Somehow, the Florida Tuskers managed to stay focused despite a crush of media hype and scrutiny.
They have completed the first perfect season in the UFL’s long and storied, um, one-year history.
The final win came Thursday night against the California Redwoods (whose uniforms continue to be neither red nor made of wood), by the score of 34-27.
The game included two successful onside kicks in the first eight minutes from the Tuskers, the second of which likely prompted Bill Belichick to observe, “Man, that’s a ballsy move.”
The Tuskers knotted the game at 27 on the first play of the fourth quarter, and they scored the decisive touchdown with six minutes to play. The Redwoods thereafter were unable to mount a serious threat to force overtime.
And so the Redwoods, led by former Vikings and Cardinals coach Dennis Green, finished the season at 2-4, with narrow losses to the two UFL finalists only five days apart.
“I think it was the third time this year we had a lead at halftime and couldn’t score the sufficient number of points in the second half,” Green said after the game, which is a more resigned way of saying, “The Tusker are who we thought they were and we let ’em off the hook.”
For Florida coach Jim Haslett, the move to 6-0 might not put him in Mercury Morris’ neighborhood, but it could put him under Ralph Wilson’s microscope. The former Buffalo Pro Bowler opted to take a step back to the UFL in the hopes of taking a step forward, and if Haslett and the Tuskers can take down the Locos next Friday for the UFL title, Haslett might get something more than a courtesy interview.
But first the Tuskers will have to survive the distractions and the demands of UFL championship week, when the UFL-watching world descends on Sin City for a week of gambling, drinking, gambling, turkey, gambling, and (if they wake up before noon the day after Thanksgiving) a little football.