Americans love football. Numerous news sources have this year’s Super Bowl as the most watched television event in history, with the Guardian reporting that at any one time 111 million viewers were on Fox to see the Packers win Super Bowl 45.
In Utah, our view of football is a little different from the rest of the world. Growing up in Utah in the 80’s and 90’s football wasn’t three yards and a cloud of dust. Oh no, it was something different. It was a gun-slinging, over the top kind of football. It was quarterback football, with Steve Young, Scott Mitchell, Ty Detmer, and Steve Sarkisian throwing for 4,000 yards a year at BYU and the University of Utah. It was high flying, high scoring, WAC shoot-outs. The adage “Whoever scores last wins” certainly applied. It wasn’t unusual to see scores in the 70’s and if BYU or Utah scored less than 30 they were having a bad day.
It’s easy then, to see why arena football resonates with us here in Utah. Arena football is a faster, higher scoring affair. Played in hockey and basketball arenas across the US, arena football is anything but “three yards and a cloud of dust.” It’s a throw-centric sport that see scores well into the 50’s and 60’s on an average night. It’s a faster game than regular gridiron, and even though the field is only 50 yards long, QB’s throw for thousands of yards a game. It’s a high risk, high reward type game. One interception, one defensive stop, might be all you need to win the game. It’s a shootout and sometimes, whoever scores last wins. In essence, it is professional football that fits with Utah’s football tradition.
When the Utah Blaze moved to Utah in 2006, they became a bit of a phenomenon. Scoring an average of 53 points per game fans were entertained by the combination of Joe Germaine to Siaha Burley. For the next three seasons the Blaze would make the playoffs each year, including hosting their first playoff game in 2008, and entertain an average of 14,000+ fans.
After the AFL hiatus of 2009 and a rebuilding season last year, the Blaze are returning to downtown Salt Lake City and the Energy Solutions arena, to once again bring high flying fast paced football back to downtown. Once the season kicks-off on March 17th be sure to check back here for all the Blaze information you want.
If you’re interested in seeing what Arena Football is like up-close, stop by the Energy Solutions Arena on March 2nd from 3-5 p.m. when the Blaze take on the San Jose SaberCats in an 80-play practice scrimmage. The event is free for the public.