Arena Football is About Fun and Opportunity

02/26/2019 12:49 PM -

By Peter Schwartz


I’ve always maintained that my eight prior seasons working in Arena Football from 2001 to 2008 was the best job that I ever had...and now I’m lucky enough to have a second opportunity to be involved thanks to the New York Streets who will kickoff their inaugural season in the National Arena League this April.   Those sentiments are echoed by a lot of people who have been around this great sport since it debuted in 1987 and that includes players, coaches, front office staff, journalists and fans.


Yes the fans…being a fan can be hard work sometimes, but when you’re a fan of Arena Football, and now specifically of the New York Streets, it’s a lot of fun and there’s great opportunity.  From seats so close to the field that you feel like you’re part of the game, to the action packed excitement of the 50 yard indoor war, to the opportunities to have access to meet players and coaches that you don’t find in other sports, there’s nothing quite like Arena Football.  


All of this and much more is coming to the Westchester County Center this spring with the fun, excitement, energy, access and high-octane football from the New York Streets!


From a players perspective, Arena Football is all about opportunity.


Sure there’s a sense of fun to be able to play any variation of football and that includes kids and adults who play flag, but not every player out of college goes directly to the NFL.  Sometimes the road to the NFL has to go in a different direction at first and that could include Arena Football, other spring football leagues or even Canada. But there’s something about Arena Football, namely the speed of the game, the tight space on the field and simply the chance to play, that can help a player eventually to or back to the NFL depending on their situation.


Just ask Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner who was stocking shelves in a grocery store when Iowa Barnstormers Head Coach and former NAL Commissioner John Gregory gave him an opportunity and yada yada yada, Warner eventually became a two-time NFL MVP and a Super Bowl MVP.   By the way, Gregory also found a few other players that would go on to play or coach in the NFL including Kevin Swayne, Mike Furrey and current Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy. He was also the first Head Coach I ever worked with when I was with the New York Dragons and I learned a lot from him.


From a coaches standpoint, there are tons of opportunity in Arena Football.  New York Streets Head Coach Rick Marsilio has been involved in the sport for many years and there are some coaches that have spent what seems like a lifetime in Arena Football.   Some of them even found their way to the NFL including current Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden who was an Arena Football legend as a player and coach. Also, former Chicago Bears safety Doug Plank was the Head Coach of the Georgia Force and took them to an Arena Bowl and would later become an assistant coach with the New York Jets.  


And finally, Arena Football is an amazing opportunity for broadcasters and journalists.  I have so many fond memories of my time with the AFL and the New York Dragons and I was also fortunate enough to be able to work for the league including the opportunity to do play by play for three national radio broadcasts of the Arena Bowl. I met my wife Sheryl during the time I worked in Arena Football and then our first son Bradley was born.  He went from coming to practice with me in his baby carrier to running around with the players after practice.


Talk about access!!!


Well now my younger son Jared will be able to experience what Arena Football is all about and I couldn’t be more excited about being involved in the sport again.  Here’s what I tell people that have never been to an Arena Football game but may have watched a little on television. Come to a game and experience it in person. It’s great family affordable entertainment with great football, a lot of fun, and amazing access.


Is it April yet?