Espo: 3-13 Playoff teams, Tape Delays and Bandwagon Fans

Arizona Sports News online

Despite it being August, it was a surprisingly busy weekend in sports. We all have Twitter to comment in real time — Yeah, that’s right NBC. REAL TIME. But more on that later. Sometimes 140 characters just aren’t enough to encapsulate it all.

Here’s my take with no character limits. (See what I did there?)


Can we talk about football for a minute? No, not the NFL or the Arizona Cardinals. Arena Football and the one true dynasty Arizona professional sports has ever seen, the Arizona Rattlers.

On Saturday night they clinched their sixth straight trip to their conference finals. They’ve won three of the last five Arena Bowls and lost one of them on the final possession. They’re a team with no equal in the state’s professional sports history. So what’s the problem you ask? The fact that they play in a league that is the Scott Baio of sports.

The AFL has gone from an up-and-coming league to one that basically killed itself off with a work stoppage in 2009 that cost them TV contracts, teams, fans and respect. Since then the league has fluctuated in success. Until this season. That’s when it hit rock bottom.

Every team in the league made the postseason this year thanks to the fact there are only eight teams left. It was basically the Oprah of sports organizations, “YOU GET A PLAYOFF SPOT AND YOU GET A PLAYOFF SPOT AND YOU GET A PLAYOFF SPOT”. That means the Rattlers 44 point first round win came over a 3-13 Portland Steel team. The only thing standing between them and another Arenabowl appearance you ask? A Cleveland Gladiators team who finished the regular season 7-9 and defeated a 7-9 LA Kiss team in round 1.

The 50 yard indoor war has become more like the 50 yard indoor war of attrition. It’s great that the Arizona Rattlers are the ones winning it but it’s sad the league itself has decided not to live up to their example.


The NFL recently announced that they’d put the 96 best game, 3 games for each team, of all-time in their entirety on YouTube. The league didn’t arbitrarily select the games though. No, they let fans of each team vote on which three of their games would be selected.

Look, I’m not against fans voting. What I am against is what it sometimes reveals. And what it revealed for Cardinals fans is that the tires on Cardinals bandwagon have been tested since 2008. That’s because the three games fans selected were the 2015 NFC Division Playoff — Cardinals vs Packers (37%), 2008 NFC Championship Game — Cardinals vs Eagles (24%) and 2009 NFC Wild Card – Cardinals vs Packers (22%).

If you’ve been a fan of the Cardinals since their arrival in 1988 you accept that there hasn’t been a lot of great games. That said, the recency bias of this survey is crazy. Where’s the last game of the 1998 season against the San Diego Chargers that clinched the team’s first playoff appearance in Arizona or their first round win against the hated, and division rival at the time, Cowboys in Dallas?

Apparently those of us who still wear the scars of a Sunday afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium’s like their lower back tattoos just don’t vote online enough.


Dear NBC,

The year is 2016, not 1994. There’s this thing called the internet. Apparently you’re still operating based on the Today Show description of it from then. That’s the only logical explanation why in the world you’re still tape delaying the Olympics. That or you want to make the games less sport and more American Ninja Warrior where you can craft the drama and fill in the gaps with pre-produced emotional stories.

Either way, it’s not working and your sexist explanation why just made it worse.