Week one of the new Arena Football took place with the opening game of the season being broadcast on NFL Network. Those of you who didn't watch it missed out on a high scoring affair with lots of action and a very stout QB.
The Chicago Rush showed no mercy to their hosts on Friday night in a dominating 61-43 victory. The Rush were led by QB Russ Michna who went 18/28 for 261 yards, 6 TDs and 1 INT. The Barnstormers scored 22 points in the 2nd quarter, but went scoreless the entire 3rd quarter before putting on another 21 points in the 4th quarter. The Barnstormers started off with Bryan Villanueva starting, but after he struggled they put in the 6'1, 225 lb (who looks more like a fullback than a quarterback). Velna would go 18/40 with 4 TDs and 3 INTs.
If you're in Arizona and are thinking about attending a game be sure to thank the Rattlers. Their home opener is on April 16th against the Chicago Rush, and they're giving away every single ticket to that event. That's 17,000 seats at the US Airways center in Phoenix. I would definitely go, especially since it's going to be free.
"The Rattlers and our sponsors understand that times are tough for just about everyone. We wanted to do something special for the people of Arizona without asking for anything in return," said Danny White, Team President. "The Arizona Rattlers care about the community and are doing this as a way to do more than simply give it lip service. We truly appreciate the generous support of our primary sponsors XanGo, Casino Arizona, and Napa Auto Parts for helping us make this event a reality!"
If you want to buy tickets for other games you can do so online at the homepage of the Arizona Rattlers.
Join me after the jump as we look at week 1 awards, the current standings, and the week 2 schedule.
Week 1 Awards
JLS IRONMAN OF THE WEEK
Forse (6-4, 220, California PA) made a big impact for the victorious Milwaukee Iron this week, putting in serious effort on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Forse caught 11 passes for 124 yards, racking up three touchdowns in the process. He was the second leading scorer for Milwaukee on the night. While he was not credited for any defensive statistics, Forse still made his presence know. Forse played all but a handfull of plays all game, both offensively and defensively, helping to propel the Iron their first victory of the season.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Greisen (6-3, 220, NW Missouri State) played a nearly flawless game of arena football this weekend, when the Milwaukee Iron defeated last season's arenafootball2 champion Spokane Shock. Griesen threw for 30-of-36 with zero interceptions, approximately an 83% completion rate. He found the reliable hands of three separate recievers throughout the evening, including this week's Ironman winner Nate Forse. The Greisen-led offense exploded for three touchdowns in the last 90 seconds before halftime, essentially dooming the Shock's comeback chances. His nine touchdown passes topped the league for the week, as did his 144.1 quarterback rating.
RIDDELL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Swanson (6-0, 185, Wake Forest) came out swinging this weekend when two storied AFL programs took the turf on Saturday. Swanson tallied three unassisted tackles versus the Cleveland Gladiators, but it was his interception that made him this week's defensive star. After Cleveland took a convincing 28-7 lead in the second quarter, Swanson intercepted a John Dutton pass and ran it back for a touchdown. It was the first step towards an Arizona comeback. The Rattlers went on to win the game 61-56.
CUTTERS CATCH OF THE WEEK
Iowa WR Todd Blythe (6-5, 214, Iowa State) made this week's catch of the week, despite Iowa's eventual loss to Chicago. Blythe, an AFL rookie, made four catches for 40 yards and two touchdowns in the Barnstormers' season opener. One of these catches was a showstopper-an acrobatic catch over the boards from QB Ryan Vena. Blythe went on to score a total of 14 points, including a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter to being the Barnstormers within 10-their closest point margin of the second half.
NFL.com has footage of Blythe's catch.
AFLWA TOP 8 POLL (Week 1)
Rk. Team W-L Pts. Pvs. This week
1. Chicago  1-0 98 1 vs. Cleveland
2. Milwaukee (2) 1-0 66 7 Open
3. Tulsa 1-0 63 - vs. Dallas
4. Dallas (2) 0-0 60 3 at Tulsa
5. Arizona (1) 1-0 55 8 Open
6. Orlando 0-0 28 5 at Bossier-Shreveport
T7. Jacksonville 1-0 26 - at Alabama
T7. Tampa Bay 0-1 26 2 Open
Tomorrow's game again figures the Chicago Rush, this time at home against the Cleveland Gladiators
Cleveland Gladiators at Chicago Rush
April 09, 2010 - 8:00 PM