While many of you Direct TV, Dish Network, non-cable, and Nebraska vs. Missouri watchers out there may not have seen last nights biggest sports story, it's important that you realize what the new, upstart UFL (United Football League) can become.
The inaugural game between the Las Vegas Locomotives and the California Redwoods wasn't a match-up between star players. No one is going to go out and buy JP Losman jerseys even though he was the star of the game.
However, the subtle yet intriguing changes from the NFL game are ones that hardly affect what we know and love as professional football. For all you XFL and USFL haters out there, don't judge too quickly on this new league; they may have something here.
The game was hosted nationally on the Versus network, a channel that only cable provides. So instantly, there taking a hit in the ratings. However, they did broadcast and archive the game on their website, www.ufl-football.com.
Also, in the pre-game, they interviewed the coaches, went over some player bios, and gave the feel of an actual NFL game. And while they don't have the impeccable camera angles or the host of on the field reporting, they did have Doug Flutie in the booth, who really analyzed the game well, and Kordell Stewart as the sideline interviewer (He's no Erin Andrews, but still a person of interest).
As an College Football evaluator for the past five or so years, I recognized nearly all the players on the field. But even the common fan could recognize some former NFL talent like JP Losman (QB from Buffalo), Tony Parrish (longtime 49er great), Marcel Shipp (nine year vet from the Cardinals), and Josh Scobey (return man for the Chargers.) And with Dennis Green and Jim Fassel heading up the teams and organizations, the players and schemes are sure to get better.
The referees may have caught some viewers off-guard, as they donned bright red polos, and looked like Tiger Woods wanna-be's. While the first reaction may not be a good one, by the end of the game, they seemed normal. The quarterback and running backs could clearly see where the refs were, and other than that, they really weren't a problem.
All-in-all, the inaugural game was a success. Was the play up to NFL standards? Of course not. Was there star power? Not at all. But what this league can bring is new blood to second tier leagues. Although there are only four teams and a six game season, this league has a chance to flourish over time, and that time could be coming very soon.
Notice: I am not tied to the UFL what such ever
Check out www.NFLHouse.com