One question Burmeister asked was a fun, what-if/hypothetical questions — he wanted to know which of his Cannons teammates was “best suited” to go from the PLL to the National Football League (NFL).
Of course, there are a few that come to mind, but Hogan named Paul Rabil, who is a co-founder of the PLL with his brother Mike Rabil. He described the veteran midfielder as “big, physical, runs hard, (and) probably could play offense or defense.”
“All these guys are good athletes, and I know a lot of them played two sports,” Hogan said to Burmeister. “I mean, I think Paul gave it a second thought there for a little while.”
While it’s unknown if Rabil wanted to play in the NFL, especially earlier this year, he did tell Rich Eisen that Patriots coach Bill Belichick did try to convince him to try out for the team when he was younger.
Sunday’s victory — a 13-7 win, which was highlighted by Lyle Thompson (four goals) and Andrew Kew (four goals) — took place at Gillette Stadium and was a part of the PLL’s opening weekend for its third season.
In addition to Thompson and Kew, the Cannons received two goals from Paul Rabil while Nick Marrocco earned his first win between the pipes with 11 saves.
The Cannons LC led the Waterdogs by four goals (5-1) after one quarter before securing a 9-2 advantage at halftime. The Waterdogs would outscore the Cannons, 5-4, during the final two sessions, but it was not enough to erase a seven-goal deficit at the break.
This past weekend, I made the trek to Gillette Stadium to witness the start of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL), as well as the second season of the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL).
Both leagues enjoyed successful starts to their respective seasons, especially the PLL, which needed overtime to decide two of their three contests.
The PLL is a new men’s professional league that was founded by Paul Rabil and his brother Mike Rabil and is touring the country this summer with games being played in major cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles. The league consists of six teams and can be seen on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) or NBC Sports Gold.
The WPLL, which competed for the first time last summer, is also touring the country, but playing a shorter schedule than the PLL. They will, however, share the same field later this month when the two leagues collide at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Maryland.
WPLL consists of five teams and features some of the best women’s lacrosse players in the country, including Kaya Treanor, Taylor Cummings, and Kylie Ohlmiller.
Here are some thoughts from what I witnessed this past weekend from both leagues, specifically their social media presence, broadcasts and fan engagement.
The PLL’s Social Media Experience: For starters, I really enjoyed scrolling through the PLL’s social media channels this past weekend. I thought the content they produced was awesome. Even though I wasn’t there for every second of the first or second day, I felt their social media presence made me feel as if I was on the field competing with the players or cheering them on from the sidelines or stands.
NBC Sports’ Innovative Broadcasts: Watching Sunday’s game between the Atlas and Redwoods brought back memories of what the network did when they produced the XFL. From micing-up players to watching Paul Burmeister interviewing those that were whistled for a penalty was extremely innovative for a television broadcast, but also more captivating than just showing goals, assists and replays over and over.
The NBC graphics were awesome, too – showing the line-ups, which look very similar to what fans of the National Football League (NFL) and National Hockey League (NHL) are used to seeing made it feel like a big-time production. And the Skycam, which provided another angle on the clears and goal-scoring opportunities was also a nice change from the typical side-to-side view.
Finally, I loved the interviews during the games, as well as the insight from players, too. Hearing what Myles Jones thinks about his upcoming opponent is a great way for NBC to bring its viewers even closer to the action, but also their favorite lacrosse players, too. And of course hearing Bill Belichick discuss his love for the sport and what position Tom Brady would play – goalie, for those that didn’t watch the interview – was something else I really enjoyed from Sunday’s broadcast.
WPLL on ESPN3: Having the WPLL’s games on an ESPN platform is an enormous victory for the league.
The WPLL deserves the same attention as any other professional league because it really does feature the best women’s lacrosse players in the country, and perhaps the world, too.
Fans of the game or perhaps general sports fans will certainly enjoy what they witness when they stream games over the next few weeks. Additionally, fans can watch games on their tablets or phones through the ESPN app.
The 2018 Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Collegiate Draft is scheduled for this evening (Wednesday, April 18th).
Fans of the MLL can watch live coverage of the draft on Lax Sports Network (LSN), beginning at 5:30 p.m. The actual draft itself will begin at 6:30 p.m.
According to the MLL website, 63 players will be selected from the college lacrosse world this evening, including five current student-athletes by the Boston Cannons. Boston has the top pick in this year’s draft and will most likely select someone to join either their offense (attack) or defense with the selection.
The last time Cannons entered the draft with the top pick was in 2008 when they selected Paul Rabil from Johns Hopkins. Rabil would help the Cannons with their initial MLL crown three years later when Boston outlasted the Hamilton Nationals at Harvard Stadium.
Rabil no longer plays for the Cannons as he is currently a member of the New York Lizards. New York finished fifth overall last season with a 7-7 ledger.
In addition to the top pick, Boston also owns a quartet of picks, including a pair of selections in the third round (19th and 26th picks). The Cannons will also pick in the sixth (46) and seventh (55) rounds, too.
Additionally, the league will have a new team this year competing in Dallas – it was announced last November that Rochester would move to Texas and play its games at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco (the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and practice facility). MLL held its championship game last season in Dallas where fans were treated to an exciting 17-12 victory by the Ohio Machine. It was the first-ever MLL crown for the Ohio franchise, which fell short to Denver in the 2016 championship game.
Following his team’s Media Day last month, Frenette spoke with Noontime Sports about the league’s growth, as well as his team playing games in Beverly, Massachusetts (Endicott College) and Hingham, Massachusetts (“Cannons in Your Community“) this spring and summer.
On growth of the Major League Lacrosse (MLL): I think we have some serious momentum right now. We have a new commissioner, who just started a little over two months ago. I think we are seeing the biggest growth in a team that is now in Dallas, which used to be in Rochester. It is too bad (they) had to leave Rochester, but to take a franchise and move it into a place like Dallas, which has a tremendous growth curve in the game of lacrosse right now is a great thing for the league’s brand.
I also think the leadership that is happening inside of all of these organizations – there are more (people) running these businesses that understand how to run professional teams. We have kind of gone into another phase, which is huge. I also believe that the players expect more out of themselves (because) they are improving their game (every day). You also see (the sport lending itself) to social media (with people like Paul) Rabil, who is helping raise that bar. Everyone else wants to follow in his footsteps, so they can (make and create content) of their own.
On seeing more teams in the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) in the future: Right now, we are in a huge expansion mode as far as researching what those markets look like – it is all about finding good owners and people who are willing to grow with the league. It is not an immediate thing. What was (highlighted in a New York Times piece on Major League Soccer last summer) was most of those MLS places (don’t) have their own stadiums, and we are starting to see that a little bit now in our league as well. Ohio has its own stadium and venue, and Dallas is obviously world class with the Jones family. Atlanta has a very good venue with Kennesaw State University – it is the right size, not too big and I think there are other organizations that are looking at their own (venues and stadiums. They are probably asking), “how do we get there?” Once that starts to happen then you will see the businesses start to flourish. You also will start to see more eyes – maybe non-lacrosse or not even sports-centered eyes on what those products are and what does that venue mean to the overall community. All those pieces are important to putting this puzzle together.
On ‘Cannons in Your Community’: This opportunity kind of fell in our lap and we thought (about) taking our brand into communities that we think would want us. We started with Hingham and they have been nothing, but gracious about every element of what our production looks like, but just knowing the significant lacrosse culture in that town (helped).
In Beverly, Endicott College is a great venue and certainly supports a bunch of surrounding towns that are very heavy lacrosse centric towns, as well. Who knows what this means for 2019 and future opportunities, but logistically, things will be a little bit different (than what fans are used to at Harvard Stadium), but we are excited about it. Those venues should be sold out, so we are pretty excited about (these opportunities to play in Beverly and Hingham).