The Kansas City Command begins the 2012 Arena Football League season with a Week Two match-up versus the defending ArenaBowl XXIV Champion Jacksonville Sharks. It is the season opener for both teams as each began the year with a Week One bye. The first 3,000 fans through the door at Sprint Center receive a 2012 magnet schedule, courtesy of Sports Radio 810 WHB.
Kansas City is seeking to improve on its 6-12 record in 2011, taking the field with a revamped squad built around 10 returning players from a year ago. Two key newcomers to the Command are former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nate Davis and Super Bowl XLV Champion and former Green Bay Packers linebacker Diyral Briggs. Both make their much anticipated AFL debuts Friday.
Also new to the Kansas City roster is defensive lineman Richard Washington, a member of the 2011 Sharks who will play against his former team for the first time in his Command debut. Washington will join Briggs, Shaun Richardson, Tommy Chavis, Tyus Jackson and James Lancaster in delivering a stout pass rush, expected to be a Command strength in 2012.
Defensive back J.C. Neal, a second-team All-Arena performer a year ago for Tulsa, joined the Command in an offseason trade. He fortifies the middle of the secondary and will be flanked by two Command veterans, Sergio Gilliam and Rashad Barksdale.
Offensively, Bret Smith returns after tallying nearly 1,500 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns last year. He is joined by Syvelle Newton who had nearly 1,300 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns for Philadelphia in 2011.
Also watch for fullback Trey Bryant who appears to be poised for a breakout season. Bryant played in 14 games last season for the Command and came on strong late, scoring all four of his rushing touchdowns in the final four games of the year, including two against Jacksonville.
Kansas City is the last team to defeat the Sharks, doing so in an overtime thriller on July 15, 2011 at Sprint Center before Jacksonville reeled off four straight wins to take the ArenaBowl championship. En route to a 49-48 victory, the Command played exceptional defense, holding Jacksonville to its lowest scoring total of the season even with the extra overtime possession. The Sharks gained 420 yards of total offense, but Kansas City forced five turnovers. In addition to Bryant’s two score performance, Command receiver Bret Smith recorded eight receptions for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Both will look to have repeat performances against the defending champs in Kansas City’s home opener.
For single game tickets to Friday’s Command season opener at Sprint Center versus the Jacksonville Sharks click Here.