Sunday, March 15, 2009

Some Great News for Our Aching Soul

Over the last couple of days, there has been more and more talk about the return of the AFL in 2010. It was announced that an agreement had been made with the players association, which is certainly a big step. There is still a lot of work to do, but, damn this was some good news!

I try to keep in mind that Jaws is ALWAYS positive - he's one of the most optimistic people I have ever met. He can instantly put a smile on your face and has one of the best hugs in the business.

Soul president Jaworski: AFL returning in 2010
by Brian VanOchten The Grand Rapids Press
Saturday March 14, 2009, 1:45 PM

There is a 99.9-percent chance the Arena Football League is returning for the 2010 season, according to comments Philadelphia Soul team president Ron Jaworski made at a public speaking appearance in Portsmouth, Va., this week.

He told the Virginia-Pilot newspaper Web site there is a one-tenth of 1 percent chance the league would not resume play next year.

"We had a board meeting in Chicago a couple weeks ago and we ratified the new collective bargaining agreement," said Jaworski, who also serves as an ESPN "Monday Night Football" commentator. "The players association is going through it now. We have a plan in place, we're going to open up next year again."

Jaworski's comments are the first by any AFL team executive painting such an optimistic future.

"We're very close to getting a deal done," said Grand Rapids Rampage kicker Brian Gowins, the team's AFL Players Association alternate representative.

"I've always been optimistic about the two sides coming to an agreement. I think it is overwhelmingly likely we will come to a finalized agreement soon," he added.

AFL acting commissioner Ed Policy told The Press last month the league would issue an official statement regarding plans for 2010 by the end of March. The league earlier had set a self-imposed March 1 deadline for announcing whether it would return or fold.

It canceled the 2009 season due to deep financial losses.

Jaworski, keynote speaker Wednesday night at the Portsmouth Sports Club Jamboree banquet, said an expansion team is planned for the Pittsburgh market and the New Orleans VooDoo franchise, which folded following the 2008 season, might return to the revamped league.

"There's a lot at stake. I mean, ESPN is a 10-percent partner with us, we've got an expansion team coming in in Pittsburgh. So we left the meeting with incredible excitement. The only question mark is New Orleans right now," he said. "They were going to drop, but under the new business model, they're likely to come back. But I don't want to say definitively yet we're gonna have New Orleans next year."

He said that shutting down for the 2009 season "was disappointing for us, because obviously (the Soul) were Arena League champions last year, our season-ticket sales were through the roof coming into this season, our partnerships were through the roof. We were all excited.

"But the model needed to be fixed. We were doing well, San Jose was doing well, but some teams weren't doing very well. So the business model needed to be fixed."

Between this article and the oh-so-careful comment Jon Bon Jovi made at the Sayreville show, maybe ... just maybe ... this time next year, we will be exactly where we want to be: Screaming and yelling at the referees, cheering for our boys, eating crab fries from C&P and complaining about parking costs at the Wachovia Center.