The Arena Football Leagues 28th regular season had just come to an end. There was an exciting playoffs on the horizon, and an anticipated Arena Bowl 28 coming up. Then, hell broke loose.
The Las Vegas Outlaws, who had seemingly clinched the 4th and final playoff spot in the National Conference on Saturday night, were disqualified from the playoffs after the AFL Board Of Directors(the owners in the AFL) voted against the Outlaws appearing in the playoffs. In addition to that, the AFL also announced that the Outlaws; along with the New Orleans Voodoo, two teams that had been run by the league since mid July, would cease operations, effective immediately. The league also announced that the Portland Thunder, who had lost 67-39 to Arizona on Saturday, seemingly eliminating them from playoff contention, would face the San Jose SaberCats in the playoffs on Friday night.
In a statement, the league said “The New Orleans VooDoo and Las Vegas Outlaws organizations have ceased operations effective immediately, the Arena Football League announced today. All players under a continuing contract with either Team shall be placed into the Offseason Assignment Process once a date has been determined.
Since no Team ownership is in place, there is no funding for an Outlaws playoff appearance. The AFL Board of Directors took this into consideration as it was voted that Las Vegas will not take part in postseason play. The Portland Thunder will move into the fourth position in the National Conference playoff picture and face the top seeded San Jose Sabercats during the AFL Quarterfinals on Friday, August 14 at 11pm ET.”
The AFL also cancelled the week 18 matchup between the Voodoo and the Outlaws after the two teams were ceased by the league. For Las Vegas, this is the 3rd time Arena Football has failed in the Sin City. The Sting moved to Anaheim in 1996, the Gladiators moved to Cleveland in 2008, and the Outlaws; an expansion team this season created by Vince Neil, are now history. Its the first time a team has gone one and done since the Alabama Vipers and Oklahoma City Yard Dawgs both folded in their inaugural season in 2010. For the Voodoo, this is the second time the franchise has folded. The original New Orleans Voodoo played from 2004-2008 before owner Tom Benson folded the team. Then in 2011, Doug Harrington and Dan Newman decided to move the Bossier-Shreveport Battlewings to New Orleans and revive the Voodoo. 4 years later, the Voodoo are folding again.
This is a black eye for the AFL as the playoffs get underway.