LA KISS did not have much success in their first season of existence, but two people in particular have much hope that they can turn it around in their second season. Coach Bob McMillen and quarterback J.J. Raterink of the LA KISS discussed what their first season entailed as well as their new on show on AMC, 4th and Loud.
“We went through some expansion woes and that certainly translated to some of the things on the field,” Raterink said. “Any time you have an expansion team you’re gonna be compiling guys who are good players, but they haven’t played together before.”
The LA KISS went 3-15 while averaging a League-worst 38.8 points per game. Twelve of their 15 losses came by 10 or more points and many of them came in blowout fashion.
“We sucked being 3-15, but loved everything about our fans and our organization,” McMillen said, disappointingly. “I just wish we could’ve won out there. It was a struggle and I think there was a
lot of pressure put on us from the get-go and it didn’t make it easier on anybody.”
With the losses piling up, Raterink was traded midseason as the LA KISS looked to make a change with veteran quarterback Aaron Garcia, but nothing changed, as the team continued to lose. Raterink eventually came back to LA and like a true professional, holds no ill feelings or resentment towards anyone in the organization.
“When I got traded originally everybody throughout the LA organization said ‘We feel kinda bad, it looks like you’re a bit of a scapegoat right now, but it’s really not all you,” Raterink said. “The way everyone throughout the fan base and the organization welcomed me back was really a true indication of the genuineness of wanting to grow this and knowing that it wasn’t just one guy.”
The KISS still had a chance to make the playoffs late in the season but lost their last six games to lose the last playoff spot to the Portland Thunder.
“A lot of things didn’t work out. Being an expansion team we didn’t have everything setup from an organizational stand point,” McMillen said. “I’m not gonna point fingers and put it on one thing. It was a lot of things and unfortunately it just didn’t work out in our favor.”
4th and Loud premiered August 12, 2014 on AMC and chronicles the LA KISS’ first season in the AFL. It is comprised of 10 episodes and this past Tuesday just marked the halfway point, as the fifth episode left many viewers wanting more.
Raterink has chosen not to watch the AMC series, while Coach McMillen has seen every episode so far.
“I’ve only watched the first one. I’ve decided not to watch the other ones personally,” Raterink said. “I think part of it is you want to learn from your past mistakes, but I think I evaluated those every minute of the day while I was there.”
“It’s enjoyable to watch, unfortunately we gotta relive the whole 3-15 season. I think Think Factory and AMC did a great job of putting it out there,” McMillen said. “One thing that I would like to see is that my relationship with Brett [Bouchy] wasn’t always a bitter battle, but they just do a great job of showing people what Arena Football is all about.”
Both coach and quarterback want Arena Football to be more exposed to the public because of all the hard work that the players put in. They want to show that Arena Football is just as exciting as the NFL and hopefully see some new faces at KISS games next season.
“I’m hoping it’s educating to folks who don’t know a lot about Arena Football and I hope it’s showing the League in a pretty positive way,” Raterink said.
The KISS are looking to build for the future, which starts with solidifying the coaching staff and then they’ll move on to looking at player personnel. There were many ups and downs throughout the season with more downs than ups, but both would do it all over again.
“We threw that last touchdown pass against Portland in that first home game to secure that win,” Raterink said. “Just knowing the effort that had gone in from everyone throughout the organization so to give them that win to open things up at home was awfully special.”
The LA KISS are still a young team and have much to build on, but McMillen and Raterink believe the future is bright. Free agency begins on Tuesday, September 23 where you can be sure the KISS will look to bring in some new faces and have a competitive team for next season.