It seems to be part of our human DNA to create competing professional football leagues to the NFL. But those always seem to end up in the same place; as fossils in the Wasn’t-That-A-Quaint-Idea Museum of Natural History (not open on Sundays). Is the nascent United Football league also destined for the archeologist’s brush? Their dusty, inanimate ancestors, the USFL, WFL, WLAF, XFL and Arena League, would seem to indicate yes.
(Only the girl on the far right seems to notice that there’s a game going on)
Consider the Florida Tuskers, which are the top UFL team so far, with a 3-0 record and the league’s top-rated passer and team offense. They’ve got an OK place to play (the Citrus Bowl), name coaches (head coach Jim Haslett, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, receivers coach Ike Hilliard) and even some roster names which fans can hang their hats on (Brooks Bollinger, Tatum Bell, Michael Pittman).
But is that enough? Enjoy the photo above, featuring Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer posing with some high school cheerleaders on Thursday, and keep in mind that it’s being taken, apparently, as the game is being played. Also, look at all the comfortable elbow room stands (the league is averaging 10,978 per game so far — just over 11,000 attended the Tuskers game). Doesn’t look good. Read more…
Forget about the Dodgers and Angels in the playoffs last night in HD here in SoCal. I much preferred watching the United Football League on Versus on my reconditioned netbook. I can relate a little to the UFL, since part of my 16-year career in main sports media was spent in mid-size markets. So really I understand just how tough credibility can be to come by for a start-up league.
But thankfully, the UFL is under the discriminating stewardship of the former agent of Pacman Jones, league commissioner Michael Huyghue. Huyghue clearly understands that in order to draw fans in a hotly-competitive, over-saturated, mid-week professional football market like Las Vegas, you have to give the fans what they want. As I’ve already found out personally, one of the league’s first priorities was to drill-down on online ticket sales. Then there’s the all-important …
The United Football League begins play ON THURSDAY with the California Redwoods taking on the Las Vegas Locomotives in Vegas at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium. (Coincidentally where the XFL played its first game.)
(Obtaining Right To Witness Coaching Wizardry Of Fassel Not-So-Facile)
Seeing as I have Direct TV and the game is on Versus (so I’m screwed), I was actually thinking about trekking from L.A. out to Vegas to take in the game. So I logged onto the UFL’s official site late Sunday night to look into buying tickets for the game.
I started by going to the official league site here. Then to the league’s “tickets” page here. When you click on “tickets” for the first game listed, Vegas vs. California, you’re transported to, for some reason, UNLVTICKETS.COM. Read more…
Dennis Green has found his way back to the gridiron sidelines. And just like fellow former NFL coaches Jim Fassel and Jim Haslett, his new employer is the upstart United Football League.
The ARIZONA REPUBLIC further reports that former Chargers defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell will be joining the above trio as field generals for the newest pigskin revolution. So, now that the coaches have been chosen - who’s going where?
You know, I was just thinking recently that Alex Rodriguez needs to do some more to endear himself to the rest of the country the way he has with the people of New York. It seems now that, in addition to not being a True Yankee, A-Rod is also not a True American as he’s allegedly decided to play for the Dominican Republic in March’s World Baseball Classic. He played for the U.S. in the 2006 WBC, but perhaps thinks that jumping ship might be the only way he sees a title of any kind in his career.
(Flipping countries. Rooting for Duke. Seriously, what’s not to like about A-Rod?)
None of this is a done deal yet, as the only source of this info seems to be YAHOO! SPORTS’ Gordon Edes, who says Big Papi told him that A-Rod has chosen to play for the D.R. and will make an official announcement soon. And last time, he wavered between playing for the D.R., then the U.S., then not at all, then back to the U.S.
This isn’t totally egregious (like Chris Kaman playing for Germany in the Olympics), as other players chose to play for their countries of heritage rather than their birthplace in the last WBC, but none of those guys were good enough to be chosen to play for the U.S. team (except maybe Mike Piazza, who played for Italy). A-Rod is one of the best players in the world, and while he did live in the D.R. for a while as a kid, he was born in New York City and went to high school in Miami. Luckily, Americans are totally reasonable about nationalism. I’m sure U.S. fans will greet him very warmly if the two teams meet up.
Remember when it looked like Louisville might be a football dynasty in the making? We can pretty much put that to rest. The Cards simply forgot to show up last night and got rolled by Rutgers, 63-14. With the loss, Louisville finishes 1-6 in Big East play and misses a bowl game for the second straight year. Meanwhile, Rutgers has risen from the dead and looks like one of the best offensive teams in the country all of a sudden. Quarterback Mike Teel, who was smacking teammates earlier in the season in the midst of the team’s 1-5 start, threw six touchdown passes in the first half as the Scarlet Knights built a 49-0 halftime lead. Louisville was so bad they had to resort to tackling RU players by the hair:
I forgot that the Raiders and Chargers were playing on the NFL NETWORK last night, and by the time I turned it on it was already 24-0 in the second quarter. San Diego cruised to a 34-7 win. Oakland’s only points came on a kickoff return at the end of the first half. Good to see the Raiders are back after that inexplicable win over Denver a couple weeks ago. As for the Chargers, it looks like too little, too late. The Bolts have to win out (including a win over the Broncos) and hope Denver loses every game. And the Broncos are playing the Chiefs this weekend. Not looking good.
With the ACC-Big Ten thing over with, college basketball now turns its attention to the awkwardly-named Pac 10-Big 12 Hardwood Series, which saw both L.A. teams go down on the road. UCLA fell to Texas, 68-64, while USC squandered a late comeback bid and lost to Oklahoma, 73-72. I gotta say, though — I like Blake Griffin and think he’s a stud, but he’s already getting the superstar treatment from the officials and it’s only December 4th. Although, Griffin did get elbowed in the nads by USC’s Leonard Washington during the game, which was a pretty legitmate foul. See for yourself:
• The BOSTON HERALD tells us about a high school football player in Massachusetts who dropped out of school, then returned for a fifth year to play football and graduate. He’s been ruled ineligible because the state’s rules say that a player beyond a fourth year of school can’t play. The guy’s only been in seven plays all year, but his team may have to vacate it’s league and potential state title (provided they win this weekend). Of course, there’s all sorts of legal challenges going on. The lesson here: don’t try to better yourself by returning to school.
• The last time the Bills played in Toronto, during the preseason, thousands of tickets went unsold and had to be given away. NATIONAL POST says that this weekend’s game at the Rogers Centre is finally sold out, but the fact it took so long is not exactly what the Bills and the NFL were looking for in this whole Canada experiment.
• So far, it appears as if Michelle Wie is actually going to qualify for the LPGA tour. She’s tied for the lead after 2 rounds of Q-school, and only has to finish in the top 20 to earn a tour card. So, it’ll be like, an actual accomplishment. In golf.