The Omaha Nighthawks, a brand-new UFL team stocked with former NFL players in uniforms that conjure memories of the Mean Machine from the Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard, made a big splash in their Friday night debut before more than 23,000 Nebraska fans.
The record crowd saw quarterback Jeff Garcia throw a 12-yard touchdown pass to receiver Robert Ferguson with only six seconds on the clock. With the extra point, the Nighthawks took their first lead of the game — and erased a 23-10 deficit they faced at the start of the fourth quarter for the 27-26 victory.
Per Eric Olson of the Associated Press, the game also featured the pro debut of Maurice Clarett, who has returned to football after a failed NFL stint and a successful incarceration. Clarett returned a kickoff and nearly blocked a punt.
Garcia, who completed 23 of 39 passes for 226 yards, threw three touchdown passes on the night, outdueling Josh McCown of the Colonials, who connected on 22 of 25 passes for 264 yards and two scores.
Former NFL tailback Ahman Green, 33, gained 49 yards on 12 carries for Omaha.
The game could have gone to overtime if Hartford kicker Taylor Melhaff hadn’t missed an extra point in the second quarter. Instead, the game generated the smallest margin of victory in UFL history — a record that will stand at least until the UFL incorporates the extremely rare 1/2-point play.