Heads up Washington: Arena Football has arrived and pants are required.
"This isn't ain't your daddy's and granddaddy's football. This is 21st century football," said famed rocker Gene Simmons.
No, there wasn't a Kiss concert at the Verizon Center, but an introductory press conference for the Arena Football League's newest franchise.
The Washington [insert name here] will begin play during the spring of 2017. Simmons, co-owner of the LA Kiss, started the hype Wednesday afternoon to a live television audience, media members and a large group gathered for the announcement of the city's newest team.
"Come see one of our games," Simmons commanded. "Best time you can have with your pants on."
Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and the Verizon Center now has a football team as part of his portfolio. Monumental Sports & Entertainment formally announced the acquisition last week of the franchise, becoming the ninth team in the AFL. The D.C. area previously had an AFL franchise in the late 1980's.
Washington will begin play during the league's 30th season. By then decisions on a team name, coach and players will take place. Fans of Leonsis's other teams can probably guess the likely color scheme.
Washington mayor Muriel Bowser attended the press conference "for the new Washington football team" along with other notables including Simmons; NFL analyst Ron Jaworski, owner of the Philadelphia Soul; and AFL commissioner Scott Butera.
Mentions of the AFL being family friendly and affordable entertainment were peppered throughout. Leonsis described the league's potential as having "incredible upside."
"This is a fast-paced friendly game and we intend to embrace, to bring it far and wide to our fan base, our community," Leonsis said.
Arena Football is similar yet different to the traditional version played on Saturday's and Sunday's. For starters, it's played indoors in confined space usually reserved for hockey rinks. There are traditional player positions, just fewer of them. Formations are varied, but with a modern twist. The clock never stops and --wait for it -- neither does the action.
"It is like hockey in that there is no downtime," Leonsis told CSNmidatlantic.com.
Most of all, there is scoring. Lots of it.
"I still struggle saying hold them to under 60 [points] and we win," joked Derrick Brooks, Hall of Fame linebacker with Tampa Bay Buccaneers and president of the AFL's Tampa Bay Storm.
Simmons didn't struggle in the role of AFL hype man.
"We want to completely assault your senses, make you fans and make you understand that this is the type of football that has never existed before," Simmons stated.
Just remember that when you arrive at Verizon Center for games in 2017, pants are required.
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