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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Allen Wranglers Release Terrell Owens

Receiver Terrell Owens can’t get back in to the NFL. And now he’s out of the IFL.
The Allen Wranglers have announced that Owens has been released.
It’s hardly an amicable split. The statement takes multiple shots at Owens for not having the right level of commitment.
“Our fans are amongst the best in the league and it is impossible to maintain a player when even our fans notice and comment on a player’s lack of effort both on and off the field,” owner Jon Frankel said. “We need to do what is best for this team, our fans and this community.”
Team president and co-owner Tommy Benizio chimed in, too. With gloves fully off.
“It is difficult to look other players on this team in the eyes and tell them that being a team player is important . . . that giving it your all on the field every night is our expectation, when another member of this team is not operating by these standards,” Benizio said. ”The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for Mr. Owens was his no-show to a scheduled appearance at a local children’s hospital with other Wrangler players and coaches. It is not the desire of the Allen Wranglers’ organization to disappoint fans by having our most notable player miss a scheduled appearance.”
Owens signed a much-hyped deal with the Wranglers, giving him a piece of the team. But it paid Owens only for home games. His participation in road games hinged on the willingness of the other team to sweeten the pot.
For the season, Owens appeared in eight games, catching 35 passes for 420 yards and 10 touchdowns.
And so likely ends the football career of Terrell Owens. Unless he can successfully find a way to blame this on the media. Or at least to blame someone other than himself.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cincinnati Commandos Suffer First Home Loss Ever

For the first time in their three years of existence, the Cincinnati Commandos suffers back-to-back losses as the Erie Explosion came into the historic Cincinnati Gardens to post the 62-18 victory Saturday. It is also the first home loss ever for the Commandos.
The loss drops Cincinnati to 7-2 on the season, while Erie moves to 6-2. Erie also claims the head-to-head point total battle, which is key in the playoff tiebreak scenarios.
Erie raced out to a 38-0 lead through most of the first half before Cincinnati was able to take advantage of one of few Explosion miscues. With Erie trying to run out the clock, they fumbled the snap which was recovered by James Spikes.
Kyenes Mincy caught a touchdown pass from Tyler Sheehan to pull Cincinnati to 38-6, and the Commandos were as close as they would be.
Sheehan finished the game 20-of-47 for 160 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions. Receiver Phillip Barnett led the Commandos with 10 catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns, while Mincy added seven receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown.
Cincinnati, in order to have a shot at the first round bye, needs a win next week against Marion, and then have those Blue Racers beat Erie in the season finale. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. June 2 at the Gardens.

Friday, May 25, 2012

AFL Weekend Promotions

I don't know if this will be a weekly column or not. It just depends if I am notified far enough in advance by the teams. So let me know what you think and I will try to stay on top of it.. Here we go:
Cleveland Gladiators: Pregame Block Party with hotdogs, burgers, beverages, music, cornhole, and more.
Kansas City Command: CA$H NIGHT. One lucky fan in attendance will win $5,000!
Orlando Predators: Community Partnership Night. Recognizing team partners Give Kids the World and Libby's Legacy.
Philadelphia Soul: Post-game concert by Hip-Hop/R&B Artist Fat Joe. The concert will be free to fans that purchase a ticket to the Soul’s game that day and season ticketholders.  VIP Meet-and-Greet passes are available to purchase for an additional cost.
Milwaukee Mustangs: The first 1,000 kids ages 15 and under will receive an AFL 25th anniversary mini football.
New Orleans Voodoo: Military Appreciation Night
Tampa Bay Storm: Military Appreciation Night

Sharks and Preds Set for National Showcase

The ArenaBowl XXIV Champion Jacksonville Sharks have faced the Orlando Predators more often than any other opponent. The two teams will meet for the first time in 2012 on Friday night, squaring off at Amway Center in Orlando in a game that will air live on NFL Network as part of “Net10 Arena Football Friday.” Kickoff for Friday night’s game is set for 8:00 p.m.
This will be the seventh overall meeting between the two squads in a little more than two calendar years. In the Sharks’ previous two seasons in the Arena Football league, Jacksonville and Orlando played twice in each regular season and met in the first round of the playoffs in both 2010 and 2011. Jacksonville holds a 3-1 edge in the regular-season series, while the teams have split their two postseason matchups.
Friday’s contest marks the first of three consecutive divisional games for the Sharks. Entering this week of action, Jacksonville sits at 4-5, just a game and a half behind first-place Georgia (6-4) and a half-game behind the 5-5 Tampa Bay Storm. With the Sharks set to play the Storm (June 2) and Force (June 9) after this week’s game, this upcoming stretch could prove pivotal in the South Division.
Jacksonville will do its best to build on last weekend’s dominating defensive performance in the team’s 55-19 home win over the Iowa Barnstormers. In that game, the Sharks set a new franchise record for fewest points allowed in a game and became the first AFL team to hold an opponent under 20 points since May of 2010. The Shark defense generated constant pressure on Barnstormer quarterback Chris Dieker, recording three sacks and four turnovers.
The many defensive highlights from last week’s game included Micheaux Robinson’s two first-half interceptions and a third-quarter play in which Scooter Berry sacked Dieker from the blind side and forced a fumble that was recovered and returned for a touchdown by nose guard Jeff Littlejohn.
A rookie from West Virginia, Berry has emerged as one of the Sharks’ top pass rushers, racking up a sack in four of the last six games. Overall, Berry leads the team with five sacks in 2012. The Shark front four should get a boost this week from Jabari Fletcher, who recently joined the team after being acquired in a trade with the Arizona Rattlers.
On offense, quarterback Bernard Morris is set to make his third consecutive start after replacing an injured Omar Jacobs in Week 9 against New Orleans. Last Saturday against Iowa, Morris enjoyed his most efficient game of the 2012 season, as he had four touchdown passes, no turnovers and just six incompletions.
Morris was helped on one of those four touchdowns by Terrance Smith, who out-jumped two Barnstormer defenders to catch a pass that deflected high off the rebound net for a touchdown in the first quarter. Smith continues to produce as he has all season, as he now leads the team with 20 touchdown receptions and 25 touchdowns overall. Moreover, Smith has been consistent throughout the season, crossing the goal line at least two times in eight of the team’s nine games.
Smith and the Shark offense will need to be on point this week as they match up against a Predator team that ranks second in the league in scoring defense (50.2 points per game).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

LFL ANNOUNCES TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF ORLANDO FANTASY FRANCHISE

The office of LFL Commissioner Mitchell Mortaza announced today the temporary suspension of the Orlando Fantasy for the 2013 season. The Orlando Fantasy, coming off the franchise’s most successful season on-the-field,  finishing at 3-1, struggled off-the-field with numerous conduct issues which led to the dismissal of Head Coach Doug Miller and his staff as well as several player banishments to be announced.
“Orlando continues to be potentially an incredible city for LFL football. However the lack of an arena or stadium that fits within our financial and production model coupled with a lack of confidence in the current coaching and leadership, led to this decision. We are committed to bringing the Orlando Fantasy back once we have the right home and a better team culture,” said Mitchell Mortaza, Commissioner, Lingerie Football League, LLC.

Cincinnati Commandos Join Fight against Breast Cancer

The Cincinnati Commandos, in conjunction with SportsCo Apparel, Pure Romance and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, are helping in the fight against Breast Cancer.
During Saturday's game with the Erie Explosion, part of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Komen Foundation, while the Commandos will be wearing special uniforms - designed by SportsCo Apparel. The game used uniforms will be auctioned off following the completion of the contest.
Coming off its first loss since 2010, the Commandos still hold their playoff fate in their own hands. A victory over the Explosion clinches the top seed in the UIFL's North playoffs. In the first meeting, Cincinnati dominated the first half en route to the 55-34 win.
The Cincinnati Commandos are the longest-tenured professional indoor football team in the city of Cincinnati. All seven home games are played at the historic Cincinnati Gardens.

Predators Announce Community Partnership Night Recognizing Libby's Legacy & Give Kids the World

The Orlando Predators will host the team's 3rd Annual Community Partnership Night this Friday when the team takes on the Jacksonville Sharks on NFL Network. The purpose of Community Partnership Night is to spotlight the community partnerships that the Orlando Predators and the Arena Football League develop throughout each year, and this year the team will recognize Give Kids the World and Libby's Legacy.
As part of this effort, an Arena Football League signature ball with an added pink stripe will be in use for Friday night's game, to remind viewers around the nation of the critical need to wipe out breast cancer, and of the importance of regular self-examinations and mammograms for women. Players' helmets will feature a pink ribbon helmet sticker, and other forms of pink apparel will be worn on the field as well.
This is the second time in three years that the Orlando Predators have hosted Community Partnership Night during a nationally televised game, allowing the Arena Football League the opportunity to share its message of community involvement.
Robin Maynard, the Founder and Chairman of Libby's Legacy will be in attendance to participate in the coin toss, along with cancer survivors who have had their lives touched by Libby's Legacy. Also on hand will be 10-year-old Oscar and his family from the Give Kids the World Village, as well as Mitch Goldberg, Vice President of Operations at Give Kids the World. Oscar and Mitch will be joined by Orlando Predators Community Ambassador Dan Newlin for a special presentation prior to kickoff.
The Predators will also spotlight the volunteer activities in the community of individual players throughout the game to highlight their program of community based marketing.
The Mission of Libby's Legacy is to provide comprehensive breast health care to the underserved Central Florida community through education, mammograms, follow-up diagnostics and Hope Coaches on the journey from diagnosis to treatment. Libby's Legacy also helps stage IV breast cancer patients by granting wishes in order to create cherished memories with loved ones through the LIVE BIG program.
Give Kids the World is a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of children from around the world with life-threatening illnesses by allowing them to experience a memorable, joyful and cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, while staying at the magical Give Kids The World Village.
The crowd for Friday night's game is expected to be one of the largest of the season with rival Jacksonville in town. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to support the evening's efforts. Kick- off is at 8:07 pm.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM LFL CHAIRMAN MORTAZA ADDRESSING RECENT CRITICAL COMMENTS MADE BY AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL MINISTER FOR SPORT

In the wake of recent public comments, laced with blistering rhetoric coupled with an unapologetic rebuke of the Lingerie Football League by Kate Lundy, Australia’s Federal Minister for Sport, LFL Founder & Chairman Mitchell S. Mortaza today has released an official statement on the matter.
From the desk of Mitchell S. Mortaza:
“In response to the Federal Minster for Sport Kate Lundy’s recent irresponsible comments in relation to the upcoming June 2 and June 9 Lingerie Football League All-Star Games Tour in Brisbane and Sydney, respectively, we are incredibly disappointed. LFL Football has been broadcast on Fuel TV since 2009 throughout Australia with incredible fanfare and excitement.
It was only the consistent persistence of Aussies wanting to see an LFL game LIVE that convinced us to move forward with the upcoming All-Star Game Tour.
With all due respect, as a government official Mrs. Lundy should be a representative of her entire constituency and not try to impose her own personal morals and what she deems as sport or entertainment to the entire country. We were under the impression that our All-Star Games Tour was scheduled for Australia, not North Korea.
Her recent comment about LFL Football being ‘cheap, degrading perv’ is certainly not representative of our sport or its athletes. If Mrs. Lundy actually took the opportunity to watch an LFL game or meet with its athletes, she would have understood that LFL Football is a real sport played by remarkable women from all walks of life which include doctors, lawyers, mothers, military personnel, etc. It is incredibly insulting to these women for Mrs. Lundy to make these remarks without understanding the sport or its athletes.
The thousands of Aussies who have already bought their tickets to the upcoming tour and the millions that will be watching around the world, obviously disagree with Mrs. Lundy’s observation of the sport and its athletes. Everyone has the choice to either buy a ticket or not.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite Mrs. Lundy to sit next to me in my executive suite during either the Brisbane or Sydney game, and if after watching the sport she still maintains that it’s nothing more than ‘cheap, degrading perv’, we will respect her opinion.”

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pittsburgh Power Dismiss Head Coach Chris Siegfried

After dropping five consecutive games, the Pittsburgh Power dismissed Head Coach Chris Siegfried today.
In Siegfried’s second season as an AFL Head Coach, the Power were off to a 2-8 start. The decision came just two days after the team fell, 37-43, to the then-winless Kansas City Command. In 2011, the Power’s inaugural season, Siegfried coached Pittsburgh to a 9-9 record, missing the playoffs by one game.
Defensive Coordinator Derek Stingley will replace Siegfried as Interim Head Coach. Under Stingley, Pittsburgh’s defense ranks atop the League, only allowing 232.3 passing yards per game.
“We are confident (that) his strong leadership skills are what we need to get things moving in the right direction,” Power owner Matt Shaner said.
The team also added former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mike Tomczak to take over duties as Offensive Coordinator.
Stingley, a former Arena Football League player, served as the Head Coach for the struggling New Orleans VooDoo in 2011 before being released on June 26.
He began his coaching career in 2005 as the Defensive Coordinator of the Macon Knights of the af2. He was promoted to Head Coach during the season, turning the franchise around and leading them to the playoffs. After spending another year with the Knights, Stingley joined the South Georgia Wildcats (af2). Over three seasons with South Georgia, Stingley posted a 30-13 record and was named af2 Head Coach of the Year in 2008.

Friday, May 18, 2012

AFL Hall of Fame Advisory Board Announced

The Arena Football League announced seven members of the 2012 Hall of Fame Advisory Board today.
The Advisory Board will select ten candidates for Hall of Fame voting based on AFL contribution in the categories of players, coaches, administrators, officials and “at large.”
The Advisory Board includes: MARK ANDERSON, creator of the Arena Football League Writers’ Association; ED BARKOWITZ, a veteran Philadelphia Daily News reporter; TROY CLARDY, play-by-play voice of the Pittsburgh Power; current play-by-play voice of the Chicago Rush, LES GROBSTEIN; WILLIAM NIRO, a founding father of the Arena Football League; RICHARD OBERT, Arizona Republic reporter; and ARI WOLFE, who currently serves as a play-by-play announcer and sideline reporter for “NET10 Arena Football Friday” on NFL Network.
Anderson, who created the Arena Football League Writers’ Association in 2004, covered the Las Vegas Gladiators from 2003-2007 for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and later covered the AFL for Pro Football Weekly in 2008 and 2010.
Barkowitz has been covering the Soul and the AFL for the Philadelphia Daily News since the team’s launch in 2004. He has also worked as a general assignment sports writer for the Daily News since 1993, covering the World Series, Stanley Cup and NBA Finals.
Clardy, now in his 13th season following the AFL, is currently the radio play-by-play voice of the Pittsburgh Power. From 2006-2008, he hosted “Inside the AFL”, ESPN’s official Arena Football League podcast. He also served as the San Jose SaberCats pregame and postgame host during radio broadcasts from 2001-2005 and worked as a color commentator from 2007-2008.
Grobstein, a Chicago sports radio veteran of more than 30 years, is currently the play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Rush. He has covered the Arena Football League since its inception in 1987.
Niro, a Chicago attorney, is an original founder of the AFL and partner at Gridiron Enterprises, a sports consulting company based in Chicago, IL.
Obert has worked at the Arizona Republic since 1982 and has covered the Arizona Rattlers since their inception in 1992. He was on-hand for two Rattlers’ ArenaBowl victories. He also covered the University of Arizona men’s basketball program from 1992-1995 and again during the 2000-2001 season, as well as the Arizona State University men’s basketball program during the 1999-2000 season.
Wolfe worked as the TV and Radio play-by-play announcer for the Albany/Indiana Firebirds from 1998-2003 and the Philadelphia Soul from 2004-2008. He now serves as a play-by-play announcer and sideline reporter for NFL Network and has worked in some capacity at every ArenaBowl since 2002. During the 2008 season, he had his own column on ArenaFootball.com entitled, “Wolfe’s Den”.
The Advisory Board will select ten candidates for Hall of Fame nomination on Wednesday, June 20 and the nominees will be announced Friday, June 22 on NFL Network. Fans and current Hall of Fame members will then vote on the selected candidates beginning on Monday, June 25. Votes will then be turned in to the Hall of Fame Operating Board of Directors.
In order to be nominated for the 2012 Hall of Fame Class, candidates must meet four criteria. If a player was active before 1989, he must have played for two seasons. For players after 1989, three seasons of service are required. All players must be retired for three complete seasons. Coaches must have been active for a minimum of five seasons and need not be retired.
The 2012 Hall of Fame Class will be announced during ArenaBowl XXV in New Orleans on August 10 and inductions will be held during the Arena Football League’s 2013 opening weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

VooDoo and Predators Set for Net10 NFL Network Game of the Week

The New Orleans VooDoo (3-5) will look to get back into the win column against the Orlando Predators (1-7) this Friday night in The Graveyard for the NET10 NFL Network Game of the Week. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
This game marks the first of back-to-back games in The Graveyard for the VooDoo with next week's contest coming against the Arizona Rattlers (6-3). This week's game is also the first time VooDoo Head Coach Pat O'Hara will be going up against his former team, a franchise he spent the past two seasons as a head coach and six years as a player.
"I don't get caught up in all of that," said O'Hara about the game. "This is an important division game for us and I am more focused on our team and how we perform. Plus, we are on NFL Network again, so it is another chance to showcase our team to the nation."
The VooDoo is coming off a 68-62 overtime loss last week at the Spokane Shock. In the game, VooDoo QB Kurt Rocco became the franchise's first passer to throw for over 400 yards in a game with 402 in the loss. Rocco enters this week's game averaging 311.2 passing yards a game, ranking second in the AFL.
New Orleans also showcases one of the League's best defenses by leading the AFL in turnover margin (+12) and red zone defense. The Predators enter this week's contest sporting the AFL's last ranked pass offense, averaging 216.6 yards per game.
However, the Predators struggle in the passing game is countered with the team's strong defense that ranks fifth in the AFL, only yielding 270.9 yards per game to opposing offenses. Orlando lost 55-31 to the Tampa Bay Storm last time out on the turf, and was idle last week.
"They are a solid team and their record is a bit deceiving," added O'Hara about Orlando. "The South Division is such a wild division that anything is possible. I fully expect a hard-fought game on both sides Friday night."
Orlando leads the series 7-3 with all three New Orleans wins coming in The Graveyard. Last season, the Predators swept the season series en route to a post-season berth.
Kickoff for the game is set for 7 p.m.

ST. LOUIS AWARDED 2013 LFL EXPANSION FRANCHISE

The Lingerie Football League, recognized as ‘the fastest growing sports league in the U.S.’ (Businessweek), today announced that St. Louis has been awarded an expansion franchise in advance of the rapidly approaching 2013 LFL United States season.
The new franchise will play their home games at ‘The Family Arena’ in St. Charles and will compete in the LFL’s Eastern Conference against the Baltimore Charm, Cleveland Crush, Philadelphia Passion, Tampa Breeze and the to-be-named Omaha expansion team.
In only three seasons of operation, the LFL has established itself as the most successful female sports league in the United States, consistently drawing sell-out crowds, setting record television ratings and developing strong corporate partnerships in propelling the sport’s soaring trajectory to rapid domestic and international growth.
In comparison to popular multi-billion dollar sports franchises such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) or World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) through their first two seasons, the LFL has achieved significantly more television viewership, attendance and growth over the same initial period of time. Aggressive growth continues domestically and abroad, with leagues premiering in Canada (2012), LFL Australia (2013) and LFL Europa (2014).
St. Louis marks the second venture of the Las Vegas-based LFL into the ‘Heartland of America’ this off-season, coming on the heels of the creation of an Omaha franchise in April.
“The Midwest is football, which is why the LFL has awarded Green Bay, Minneapolis, Chicago, Omaha and now St. Louis with franchises. Based on the fanatical nature around local sports here in St. Louis, we expect to draw an incredible fan base that will pack out the arena,” said Mitchell S. Mortaza, Founder & Chairman, Lingerie Football League, LLC.
Fans are encouraged to vote for the eventual St. Louis team name by submitting the selections to LFLinStLouis@lflus.com.
Ticket information for the St. Louis franchise will be released in the coming weeks.

Friday, May 11, 2012

AFL Opens 2012 NET10 Dream Team Voting

The Arena Football League has opened voting for the 2012 NET10 Dream Team, Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz announced today.
“We are truly excited about the launch of NET10 Dream Team voting,” Kurz said. “This is a very unique opportunity for both the dancers and Arena Football fans, especially with ArenaBowl XXV in New Orleans. The amount of interaction and entertainment the NET10 Dream Team dancers will provide leading up to and during the event is tremendous.”
Two nominated dancers from each team will compete on ArenaFootball.com for a chance to represent their team at ArenaBowl XXV in New Orleans. One dancer from each team will be selected by fans to serve on the NET10 Dream Team, perform at ArenaBowl XXV and make appearances during the ArenaBowl Championship Week in New Orleans.
A total of 34 dancers will compete for a place on the NET10 Dream Team. Fans can vote on one dancer per team, once a day on ArenaFootball.com. The dancers with the most votes on each team will be selected as members on the NET10 Dream Team.
Voting begins today and will conclude on Friday June 15, 2012.

Lingerie Football League’s All-Star Game Featured A Fight Between The Two Coaches

video
This past Saturday night the Lingerie Football League held it’s All-Star Game in Mexico City, and as great as it was to see the lovely scantily-clad ladies battling it out on the gridiron, the best moment of the game took place when the opposing coaches got into it at midfield.
For some reason Tony Nguyen, coach of the Western Conference All-Stars, took issue with something that occurred on the field after a kick sailed out of bounds, and the Minnesota Valkyrie coach went after the coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars, Chandler Brown, whose day job is being the head man of the Philadelphia Passion.
There’s not much fight to speak of, just some shoving and grappling, but it did seem pretty heated, especially since it took place during a “f*cking All-Star game!” as Nguyen calls it, sounding eerily like the squeaky-voiced teen character from the Simpsons.
This video has a ton of curse words and sexy women in their underwear, so if you are watching at work turn down the volume or at home have the little ones leave the room.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

West Texas Roughnecks Prepare For Breast Cancer Awareness Night

The West Texas Roughnecks have teamed up with Odessa Regional Medical Center for their game this Saturday versus the Amarillo Venom which is Breast Cancer Awareness Night. This yearly event has traditionally been known to be one of the biggest home games if not the biggest home game of the year. The Roughnecks and ORMC have joined together to provide the first 1000 fans a PINK BALL CAP in honor of Breast Cancer awareness. At halftime and post game the Roughnecks will auction off game worn pink themed jerseys and all proceeds will go to American Cancer Society and Susan G Komen foundation. "I am proud to hold such a worthwhile fundraiser and it just goes to show that our organization can be utilized in raising money not only for such a cause as this, but it further shows our continued commitment to giving back to our community", boasted Owner Dale Morris. "This is a disease that effects everyone in some way and we hope to raise at least $2,000 for the research and someday a cure for this devastating disease", Morris further stated that each year the Roughnecks organization strives to exceed the following years donation. Odessa Regional Medical Center have graciously donated 10 mamograms to be given away at Saturday's game. The Roughnecks presented ORMC with an authentic Breast Cancer Jersey framed as a gift for all their hard work at treating this disease and helping promote Saturdays fundraiser.
When talking about the game Morris stated that "This game gives us the opportunity to get back to 500 and in the hunt for the playoffs". The Lone Star Football League inaugural season is at the midway point with Amarillo Venom and the Roughnecks currently at 2-3, a win will put the Roughnecks in front of Amarillo.

San Antonio Talons vs. Pittsburgh Power Game to Benefit Breast Cancer Awareness

On Saturday, May 12, the San Antonio Talons will take on the Pittsburgh Power at a 7 p.m. game in the Alamodome. But the team hopes to make an impact on a lot more than their opponents that night, as they host an evening to promote breast cancer awareness in San Antonio.
During the game, the Talons players will wear commemorative pink gloves and wristbands, and the quarterbacks will have distinctive pink towels; the team will also use pink footballs as the official game balls for the evening. Immediately following the game will be a live auction on the field where fans can bid for the commemorative pink items. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to a local breast cancer charity.
For more information about the tailgate visit Facebook.com/SATalons.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tampa Bay Storm Owner Vinik gives $10M to Duke University

A Duke University graduate, AFL & NHL owner and asset manager pledged $10 million to Duke to hire and retain professors who will work on complex societal challenges, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Tuesday.
Called the Vinik Faculty Challenge Fund, the alumnus Jeffrey N. Vinik and his wife Penny hope to see the professors focus on topics like engineering and related areas in energy, global health, brain sciences and the environment. The Viniks want the fund to create up to 10 associate or full professorships dedicated to addressing problems that affect the quality of life.
“The problems facing society today create immense opportunities for students who are capable of bridging their science and engineering education with complementary skills in economics, humanities and policy,” Vinik said in a news release. “Faculty members are the key to providing these students with an exceptional educational experience and for engaging them in hands-on research projects and independent studies that will give them the skills to become leaders in their fields and make a positive difference in the world.”
A 1981 graduate from Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, Vinik earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, founded Boston-based Vinik Asset Management and now owns the Arena Football League’s Tampa Bay Storm and the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. He is also a minority owner of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox.
For more on Vinik, click here to read a recent profile of him published by the Tampa Bay Times. Or see this profile in the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Annual Tampa Badge Bowl Game Continues to Be Successful

Members of the City of Tampa’s local law enforcement agencies brought a whole new meaning to the mantra “serve and protect” on Saturday afternoon.
Rather than carrying out those responsibilities for the Bay Area’s local citizens, individuals from the Tampa Police Department and Tampa Fire Rescue instead did just that, but for their quarterback that is.
It was all part of Badge Bowl IX, an annual charity flag football game hosted for the first time by the Tampa Bay Storm and Tampa Bay Times Forum to benefit the 1Voice Foundation and the Foundation of Courage.
“We’re grateful to our valiant partners at both the Tampa Police Department and Tampa Fire and Rescue for once again making this year’s Badge Bowl such a tremendous event,” said Kasey Smith, senior director of the community relations. “They, along with all the sponsors and supporters, make Badge Bowl such an awesome day for the heroic children and families battling childhood cancer.”
Among the special guests in attendance to witness the Tampa Fire and Rescue Firestorm defeat the Tampa Police Department Gladiators, 12-7, were City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Lightning Community Hero Sister Anne Dougherty. Storm football operations executive Dave Wilson and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Earnest Graham also both served as honorary head coaches in the game.
As for the action on the field, Tampa Fire Rescue’s Erik Joyce looked more like one of Graham’s Buccanneers teammates out there in the secondary, as he came up with two interceptions on the day. But with the Firestorm behind 7-6 in the final quarter, it was the game’s MVP Brian Barsoumian who stole the show, as he returned an interception back to the house for six with 3:30 left that held up as the winning score.
“It was pretty huge,” Barsoumian said. “It was a great team effort and a great victory.”
But the victory, however, was by far more reserved for the children it benefited than the players themselves.
Anthony Alvarez, a 15-year-old Bloomingdale High School student beating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was one such individual named as an honoree of Saturday’s game, while Aaron Klingebiel, a 12-year-old Pasco County middle school student battling a malignant brain tumor was another. In all, the event raised thousands of dollars, all for a worthy cause.
“It doesn’t matter what side you’re on or what the result is, the real winners are the kids,” Tampa Fire and Rescue’s Tim Hayes said. “It’s great to see all the contributions of both the police and the fire departments who work hard behind the scenes to make it all possible.”
The Badge Bowl began in 2002 and was dedicated to Taylor Dumke, a young girl who was suffering from a brain tumor. A portion of the money collected from the event is directed to generating funds for both Alvarez and Klingebiel, while the remainder of the proceeds is divided up between the 1Voice Foundation, which provides families with children battling serious illness with emotional and financial support, and the Foundation of Courage. In the last decade, approximately $200,000 has been raised through this outstanding community event.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Commissioner Kurz Agrees to Multi-Year Extension

The Arena Football League Board of Directors voted unanimously to extend the contract of Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz, the League office announced today. The five-year contract extension puts Kurz at the helm of the AFL through the 2017 season.
Kurz entered his third season as League Commissioner in 2012 after signing a multi-year extension last April. He has been involved with the game for 26 years, including five seasons as President of the af2. He also served as the AFL’s Vice President of International Development from 1987-2008, introducing countries such as Spain and Germany to the game of Arena Football.
“It’s been a privilege to lead the Arena Football League and watch it progress since the beginning,” Kurz said. “I am tremendously honored to continue to help lead its growth.”
The Board of Directors voted the approval of the multi-year deal last week. The result was a unanimous decision.
Commissioner Kurz is the lone remaining AFL executive to have been involved with the League since its inaugural season in 1987.

Philadelphia Soul Take over South Philly

The Philadelphia Soul (6-2) will be holding a "Town Takeover" of South Philly on Thursday, May 10 from 6:30-8 p.m. The Takeover, presented by Susquehanna Bank and hosted by Geno's Steaks, will take place at Capitolo Playground on 9th Street and Federal Street in South Philadelphia (across from Geno's Steaks) and will feature a "run-through" practice.
Practice will be open to the public and attendees are encouraged to participate. This will be the team's last practice before the Soul take on the Jacksonville Sharks (3-4) on Saturday, May 12, with kickoff scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center.
"South Philly will be a great environment to bring the excitement of Arena Football," said Soul head coach Doug Plank. "We appreciate the staff at Susquehanna Bank and Geno's Steaks for hosting us this week and helping give this community a different perspective of what our game and players are about."
Local Philadelphia Band, Rivers Monroe, will be performing live before and after the practice. In addition to Soul players and coaches, there will be appearances by the Soul mascot, SoulMan, the Soulmates dance team, Soul ownership and front office staff. After practice, fans will be able to meet Soul players and Soulmates who will be signing autographs.

New Orleans VooDoo: 21 Questions with VooDoo Mascot Mojo

I know I usually post articles that are more business and marketing centered but I have a soft spot for mascots. In fact when I go on a sports road trip I try to get my picture taken with as many mascots as possible. This might be a series of interviews with different mascots that are posted to this sight so let me know if you enjoy this face to face with Mojo.
This interview was conducted by Cody LaHoste.
CODY LAHOSTE: What would be your ultimate Sportscenter highlight?
MOJO: "Catching the game-winning TD catch from Kurt Rocco in ArenaBowl XXV.maybe I'll talk to Coach O'Hara about letting me get one play."
CL: What's your most embarrassing moment on the football field?
MOJO: "Most embarrassing? I run around every game with no pants on; it doesn't get much more embarrassing than that!"
CL: Who's your favorite line from a movie?
MOJO: "From Airplane: 'Surely you can't be serious?' 'I am serious.and don't call me Shirley'"
CL: What do you like to do on your off days?
MOJO: "I like to just spend time with my best friends Bones, Kelly, Gumbo, Hugo, Sir Saint, Boudreaux, and Clotile.we always manage to get into something fun!"
CL: What is your favorite style of music?
MOJO: "I can listen to anything, absolutely anything, and enjoy it; I just love dancing."
CL: What is your favorite song of all time?
MOJO: "This one is easy..CHICKEN DANCE!!"
CL: What was your favorite cartoon growing up?
MOJO: "My favorite to this day is Scooby Doo. I always had to tune in to see what crazy antics Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang were up to. I think that explains my other job as a private eye."
CL: What is your favorite snack food and why?
MOJO: "Cookies. Go ahead and make your Cookie Monster jokes.that guy didn't look nearly as good as me!"
CL: What's the first thing you'll do if the VooDoo win the ArenaBowl?
MOJO: "Shout to the sky, run all over the arena, take a moment to soak it in, dogpile with the team.honestly I have no idea what I would do! Hopefully we find out in a few months!"
CL: What is your personal touchdown celebration?
MOJO: "This is something I've been keeping under wraps for a while, but it's the next craze. My celebration is of course, the Mojo Twist!! It's a combination of the 'Dirty Bird', the 'Icky Shuffle', and several other well-known TD celebrations. Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Chad Ochocinco haven't seen anything yet!!"
CL: Theme parks or waterparks, and why?
MOJO: "Theme parks absolutely. I look like a wet dog when I go to the waterpark and the sun doesn't do Bones any favors, so we try to stay away."
CL: What's the one thing you'd like to change most about the world?
MOJO: World peace.that alone would solve so many of the problems we have today.
CL: What's your most valued possession?
MOJO: "I don't know if this counts, but there is nothing I value more than bringing a smile to the face of one of our younger VooDoo fans."
CL: Do you have any funny cooking stories?
MOJO: "You kidding? I'm a fantastic cook, just ask Bones! I've actually been thinking of getting onto one of those competition shows on The Food Network.I can see it now, Mojo vs. Chef Paul Prudhomme vs. Emeril Lagasse!"
CL: What's your advice to kids?
MOJO: "Never give up on your dreams. Where there's a will, there's a way and you can do anything you set out to accomplish. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
CL: What is your favorite New Orleans Festival?
MOJO: "Definitely Mardi Gras! If there's any city that knows how to throw a party, it's the Big Easy. You can always count on that time of year to have some incredible sights, great food, a variety of music, and a whole lot of fun!
CL: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
MOJO: "I'd want the ability to fly. Believe it or not I've always liked being up in the air and it would make travel much easier!"
CL: What's the biggest obstacle you've ever had to overcome?
MOJO: "You should have seen me trying to get back into shape before the season last year. I really let myself go while the team was out of commission.never again!"
CL: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
MOJO: "I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives."
CL: What's your favorite TV show today?
MOJO: "Well, I'm a sucker for anything Louisiana so naturally I'm a big fan of Swamp People. Especially that Troy. 'Choot 'em!!'"
CL: Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
MOJO: "I hope to be right where I am today, entertaining the VooDoo fans and cheering our team on. By then, there might be a couple ArenaBowl titles or even a Mrs. Mojo and some Mojettes, who knows!