Well, it’s not quite the NFL

Lots of scoring, no defense, quick pass plays, no out-of-bounds, fireworks, motorcycles, dancers and loud music.

No, it’s not an inner-city turkey bowl, or even a strange BYU football game, but an inaugural game of the Arena Football League’s newest team, the Utah Blaze.

I went to the game with high expectations and, in some ways, went away satisfied. But after looking back, I realized I was going to have to adjust to a few things.

Quite simply, it’s not really that similar to the NFL or even college football.

The field is just 50 yards long; the clock continues running after incomplete passes; there are not as many players on the field, and the receivers are allowed forward progress, among several other differences.

In this particular game, the Dallas Desperados escaped a late Blaze comeback en route to a 56-53 victory.

After watching Desperado quarterback Clint Dolezel connect with receiver Terrill Shaw for a fourth quarter touchdown-their fifth scoring connection of the day-I could have sworn I was watching an intramural flag-football game.

Don’t get me wrong, it was kind of fun watching two teams trade touchdowns in less time than it takes Greg Ostertag to get down the court, but it was just too fast-paced for me.

I think one of the great aspects of “normal” football is how much strategy and preparation is used to drive the football down the field to score.

Offensive coordinators have to mix in running plays and passing plays, both short and deep. Defensive coordinators have to develop strategies to stop whatever type of offense comes at them, and their defensive backs don’t have to try to catch up to a receiver already moving at full speed.

In the AFL, if a team is on their own five-yard line and they’ve been held to a third-and-ten situation, it’s not that unlikely to see them hit a receiver deep for a touchdown.

And even if that doesn’t work, they can still hit a long field goal.

So, if you like defense, or just typical football, the Blaze may not be for you. If you like to see teams put up points and mostly just want to be entertained, it’s a lot of fun.

There were also a few things I hope the Blaze front office decides to change soon.

If you were at the game, you may have seen the Blaze Street Team. From where I was sitting, it looked like about eight Eminem wannabes doing their best to impress the sell-out crowd with their sweet break-dancing moves. They just kinda ran around the field, seemed to get in the way of the Blaze Dance Team and actually didn’t dance that well.

On one occasion it was obvious that they didn’t hear-or chose not to hear-the warning to get off the field so play could resume. An important-looking lady came storming onto the field, frantically gesturing to the boys to get off the field.

They all acted surprised but tried to keep their cool. I’m pretty sure I saw one of them mouth, “Hey lady, get off my grill” as they worked their way off the field.

The “Blaze” lingo was also a bit much, such as the fourth down “Line of Fire,” the third down “Defensive Inferno” and the announcer constantly screaming, “Come on Blaze fans, let’s get fired up!”

Some have said the AFL attracts auto-racing fans, and maybe the things that seem strange to me are actually expected by other fans. I guess that will be determined as the season goes on.

Salt Lake City, welcome to the AFL.

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