Posts tagged: AFL playoffs
Spokane-Arizona, volume 3.The first two games were among the most anticipated of the 2013 AFL season and tonight's showdown will be the game of the year — until next week.
Tonight's winner moves on to the ArenaBowl, where they'll be favored against the Jacksonville-Philadelphia winner. But first things first. The two best teams in the AFL decide the National Conference championship at 6:30 on CBS Sports Network.
AFL commissioner Jerry Kurz said Tuesday that a late-season flap over National Conference seeding and a questionable tiebreaker was much ado about nothing.
Kurz took issue with Shock owner Brady Nelson's contention that he was never informed Arizona had clinched the division title. The commissioner said he was misquoted in an Arizona Republic article when he reportedly said, “Ask me that question after Saturday's game” in response to whether Arizona had locked up the top seed prior to the regular-season finale.
Nelson didn't back down Tuesday, but he said it's possible he missed an AFL email regarding a ruling on a tiebreaker. Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic said Kurz was quoted accurately. Kurz acknowledged that the tiebreaker in question — record vs. common opponents — probably isn't clear enough.
Here's my article from today's S-R.
Kurz also addressed some of the reasons why Chicago wasn't allowed to host the first-round game against Spokane. More on that below.
Ruschard Dodd-Masters returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the final two minutes, sparking Spokane past Chicago 69-47 Thursday in the first round of the Arena Football League playoffs.
The Shock (15-4) will take on the winner of Sunday's Arizona-San Jose game for the National Conference championship. If the Rattlers win, the Shock will travel to Phoenix next week. If the SaberCats win, Spokane will entertain San Jose. Chicago finished 10-8, but made Spokane work four quarters for the win.
My unedited game story is below.
The Spokane Shock have a number of candidates for AFL individual awards — Erik Meyer, Adron Tennell, Beau Bell, James Ruffin, Paul Stephens, Terrance Sanders, Ryan Cave — but their attention seems to be squarely on the field with the playoffs approaching.
More on Spokane's focus in my weekly notebook.
Spokane entertains Chicago on Thursday night in the opening round. Here's a recap of Chicago's successful but turbulent season.
Turns out Spokane didn't need its 'A' game to beat No. 1-ranked Arizona on Friday night. The Shock's 'B-' game might have been enough, but they couldn't muster that, committing five turnovers and failing to take advantage of three Rattlers' turnovers in a 62-33 playoff loss that ended Spokane's season. After a couple of wrong turns leaving US Airways Center, I made it back to the hotel to post my game story.
Spokane finished 9-10, by far its worst record in six arena seasons. The 2007 Shock finished 12-5 and also made a first-round playoff exit.
The questions will soon begin about next year's roster and coaching staff. I wondered a year ago if head coach Rob Keefe would be interested in the Philadelphia job, having helped the Soul to an AFL title as a player. That job is open again, but from what I hear the Soul are pursuing former Philly coach Bret Munsey.
Keefe is on a one-year contract and it's essentially up to Shock management if they want to continue the relationship. Most indications are that Spokane wants Keefe to return.
The next key question is at quarterback. I'm guessing Kyle Rowley threw his last passes as a member of the Shock on Friday night. My guess is the Shock will try to bring back Erik Meyer with the intention of Meyer being the starter. Rowley has no intention of being a backup. We'll see what happens at that position, and others down the road.