On September 27, 2017, the Monterrey Steel have ceased operations in the National Arena League (NAL). Here, we will break down Monterrey Steel’s impact on the NAL. We will also bring a preview of what the upcoming season could be like in Monterrey’s absence.
Monterrey Steel’s Impact on the NAL; Pre-Season Predictions
The Monterrey Steel are the fifth team to leave the NAL (Dayton Wolfpack, Corpus Christi Rage, Richmond Roughriders, and High Country Grizzlies) in the offseason leading to the 2018 season. What does this mean to the NAL? Is it as bad as many believe it is or will the league be perfectly fine?
Keep in mind that the league came out with an announcement and said that there are six new teams still in the process of joining the league. The Georgia Firebirds are working on leases with their arena.
Monterrey Steel’s Impact on the NAL
Last year, the Monterrey Steel had a decent start, but it was against teams like Corpus Christi and Dayton, who both ended the season winless.
As soon as the Steel lost to the Sharks in Week Four of the season, things started to go downhill from there.
The Steel lost to Jacksonville and then the Columbus Lions the following game. At that point, things got heated throughout the team. There would be fights in what seemed to be every game. Things came down to the wire in Corpus Christi when Monterrey had a last second defensive turnover to beat the Rage 33-30.
After that, things started to get a little better as they learned to grow together as a team and fix the minor mistakes that were holding them down. The team started to win games more often.
During the last game of the regular season, the Steel pulled a major upset against the Sharks in Jacksonville. The Steel’s defense, yet again, made a last-second defensive turnover to defeat the undefeated Jacksonville Sharks 44-37.
The Steel finished the regular season with a 7-4 record.
During the post-season, however, things didn’t go as planned. The Sharks showed the Steel that they were still the dominant team in the league by ending the Steel’s season, 32-43.
Now we answer the question: How does this impact the NAL? It impacts the league big time. When there is a league that lets their fourth-best team leave, there is an issue. Especially when they take two more playoff-caliber teams like Richmond and High Country and allow them to join another league. It definitely hurts the league.
With the league being down to five teams, it is very likely that the playoffs will have at least one team with a losing record (below .500).
Last season, the Steel scored a total of 478 points (43.45 points per game). That is the fourth best in the league, behind Jacksonville, Columbus, and Lehigh Valley.
Not only does scoring help a team become great in a league, the amount of people at the game also helps the league. When a team has a great turnout, the league gets a better chance at earning more money from ticket sales and merchandise being sold. Monterrey was one of the best teams in the league with attendance.
With Monterrey being gone and with the schedule not being released, it is difficult to tell who will shine in the NAL and who will not be so great.
The teams that are doing the most in the off-season will be the best teams in the upcoming season. The teams that will continue to make a name for themselves will be Jacksonville, Columbus, and Lehigh Valley.
With expansion news coming soon, that could change. There could be a new team that takes everyone by surprise.
So far, the confirmed teams this year are the Jacksonville Sharks, Columbus Lions, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, and New Jersey Flight. The Georgia Firebirds are looking to continue with the league, but need to work on their lease first.
The Jacksonville Sharks will continue to be a championship team, signing their big players from last season. Columbus and Lehigh Valley are starting to do the same.
Columbus got their quarterback, most of their offensive line, and some big receivers back for the next season.
Lehigh Valley is signing rookies to bring young talent to the league and be the young and dominant team in the next year or two.
At this rate with the league, the two favors in for the championship game are Jacksonville and Columbus. Those two are doing the most to their teams in the summer and during the off-season.
Although it is too early to tell or predict what each team’s record will be, those top three teams have proven already that they are the teams that will fight for the number one spot for home-field-advantage in the playoffs.
LWOS will have updates on our Indoor Football Twitter page. Be sure to check that out as things get unfolded with schedules, league updates, and expansion news.