Friday, June 30, 2006


Will some of you stop the rumors already?! Don't run our new indoor football team out of Columbus just yet. I mean, at least wait until the league has its championship game next Monday....

BLOG EXCLUSIVE: The President of the American Indoor Football League dismissed print reports Friday that the Chattahoochee Valley Vipers are in financial trouble. Andrew Haines told your blog the team is working on a schedule for 2007. If we can only persuade the Jehovah's Witnesses to delay their convention until after the playoffs....

The rumor of financial trouble came from the weekly bilingual paper "The Courier." Its "Street Committee" suggested some of the Vipers' players and coaches might not have been paid this past season. The paper did not say which concerned member of the Atlanta Falcons caravan started this rumor.

The question about the Vipers might have been heightened by the fact that the team web site is down - replaced by one of those pages with plenty of miscellaneous links. Who would have guessed the team stays in shape by taking hoodia pills?

In a phone interview from league headquarters in Ohio, league President Andrew Haines rejected the Street Committee's rumors. He said if Viper players and coaches had not been paid, "I would have heard about it by now." Then again, maybe the Street Committee can't afford to make a long-distance call.

Andrew Haines added the Valley Vipers are in the process of acquiring sponsors for next season. It will begin after the November election -- so Jim Wetherington cannot be the team's Official Mayoral Candidate.

Andrew Haines also explained why links to the Vipers' web site are not working right. He suggested there's some sort of problem over the domain name "". A minor league hockey team apparently wants it - and if worse comes to worst, I'd lean toward football players over hockey players in a fight.

Andrew Haines seems quite open and honest when it comes to the American Indoor Football League. The league president told the blog attendance this season was "OK. It could have been better." He must have noticed some empty seats at the Columbus Civic Center, too....

Andrew Haines believes attendance in the A.I.F.L. wasn't as strong as it could have been because there was a short "ramp-up time" for this season. I think sports executives started using this phrase, after seeing a few Evel Knievel crashes.

The American Indoor Football League will have its championship game Monday night. Canton, Ohio will play at Rome, Georgia. We'll see if Canton is close enough to Cleveland that it follows that city's tradition, and fails to win the title.

I don't know why The Courier's "Street Committee" failed to call the American Indoor Football League office, to learn the truth about its Vipers rumor. But I can understand why it failed to call the Vipers' office - because the league president had trouble tracking down that phone number for me, too.

COMING SUNDAY: Why the talk of a public safety revolt hasn't quite panned out....

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