The Baltimore Mariners, an indoor football team based at Baltimore’s First Mariner Arena, stand as one of Baltimore’s best-kept sports secrets. And that’s a shame.
In Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Revolution, the Mariners dominated start to finish, sending New Jersey home with a loss of 84-6 in what felt more like a basketball game based on the Mariners’ scoring ability. It was a game of one interception after another as well as a series of passing, rushing and kicking scores.
Baltimore came into the game undefeated, while New Jersey came into the game winless. So, the Mariners’ crushing victory wasn’t much of a surprise to most. Nonetheless, Coach Chris Simpson made it clear the fans would be treated to the magnificent plays the Mariners have been known for all season. Even though they came into the game Saturday with a secure spot in the playoffs, Simpson had the Mariners pushing and pressing as if it were the first game of the season.
Running Back Isaiah Grier blew onto the field with feet flying and never stopped. Grier, 6′ 1″, 215 lbs out of Rhode Island, rushed for 103 yards, a franchise record, and posted three touchdowns. Quarterback E.J. Nemeth rushed for two touchdowns of his own. That was only surpassed by his passing game: three touchdowns and 143 yards.
Baltimore came into the American Indoor Football Association in 2008 and posted a losing record that year. It makes their overall record of 22-5 with two consecutive playoff seasons in 2009 and 2010 even more awesome.
The Mariners have one more regular game against rivals and defending AIFA champs, the Reading Express, Saturday, June 26. If they win that game, they become the first team in AIFA history to finish out a regular season undefeated. In the Western League, the Wyoming Cavalry are also undefeated to date.
Reading will not make it an easy win for Baltimore. In addition to being the defending champs, Reading comes into the upcoming game against Baltimore carrying a heavy weight. To clinch a playoff spot, Reading must win Saturday. Crushing Baltimore’s hope of staying undefeated would be just a sweet side benefit of the win.
Count on a wild, wonderful night of Indoor Football at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena on Saturday, June 26 at 7 p.m. Playoff games are set for July 10 and July 25. For ticket and schedule information, check out Baltimore’s First Mariner Arena’s Web site at www.baltimorearena.com. For team information, see www.baltimoremariners.com.