Why We’re Rooting for the Return of the Arena Football League

The Arena Football League has previously touched down twice in Las Vegas, giving us the Sting from 1994-95 and the Gladiators from 2003-07. Now with 100 percent more Vince Neil—the Mötley Crüe lead singer and longtime Vegas resident is an owner—the fast-paced indoor football league is back in the form of the Las Vegas Outlaws, who kickoff their debut season March 30 at the Thomas & Mack Center against the San Jose Sabercats.

Could we be jaded and come up with endless reasons why the third time won’t be the charm for the AFL in Vegas? Of course we could. But where’s the fun in that? Instead, here are some reasons to be excited about a new chapter in the playbook …

Local flavor. Wide receiver Tysson Poots is a 2006 Coronado High School graduate who played for the AFL’s Arizona Rattlers and helped them win consecutive Arena Bowls in 2013-14. “[Las Vegas] is still considered home to me,” Poots says. “It feels good to be here, playing football professionally.” Joining Poots is B.J. Bell, a former defensive back for UNLV who played nose guard last season for the AFL’s L.A. KISS.

A head-banging good time. Yes, you guessed correctly: the L.A. KISS were conceived by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Which means we get the Crüe vs. KISS twice a year (April 11 in Anaheim; May 4 at the Mack). Further fueling the hairspray-induced flames between these rock vets: the Outlaws snagged former KISS quarterback Aaron Garcia as head coach.

Girls, girls, girls. Led by director and choreographer Allison Kyler, the Outlaws Posse cheerleaders are as homegrown as it gets. Several of the 10 women come straight from Strip shows, and all are local talents. “It’s a sporting event, but also an entertainment experience,” Kyler, a former dancer on Mötley Crüe’s tours, says of Outlaws home games. She plans to incorporate the thrill of a live show into Posse routines (of course that means pyrotechnics).

Camera time. CBS Sports Network and ESPN 2 will televise seven of the Outlaws’ 18 games this season (including three home contests). That means our team, representing our city, playing in our university’s arena will be exposed to a national audience. And lord knows this mundane city needs some exposure!

Rock ’n’ roll attitude. At the first practice with full pads and helmets March 12, the team was still 10 men over the 24-player roster maximum. Garcia had moved here just a week prior. And on March 21, a mere nine days before the first game, the Outlaws held open kicker tryouts, boasting: “No previous football experience needed. Just know how to kick it!” How will it all come together on game day? We can’t wait to watch.

Single-game tickets for the Outlaws’ nine home games start at $19; UNLVTickets.com.



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