Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Lunch: Unfortunate Doubleheader Downtown with Nighthawks and Mavs

Tonight's simultaneous UNO Maverick hockey game and Nighthawks football game downtown is an unfortunate scheduling situation. It's far from optimal, but the situation is as it is.  The Nighthawks are fighting for survival, and there really isn't much of an alternative this weekend (except to try and play on Sunday afternoon).  So tonight it is.

The problem with a Sunday game is the NFL. While I don't think that would matter locally, it does matter in the long term. A Sunday afternoon game on a nice October afternoon would probably draw a huge crowd - better than tonight, I think. But it would send a bad message to the UFL and the Nighthawks rescuer:  the NFL.

Many people dismiss the idea of the NFL salvaging the UFL.  I don't, and Tom Shatel wrote an excellent article yesterday about the potential that the NFL could sweep in and make the UFL viable.  If the NFL was interested in buying 51% of the league in the past, they might be now.  If you add in four more markets for an eight team league and work out player agreements with NFL squads where "practice squad" players were playing in the UFL, the financials might work out for everyone.

Certainly the way the UFL is handling this is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of fans and players alike. The UFL has lost almost all of it's credibility with the way this season has been handled.  I think the Nighthawks organization is a victim of this as well.  If the NFL sweeps in and takes control, it'll bring the credibility the UFL lacks. And frankly, I think the Nighthawks can thrive in this market as long as there is a league supporting them. Right now, that ain't happening.

As for the Mavs, Chad Purcell of the World-Herald reports that Alex Hudson will be back in uniform tonight for the Mavs. After a three game losing streak and a roster filled with underclassmen, senior leadership from a player like Hudson can't hurt. But how much of his leadership was tainted by the issues that led to his suspension?  We'll find out tonight.

Also suiting up for the Mavs tonight is a revised, red Durango. So far, I'm not too keen on the "teaser" shots of the new mascot.  All I can think of is "Deranged Elmo".  This one seems to be designed with Mad Cow Disease in mind.  Maybe I'll change my mind after seeing the full effect tonight.  Just don't scare the children, please.

If you haven't seen it yet, you absolutely have to check out Bo Pelini in the locker room after the Ohio State comeback.  It's not quite Paul Rhodes...but you can see exactly why Bo Pelini is so loved by his players, and furthermore, why he reacted as he did when Dirk Chatelain reopened up his can of worms in the post game press-conference.

The uproar over Chatelain was a topic of the interview between HuskerLocker's Erin Sorensen and KOZN's Kevin Kugler. Kugler expressed gratitude towards his station's management and their support when people called for Kugler to be fired for uncomplimentary stands against Steve Pederson and Bill Callahan.  I agree with Kugler to this extent: media members shouldn't be fired for not "toting the Nebraska line".  The media (and bloggers like me) should feel free to call out the leadership in Lincoln when they are wrong.  Chatelain shouldn't be fired for writing something critical of Bo Pelini and Taylor Martinez. That being said, Chatelain's poor analysis ("there are no other quarterbacks to play", therefore Martinez should be benched) should have raised major red alerts in the upper levels of World-Herald management. It's one thing to be critical, it's another thing to write a muddled mess of a column that pours gasoline on a fire.  And Chatelain should have been called out for it.  Just like Kugler and his co-host Mike'l Severe love to criticize others in the media (Chris Berman, Chris Mortensen, etc.) for their comments, Chatelain earned his criticism as well.

By the way, I nearly vomited last night with Chatelain's suggestion that ESPN's Sean McDonough should replace Joe Buck on Fox's baseball broadcast. I'm not defending Buck here... but let's be honest, McDonough got his gig for the same reason Buck did.  Difference is that McDonough is, from my perspective, one of the worst announcers in sports today. I hated him 20 years ago when he did football and baseball, and he hasn't improved one bit since.  About the only sport he does well is golf; he's got the perfect vocal style for golf.  But not for baseball and certainly not for football.  The McDonough/Matt Millen pairing is one of the worst in the game today-even worse than almost anything FSN throws (up) at us.

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