2017 National Arena League season

The 2017 National Arena League season was the inaugural season of the National Arena League (NAL). Playing with eight teams spread across the eastern and southern United States (with one team in Mexico), the league's regular season kicked off on March 17, 2017, when the Columbus Lions hosted the Jacksonville Sharks and lost 41–56. The regular season ended 14 weeks later on June 17, 2017, with the Sharks hosting the Monterrey Steel and the Lions visiting the Georgia Firebirds. The playoffs were held in two rounds, with the top seed hosting the fourth seed and the second seed hosting the third seed, with the winners of these games facing in the 2017 NAL Championship hosted by the highest remaining seed.[1]

2017 NAL season
LeagueNational Arena League
SportArena football
DurationMarch 17, 2017 – July 8, 2017
Regular season
Season championsJacksonville Sharks
Season MVPWarren Smith (Lehigh Valley Steelhawks)
1 vs. 4 championsJacksonville Sharks
  1 vs. 4 runners-upMonterrey Steel
2 vs. 3 championsColumbus Lions
  2 vs. 3 runners-upLehigh Valley Steelhawks
2017 NAL Championship
ChampionsJacksonville Sharks
  Runners-upColumbus Lions
Finals MVPJeremiah Price


For 2017, the NAL will consist of eight teams in a single-table format (no divisions or conferences). Four of the teams (Corpus Christi Rage, Dayton Wolfpack, High Country Grizzlies and Monterrey Steel) are playing their inaugural seasons, with three teams (Columbus Lions, Georgia Firebirds, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks) joining from the now-defunct American Indoor Football, and one team (Jacksonville Sharks) joining from the Arena Football League.

Each team was scheduled for 12 games (6 home and 6 away) with 2 bye weeks during the season. However, in order to satisfy their arena contract from their time in AFL, the Jacksonville Sharks were given eight home games, while the Corpus Christi Rage and Dayton Wolfpack were each only given five home games to balance the schedules. This was changed again when the Wolfpack were apparently unable to secure an arena lease, despite announcing they would play at the Nutter Center. Previously signed players reported on social media before the season that all players had been cut from the team, and as of February 20, all their home games were canceled.[2]

Other cancelled games

  • The May 20 Firebirds vs. Rage matchup was cancelled by the league, which took ownership of both teams at the time, as they saw no reason to pay for the Firebirds' travel cost for a game between both of their teams.[3]
  • The June 16 Grizzles vs. Rage matchup was cancelled by the Rage as a result of the team suspending operations during their scheduled bye week.[4]


TeamLocationArenaCapacityFoundedJoinedHead coach
Columbus LionsColumbus, GeorgiaColumbus Civic Center7,57320062017Jason Gibson
Corpus Christi RageCorpus Christi, TexasAmerican Bank Center10,00020162017Steven Fillmore
Dayton WolfpackDayton, OhioTraveling team (based in Georgia)20162017Multiple
Georgia FirebirdsAlbany, GeorgiaAlbany Civic Center8,43620092017Antwone Savage
High Country GrizzliesBoone, North CarolinaGeorge M. Holmes Convocation Center8,32520162017Josh Resignalo
Jacksonville SharksJacksonville, FloridaJacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena13,01120092017Mark Stoute
Siaha Burley
Lehigh Valley SteelhawksAllentown, PennsylvaniaPPL Center8,50020102017Chris Thompson
Monterrey SteelMonterrey, Nuevo LeónArena Monterrey17,59920162017JA Anderson


2017 National Arena League standings
z - Jacksonville Sharks 111.917697299L1
y - Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 91.9006103491.0W7
x - Columbus Lions 93.7506894122.0W6
x - Monterrey Steel 74.6364783643.5W1
High Country Grizzlies 37.3004494847.0L4
Georgia Firebirds 29.1823725768.5L5
Dayton Wolfpack 07.0001254788.5L7
Corpus Christi Rage 09.0001666249.5L9

z - clinched home field advantage

y - clinched home playoff game

x - clinched playoff spot


Semifinal 2017 NAL Championship
1 Jacksonville 43
4 Monterrey 32
1 Jacksonville 27
3 Columbus 21
2 Lehigh Valley 50
3 Columbus 52


Individual season awards

Most Valuable PlayerWarren SmithQuarterbackLehigh Valley Steelhawks
Offensive Player of the YearMichael ReeveWide receiverColumbus Lions
Defensive Player of the YearCharlie HuntLinebackerJacksonville Sharks
Special Teams Player of the YearNick BelcherKickerJacksonville Sharks
Offensive Rookie of the YearMalachi JonesWide receiverHigh Country Grizzlies
Defensive Rookie of the YearSergio SchiaffinoDefensive backMonterrey Steel
Most Improved AwardWarren OliverWide receiverLehigh Valley Steelhawks
Coach of the Year

1st Team All-NAL

QuarterbackWarren Smith, Lehigh Valley
Running backDerrick Ross, Jacksonville
Wide receiverMichael Reeve, Columbus
Darius Prince, Lehigh Valley
London Crawford, Monterrey
Offensive tackleCornelius Lewis, Jacksonville
Moqut Ruffins, Jacksonville
CenterA. J. Harmon, Jacksonville
Defensive lineJoe Sykes, Monterrey
Jabari Fletcher, Monterrey
Jeremiah Price, Jacksonville
LinebackerWesley Mauia, Monterrey
Charlie Hunt, Jacksonville
Defensive backErick McIntosh, Jacksonville
Kyle Griswould, Columbus
Marvin Ross, Jacksonville
Special teams
KickerNick Belcher, Jacksonville
Kick returnerBrandon Renford, Lehigh Valley

2nd Team All-NAL

QuarterbackMason Espinosa, Columbus
Running backUndra Hendrix, High Country
Wide receiverBrandon Renford, Lehigh Valley
Moe Williams, Jacksonville
Tristan Purifoy, Columbus
Offensive tackleBret Piekarski, Lehigh Valley
Colin Madison, Monterrey
CenterRyne Holland, Columbus
Defensive lineBrandon Sutton, High Country
Larry Ford, High Country
Daylou Pierson, Jacksonville
LinebackerLarry Edwards, Columbus
Marte Sears, Columbus
Defensive backRodney Hall Jr., Lehigh Valley
Micheaux Robinson, Jacksonville
Svante Davenport, Monterrey
Special teams
KickerBrandon Rutherford, Monterrey
Kick returnerDaron Clark, High Country



  1. "NAL Announces Inaugural Season Schedule". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  2. "NAL's Dayton Wolpack set to become a travel only team". Arena Football Talk. February 20, 2017.
  3. "WEEKLY SPORTS LEAGUE & FRANCHISE REPORT". OurSports Central. May 22, 2017.
  4. Harwell, Alan. "Another indoor football team bites the dust, Rage calls it quits after going 0-9". KRIStv.com. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  5. "NAL Announces All-NAL Defensive Honors- Sharks and Steel Lead the Way with 12 Selections". www.nationalarenaleague.com. National Arena League. July 5, 2017. Archived from the original on July 18, 2017. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  6. "4 COLUMBUS LIONS NAMED TO ALL-NAL OFFENSIVE SQUAD". www.nationalarenaleague.com. National Arena League. July 8, 2017. Archived from the original on July 8, 2017. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
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