We tend to follow the personnel practices of the UFL, since it gives us a way to keep tabs on guys who once played in the NFL, and who presumably hope to return.
But the guys who join the UFL eventually have to earn their decidedly non-NFL paychecks, and the process began on Saturday with a pair of Week One games, which were inevitably lost in the shuffle of a day that overflowed with college football action. (Maybe they should change the name of the operation to the Tax Shelter Football League.)
In the early contest, the Hartford Colonials (formerly known as the New York Sentinels) upended the Sacramento Mountain Lions (formerly known as the California Redwoods), 27-10. The game set a UFL record for regular-season attendance, with 14,384 at Rentschler Field in Hartford. Also, Hartford set a UFL record for total offense, with quarterback Josh McCown leading the Colonials to 448 yards.
Sacramento quarterback Daunte Culpepper set a league record with 40 pass attempts; he completed 21 of them for 174 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
And there were more records, which will tend to happen in the first game of the second season of a league that had only four teams in 2009. For example, the Colonials held the Mountain Lions to 35 yards rushing.
Other UFL high-water marks included kickoffs returns (six from Aaron Woods of Sacramento, tying the record), punts (seven from Tom Malone of Sacramento, tying the record), longest pass (80 yard touchdown from McCown to Lorenzo Booker), and most rushing attempts (40 from Hartford).
The second game featured a rematch of the 2009 championship, with the Florida Tuskers exacting a little revenge against the Las Vegas Locos, 27-20. A total of 9,103 fans showed up at Sam Boyd Stadium in Sin City.
The Tuskers spotted the Locos 10 points, thanks to a 26-yard pick-six by Las Vegas linebacker Teddy Lehman of Florida quarterback Brooks Bollinger. Two touchdowns from former Super Bowl hero Dominic Rhodes helped give Florida a 17-10 lead.
Las Vegas had two cracks late in the game to tie things up, but Florida linebacker Odell Thurman picked off Locos quarterback Tim Rattay to end the first one, and the second one saw the home team’s effort fizzle out on downs with 18 second left, and 61 yards to go to paydirt.