- The Washington Valor defeated the Baltimore Brigade in Arena Ball XXXI.
- The Valor were crowned champions despite going 2-10 in the regular season and losing their first playoff game.
- The AFL had to admit the Valor into the playoffs to have enough teams to fill out a bracket.
Hard times have hit the Arena Football League and you need to look no further than the 2018 Arena Bowl, which was won by a team that went 2-10 during the regular season.
To add to the bizarre nature of the “accomplishment” by the Washington Valor, they also lost their first playoff game and still won the championship.
Here is how they did it.
The AFL, which once boasted as many as 19 teams all over the United States, is now down to just four teams in the northeast thanks to teams collapsing or moving to rival leagues. Of the four current AFL teams in Albany, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore, three were formed in the last three seasons.
With only four teams in the league, all four clubs qualified for the playoffs. So despite the Valor going 2-10 with an average score of 54-40, they were in the playoffs as the 4-seed.
The Valor then faced the top-seeded Albany Empire in the AFL semifinals and lost, 57-56, to drop to 2-11 on the season.
But there was a catch!
The semifinals of the AFL have a 2-game, home-and-home format often seen in major soccer tournaments. So the Valor and Empire played a second game in Albany. The Valor won the rematch, 47-40, to advance to the Arena Bowl based on the aggregate score of the two games.
Then, in the Arena Bowl, the Valor defeated the Baltimore Brigade, 69-55.
As if there wasn’t enough head-shaking already, both teams in the Arena Bowl are owned by Ted Leonsis.
So despite the Valor winning just two of their first 13 games, they went on a 2-game winning streak when it mattered most, and now they are the champs.
Congrats, I guess.
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