Let's talk for a second about David Beckham mania. Can you feel the excitement? Me neither. So let's quickly transition from futbol to football before half of my readers turn the page or click the Back button on their browser.
Congratulations are in order for our Tulsa Talons who captured the 2007 ArenaCup with a 73-66 victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers Saturday night.
The inevitable question at the start of the Talons' campaign back in March sounded like this. "Can Josh Blankenship connect with a new receiver in the absence of Donovan Morgan, who signed a NFL contract with the Buffalo Bills."
Well, that is why they play the games. Not only did Jeff Hughley fill the receiver roll big-time but Justin Allgood took the quarterback reigns from Blankenship mid-season.
Hughley caught nine passes for 143 yards and two scores in the title game. He also returned two, count them, two kickoffs for touchdowns. Allgood was steady and turnover free. The 139 total points set a new high mark for an af2 championship game.
Coach Mitch Allner became the first person to win an af2 championship as both a player and coach. The '07 crown gives the Talons two af2 titles. The first coming at ArenaCup4 in 2003.
When I spoke with co-owner Henry Primeaux back in May, he felt as though the stars were aligning this year for a championship.
"We're going to be there. We went to San Juan last year and we thought we'd be there. We really thought we were going to be in Bossier the year before. We almost made it. Paul and I are the same way. We've never seen a championship game before. We want to be there.
"We want the ring.
The guys want the ring. It's the most important thing to us right now to bring a championship back to Tulsa in our last year in the arena. That's what it's all about," said Primeaux in a fiery tone. Of course the Talons have one more year in the ol' Convention Center.
This time they'll be defending champions. Again, congrats to the entire Talons' organization.
From a Tidal Wave of Success to Another Natural Phenomenon. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane opens the college football season this Thursday night on the road. Too bad. I've looked forward to my annual opening night tailgate bash at the Buckaneer (shameless plug) and surrounding areas. And a question, does TU have a nightlife? Is there a TU scene? Just wondering.
At least TU is relevant again. ESPN thinks enough of the home team that they will broadcast the game on ESPN2 at 6pm. We also need to give Tulsa some credit for flexible scheduling. The Tuesday and Thursday night kickoffs allow more national coverage--which is a good thing.
All eyes will be cast upon the offense come Thursday night. Quarterback Paul Smith is the known commodity. Efficient, cerebral, athletic, strong-armed and winning are just a few of the adjectives typically associated with his play.
However, the unknown starts once the ball passes through center Jody Whaley's legs. Once the ball is in Smith's hands, we'll all be curious where it goes next.
Will a steady dose of Tarrion Adams befuddle the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe? Or will we catch a glimpse of newly acquired, passing-game guru, Gus Malzahn's spread, no-huddle attack?
I'm guessing we'll see a steady diet of both. Coach Todd Graham will have his team focused. However, as a fan, I can't help but think this will be a glorified scrimmage of sorts for the upcoming battles against BYU and OU on Skelly Field at H.A. Champman Stadium.
The Reality of Fantasy. This past Saturday was also a significant one for scores of fantasy football addicts. The Saturday prior to Labor Day weekend tends to be the most popular draft date nationwide.
The wildly-popular game dates back to 1962. There are dozens of variations but the formula remains the same. Out draft your buddies, run smack at your buddies and drink your buddies' cold ones. Honestly, what's not to love?
The results are in. America agrees, the NFL is king. Dog fighting aside, the National Football League consistently pulls higher numbers than any other sporting event year after year.
So here is my question to the masses, how on earth could there still be football fans who don't play fantasy football? It is free (or you can wager a buck or two). It adds excitement without gambling on a team (and we all know that's illegal).
Do you know a football fan who doesn't partake in the greatest game known to man? Perhaps that was a little dramatic but you get my drift.
Professional football fans who don't incorporate fantasy sports into their world are ridiculously behind the times. Think about the person in the grocery store still writing checks. That is the non-fantasy football playing person's equivalent.
Corrections/Amplifications: In my football preview I mentioned Tulsa's defensive strategy employed a 3-5-5 look. Of course this would draw a penalty since they are only allowed 11 players on the field. Coach Graham better stick with the 3-3-5 scheme instead.
Not a correction but just a quick word. Renatu "Babalu" Sobral defeated David Heath at UFC 74 last Saturday night. The Brazilian jujitsu black-belt specialist locked in an anaconda choke in the second round that forced Tulsa's Heath to tap.
However, the fight wasn't over. In what amounts to the poorest of poor sportsmanship, "Babalu" held the choke an extra four or five seconds until Heath went unconscious and his body limp. The ref forcibly removed his arms from around Heath's neck.
After the fight, Sobral admitted the move was intentional. He was "teaching (Heath) a lesson". Heath and Sobral stood nose-to-nose at the weigh-ins and words were exchanged.
However, the MMA community is disgusted with the cheap, dangerous tactic. This is the type of behavior that can set the MMA fight game back a decade.
Attempts to reach David Heath and his camp went unreturned as of Sunday night.
On a lighter note, I said we'd talk about Beckham. Here goes. Hot Spice or whatever Victoria's name was makes watching soccer tolerable.
That's more than we can say for David himself. Football all the way!
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