Baltimore Brigade to open AFL season April 13, guaranteed spot in four-team playoffs

The Baltimore Brigade on Tuesday announced that their second season in the Arena Football League will kick off in April — and end sometime in the playoffs.

With the absence of the Tampa Bay Storm and Cleveland Gladiators from the 2018 season, along with the introduction of the expansion Albany Empire, the struggling indoor-football league will have just four teams competing this spring and summer. Last year, the Brigade finished fourth in the five-team league and were eliminated in the semifinals.

The Brigade will face the Washington Valor at Royal Farms Arena in the teams’ April 13 season opener before taking on the defending champion Philadelphia Soul on the road on April 21 and the Albany Empire in Baltimore on April 28. The Brigade will play each AFL team four times, twice at home and twice on the road.

“We are incredibly excited about the 2018 season and cannot wait to get back out on the field in pursuit of a championship,” Brigade coach Omarr Smith said in a news release. “With each team meeting four times over the course of the regular season, there will be an unprecedented level of familiarity that will enhance the on-field action, rivalries and storylines — and will make for an unforgettable fan experience.”

With the league’s contraction, all four teams will compete in the playoffs this season. The AFL announced Tuesday that the semifinals will feature home-and-home playoff series, in which the higher-seeded team decides which game it hosts. If the same team wins both games, it will advance to ArenaBowl XXXI. In the event of a split series, the team with the highest aggregate score advances. If the aggregate score is even, the teams will immediately play an overtime period to determine which advances.

Postseason scheduling has yet to be announced.

jshaffer@baltsun.com

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