Baltimore, Maryland (June 4, 2009) – Most sports fans remember, Coach Jim Mora’s infamous, “Playoffs! Playoffs!” response to the media. Local fans may recall Baltimore Ravens’ players using the word “Festivus” to outmaneuver Coach Billick’s moratorium on the word playoffs. When it comes to the postseason, the Baltimore Mariners have taken a more open approach. “We have talked about the playoffs since the opening training camp in February. It has always been the team’s goal to achieve that,” stated Mariners Head Coach Chris Simpson.
The Mariners (6-4) can make that goal a reality this Saturday when they head south to take on the D.C. Armor (2-8) at 7:00 PM at the D.C. Armory.
The battle for the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA) North Division’s second playoff spot is pretty clear. With a win over the Armor this weekend and a loss by the Harrisburg Stampede (4-7) at the South Carolina Force (4-6), the Mariners would take an insurmountable 3 ½ game lead over Harrisburg. They would also forge a five game lead over D.C. and at least a four game lead over the Erie Riverrats (2-8), depending on the outcome of their game versus the Carolina Speed.
Winning the North Division will be more of a challenge for the Mariners; but is not impossible. With just four games left on their 2009 schedule, the Mariners trail the division leading Reading Express (9-3) by two games, and by only one in the loss column. The Mariners also hold the tie-breaker over Reading after defeating them twice this season. However, Coach Simpson’s club needs help from Erie or Harrisburg in their games against Reading to grasp the division title.
Standing in the way of the Mariners goal is the Armor. Despite Baltimore’s 57-25 victory over D.C. last weekend at home, the Armor has been a tougher opponent at the Armory. Their three losses came at the hands of top opponents, Reading (twice) and the Fayetteville Guard (7-3), and the Armor defeated Harrisburg 44-26, a team the Mariners have battled in two close match-ups. Coach Simpson, however, does not see playing D.C. two weeks in a row as a hindrance, “Playing an opponent back to back does not alter how we conduct practice. DC has an outstanding defense and now that we have faced them, we have a better prospective on what we need to game plan for.”
Heading into the final weeks of play, the Baltimore Head Coach feels, his squad has what it takes to not only make the playoffs, but contend for a championship. “We have great character guys on this team. We have faced nearly all the major issues an organization can face. Yet, these players and coaches come ready to go to battle each and every week. Ability will win you football games but, character will win you a championship.” If Coach Simpson is right, Baltimore sports fans could experience their first summer playoff run in more then a decade and be yelling “Playoffs! Playoffs!” Saturday night.
For more information on the Baltimore Mariners please visit www.baltimoremariners.com.