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"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy?
Over a decade ago, a science fiction film named Starship Troopers arrived. It's now recalled most for its eye–opening special effects (Casper Van Dien's chin springs to mind), but remains best remembered by me for portraying Arena Football as a 'future sport'. That part of the science fiction always seemed credible.
Back in the real world, the Arena Football League (AFL) enjoyed moderate success without prime time acceptance. Despite ever–rising attendance, the announcement of this year's hiatus is considered by some as a harbinger of doom, but it's lower league, AF2, will keep the dream alive, and it will be interesting to see how it negotiates the rocky road of a 'recession' heading fast for 'depression'.
When the Arena League returns in 2010, it'll find itself fighting in a crowded market, with the New United States Football League (USFL) and All American Football League (AAFL) planning to begin full–field play during the Spring — an extraordinary glut of second–tier football leagues, considering the present economic landscape.
The new leagues don't end there. Earlier this month, the United Football League (UFL) put some flesh on the bones of its own 100–yard proposal, naming Jim Fassel, Ted Cottrell, Jim Haslett and Dennis Green as the coaches of its four — just four — teams. The league intends to begin play this year ... in the Fall. Against the NFL.
Well, not quite 'against'. Playing on Fridays and Saturdays, the UFL intends to exist 'alongside' the NFL rather than 'against'. It won't try to be wacky and innovative, and those coaching names — three of them former NFL head coaches, Cottrell a former NFL coordinator — underline the UFL's commitment to complement the NFL. Only six regular season games and only four rosters, plus an October–November schedule means soaking up borderline NFL talent that got shaved from the big league, and using seasoned coaches to keep players fresh for when the NFL wants them back. Why innovate, when you can borrow from the best?
If an Autumn Football League that isn't the NFL sounds insane, the UFL may yet prove a stroke of genius: don't try to be the NFL, just try to be NFL Europe. Except they'd be an NFL Europe that plays where most football fans actually live, and plays when people are in the mood for football. Not to mention getting first claim to an autumn schedule should a labor dispute disrupt NFL action.
To me, the two full–size spring leagues (should they both appear — the AAFL has been an on–again–off–again proposal since 2007) look a lot like mutually assured destruction, splitting the nation's offseason football interest. The USFL is hoping to stock 12 teams with talent, while the AAFL's past statements suggest a league of graduates willing to play football for only $5000 a game. Both at the same time. That's spreading the pro talent pretty thin.
If I had to do my sci–fi turn and predict the future, my guess is that 5–10 years from now, the USFL is long–gone (again), the AAFL never happened, and the UFL is still around, but with a post–recession–panicked NFL as at least minority owners. As for Arena Football, there's just too many available ice hockey and basketball courts around the globe for indoor football not to find a home elsewhere one day.
AFL Europe anybody?
Madness Moments: Round 1
Amongst the big winners from Round One of the NCAA Tournament:
Western Kentucky — of the Cinderellas still standing, the Hilltoppers exhibited more than a spirited fluke, leading Illinois by as many as 17 points while looking supremely focused and confident. Their match–up with Gonzaga could be one of Round Two's highlights;
Arizona — after so many people (including this writer) questioned their status as a no.12 seed — or indeed a seed of any kind — they handled Utah just fine, and look fired up for the rest of the tourny;
Anyone who went the distance this morning with Siena vs Ohio State. The Saints looked like they were on their tenth coffee of the night — wild–eyed, aggressive, manically energetic, and sometimes a little too pumped to do the simple things well. But after the scrappiest, messiest, yet most entertaining game of the first round, Siena prevailed in double overtime to book their place against Louisville;
The selection committee — all four no.1s, all four no.2s, all four no.3s and three no.4s progressed, with only Wake dropping from the committee's top 16. Of course, it all went a bit wobbly when the 5s played the 12s, but that's traditional ...so I guess we congratulate them on that as well!