Patriots owner Robert Kraft (center) with his wife, Myra (left), and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. (Globe File Photo)
Robert Kraft's Israeli Football League was scheduled to cap its 2008-09 regular season today with a matchup between the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions and Mike’s Place Tel Aviv Sabres at Kraft Family Stadium.
The battle is being billed as the IFL equivalent of Red Sox v.s Yankees or Celtics vs. Lakers. Despite the two team's very different records, the game does have playoff implications. From the league's game preview:
The atmosphere is warming up, both literally and figuratively, and for the Kings and Sabres, it all comes down to this. Big Blue is relishing its role as potential spoiler and Tel Aviv is glad to have its destiny in its own hands. Win and they’re in and even a reasonable loss puts them through. You couldn’t ask much more from a regular-season finale. Throw in a beautiful off-day afternoon and a boisterous crowd of football fans, and what are you waiting for? Head out to Kraft Stadium on Friday at 12:30 p.m. to catch the latest edition of the IFL’s most classic rivalry.
The league has generated some headlines recently in the blogosphere. Correspondent Alberto Socolovsky writes briefly about the league in an update on the Globe's Your Town blog for Needham:
While in Jerusalem, (Patriots Hall of Famer) Andre Tippet gave more than tips on football. He found time to visit with the league which his boss at the Patriots, Robert Kraft, is sponsoring at the nine-year-old Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. Kraft was present for the closing game of the Israel Football League 2007-08 season, and saw his Big Blue Jerusalem Lions shutout the Mike’s Place Tel Aviv Sabres 38-0.
Elsewhere, you can find a Q&A with Joshua Rubin, head coach of the Jerusalem Kings, on the Hugging Harold Reynolds blog. There's some photos and video from the league there as well.