5 Takeaways from PLL Week 1
Christmas arrived early. On June 1, 2019, the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) hosted its first weekend of competitive play. Excitement aside, we gained lots of insight for what to expect from the league moving forward. Welcome to my new series featuring five takeaways from each week of the PLL season. Please enjoy!
Until recently, I traditionally stuck to watching college lacrosse. I dabbed in NLL (which I now truly enjoy) and occasionally watched MLL (still do). That said, there is a massive gap in how much college lacrosse I watch compared to professional.
In college, if a defenseman delivers a huge hit, he gets a penalty. That’s because the hit looks scary and the NCAA likes to ruin physical sports. Just look at college football. Any huge hit automatically gets called targeting, even if the defensive player isn’t anywhere close to hitting the opponent’s head.
The leniency on physical play, in the PLL, was extremely refreshing. There was an abundance of epic hits. Joel Tinney’s helmet flew off as he was leveled. Connor Farrell, a FOGO for Chrome, obliterated a poor man. In college, that would have been a penalty. In the PLL, they play on.
In the Whipsnakes game, a midfielder attempted to swim dodge a defenseman. He was promptly cross checked in the face and dropped the ball. Penalty? Yes. Did they call it? Nope. And I loved every second of it.
There’s a budding rivalry brewing between the Atlas and Redwoods. The game was stopped several times due to scrums. A couple punches were thrown with a few penalties dished out.
The physical nature of the PLL brings an exciting attribute of lacrosse to casual sports fans. Football and hockey fans love big hits. Many are frustrated with how these leagues look to eliminate devastating collisions. Thankfully, with airtime on NBC, these big hits can reach casual fans. In turn, they may see lacrosse as another exciting, physical sport to follow. Hopefully, the PLL doesn’t shy away from these colossal hits. Kudos to the referees for letting the boys play and get away with some shenanigans.
On Saturdays, the PLL has games streamed on NBC Sports Gold. With this subscription, there are no commercials. Instead, during a break, the cameras pan onto coaches in the huddle. These coaches have mics strapped to their collars and you can hear everything they say. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Enter Andy Towers.
Coach Towers is head coach of the Chaos, and let me say, the man is more exciting than the game. He is must see television. If you are offended easily, you will not like him; however, he has made me a diehard Chaos fan.
Andy is as American as one gets. He gets me so amped; I want to run through a wall while writing this. He makes me want to shotgun a beer. Hell, make that two with a keg of moonshine. He’s a ripped, goateed Mr. Clean who’s more intense than Uncle Sam saying “I want you!” He is the ultimate bro.
I demand the PLL provide us with an Andy Towers highlight video at seasons end. To keep my writing clean, I can’t repeat much of what he said; however, I’ll provide a few memorable quotes.
· *In the huddle: “F*ck them on three! No, no. That’s not right.”
· “Just so *ucking talking. Way to go Bucky!”
That’s an appetizer to the hilarity Towers brought to my PLL experience. If you want more Andy Towers content, I included everything he said in my Chaos v Whipsnakes highlights video. You can find that here.
Some folks on Twitter complained about his language post game. Andy apologized and said he “would do better”. Andy, if you’re reading this, the only thing you need to “do better” is giving us more classic quotes. If you become calm and boring, I will personally pay people to riot outside of every PLL game until the real Coach Towers returns. We need crazy characters like you to keep this game exciting.
Is the PLL rigged? It seems so, as the first two games in league history went to overtime. Conspiracy theories aside, the talent level on each roster is phenomenal. There are no New York Giants to lose every game. Everyone is the New England Patriots (fitting since Bill Belichick was in attendance).
It’s early, but I have a hunch blowouts will not be the norm. In fact, the biggest loss in PLL history is the Atlas losing 11-9 against the Redwoods. Otherwise, the Archers defeated Chrome 13-12 while the Whipsnakes survived a furious Chaos comeback 15-14. The latter two games finished in overtime.
Lots of games left to be played, but credit is due to the committee who formed these six teams. No one is overpowered or underwhelming. Everyone is good and fully capable of winning the league. I predict the team who wins the championship will not have the best record. Instead, they will be the hottest team. Whoever is hottest come playoffs, will claim the trophy.
Until official attendance numbers are released, the best we can do is guess; however, the crowd looked solid. There was the main group at center field with pockets of spectators around the sideline. Pure speculation, but I would say the PLL brought in eight thousand spectators in all. Pretty good!
Unfortunately, the crowd thinned for the second Saturday game. The size seemed similar for Sunday’s game too. The PLL needs to move people together so the stands look more filled. Don’t make people sit far out, “upgrade” them to center field. It’s a little depressing seeing rows of empty seats. Hopefully, the league can solve this issue.
The Boston Cannons can be credited with a smaller Saturday crowd than expected. They posted a sellout (5K) for their home game against the New York Lizards. Their grassroots efforts seemed to pay off against the sexy, foreign league. Premier Lacrosse can’t be happy the MLL cost them money on opening weekend.
Certainly, attendance will be an interesting storyline to follow as the league’s season progresses. As the MLL said, social media hype is one thing, but selling tickets is another.
Superb Production Quality
Finally. Finally, we were blessed with seeing professional lacrosse shown on live television. No hate on the MLL, but the game looks much better on NBCSN than some unknown streaming site. Simply put, the production was amazing. This is the best lacrosse has ever looked on the big screen.
The in-game commentary was informative and didn’t take away from the game. The league had a sky cam which provided different angles. Unlike on B/R Live with NLL, there were no technical difficulties to where we lost connection.
I loved the sideline interviews with players. I liked hearing what went through their mind right after making a big play. The on-field interviews need some improvement. It’s a little cringy having the announcers call an on-field player, have the camera zoomed in on them, and hear no response. But it was the league’s first weekend and some growing pains were expected. The concept is still cool and, when the helmet mics worked, the interviews were extremely informative.
To conclude, thank you NBC for producing professional lacrosse at a level many only dreamed of.
Do you agree with my takeaways? Disagree? Whatever the case, connect with me on Twitter or Instagram to let me know your thoughts. You can also subscribe to the site and comment directly onto the article. Thank you for reading!