October 21, 2011

Omaha Nighthawks Come and Go

We may have all heard the talk, but it is true. The United Football League's regular season was cancelled with two weeks left to go and the championship game was moved up to tonight at 8 PM eastern. The Omaha Nighthawks will play a "consolation" game at home against Sacramento tonight as well.

I'm sure many Omahans are sad to see the league leave. With the Huskers being Nebraska's only major football team, it was nice to have another name to chant, another roster to root for and a new football environment right at our doorsteps. We got to see a whole new set of talent and celebrate a beloved sport in a whole new way and place. And if anything, it freshened up the city with entertainment and new experiences for the residents.

However the UFL itself was no so happy as Omaha with the league's performance. They lost upwards of $100 million during their run, and players were outed a significant chunk of their salary this year due to the shortened season. The UFL is criticized by many for trying to get too big too fast. Others say, and many agree, trying to compete with the NFL instead of work with the NFL was plain stupid, especially without a major television contract.

But unfortunately for fans, players and owners, the league is coming to a close. On a lighter note, there has been talk of NFL interest in trying to secure the UFL as a developmental league, similar to Class AAA baseball. I read a great article by Omaha World Herald columnist Tom Shatel on UFL's closing and possible NFL interest that covers all the possibilities and outcomes of this situation.

Like many, I am sad to see the Nighthawks zoom away so quickly. At the very least, there is a glimmer of hope for the UFL to see another day.

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