Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Brunch: Nighthawks Sail Off Into the Great Beyond

We all knew this probably was the outcome, but I held out hope that it would work. ProFootballTalk reports that the UFL is cancelling the final two weeks of the season and will hold their championship game next Friday night, with Las Vegas playing at Virginia instead of the Omaha Nighthawks. Last night's 13-6 loss to Las Vegas ended not only Omaha's season, but also the Nighthawks franchise in all likelihood.

I wasn't surprised by the news this morning.  The ads for yesterday's games looked bargain-basement, and the clearance sale on tickets yesterday (all tickets $15) smelled like a going-out-of-business sale.  But I am disappointed.  I really hoped the UFL would work in Omaha, and the lackluster attendance at TD Ameritrade Park this season really dampened what little optimism I had for the future of the league. I would hope that the drop in attendance was because fans didn't want to sign on to watch a dying franchise, and not because Omahans don't want to have pro football here.

It's a longshot at best, but I still hold out a little hope that the NFL will come in and salvage the UFL.  The NFL sees value in televising Arena and Canadian football games, so I don't automatically assume the NFL isn't interested. Whether that's enough is hard to say; chances it isn't. But you have to have hope.

A simply horrible weekend for UNO hockey in Alaska, losing both games and scoring only one goal in two games, the Mavs will surely exit the national rankings. A rematch of Friday night's shutout loss is on tap for UNO this weekend, as Alaska-Anchorage flies to Omaha. No word as to whether senior Alex Hudson might be reinstated to the team; he'd be a welcome addition to a hapless offense. The Mavs need something to break the bad Karma that has hit the Mavs (and some of their fans) over the last two weeks.

Interesting poll from Public Policy Polling about some local issues regarding sports, along with the usual suspects of policy issues like Health Care Reform and Gay Marriage. In Nebraska, Tom Osborne has an astonishingly high 86% favorability rating, and Bo Pelini isn't far behind at 70%. When you consider the number of people who don't follow college sports, that's a remarkably high number. The old debate about whether the College World Series is better downtown at TD Ameritrade Park or at Rosenblatt was a 50/50 split at 35% each. Looking at the cross-tabs, it appears that in the 2nd Congressional District (which includes most of Omaha except for Bellevue), it's a 42%-41% split in favor of Rosenblatt.  With a margin of error of 3.6%, it's not a significant difference.

Another slam dunk was Nebraska's move to the Big Ten: 65% of Nebraskans approved of that move, while 12% of Nebraskans disapproved.  My guess is that those 12% were mostly Missouri, Kansas, and Texas fans. The final surprise was that the Chicago Cubs are the most popular Major League Baseball team in the state of Nebraska at 20% to 17% for Kansas City.  It's even more dramatic in Omaha's second congressional district, where the Cub fans outnumber Royals fans 23% to 13%.

Update 10/16 8:00 pm:  KOZN's Mike'l Severe reports via Twitter that Omaha will play Sacramento to close out the season at 7 pm Friday night at TD Ameritrade Park.  With UNO playing Alaska-Anchorage at the same time, it should be a busy night downtown.

No comments: