Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Night Beer: Kick... Kick... Kick...

Today's Women's World Cup final reminded me a lot of last year's hockey competition at the Vancouver Olympics... a not-so-popular sport getting huge attention because of nationalistic pride. But unlike hockey, I frankly never got all that interested in today's game. It's not an issue of the players talent, skill, or athleticism. It's not because they were women either. It was because, well, it was soccer.

I'm a hockey guy, so naturally, I like hockey when it's played at the elite level. Soccer, not so much. I watched today, kind of, because I was supposed to, not because I was particularly enjoying the game. I still don't particularly understand the timing rules that soccer still uses.  In this day of of scoreboards that track time to the tenth of a second, the idea of a rough approximation of "extra time" seems archaic. In the final seconds of extra time, the US lined up for a free kick, and frankly, you couldn't tell whether there were 10 seconds left or 10 minutes left based on the sense of urgency on the field.

The Omaha Nighthawks announced a 66 player roster for the start of training camp, featuring six former Huskers. Eric Crouch, of course, is a leading candidate to be the quarterback. Jay Moore returns for a second season at defensive end. Some recent Huskers also have signed:  wide receiver Maurice Purify, I-back Marlon Lucky, offensive lineman D.J. Jones, and cornerback Anthony West.

Purify I kind of expect to stick; he's not a deep threat but a consistent receiver. Jones could be interesting, as offensive line was one of the biggest weaknesses I saw in last season's Nighthawks squad.  As for Eric Crouch, he's an intriguing addition to the roster. Is it a ploy to draw fans to Ameritrade Park?  I could see that if I didn't expect the Nighthawks to draw large crowds without him.

Not sure if Omaha will be enough to keep the UFL alive after this season though. With the NFL apparently within days of solving their labor issues, it's looking bleak to get that media deal to make the league viable long term. I still believe that the UFL has a shot if they can get a relationship established with the NFL. But will the NFL be interested when the UFL is scheduling games simultaneously with the NFL?  In Omaha, that's not a problem. But in Sacramento? But for television?  Hard to believe that.

I kind of expect the UFL to soon move their September 18th games away from Sunday once the NFL season resumes.  The Omaha/Sacramento game should move to Friday evening, while the Virginia/Las Vegas game probably will end up on Saturday.

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