I saw this in my Google alerts and was saddened by the news. I'd hoped Jon's 50/50 pronouncement was positive. Guess not and for those still thinking he isn't computer savvy....guess again. (Besides the fact that in the old days of the FC he used to participate in chats...and Matt wasn't typing for him.)
The 1-year anniversary of the Soul's ArenaBowl championship is days away and rather than celebrate, fans, players and even coaches continue to sit in limbo.
Since suspending the 2009 season 7 months ago, the AFL has sat in purgatory while some owners try to salvage the league and others have thrown up a white flag.
Even Soul co-owner Jon Bon Jovi is struggling to grasp optimism. When asked by the Daily News whether the league would play in 2010, Bon Jovi replied by e-mail, "Do you believe in miracles? Are you a betting man? I said it all in the [New York] Times article. We are trying . . . hard. Every day."
The league, awash in red ink, got the players union's approval in March on a new collective bargaining agreement that basically slashed salaries in half. Still, the franchises in Los Angeles and New Orleans have folded, and others are on the ropes.
"But here's the truth," Bon Jovi told the New York Times 2 weeks ago. "If we come back, we will set a new benchmark for what is sports ownership. This is more than a lockout. We're on the brink of the abyss."
Even if everything came together tomorrow, it's still difficult to imagine a 2010 season beginning in March. Many players have gotten on with their lives and won't be able to resume their football careers at half the pay. There will always be younger players looking for an opportunity, but will the quality of play (and name recognition) be enough to draw crowds at venues such as the Wachovia Center?
Chicago Rush co-owner Mike Ditka earlier this month told the Chicago Sun-Times bluntly: "I would love to see the AFL come back. But if you ain't heard anything by now saying they will, I don't see them coming back because there were too many weak sisters. If the league does [return], it will probably have to scale itself down and make sure it has more solid ownership and much better team management."
At last year's championship parade, Philadelphia coach Bret Munsey sent the City Hall Plaza crowd into a frenzy when he proclaimed that the Soul would repeat. Today, he doesn't even live in the area.
Munsey is the director of player personnel for Orlando, of the fledgling United Football League, where Jim Haslett is the head coach. Munsey moved his family to Florida in June.
"I've had zero communication with ownership and have been in the dark [regarding the return] of Philadelphia and the Arena Football League," he said. "I couldn't sit around and wait. I waited long enough."