Written by Chris Mabry
The 15-1 Dallas Desperados, who earned a bye in the first round hosted the 7-9 Columbus Destroyers for a shot at the conference championship game. This was also my first experience attending a live indoor/arena football game.
On July 7, 2017 12 years to the day the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX played host to the divisional round of the AFL Playoffs in the national conference.
My first game was really exciting. The Desperados were leading the Destroyers 38-14 heading into halftime. Coming out of halftime, the Columbus Destroyers had a different energy about them as the table was flipped and it was the Destroyers leading the Desperados 17-0.
That shutout in the third quarter was probably because of one of the Dallas Desperados star wide receivers going down with an injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the game. Will Pettis who lead the Desperados not only receiving yards but also rushing yards went down on the turf hard. During the injury timeout the arena was quiet like the stands were completely empty. It was so quiet, you could probably hear a pen drop.
After a few minutes of utter silence, I screamed from the stands “Shake it off.!” Pettis was able to shake it off however, he would go to the sidelines and would be ruled out for the remainder of the game.
The fourth quarter ended with a tie at 21, it was the Columbus Destroyers coming away with a victory over the Dallas Desperados 66-59.
After the game ended, I fell in love with the sport and would attend several more games and follow along whenever I could and still do to this day.