I’m on board…
Recently I was contacted by the Everett Raptors and they offered me an opportunity to come out and cover a game.
After accepting the invitation I realized I didn’t know anything about the Indoor Football League (IFL).
I’m guessing I am not the only one.
Fortunately I had 2 weeks to learn the league and between conversations with Raptor personnel and studying the league I was able to wrap my head around the game.
I would have to say that the game play most resembles the Arena League for obvious reasons. They play indoors, they have receivers running toward the line at the snap and they play with three down lineman.
It is a fast paced and high scoring game. Incompletions do not stop the game clock outside of the 90-second warning (instead of the 2 minute warning in the NFL) yet in Friday’s game against the in-state rival Tri-Cities Fever there were a total of 131 points scored.
I still don’t know all the rules but I noticed a couple interesting things during the game.
After a turn over on downs the defensive team does not get the ball at the point of the turn over, they get it on their 5-yard line.
One coach is allowed to be on the field during the game but after the Tri-Cities Defensive coordinator got thrown out of the game they no longer had a coach out on either side of the ball.
For a quick view of the rules click here.
Touchdowns – 6
both 1-point and 2-point conversions
Field goals – 3 unless it’s a drop kick then its 4
Safeties – 2
A Rouge – 1 (a rouge is basically a touchback where the kicking team is awarded 1 point, ball has to stay in the field of play)
The Everett Raptors pride themselves in the fact that they have moved more players to the NFL and CFL than any other IFL teams this season.
Former starting quarterback Blake Bolles was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings shortly before the Raptors game against the Nebraska Danger on April 27th. The Raptors signed former University of Hawaii quarterback Shane Austin (Austin had been working with former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia) to replace him. Shane had 1 practice to prepare for that game.
After playing in 1 game and having a full week of practice I asked Raptors Head Coach Sean Ponder how much of the playbook Shane Austin had digested and he said about 60-65%.
That got me thinking about the new practice rules in the NFL so I asked him if there were similar practice rules in the IFL and he told me that there aren’t any practice rules in the IFL but that he “usually give(s) them Sunday off”
The whole thing is based around the fan experience. Before the game starts cheerleaders come out and dance, on friday they were brought out on Harley Davidson motorcycles, one of which was ridden by team the team Mascot.
After every quarter there was something for the fans to participate in. After the first quarter kids from the stands came out and showed off their touchdown dances, at half time they had junior football game to cheer on and after the third quarter they had a garbage can football toss contest with 4 fan participating.
The amount of player interaction is incredible. Before the game they walk all the way around the field giving fans high fives and signing autograph, Coach Ponder does as well. At one point during the game star receiver Andre Piper-Jordan scored a touchdown and jumped into the crowed, ran up the stairs and celebrated with fans. It put the Lambeau Leap to shame. After the game the players walk up the stair to the concourse level to interact with fans and sign autographs.
If you choose the right seats you can become part of the game by holding the down and distance markers during the play. That’s how close you are to the action, the players are literally inches away at times.
You are close enough to heckle the refs and the opposing team’s players and I saw both interact with the fans. You can hear players and coaches talking and yelling during.
Fans get to keep the balls that go into the stands and a lot of balls go into the stand.
Enter to win a Raptors autographed ball by tweeting this article and adding the Hashtag #EverettRaptorFootball. All those who do will have their name put in a hat and one lucky winners name will be drawn.
Contest ends at midnight Monday, May 14th 2012.
If you are looking for the NFL this is not the game for you but if you are looking for a family friendly, action packed experience where you almost feel like you are part of the action I would highly recommend checking them out.
The team has 3 remaining home games (Comcast Arena in Everett) and they all start at 7:05 PM (gates open at 6). Tickets range from $12.00-$35.00.
For a full seating chart including prices click here.
Saturday, May 26th against the Colorado Ice
Thursday, May 31st against New Mexico Stars
Thursday, June 7th against the Allen Wranglers (the team Terrell Owens plays for)
Interact with the player on twitter:
Everett Raptors (@EverettRaptors)
Jeremiah Captain (@ALLCAPPS_LFL) Defensive back #10
Walner Leandre (@nutt_) Linebacker #5
Charles McCullum (@EAGANHOMESCHUCK) QB on Injured reserve
Jihad Morris (@OMGitsHADDY) Defensive back #13
Andre Piper-Jordan (@PipeJordan15) Wide receiver #15
Richard Posey (@RPosey10) Defensive lineman #62
Marcus Robinson (@Marc_Rob11) RB on injured reserve
Mike Tatum (@M_Tatum1) Wide Receiver #3
Maurice Young (@pistolstarter2) Wide receiver #2