the AFL teams that have come and gone over the years, The LA Kiss have to be one of the wildest. The team was owned by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the rock band Kiss, along with their manager. The team only existed for two seasons, but their time in the league was highlighted by some of the craziest football uniforms in history and their own reality television show. The uniforms were black red and yellow with flames and a helmet that made the Jaguars two tone helmet look great. They also had a more subdued helmet, but it wasn’t the best either. By the end of 2016 the Kiss guys had pulled their finding, leaving the minority owners scrambling for new investors, but it was not to be and the team ceased operations.
One of the more successful teams in the history of the league was the Arizona Rattlers, who appeared in nine arena Bowls and won six of those. As far as arena teams go, the Rattlers are one of the more successful teams, operating continuously since 1992. In 2016 they Rattlers, afraid of another league hiatus left the AFL for the IFL and easily became the biggest franchise as far as city size. The Rattlers also had the Latin Laser as their QB, former Bearcat, Nick Davila. As far as Arena helmets go, the Rattlers did alright, but beyond that the uniforms had a lot of black and monochromatic elements. Overall, just not a good look. Their official colors include black copper and teal, which is very Arizona.
Probably one of the more well known teams in the league is the Philadelphia Soul. More than likely this is because of what is known as the Jon Bon Jovi era of the Soul’s existence from 2004-2008. Ron Jaworski and Dick Vermeil are one of about 600 other owners of the franchise. You might be an owner and not even know it. I have always thought the Soul logo was pretty cool with the winged football or is it a ghost football? I’m not sure. Do footballs even have souls? We may never know.
Kurt Warner’s Iowa Barnstomers
Probably one of the more recognizable helmets is the Iowa Barnstormers. They became most famous for Kurt Warner being their QB from 1995-1997. The helmet logo is a set of goggles. It seriously is one of the cooler helmet designs ever. It originally was gold with black goggles, but has since switched. The original Barnstormers franchise moved to Long Island, New York and became the New York Dragons. Only to return in the developmental AF2 in 2001 and 2008, moving to the IFL in 2015, where they still play.
Those are some of the more famous teams, but there are a lot more teams that have come and gone with crazy names and uniforms in all levels of Arena ball:
Miami Hooters: 1993-1995 Known for having Mark Duper as a player.
Chicago Bruisers: 1997-1989 Original AFL franchise
Dallas Texans: 1990-1993 Yet another team named the Texans
Dallas Desperados: 2002-2008 Another Dallas team, with a cool logo.
Fleer Stickers MLB Style
My weekly trip to Savers Thrift store come up with a set of Fleer baseball stickers. There are some doubles, but it is overall a pretty good set. They are a little waxy as well. Love fleer stickers.
Helmet Of The Day: Calgary Stampeders
Living a ten minute drive from Canada, I am pretty heavily influenced by a lot of Canadian culture. Hockey, Tim Hortons, Canadian rock music, Poutine, Toques and Canadian Football. I always watched CFL football when it would come around every summer and it would always be exciting to hear Chris Berman recap the Gray Cup every year on NFL Primetime.
Watching the games I had a soft spot for all the teams, but being that my “Official Colors” are red and black I choose the Stampeders as my favorite team. I mean the fun Doug Flutie teams of the the early 90s didn’t hurt either. I love the CFL and I can’t recommend the game enough, it is so much fun to watch. Plus you get to see the wonderful play known as the rouge.
The Stamps current uniforms are a mess, but historically they have had some great uniforms over the years.
The logo is an absolute classic as well. To American football fans it may seem vaguely familiar as the SMU Mustangs logo, but they are slightly different: