NAL Championship Teams Will Be Decided On Saturday Night
ATLANTA, GA - The National Arena League announces the conclusion of the 2022 regular season and the beginning of the 2022 postseason that will include a playoff round followed by the coveted National Arena League Championship. Four teams have clinched playoff seeds and will enter their respective playoff games this weekend. See full list of playoff teams below followed by the official playoff schedule.
#1 Albany Empire (8-4)
The 2021 NAL Champions are back on top and just in time for the postseason. This will be their second consecutive year as a playoff host since joining the NAL in 2021. The Empire got off to a rough start early this season losing their home opener and suffered some tough losses throughout the year that seemed to leave them in second. However, the Empire rose to the occasion with a strong finish in the second half of the season winning their last four games and building a 8-4 record. The Empire historically have done very well in postseason play earning their first NAL championship in their first season in the league. Albany will play host to the #4 seeded Jacksonville Sharks (7-7) one of the league’s founding teams who have two NAL championships under their belt. This season the Empire are 2-0 over the Sharks winning in Jacksonville and at MVP Arena. However, the last time these two teams faced off toward the end of the season the Sharks nearly forced an upset of the top seed in a nail biting 58-56 grudge match where Albany advanced to the playoffs eliminating the Sharks from postseason play.
#2 Carolina Cobras (9-5)
The Cobras owned the number one spot for the majority of the regular season as they opened 2022 with a powerful start winning five straight games dominating the standings as the only undefeated team early in the season. Injuries have taken a toll on this high scoring Cobras team as they lost three of their last five games, however they have proven to be a top team winning a big game on the road against Jacksonville last week and finishing their regular season on a high note at 9-5. The Cobras have made the postseason every year since joining the NAL in 2018. They are proven playoff winners having advanced to the NAL Championship twice within four seasons. In their fifth season as a franchise the Cobras have the chance to gain their third playoff victory and their third championship appearance. To their advantage they will be playing at home but will be facing a formidable opponent, the #3 seeded Columbus Lions (7-5) a team that delivered Carolina one of their worst losses of the season earlier this year and defeated Carolina recently at home in a tight game that was decided by one point.
#3 Columbus Lions (7-5)
The Lions enter the postseason as the only team in NAL history to play in every playoff weekend since the NAL launched in 2017. They are led by Head Coach Jason Gibson, the only Head Coach to coach in every single NAL season (2017-present). His experience in big games with a team that has won their last three games including a win against their upcoming opponent make the Lions the most likely to gain an upset this playoff week. Although the Lions don’t wow you with their record, they have remained one of the most healthy rosters this season while teams lost talent their year the Lions continued to gain it their franchise star quarterback Mason Espinosa late in the second half of the season. It’ll be that player the Lions will look for to have a huge game against one of the NAL’s best defenses in Carolina.
#4 Jacksonville Sharks (7-7)
The Sharks return to the playoffs after missing out in 2021. Being the fourth seed may be unfamiliar but Jacksonville could be one win away from entering their third NAL Championship in 5 years. However, the task ahead may be their toughest as Jacksonville is 0-2 against the Empire this year. Despite losing their last two games the Sharks have been a streaky team gaining several three game win streaks this season. Fortunately for the Shark fans if their team can manage a two-game win streak on back to back road games they will be deemed NAL Champions once again but it will be a steep uphill battle as Albany hasn’t lost a game since June.
2022 NAL Playoff Schedule Day Time Location
#4 Jacksonville Sharks @ #1 Albany Empire Sat. July 30 7:00pm (EST) MVP Arena, Albany, NY
#3 Columbus Lions @ #2 Carolina Cobras Sat. July 30 7:00pm (EST) Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
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The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague.