Tuesday, January 22, 2019

MLR: Positions and Badges

Last season rugby in America took a major leap forward. After the collapse of the somewhat shambolic PRO Rugby competition, Major League Rugby (MLR) rose from the ashes.

After a successful first season the league has expanded to include two extra teams and the season extending from a meager 10 weeks to a much more satisfying 19 and with each team playing 16 games before the playoffs.

So, that leaves one thing left unanswered... who to support?

With no affiliation, all teams will be scored in different categories until we determine the 4 highest scoring teams and a Twitter vote decides who becomes the Ruck 'n' Roll MLR team.

A simple one to start. Nobody likes a glory supporter and there's something to be said for a true underdog story. 

So, teams will be assigned points equal to their league positions last season.

The exceptions are Seattle Seawolves and Glendale Raptors. Although Glendale finished top of the conference the Seawolves beat them in the playoff final in San Diego to take the inaugural crown. So, Seattle take one point and the Raptors two.

With Rugby United New York and Toronto Arrows joining the league they will take the bottom two spots. RUNY remained unbeaten in their exhibition season so they take 8 points and Toronto Arrows the full 9.

In sport, a badge is more than just a logo. It's the embodiment of the club and - to some - akin to religious iconography; why else would fat, shirtless football fans wear nothing above the waist save for some expensive ink?

Bottom Three:

By far the worst badge is New York. While major sports teams based in the Big Apple have used the instant global recognition of the NY initials, RUNY have managed to some how screw it up. The Yankees have built a brand out of it and the Giants, Islanders and New York F.C. have all used it to great success. That's why it's unfathomable that Rugby United would reduce it an indecipherable squiggle that even Prince would think a bad idea.

Then we have the Seawolves, who despite being called Seawolves appear to have an anime Free Willy as their badge.

Austin Elite come in next with a badge, that while incorporating the longhorn imagery of Texas, looks like it belongs on a cheap American steakhouse menu.

Middle Tier:

Bold, distinctive and clear from San Diego Legion. A simple design that would have worked wonders for New York. The font somehow just makes it feel decidedly boring.

In the blue and white colours synonymous with the city, the Toronto Arrows have opted for a crisp badge with plenty of straight lines in an enduring design.

The Utah Warriors have fully embraced the Polynesian community in the region on which the success of the team could rest. The design resembles that of NRL's New Zealand Warrior's in rugby league.

Top Three:

It's difficult to separate the top three badges.

The Glendale Raptors design is befitting of prestige. Looking like a badge steeped in history rather than one for a team less than a year into competition, the design would be the finest... if it didn't remind me of Barclays bank.

A modern design befitting an NFL or Super Rugby team, the Sabercats have managed to incorporate a fitting animal (in your faces Seawolves) with a rugby related image and the black and yellow work perfectly.

The finest is New Orleans' badge, a modern update of a traditional design. An air of regality with the gold colouring and crown which also buys into the tradition of New Orleans as per NFL's New Orleans Saints. Full points to NOLA.

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