The high-octane action of the Arena Football League in 2015 has reached the playoffs at last, and fans of the indoor game can watch live online as the three-time AFL champion San Jose SaberCats host the fourth-seeded Portland Thunder, who are looking to pull off what would be a miracle upset — but in the fast-paced game of arena football with its 50-yard field and eight-man teams, anything is possible.
To find out how to watch the San Jose SaberCats vs. Portland Thunder Arena Football League first-round playoff game live online, use the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. Kickoff time is scheduled for 8 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, August 15, at SAP Arena in San Jose, California — 11 p.m. Eastern Time.
While San Jose is considered the favorites to get through the playoffs and win Arena Bowl XVIII on August 29, after finishing the season with a near-perfect 17-1 mark, Portland is lucky just to have a spot in the postseason. Finishing at 5-13, they missed out on the league’s eighth and final playoff berth by one game to the Las Vegas Outlaws.
But then something strange happened — or perhaps not so strange considering the financially checkered history of the Arena Football League. In July, the league took over the cash-strapped Las Vegas franchise, and August 9, announced that the Outlaws were shutting down operations.
The final playoff spot then went to Portland, just as the the Thunder players were packing for their early summer vacations.
“They’ve been given new life,” said SaberCats receiver Reggie Gray, in an interview with The Contra Costa Times newspaper. “They’ve got an opportunity to do something special. We’ve got to put that away early.”
Gray is in a position to empathize with the Las Vegas players. He spent the 2013 season with the Chicago Rush, who folded during that season. But in that case, the league allowed the Rush to take part in the playoffs before shutting out the lights for good.
San Jose made several big offseason moves to put themselves in position for their league record 17-win season — but none bigger than prying explosive wide receiver Maurice Purify away from the reigning Arena Bowl Champion Arizona Rattlers.
Barring any surprising upsets, the SaberCats and Rattlers should meet in the National Conference Championship game next week, with the winner appearing to be a lock to go on to win the 2015 Arena Bowl.
To watch the San Jose SaberCats vs. Portland Thunder Arena Football League first-round playoff game live online, go to the WatchESPN site at this link, or download the WatchESPN app for mobile devices.
[Image: Marc Serota/Getty Images]