Monday, August 31, 2009

A tale of three AFLs

By Rick Morris

Three important institutions, each sharing the initials "AFL," saw milestones of different sorts this month.

^ The American Football League was formed 50 years ago. Within ten years, paced by the exciting, wide-open offenses, it was a legitimate contender with the NFL, such that it forced perhaps the most consequential merger in sports history.

^ The Australian Football League is making a comeback on ESPN airwaves. The staple of 1980s programming, which I watched for many, many years in my misspent youth, can be found as of this month on ESPN 360 and the 2009 AFL Grand Final will be broadcast on The Deuce in late September.

^ The Arena Football League officially bit the dust after taking the 2009 season off to try to wait out the horrid economy. It could not survive. This invented sport, much like Aussie Rules, is an exciting variation of "real football," and is certainly legit enough to come back on a reduced level once the economy turns around for good (whenever that may be).

It is coincidental enough that three important leagues shared the same initials, much less that they shared milestones in the same month. Each of these circuits added a great deal to the history of football, in all of its glorious forms.

No comments: