MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Middle Georgia’s arena football team, the Georgia Doom, has played its final down of the 2018 season.
The first-year team in the American Arena League earned a spot in the playoffs after finishing the regular season with a 48-42 win over the Atlanta Havoc Saturday night but has chosen not to compete in the playoffs, according to American Arena League president Jack Bowman.
“The AAL received written notification from the Doom ownership group that they would not be participating in the 2018 AAL playoffs as is their right under the terms of their AAL territory agreement and operations manual,” Bowman wrote in an e-mail to 41NBC.
“The AAL is not required to know all the specifics of the Doom’s decision, only that the team followed the proper league protocol in following through with its decision,” Bowman continued.
Georgia Doom head coach Gerald Dockery tells 41NBC the Doom did not voluntarily opt out.
“Why would the owner pay the money he did to rent the arena Saturday night if he knew we weren’t going to the playoffs?” Dockery asked by phone Monday morning.
“It’s bad for the league,” Dockery continued. “These guys played their butts off from the start of the season. We ran through the top teams in this league. It’s sad. It’s disappointing for these guys to walk away with nothing.”
Dockery says he sent the league an e-mail to appeal the decision. He also says he’d like to see the e-mail in which the Doom opted out of the playoffs.
Dockery and several Doom players have defended the team on an American Arena League Facebook message board in the last 24 hours.
41NBC reached out to Georgia Doom owner and general manager Kevin Adkins for clarification, but he has not responded.
A release distributed Sunday by the AAL provides no further clarity:
“On Saturday night the 2018 American Arena League regular season ended with six teams competing for the final four seeds in the playoff. Last night, the AAL announced the Richmond Roughriders are the #1 seed throughout the playoffs and if they win their home playoff game, they will host the championship game. The #2 seed belongs to the Atlanta Havoc, the Havoc finished the season with a 6-2 record and they will host the opening round of the playoffs in Buford, Ga. The Georgia Doom also finished 6-2 in the regular season. The team’s ownership is in the process of negotiating a deal to add a second team to their ownership’s portfolio. Their goal is to add an AAL expansion team in the southeast for the 2019 season. The Georgia Doom has established a terrific fan base and has the support of the business community in Macon. The doom is in ‘good standing’ with the aal and with the league’s support; the ownership is excited to work with the macon community on a long term basis while adding another aal team. The 3rd and 4th seeds are both from the state of north carolina with the cape fear heroes placing 3rd in the playoff standings followed by the #4 seed, the carolina energy. the heroes beat the energy in their head to head tie-breaker game to earn the third spot. the playoff pairings went down to the last weekend of regular season games with only two games separating the 1st place and 7th place teams.”
Bowman asked for any additional questions to be directed to the team before saying the Doom is in good standing with the league.
“While there may have been some disconnect on the Doom getting the word out to its fan base in a timely manner, the word is out,” he wrote. “The AAL will also advise the Doom that maybe it needs to put a statement out through its website and social media for more fan clarity.”
“In closing, the Georgia Doom are in good standing with the AAL and we look forward to many great years of the Doom playing in Macon in the AAL.”
The team was scheduled to hold a team meeting Monday at 2 p.m. but Dockery informed 41NBC just after 1 p.m. the meeting is canceled “until further notice.”
We’ll provide updates as they become available.