WASHINGTON — You win some and you lose some, but not often in the same game. Not unless you’re Pete Rose (allegedly).
D.C. business mogul Ted Leonsis greatly expanded his sports team portfolio this year, adding Arena Football League teams in Washington and Baltimore. It’s only fitting that the inaugural game for both teams, the Valor and Brigade, should be against each other.
“We are big believers in the AFL and look forward to working with the league to help it grow and expand in the right way and at the right time,” Leonsis wrote in a blog before the game. “Admittedly, we had no plans to acquire a second AFL team, but when the opportunity presented itself to place a team in Baltimore, it made too much sense to pass up.”
Leonsis appeared on the field before the game, presumably to flip the coin and sincerely wish both teams good luck:
Leonsis also got an obligatory selfie with his two top employees before the game, one with Valor head coach Dean Cokinos and one with Brigade head coach Omarr Smith:
From there, it’s unclear if he watched the game from the home owner’s suite at the Verizon Center, or perhaps from the visiting owner’s suite. Maybe he switched back and forth between possessions?
If he did the latter, then he would have needed to pack running shoes. The AFL is a fast-paced game, with receivers in motion before the snap and a condensed playing field. It’s not that there isn’t a defense on the field, it’s just that they don’t do much compared to their NFL, NCAA, CFL or Pop Warner counterparts.
One enviable quality of the AFL vs. NFL is the access to highlights. The AFL understands the notion that fans experience sports through social media, whereas the NFL has gone to increasing lengths to restrict the availability of its highlights.
Apparently, there is still more to come.
“In the near future we will be incorporating some exciting technology into our AFL games and broadcasts, and the data and interaction with fans will be incredible,” Leonsis wrote in his blog. “The use of technology in arenas is much easier to control than outdoor stadiums, and we plan to experiment with some real-time data that isn’t available in the NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB.”
Here’s coverage of the Valor’s first half touchdowns, en route to a 34-6 lead:
The Brigade came back in the second half, but the Valor hung on for a solid first victory:
Hopefully, Leonsis is able to take the good with the bad from his first AFL game, and not get too excited about a win
or and loss. Maybe the next great American sports rivalry began tonight in his head.