It’s April in DC and the Nation’s Capital has football fever! That isn’t a typo. Cherry Blossoms and Football now go hand in hand, at least for this one night!
The Washington Valor did everything right and everything they could do to steal the hearts of football fans in the DMV! From a raucous pre-game celebration to TD bombs on the opening drive to players sailing over the side barriers, DC was introduced to a whole new brand of football. A fun football. A different football. A football characterized by big plays, bigger hits, and speed on a smaller field.
For one night the DC football team was no match for it’s competition in this space (re:Redskins) as the Valor cruised to an easy victory 51-38 over the completely outmatched and unprepared Baltimore Brigade. A bittersweet victory for Valor owner Ted Leonsis, who also happens to own the hapless Brigade squad, but as far as talent, quality of play, and excitement, the Valor scored high marks in all categories with a great display of passing, led by QB Erik Meyer and WR Mike Washington.
The Valor put on a great show for its fans and rewarded the faithful who came out to the Verizon Center to cheer them on. While the phone-booth was far from sold out, the fans who came were passionate about their team and there was an electricity and fervor that you don’t see for a regular season Mystics game or maybe even an early season Wizards or Capitals game at the same home venue.
The million (and potentially multi-million) dollar question for the Valor and Ted Leonsis is simply: did they do enough to steal the hearts of football fans in DC for a spring/summer season and provide a real alternative to the OTHER football team based out of Ashburn? While I don’t see anyone in DC switching their burgundy and gold for the red and blue Valor colors, I do think that Arena Football can burrow a nice little niche in the DC market with the 18-35 young professional (mostly male) crowd, looking for a fun and different sporting experience on a Friday night…or as a precursor to a night on the town. The games moves quickly and provide just the right substance and feel to trick your brain into thinking you are watching football… which you are… it’s just different.
DC loves fads and a new franchise playing downtown with an awesome logo and great colors is the ultimate fad. So why not give it a shot DC? For what it is, it might be exactly what the District needs… a different brand of football that anyone can enjoy casually. Let’s get behind this team cause at least for one night, the Valor showed they’re worth our time and attention.
Check out some exclusive audio from the Valor’s first AFL game:
Mike Washington Interview:
Coach’s Press Conference: