Thursday, March 31, 2011





Friday, April 1, 2011
7:30 PM
TV: CW 19 and NiftyTV
Radio: 93.7 The Fan
Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA

The Talons are one of the biggest jokes of the entire AFL thus far in the 2011 campaign. After a disasterous offseason which saw almost the entire team roster turn over, Tulsa has limped out of the gates to an 0-3 start. Last week, in one of the most humiliating defeats in Arena Ball history, the Talons dropped a 69-20 decision which saw them get completely shut out in the first half. It was 42-0 at one point. Really bad.

The Tulsa World newspaper ran a tell-tale article on the sad state of the franchise on Wednesday that would make even the most aggressive AFL apologist cringe. Tulsa co-owner Paul Ross waxed poetic on how difficult it is to keep AF1 caliber players in such a market. The whole thing smells bush league.

On the field, the Talons seem to be playing a different sport than the rest of the league. QB Bobby Reid is a shining example of this. In a pass-first sport, Reid's stats stand out in a nauseating and disturbing manner. 499 Passing Yds - 6 TD to 5 INT- a QB rating in the low 60's. His rushing stats, 18 carries for 206 yards and 7 TD.

It's all well and good to have a running QB in gridiron football, but one has to wonder why a franchise would take such a leap of faith on a system which is a proven loser in a league that lives and dies by the deep ball.

The Talons have tried to shore up their offense, bringing in WR Rodney White from San Jose this week. White has had a few really solid seasons in the AFL, putting up more than a thousand yards a couple of times with the SaberCats, where he's spent his entire arena ball career.

However, what good is it, if you have a quarterback who can't throw?

Meanwhile, the Power are facing some adversity of their own, as WR Lonnell DeWalt is serving a league suspension for unspecified violations. Attempts to contact the league and the Power front office for comment were met with radio silence. This is a massive loss for an offense that absolutely fell apart in the 2nd half on Monday against Milwaukee.

QB Kevin McCabe showed signs that he was human for the first time, throwing three picks, including one that went for a Mustangs TD out of their own endzone. Mike Washington randomly didn't show up for the game. Irv Campbell remains on IR with the conscussion. It will be up to Jerome Mathis, Eddie Thompson, and Jason Willis to put big Kev up on their backs and carry him to a good performance this week if Joystick decides to no-show again. We're really hoping that this is not the case. Again, information is sometimes dicey in the AFL, and we have absolutely no idea why Washington was inactive against Milwaukee.

It's been a tenuous time for the entire league, with attendance dipping, players randomly disappearing and showing up elsewhere, and traditionally powerful teams falling off the face of the planet (Read: Tampa Bay Storm)... Here's hoping a return to the friendly confines of a packed Consol Energy Center is good for what ails the league.

Also, make sure everyone sends a friendly reminder to @KDPomp on Twitter that it's the TALONS, not the TALLOONS. What a professional.

Pomp's daughter is an astrobabe. All is forgiven.

For every Power game we cover here on the BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG, our three contributing editors will pass along their expert picks for the game, along with the key to victory. We call these our BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG KEYS TO VICTORY! There are three of them. One each.

- Perry -
In spite of the 2nd half meltdown against Milwaukee, I think Kevin McCabe will be just fine this week. I think his confidence comes back and his receivers pick up the load against a very weak opponent. Power get the victory much more comfortably than Monday.

Power 49
Tallons 21

- Pro -
"Talons" sounds like some bojo dek team at Bill's that have their own jerseys but only score 6 goals all season. One of their players probably has highlights in his hair.

Power 76
Talons 17

- Schwartz -
Seems like a good week to win 94-14.

Power 94
Talons 14


1) Receivers need to pick up McCabe's confidence.
2) Frosted tips.
3) Score 94 points. Give up 14.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Implosion, Redemption - Power vs Mustangs - The Aftermath

Implosions. A collection of some of the greatest ever captured on film. None, however, rival the one that the Pittsburgh Power offense suffered through on Monday night at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Maybe it's a sign that we're not as strong as we once thought. Maybe it's the injury bug biting at an inopportune time. Or, maybe, just maybe, it's a sign that the Pittsburgh Power are a team of destiny.

A pathetic crowd of 3,253 sporadically filled small portions of the lower level of the home of the Milwaukee Mustangs, as they stormed onto the field, fired up to take on their divisional rivals from Pittsburgh. Ten seconds later, they were losing 21-0. It was to be an epic beatdown the likes of which have never been seen. The brave souls who did turn out would "Rue" the day they heard the name Kevin McCabe.

Mustangs quarterback Eric Ward, constantly chased by a swarm of white jerseys, barely able to keep himself above water, fumbled and stumbled and ate turf, all the while throwing balls straight up in the air, hoping that Jesus would descend from the heavens to catch a touchdown.

Head coach Bob Landsee took another route, somewhere around the midpoint of the first quarter. He could be seen practicing Satanic rites on the Milwaukee bench. Anything, he hoped, to spark his misfit team of pathetic losers to a victory.

It all seemed to be for naught, as the Power, like nihilistic touchdown machines continued to steamroll the competition.

For as pumped up and ready to play as the Mustangs look as they took the field, it was akin to making it to the bathroom only to piss all over the floor.

It was all Power.

All the time.

However, by halftime, with the Power leading 35-20, somewhere in between the divine and the devlish, something took hold. In the guise of Antoine Burns, Dwayne Eley Jr., and perennial all-arena Damian Harrell, quarterback Ward finally found the angel he was praying so hard for, and that his coach was defending so hard against. That angel was backup quarterback RJ Archer. RJ would certainly prove to be the Archer-Angel of Arena Football on this fateful night.

Replacing Ward, Archer quickly found Harrell for a score. The defense suddenly came alive. The previously robotic football warrior-prince Kevin McCabe began to show signs of weakness. An interception return from his own endzone. Suddenly, things were looking bleak for the Pittsburgh squad.

Suddenly, it was 49-41. Then 49-47. Then the Mustangs, with their last gasping breath for life, called a quarterback keeper - The arena football league's dance of champions is sometimes met with some missteps - But on this night, the defense pulled out all the stops and Milwaukee was left to ponder what would be if they had just pushed for ONE... MORE... YARD.


Player of the Game:
Offense: Josh Rue - 6 Car - 28 Yds - 2 TD
Defense: Gary Butler - 3 Tackles - 3 Assists - 1 TFL for -12 Yds - 1 Forced Fumble - 2 Fumble Recoveries

Saturday vs Tulsa.
Do work.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Power vs Mustangs - LiveBlog - 7PM

We'll be liveblogging the game right here via this here CoverItLive app starting sometime around 7PM. Kickoff is slated for 7:30. Watch the game with us on NiftyTV. If you can't stream video for some reason, listen live on 93.7 The Fan.

Quick note - Irv Campbell has been placed on IR with concussion-like symptoms -- That's the reason that David Ball has been activated for tonight's game.

Sidebar: Shoutout to THE Katie O'Malley of Pens TV and Inside Penguins Hockey. Every time you tweet us, our hearts melt. <3

Anyways, check back in at 7PM to join us for the liveblog! If it doesn't work, as always, you can leave your thoughts on the game in the comments.

Sunday, March 27, 2011





Monday, March 28, 2011
7:30 PM

Radio: 93.7 The Fan
Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Power gear up for their first ever road test this week, travelling to the Bradley Center to take on a team, who, after making the second round of the playoffs last year, is coming out of the gates flat to start out the 2011 campaign.

The Power, used to playing in front of the largest crowds in the AFL, will have to contend with what will probably be a quiet, pre-season like atmosphere. The Mustangs only drew about 3,000 fans for their first game against Chicago, a 49-41 loss.

Perhaps it's for the best, as the Mustangs don't seem to play well in front of large audiences. In the second week, they travelled to Arizona to take on the Rattlers in front of over 9,000, where they were obliterated, 62-31.

The Mustangs are lead by QB Eric Ward out of Richmond, who through two weeks has amassed 475 yards passing and 6 touchdowns to go along with 3 interceptions.

They've got a trifecta of productive receivers in Damian Harrell, Antoine Burns, and Brent Holmes, combining for the bulk of the Milwaukee offense as well as all six of Ward's TD passes. Since 2001 when he was battery mates with local product Chad Salisbury for the Toronto Phantoms (Frazier HS, University of Buffalo), Harrell has amassed over 1,000 yards receiving in each consecutive season.

In spite of the 0-2 record, the Mustangs sit around the middle of the pack in almost every statistical category.

Power coach Chris Siegfried and the team got some bad press this week, when the Trib decided to, inexplicably, run a story about the HC's wife's legal problems. Good God, selling fake weed? Really?

On the field for the Power, the key is whether Kevin McCabe can continue his phenomenal start -- after replacing the injured Bernard Morris last week, McCabe was fantastic in leading the Power to a convincing 58-28 win over the Iowa Goggles.

McCabe is backed up by a bevy of fine receivers, as well as a secondary that really shut down Brad Banks and the Iowa attack in the second half last week, lead by Lenny Wicks and Josh Lay. McCabe's primary targets, as always, will be Mike "Joystick" Washington, Jason Willis, and Lonnell DeWalt. After returning from injury last week, Jerome Mathis and Irv Campbell started to show some signs of life as well. Toss in folk hero Josh Rue, and the Power have a ton of weapons on offense that can hurt you. They've also activated WR David Ball #82 for this weeks game. No word on who will be benched or why.

The Mustangs really are an enigma, having given Chicago, who is tearing the league apart currently, a very close game before getting completely crushed by the Rattlers. As was previously stated, the only real reason we can come up with is that they enjoy playing at home in front of practically no fans. If this were a home game for the Power, it would be an easy call. The Consol Energy Center would have a big crowd, it would be loud, and Milwaukee would simply collapse. However, it's in the Bradley center, there will be 2,000 people there, and the Mustangs will have their home field advantage. Scary stuff.

For every Power game we cover here on the BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG, our three contributing editors will pass along their expert picks for the game, along with the key to victory. We call these our BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG KEYS TO VICTORY! There are three of them. One each.

- Perry -
Kevin McCabe is emerging as one of the top QB's in the entire AFL. Milwaukee has the home field "advantage", but the Power's secondary is finally stepping up. If they can shut down Harrell, they can put up enough points to let the defense carry them to their first road win.

Power 56
Mustangs 31

- Pro -
If you wouldn't have had that half case of Old Milwaukee, you would've finished high school and wouldn't be paying child support right now. Milwaukee vomits on their own shoes and the Power win.

Power 62
Mustangs 41

- Schwartz -
Seems like a good week to lose 71-70.

Mustangs 71
Power 70


1) Power secondary need to shut down a potent Milwaukee receiving corps.
2) Don't vomit on your shoes.
3) Lose

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trib Needs to Get A Clue, TV Ratings Numbers

Fun fact: This blog breaks Power news faster than any other outlet in Pittsburgh.

Just stumbled across a piece from Thursday's Tribune Review reporting on Morris being placed on IR. They also reported that Morelli was "likely" to be signed.

We have it confirmed, from team officials, that the Power were bringing in Morelli and Morris was going on the IR on Wednesday morning.

If the Trib can't even read Twitter, who can you trust?

Criticisms aside, they also reported on the TV ratings from the Iowa game, which was in direct competition with the Pitt - Butler NCAA tournament game. The average rating was 1.4 - approximately 16,500 households. Not too shabby, all things considered. After the Pitt game, it seems everyone migrated back over to check out the remainder of the game, as the end drew a very strong 2.7 rating.

They say Pittsburgh only supports major league teams. The attendance numbers (highest combined in the AFL after two weeks) as well as the TV ratings only go to prove that Arena Football is emerging as a major league sport in this city.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Morris On IR, McCabe to Start vs Milwaukee

QB Bernard Morris, pulled during the Power's victory against the Iowa Barnstormers on Saturday, has been placed on the IR, according to the Pittsburgh Power's Twitter.

Cal U product and star of last weeks game Kevin McCabe will get the start, and we presume will remain the starter for the forseeable future.

We're also going to assume that Anthony Morelli will be brought in for as long as Morris is out, but the team could throw us a curveball. More on this as it develops.

Confirmed by the team - Penn State grad Anthony Morelli will rejoin the team to serve as McCabe's backup.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Aftermath: Bolts vs Barnstormers

A very satisfying victory last night for the Power. Say what you will about Bernard Morris, but he's Coach Sieg's starting QB. When you lose your starter, you're always going to struggle. Kevin McCabe picked it up and the Power put the pedal to the floor and never let up last night. Josh Lay made an immediate impact in his first game back from injury, as did Jerome Mathis.

No need this week for a "play by play" recap like last week. We liveblogged it. If you want a more detailed narrative on the game, check that out.

Cleaning out the notebook from last night....

First off, thanks to reader The Voice for pointing out a mistake in the liveblog. The Power did force a turnover vs Philly last week, which I forgot about and wrote that they had finally forced their first turnover. I forgot about it because Morris bojo'd it up and threw a pick right after a fumble recovery.

This blog, specifically this writer, has said all along that Kevin McCabe should be the starter. Morris has loads of talent, but is just too error-prone in big-time situations. You hate to see anyone get injured, but Big Kev really seized the opportunity. Coach Seig was asked if there was a QB controversy brewing.

“There’s no controversy, we’ve got two good quarterbacks,” the coach told

Read into that what you will. McCabe was 10-14 with 110 yds and 3 touchdowns, and turned what was a close game that looked like the last team to score would win into a laugher.

For as vague as that quote was, Coach Siegfried spoke to the Post-Gazette in much clearer terms. In Bill Brink's game wrapup, he flat out said that Morris is the starter.

For as much talk as there was about the offense, Tyrrell Herbert, Carlos Campbell, and Josh Lay were absolutely fantastic on D. Lay brought a measure of swagger that was perhaps missing or less emphasized in the first game.

The legend of Josh Rue also continues to grow. The Duquesne grad had three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) and continues to be met with thunderous chants of "RUEEEEEE!" in every short yardage situation.

Credit where credit is due, when they were in synch, the Goggles had quite a rhythm. Brad Banks threw for 283 yards and four TD's (all to Todd Blythe), but, like Bernard Morris the week before, was a turnover machine, throwing four picks.

Apparently, we rule at evaluating QB's, because we said McCabe would tear up, and we designated the Iowa starter "Bojo Banks" -- boy did he ever live up to that billing. In spite of some unbelievable flashes of brilliance, there were an equal amount of wounded ducks tossed around.

Banks is very charitable like that. He wants to make sure every kid goes home with a souvenier.

Also, let me point out, as I pointed out on Twitter earlier, that Bob Pompiani did an ok job on the local TV play by play. I can also say with full confidence that Craig Woofley was horrific. I was following some message boards and chat rooms, and the entire Arena Football fan nation was laughing at him and his yinzerly ways. The games are all available (home and away) nationwide for free on and all games are archived. It's actually a fantastic service for keeping up with the Power when they're on the road, as they will be when they face the Milwaukee Mustangs next Monday.

That said, however... COME ON POMP! The Tulsa Taloons? Yeah, he mispronounced Tallons on the air. More than once. The same people who were laughing at Woof's caveman speak were equally shredding Pompiani for this gaffe.


Either way, when all was said and done, the Bolts got the 'W' and that's all that matters.

That, and BoltsBurgh officially arrived in the AFL blogosphere. Can't tell you how unreal and badass it felt to be retweeted by not only the official Barnstormers Twitter, but the official Arena Football League Twitter.

We just started Tweeting, but the response has been fantastic and we've met a lot of very cool Power fans via the Twitterverse, so thanks for that, and if you know a friend or weren't aware that we were residents of the Twit City, make sure you follow us. We promise that if you tweet us, you will be twat back to in kind.

So, between the team getting the win and the blog gaining some traction in the legitimate sense, it's a great start.

Beat Milwaukee.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

BoltsBurgh Gameday Liveblog

6:47 PM

We'll make our best effort to make this a liveblog, but your best bet is to follow us on Twitter - @boltsburgh. We're retweeting your pictures from inside the CEC, so if you take any, tag them #boltsburgh or #pittsburghpower so we can see them!

We're going to be back and forth between the blog, Twitter, and the Pitt game, so please don't take this as any indication of what future liveblogs might look like. It's just a busy day. Also, two of the three editors have to work night shift tonight at our real jobs, and Schwartz is in DC for the Pitt game.

We'll do our best to keep updating this post as the game goes on. If you want to communicate during the game, post in the comments or Tweet us.

7:01 PM

The Twitterverse is alive with #pittsburghpower activity. Really impressive stuff. This fanbase is super enthusiastic to beat the goggles. Pitt set to tip off in ten minutes.

7:05 PM

Charles Barkley cannot pronounce Pittsburgh. Ugh. It's never going to be 7:30.


Matt Howard is raining 3's all over Pitt. Ten minutes til kickoff.


Alright. Gametime. Finally. That was the longest half hour of my life. Bob Pomp brings us up to speed on the performance of Bernard Morris last week vs Philly. Craig Woofley on the color. Pomps pumps up Kevin McCabe and Bernie Morris. Boy, I hope that segment was pre-recorded, because there is NOBODY in the crowd.


Pompiani talks about the coaches. We mentioned John Gregory in our game preview. He is the OG coach of the Barnstormers. We all know what coach Sieg brings to the table. Power win the toss and elect to receive. Bernie Morris will go to work.


God, those goggles. We can't lose to this team.

Jason Willis with a nice return out to about the 17. Morris finds Willis for a short gain on the little swing route, then overthrows another attempt to Willis. Bad sign. Morris then overthrows Willis again, but he makes a sweet one-handed grab while hitting the wall. First down Power!

Morris then finds Irv Campbell for what I believe is his first catch of the year and a gain of seven. Looks for Willis again who drops a wide open ball that would've been a first down. Willis and Morris seem out of sync.

On 3rd down, Dewalt is the high motion man for the first time, and flags everywhere. Dead ball foul on the Power for a false start, it's against Lonnell Dewalt. 3rd and 8. The line collapses. Morris sacked. Edinger time?

Morris takes the field, but calls a time-out. Coach Sieg gives Morris an earfull. Edinger comes out for the field goal and it's wide left. Tommy Ellingworth plays it off the net and returns it back to the 25. Still no score with 10:41 left.

But, wait.



So, first and ten at the twelve. Morris throws directly to DB Cameron McGlenn who breaks up the pass, intended for Willis. I'm losing my patience already. Morris with a dumpoff to RUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE for a nice little gain. Morris then finds Jason Willis, close to the first down.

Man, was that a gift or what? 8:48 left in the 1st.

End around handoff to Irv Campbell to the left and he's well short of the endzone, but enough for the first down. Rue time.

There it is, off to the left, Josh Rue. ENDZONE. Edinger's PAT is money.

Power 7
Barnstormers 0

7:11 remaining in the quarter. Irv Campbell with a great special teams play, dropping the returner at his own four. First look at the Iowa offense and Banks with a quick hitter to Todd Blythe, the Iowa State product.

Banks then dumps it off to Jesse Schmidt, who had 160 Rec last year - First down Barnstormers. Banks looks comfortable out there so far.

Also of note, Pitt alum Josh Lay is making his debut at CB for the Power. If you've never seen him play, he is some kind of athlete.

Banks hangs a deep ball. Todd Blythe. WIDE open. Touchdown Iowa. 34 yards. Lenny Wicks gets SMOKED. Beautiful throw by Brad Banks.

PAT is true.


Jerome Mathis, welcome back! Great return from his own endzone out to midfield, tackled by the kicker. Great field position for Morris and the Power to start.

Morris looks over the middle for Joystick Washington, the former Quip.... Another pass sailed a little bit by Morris, and it's broken up.

On 3rd and 7, Morris forced to run for his life, has no room, is sacked, and a holding penalty to boot. Iowa declines, and it brings up a 4th and long.

Power will go for it. Morris looks left. Wide open, PERFECT throw. Irv Campbell. TOUCHDOWN POWER. 25 yards. PAT is good.

Barnstormers 7

Ain't Talkin' Bout Love blares throughout the CEC. Power fans love Van Halen.

With 1:30 left, Tommy Ellingworth makes a great move and breaks out to near midfield on the ensuing kickoff, but it's called back for a hold. Iowa takes over at their own 8. Sloppy, but fun game so far.

DE-FENSE chant. Crowd is smaller, but rowdy.

Man, Brad Banks to Blythe for another big chunk of yardage. Banks looks so good. Tosses an out route to Ellingworth for about five, and Josh Lay roughs him up into the wall. That's the end of the first quarter. 14-7 Power.


Barnstormers are guilty of a false start to begin the 2nd. Banks needs to clean his goggles so he can see the snap.

He does.

Then goes underneath to Todd Blythe for a 1st down. Banks is 6/6. Herbert VERY close to breaking it up, though.

Banks then has his pass tipped by #8 Gary Butler who was rushing hard from the MAC position. Banks to Ellingworth for another short gain. Josh Lay horse collars him. Some jawing going on between those two.

Banks then finds Todd Blythe for his 2nd TD. Wide open in the middle of the endzone. PAT is good.

Power 14

Power take over at their own five. Morris throws a ball about twenty yards behind Campbell. He then finds Jerome Mathis for a gain of 8 along the far wall. On 3rd down, he floats one high to Jason Willis, but Willis is patient, makes a good move, and picks up the first down for Pittsburgh. He's really bailing Morris out so far.

"LETS GO POW-ER" chant.

Morris is dumped for a huge loss. Looks like he may have fumbled. Recovered by the Power. A huge loss. Mike Byrne got smoked. Morris is a sitting duck out there. O-line needs to get it together.

Morris throws a pick to Patrick Stoudamire, it goes for six.


Flag on the play. Illegal formation on the defense.

Penalty bails out the Power yet again.

McCabe time yet?

9:56 remaining in the half.

Morris with another dumpoff over the middle to Josh Rue who regains a good chunk of the lost yardage. On 3rd and 8, Morris hits Mathis and is VERY close to the first down. Just short. 4th and 1. Power going for it. RUEEEEE. First down. He's money in short yardage.

Again, Morris under a great deal of pressure, this time is able to scamper for about six yards. Crowd comes alive. Pitch to Mathis goes for near first down yardage. 3rd and 1. Crowd again chants RUEEEEEE. Morris gives to him. Stopped well short. Flag on the play. Another procedure penalty on the defense! Wow. First and goal for the Power.

6:22 to go in the half.

Morris sweeps left. Hit and fumbles! Iowa comes very damn close to recovering, but another case of foggy goggles allows Bernie to scoop it up. Another break. The Power must've been praying a lot this week or something. Or maybe Jesus just doesn't like goggles.

Morris finds Irv Campbell at about the 1 yard line. 3rd and goal. RUEEEEEEE. Touchdown Power! Edinger's PAT is good.


4:15 left in the half, Ellingworth retruns to the seven where the Goggles start out.

After a roughing the passer call, Banks trips over a lineman and takes the sack. A defensive stop here would be absolutely HUGE.

Banks finds Schmidt for 7 yards or so and makes up for the sack and then some. Banks is 10/11 with 2 TD so far. Pressure. Tipped! Tyrrell Herbert INT! The first turnover in Power history! Pittsburgh takes over. Neil Purvis with some great pressure and puts a solid hit on Banks.

Closing minutes of the half. Time to put it away. A two score lead in this game would be HUGE. Do it, Bernie.

Morris looks for Irv Campbell, broken up. Can't thread the needle like that. Morris then hits DL Brett Curvey in the face with the screen pass. Unbelievable. Come on, Bernard. Get your head together. Then, a false start. 1:13 left. Mike Byrne. Not having the best game of his life....

3rd and 15 from the 21 for the Power. Huge play coming up after the 1 minute warning.

Morris to Lonnell Dewalt. 20 yards. TOUCHDOWN POWER!


48 seconds left. Plenty of time for the Gogs.

Weird bounce on the kickoff, Iowa is dumped in their endzone. Lynn Swann joining Pomp in the booth. Banks is going to drink and dunk. He knows he's got time. Another quick out. Stops the clock on 3rd down. Lynn Swann is pimping the fans.

Banks drops to throw on 3rd down and finds Schmidt who moves the chains. Wicks makes the stop. 22 seconds left.

Banks pressured, goes deep. Overthrows, hits the wall, live ball was nearly picked off. Finally Iowa gets a break. Carlos Campbell could've taken that to the house. 13 seconds left. Then they find Blythe who drives forward after making a man miss. With 5 seconds left, Iowa has it at the twelve. An early test of Brad Banks' meddle.

Pass is deflected, a ref hits the deck, incomplete. Still 2 seconds left. The Power's pass rush has been much improved. Chris Terrell iron-manning it. Solid on both sides of the ball. The Goggles are going to kick. Peter Czech out for the kick. Time out Power.

Bubba announces the Pitt score. 53-50, Panthers. The crowd roared like a lion in a cage.

Czech back on the field. The snap, kick is no good. Reminds me of the old Jarimor Jagr "Czech It Out!" t shirts from when we were kids.


Commercial on the Pitt game for the new WWE All-Stars video game. Man, just what I've always wanted. The Ultimate Warrior vs John Cena!

Word Life.


Barnstormers start off with the ball. My local CW feed is going haywire. It's like watching Arena Football on Sega Genesis. Pixels Everywhere.

Banks to Ellingworth for a nice gain down to the ten. Bojo Banks plays pitch and catch a little bit. Throws into the endzone on second down, nearly picked off by Herbert. Herbert cramps up. Scary moment, but he's ok.

Banks on a cross pattern to Blythe. Touchdown. Extra point is good.

Power 28

Something happened to Bernard Morris... Kevin McCabe coming in. 11:14 left in the 3rd. Mathis returns it to midfield. Holding on the Power. Bring it back. Let's see what the Cal U product can do.

McCabe completes his first pass for a short gain. Pomp refers to Neil Walker, McCabes schoolmate at Pine Richland.

McCabe then goes to Mathis. Deep. TOUCHDOWN BOLTS!


We have said since the pre-season that Kevin McCabe is a gamer. Huge play.

Again, local CW feed is barely watchable... Freezing and pixelating in both HD and SD. I apologize if I miss anything. If Pro would be available, I'd just have him take over. I can't see shit. Banks takes off for a huge run down to the ten.

Injury for the Barnstormers after Banks finds Ellingworth along the wall. Time out.

FWIW: Butler ball, Pitt leading 69-68, 9.2 seconds left.

They get it over half court and call time out with 7.1 left.

Ellingworth is helped off the field and Banks overthrows a man in the endzone.

6:48 to go in the 3rd quarter.

Banks looks for Schmidt. Carlos Campbell on the coverage. That was fourth down. POWER BALL!

-- Pitt Game Look-In --
Pitt gives up a layup, down one, and with .9 left BUTLER FOULS THEM! LOLMidmajor.

Gilbert Brown with two shots.

Hero or goat time. Brown makes the first. Tie game. 1.4 seconds left. Gil misses the 2nd. FOUL ON PITT. I don't believe it. Pitt loses!

-- Back to the Power --

Still the same drive as when I left? 2:02 left in the 3rd. McCabe leading yet another LONG Pittsburgh drive. This has got to be some kind of record for AFL time of possession.

3rd and goal Power at about the two.

Josh Rue gets the carry, he's stopped short. 1:15 left in the quarter.

4th and goal. McCabe under center. ENDZONE. JOSH RUE on the check down. McCabes 2nd TD pass. PAT is failed.

Barnstormers 21


Down big now, Iowa returns the kick out to about the 6 after another weird bounce on the kickoff. Banks finds Jesse Schmidt who rumbles for the first down down the right sideline.

Banks finds Justin Bieber (Larry Beavers) for a short gain, another tackle by Josh Lay. Banks goes deep for Blythe, but he was well covered by Wicks. Another deep shot for Blythe, no good. 4th and 8. Banks overthrows Beavers. Turnover on downs. Ugh. Flag on the play. Illegal twist on the Power.

First down Goggles.

Could've really started to get out of hand there, but Iowa still has a shot.

Beavers then catches a slant route on the near side and picks up 9. Banks overthrows Beavers this time. Another free souvenier for some guy in the stands. Banks and Morris have given a lot of them away.

Is conditioning a problem for Brad Banks? He was so money earlier in this game. Now he's looking like Morris looked in the 2nd half last week.

10:20 remaining. 4th and 1 for Iowa at the Power 12.

Banks with the keeper, more than enough. First down.

Siegfried yells at the refs about something. Who knows.

Banks misses Blythe wide, another ball into the bleachers. Iowa's offense is melting down. Banks with another horrible throw, VERY nearly picked off by Josh Lay.

Bubba announces the attendance: 9,190. Solid.

3rd down, Banks has all day. Throws. Picked off by Herbert. BAH, they call it incomplete. Herbert is having a fantastic game.

4th and goal, Iowa needs to score. Carlos Campbell breaks up the pass in the endzone. First down Power!

McCabe finds Mike "Joystick" Washington for a short gain. 6:44 remaining in the game. McCabe then finds Jason Willis over the middle. Moves the chains. Kevin McCabe has been very impressive so far. Again: We told you so.

Big Kev is 8/9 for 84 yards so far in his debut.

"Here we go Power, here we go!" chant breaks out at CEC. A loud one.

McCabe over the middle to Willis for a gain of eight. Did I saw how impressive he's been?

On a 3rd and 2, McCabe finds JOYSTICK WASHINGTON. Touchdown, POWER!


The kick takes a weird bounce off the net and Iowa is stopped at their own one. This game is over.

3:40 left. Tick, tock.

Power are content to sit back and let the Barnstormers dink and dunk for a first down or two and keep the clock running.

Coach Sieg takes a moment out to talk to what I presume is his son.

Banks over the middle for Beavers to the 9 yard line. First down Iowa. 2:22 left.

Banks finds Todd Blythe for his 4th touchdown.

Goggles 28

1:20 left. Power will get the ball. They've done nothing but eat clock the entire game. Probably an onside kick attempt coming.

Czech kicks it into the stands. Power take over with 1:20 remaining.

Pompiani refers to the Tallons as the Talloons for about the fifth time tonight. Get real, KDPomp!

Pitch out to Mathis, brings us to the one minute warning.

Field goal be Edinger.

Ensuing drive, Pick six.


Banks throws a pick to JOSH LAY. He fumbles. Recovered by Iowa. 2 seconds left. Game over.


Getting Pumped For The Big Game - OFFICIAL PUMP-UP POST PT DEUX

You probably bought your kids a bunch of goggles because they complained about chlorine in their eyes when they swim in the above ground pool you blew your bonus check on right before the market crashed in 2008. They probably lost them after 3 days and you were jacked.

The last time you wore goggles yourself was probably when you went snorkeling with your wife or girlfriend who conned you into it on some dumb cruise where you had to pay for your own booze, which didn't even matter because you were puking your life out in some 2x2 john because you were seasick. So you swam around and saw some junk you could see at the Pittsburgh Zoo without hearing yourself breathe. Bojos were taking pictures with underwater cameras which you probably forgot to pack because you haven't had a beer to clear your mind in half a week. Now your girl is going all crazy at you and you look like Inspector Gadget with those stupid goggles on.

There was one time, in college, you had some goggles on. Beer goggles. You were also probably drinking $1.50 light beers like a bojo. I'm not taking this story any further. You've tried to forget it happened, or worse, didn't happen. Because you probably blew it for yourself.

Nothing good has ever come from goggles. Nothing. Admit it. You hate goggles. If you're a self respecting American, you hate goggles. You can't see right out of them, they make a stupid line in your hair and leave red rings around your eyes so that even when you take them off you still look like an idiot and everyone knows you were wearing goggles. Get real. You hate goggles.

Take the goggles off tonight. Don't be a bojo.

Football isn't football...UNLESS YOU GOT POWER!

Friday, March 18, 2011

GAME PREVIEW - WEEK 2 - Power vs Barnstormers




Saturday, March 19, 2011

7:30 PM
TV: Pittsburgh's CW Channel 19
Radio: 93.7 The Fan
Consol Energy Center - Pittsburgh, PA

After the gut-wrenching loss to hated Philadelphia in week one, the Bolts return to the CEC for a matchup with one of the most storied franchises in the history of Arena football. The Iowa Barnstormers bring some familiar faces, and have several other ones laced throughout their rich history.

History, that's an interesting concept. Here in Pittsburgh, a town whose football tradition dates back only one week and ends in a bitter overtime loss, we don't care. It's a case of "What have you done for me lately?" -- The past isn't pretext, because it doesn't exist. No amount of legendary players, coaches, or history matches the passion and will to establish ourselves as the ones who will dwarf all others in AFL history. The time is now.

The Barnstormers, coached by John Gregory, are one of the longest-tenured (sort-of) franchises in Arena League history. In fact, Gregory is the Barnstormers first head coach. He stuck with the team from their formation in the mid 90's until their move to New York early on in the millenium, and is now back to lead an Iowa franchise that was resurrected in May of 2007. During his tenure, Gregory has amassed 5 division titles.

You may remember Coach Gregory as the man who signed grocery store shelf stocking journeyman no-name Kurt Warner to his first Arena League contract with the Barnstormers in 1995. Warner would lead his team to two ArenaBowl losses (ArenaBowl X and XI) and never be heard from again.

The "new" Barnstormers started out their existence in AF2, the minor leagues of Arena ball, during the NBC/TNN era, a time in which the league was shooting for the stars with larger market teams (hence the relocation to become the NY Dragons) - relegating many of the league's famous micromarket teams to this league to serve as a feeder organization not unlike the NBA D-League.

However, after the cancelled season, the league knew it had to reach back into it's deep history to help it get back on their feet, and the Barnstormers were moved back to the AFL proper in 2010.

In their first season back in the big leagues, Iowa went 7-9. Coach Gregory was left to deal with what was basically a minor league squad in a major league sport, and wound up doing a pretty admirable job, given that.

This year, however, it's a totally different story. History doesn't matter anymore, either. This is a new era. This is the POWER era. Oh, and the Barnstormers have goggles on their helmets.

I'm pretty sure this officially makes them bojos.

Anyways, nobody knows what to expect from the goggles.


Sorry, I'm distracted. Maybe I'm just nervous because of the illustrious history of the Iowa franchise, I mean, Kurt Goggles.



Why do they have goggles on their fucking helmets?

*Shakes head*

OK. I think I've got the cobwebs out now. Back to the preview.

Goggles. Oh my God. Are you bojos serious? Goggles? On your helmet? Fuck.

The Goggles, in an attempt to upgrade from last year's undersized AF2 roster, have added 16 new arrivals to their 24 roster players. The only returning players are stud DL and Iowa State grad Brent Curvey, DL Charles Johnson, and WR's Jesse Schmidt, Toddy Blythe (of ISU fame as well), Tommy Ellington, and Errick McCown, who is out with a hip pointer.

Up until today, we didn't know if the starting QB was going to be former Heisman Trophy runner-up Brad Banks (Iowa) or the venerable Bryan Lee-Lauduski. As was the rumor (he tore up in their scrimmage) - Banks will get the start, per the Des Moines Register. It will, like Bernie Morris for the Power last week, be Banks' first significant AFL experience.

Other than that, we don't know a whole bunch about the Barnstormers. They haven't played a game yet this year, and, as I said, they have had more than half of their roster turn over, including the entire offensive line and the quarterback. We do know that losing to a team with goggles on their helmet will not sit well with this Pittsburgh fan base.

For the Power, we'll need Bernard Morris to step up his game. Although he threw for 264 yds and 5 TD vs the Soul last week, his three interceptions, including an overtime game winner, were killer. If he picks up where he left off, we could see Kevin McCabe get some action.

It's going to be up to Mike "Joystick" Washington (111 Rec Yds, 1 TD), Lonnell Dewalt (2 TD), and Jason Willis (2 TD) to get open and give their QB support and get his confidence up early. Josh Rue has proven he is clutch in short yardage situations, and the city has absolutely fallen in love with "The Golden Boot" Paul Edinger.

For every Power game we cover here on the BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG, our three contributing editors will pass along their expert picks for the game, along with the key to victory. We call these our BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG KEYS TO VICTORY! There are three of them. One each.

- Perry -
Bernard Morris needs to get his head together and not throw picks in the goggles.


The clutch.

I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt this week, because I think Coach Sieg will have him focused. Brad Banks will struggle in his first goggles experience.


Arena Football experience.

Power 60
Barnstormers 49

- Pro -
The only time you need goggles is if you're Michael fuckin' Phelps. Bojos. 67-52 Bolts.

Power 67
Barnstormers 52

- Schwartz -
Seems like a good week to win 74-51.

Power 74
Barnstormers 51


2) Michael Phelps
3) Win

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Barnstormers: Bojos

Be glad you're not from Iowa.
The Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League are pleased to announce that Bennigan’s, located at 1810 Army Post Road in Des Moines will be the host of the official road game watch party this season.

What a bunch of bojos. Bennigans. What, Beef O'Brady's is already hosting the Iowa Crush viewing party? Now you can enjoy your Barnstormers football with undoubtedly America's worst potato skins. They just have to suck. Get real. IT'S GONNA BE LIGHTS OUT IN THE BARN BOJOS.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nothing New on the Horizon - A Link Post!

As much as I'd like to be reporting some news over the course of the week leading up to the Iowa game, I've honestly got nothing.

It's been pretty quiet.

Pro has been going through some personal stuff that has prevented any of his trademark high-brow articles for the time being. He'll be back soon with something awesome, but I'm not exactly sure when.

Sometime on Friday I'll be posting the Iowa game preview.

The Barnstormers are rich in AFL lore. They have freaking goggles on their helmets.

Until then, I don't even have any links or media reports to post. The mainstream media seems as thirsty for Power news as we do here at Boltsburgh Blog.

There is this item from OurSportsCentral (a fan driven site that caters to minor league sports fans) -- The Power lead the entire Arena League in attendance in week one. Hopefully it's a trend that only gets better.

There were definitely some major issues with the will call window that caused thousands of people to miss a large chunk of the first quarter. Hopefully that's rectified for Saturday night.

You can now also check out the official radio play-by-play voice of the Power, 93.7's own Troy Clardy, who has an official website.

Again, check back Friday for another in-depth pump up post and game preview as the Power get ready to host a BLACK OUT against the Iowa Barnstormers!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Power vs Soul - Photo Gallery

A selection of random, poorly timed pictures from the game. Nobody has ever accused me of being a great photographer. A special shout out to our friends in the section where were in town for St. Patricks Day from Grove City and were excited about being included on the blog! Your one friend that sat in front of me is a total babezilla!

Anyways, I promised you guys you'd make the photo gallery here on the blog, so here you are, along with several other game pics.


We wanted it.


The will-call line was too long, nobody was actually at the game until halfway through the first quarter....

However, the game went on. By the mid-way point there was an awesome and rowdy crowd.

Unbelivable atmosphere. I really can't explain how awesome and fun it was to have the AFL back.


I was unable to get to my seat for most of the first quarter... But...

NFL Network with the coverage... From the locker room. Inspirational fire-up talk from coach Sieg.

Meanwhile, in the Soul locker room.... Coach Traitor fires up the Soul. Something about how our roster wasn't even togehter two weeks ago. F you.

The NFL Network hypes it up... Coach H from Philly threw the first touchdown in Arena Ball history. We know. This blog already covered it.

After a brief recap of the rules: GAME ON!

Eddie Thompson returns the kick out to about the 14... Flags everywhere. Holding on the Power. Boo Bird city.

Bernie Morris under center for the first drive. Crowd is still empty. Will remain so until about halfway through the quarter.

2nd play from scrimmage... Morris to Jason Willis. 37 Yards. Touchdown. WELCOME BACK, ARENA FOOTBALL.


Zombie nation plays. Pitt fans yell "PENN STATE SUCKS!"

Allgood leads his men out for their first drive. Pinned back at their own two. Time for some defense. The crowd is starting to fill in and get rowdy.

First pass from scrimmage, tipped by the Power pass rush, caught for two yards. "DE-FENSE" chant takes over the CEC. An overthrow by Justin Allgood later, he finds Donavan Morgan on the crossing route for the TD.

7-7 TIE

CEC starting to get used to the idea of scoring on every possession. Commercial break. Aaron's City. At this point, the rest of the crowd fills in...

Bubba of B94 fame on the public address duties... Surprisingly not annoying. In fact, he was AWESOME at getting the crowd fired up.

"LET'S GO POWER!" chant breaks loose.

Morris checking down a good bit, looking for short routes. You've gotta go deep. This is the AFL. Starting to worry about this guy.

Morris finds Willis for a first down and we're driving.

Next play: Out of nowhere... Morris to Mike "The Joystick" Washington on the post-corner route... ENDZONE.

Power 14
Soul 7

Apparently, we have some offense. Mike Washington: Alliquippa native, by way of Hawaii -- Bubba acknowledges this and the hometown crowd goes berzerk.

A brilliant shot of Morris and McCabe on the bench. Kevin wants to play.

Terrance Carter with massive pressure, Allgood has to dump it off.... Results in a key third down for Philly... Deep ball to Larry Brackens is broken up by Notre Dame alum Carlos Campbell. The Soul have a 4th down. They go for it, and Morgan breaks it up. Absolutely no joke. We have some players in this secondary.

Ensuing possession: Bernie to Lonnell DEWALT "The Power Tool" -- endzone.

Power 21
Soul 7

The Soul mess around with the ball, nothing going on. Governor Tom Corbett is interviewed on the NFL Network and reveals himself to be a POWER fan and a Pittsburgh native.

Fantastic. Don't break up my union.


After a near goal line stand, Allgood finds a tightly covered Donovan Morgan -- completely threads the needle, and makes it

Power 21
Soul 14

The CEC crowd is starting to get a little bit nervous....

Jaws steps into the booth and blows Solomon Wilcox.

Bernie Morris sacked on first down. The big "MO" lies squarely with the Soul.

Suddenly, Morris finds Eddie Thompson off to his right for a first down. There's a late hit. Tack it on. Personal foul. Move it to the Philly eighteen.

Bernie dumps one off to Dewalt, as things get chippy. Flags everywhere. Jason Willis from the Power with a late hit, ignored. Welcome to the AFL, Power. Flags go against Philly.

Morris hits "Wesley" Willis on a short route off of the forward motion. Down to the two.

Josh Rue powers his way into the endzone. The crowd chants "RUEEEEEEEEEE". Touchdown.

That's a Duquesne boy. Bubba reminds us. Bad snap on the PAT... Wide right.


Ensuing drive... 8 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter.... After some bullshit and a few stupid Philly penalties... Morgan makes a grab down at the two yard line.

"DE-FENSE" chant..

Allgood is mic'd up.

Calls a sweep.


Donovan Morgan. Power killer.

Sweep to the left, touchdown Soul.


Might I add, at this point, that the AFL is very action-packed and high-scoring, and is nearly impossible to recap as it happens. I hope you guys appreciate this effort by myself, Pro, and Schwartz. Several of you at the game tonight said you read or would read the blog, and I've got a picture or two to share of Boltsburgh Power Blog readers. That'll come in the next post.

Here's really where Bernard Morris starts to fall apart. 2:40 in the 2nd quarter. The wheels start to fall off. Bernie completes a little dump off to Washington, then leads the boys back out of the huddle. He comes back out and doesn't like what he sees, calling a time out. Clearly, Morris is shaken.

Next pass... Into the endzone, picked off by Tanner Varner. He lead the AFL in tackles, and had 8 picks a year ago. DO NOT THROW IT ERRANTLY TO TANNER VARNER. It's the golden rule of the AFL.

Allgood hits Brackens inside the five on yet another little dumpoff route over the middle. We're really missing Josh Lay, who is out with an injury. Ensuing play: Doom?

Out route to Donovan Morgan. Usually a guaranteed TD.. Dropped.

Sets up a huge 2nd and goal... Allgood drops back, huge pressure, and he has to dump it out of play.

Third and goal comes up for the Soul, and the game may well have been on the line. the CEC is rocking at this point. Neil Purvis is having a monster game. Allgood looks for Savon Newton... IN COM PLETE.


Soul down 6 with 3 seconds to go in the half, fourth down.

The Power call a time out to ice the kicker.. He's looked shakey all game.. Coach clown thinks it over.

The Soul come out for the FG and they nail it.



Coach Sieg gives an emotional halftime talk. We're ready to roll for the 2nd half.

Power kick off to start the 2nd half. Power are all over Allgood to start the drive. Running for his life - then, BINGO.



First down inside the Power 10.

He's killing us.

They bring in the backup QB to run an option. Buried at the two.

Third and goal for the Soul.

DE-FENSE chant. A rowdy one.

They run the ball with Daniel Voss. Buried at the one yard line. That's Pittsburgh defense.

4th and goal at the one yard line....

Vena, the backup QB runs the bootleg on a fourth and short. Endzone. We trail for the first time in franchise history. The extra point sticks in the uprights to the right side. No good.


Lynn Swann in the NFL Network booth, thanks Mario Lemieux for a beautiful home for the Power. Agreed.

The Power take over. Pick up a first down or so, but Bernard Morris is looking rough. Balls are flying all over the place, nowhere near Power receivers. The boo birds come out. WHERE IS KEVIN MCCABE?

The ensuing play, Morris forced to call a completely unnecessary time out.

It's getting ugly for the home team.

More garbage QB play from Morris. 4th and ten. Morris flushed out, scrambles, and is toast.

Soul take over.

God help us all.

Seconds later... Allgood to Morgan. A refrain we know all too well. PAT is good.


Rascall Flatts wants you to know that teen suicide is the #3 killer of teenagers on the planet.

At this point, we're considering it ourselves.

Power then drive down to the 5. Morris finds Lonnell Dewalt. Endzone. Dewalt is effing money. 1:30 left in the 3rd quarter.


Ensuing kickoff.. There's some type of clusterfuck. Power get called for a penalty of some variety. First and goal for the Soul at the Power 8 yard line. The Soul piss around with some running plays. Tyrell Herbert comes up big.



It's time to shit or get off the pot..



This is after the Power tried an onside kick.

F word,

PAT is good.

We're doomed.


Donovan Morgan has five touchdowns at this point. My God.

Power take over. A first down completion to Willis and then a bunch of garbage. I'm quickly growing tired of Bernard Morris. WHERE'S KEVIN MCCABE!?!?

At this point, a good portion of the crowd had hit the bars. Lesson learned: DO NOT LEAVE AN ARENA FOOTBALL GAME EARLY.

With 12:13 left, Morris to Washington. Inside the five. Washington takes a pelting over the wall, but hangs on.

A couple of plays later, Pittsburgh's own Josh RUEEEEEEEEE with the sweep toss. Endzone. Touchdown. The PAT is true. 10:25 left.


Immediately afterwords - fumble city. Power take over.

Morris looks for Dewalt in the endzone... Throws it a mile over his head off the wall. TANNER VARNER with the pick. His second of the game.


What's left of the crowd takes off.

Power defense gets a little nervous and are guilty of a couple dead ball penalties. Allgood is moving the ball so methodically. God damn does he understand the Arena game a million times better than Morris.

Endzone to Donovan Morgan. Touchdown number six. It's all over, right? PAT gets stuck in the post again. No good.


Morris dinks and dunks a little bit. I personally do not understand it. 4 minutes left...

Tick, tock....

More dinks and dunks. Little over the middle stuff. It's always a good idea to nickle and dime when you're down nine with 2:30 left...


58 seconds left. Under a minute left in the Arena League, the clock stops.

Here goes nothing...

Morris drops back, stands tall in the pocket, and drills one in to Jason Willis over the middle in the endzone. Two point conversion, Dewalt with the catch over the wall.


Edinger tries the onside kick... Again... Recovered by Dejuan Alfonzo at the Philly 5.

49 seconds left. Remember, the clock stops. Philly needs to score.

Vena checks back in on 2nd down. Some garbage running play. 3rd down. 41 seconds.

Vena tries to sweep left, and is dumped at the Power three. 4th down. 35 seconds left. Jesus Christ, Arena Football rules.

Vena rolls right... Dumped on the keeper. Purvis again. Clutch. #4 is no joke.

First down Power. Chance to win it. Balls to the wall. 32 seconds left. Down one. Always in field goal range....

Again, Morris throws it all over the field.

16 seconds left. Fourth down.

Pittsburgh takes a delay of game penalty. His men are beat.

Morris sacked in the endzone with 12 seconds left. Game over.


But, wait.

Onside kick recovered by Butler. Edinger is clutch as hell.

Power down 3.

2 seconds left.

Edinger... 35 yard field goal to tie it.... Buries it at the buzzer. Power miracuously still alive!

Then, in OT, in front of an empty house, Morris leads the Power out for a heroic final drive.


Several garbage throws by Morris.

Hoping for a field goal.

3rd and eternity for the Power. Deep in their own end.

Morris throws from his own endzone.


Mike Brown.




So close, yet so far.

Player of the Game:
Donovan Morgan
5 REC TD, 1 Rush TD

There really are no words.

What a game. What a crowd. What a venue.

It hurts. It will hurt for a while. See you next week for the BLACK OUT against the Iowa Barnstormers.

Key Points:

- Why isn't Donovan Morgan making more money?
- Paul Edinger is a legitimate kicker.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stop, Drop, & Kick: An Extra Dimension

On December 8th, 1863 in London, England, Blackheath FC withdrew from the Football Association, of which it was a founding member of just months prior, due to an argument in regards to the rules by which "football" was played. A disagreement on the concept of "hacking", or the kicking of an opponent's shins loomed largely over the FA. Blackheath was in favor of this allowance, while other clubs were not. An underlying factor at the time was the various codes of football and those clubs which played the "carrying" game, or what is now commonly known as rugby, versus what Americans refer to as "soccer". Being a club playing the carrying game, it behooved Blackheath FC to literally pick up its ball and take it elsewhere to play with like minded clubs. In 1871, this was realized at the Pall Mall Restaurant in London when the Rugby Football Union was formed.

It is fair to assume then that Francis Maule Campbell, a student at Blackheath Proprietary school who went on to play for Blackheath FC and represent them in the original FA meetings, could never have imagined the impact that this break with the game of football would have on history. Nor could he imagine that almost 150 years later, a game also called "football", a direct derivative of his beloved rugby union code, would be played on American soil and its officials would toss around numbers like 9 billion as if it was nothing. And in viewing a game of "gridiron" or "American" football, would Campbell recognize anything resembling rugby union, or for that matter, the code developed somewhat later, rugby league?

On one hand, the answer to that is a simple no. Forward passing is enough to make any Englishman worth his weight in John Smith's Extra Smooth cringe, not to mention the helmets and padding. Perhaps the "snap" still has enough resemblance to its predecessors, the formal "scrum" and the quicker "ruck". It is possible to trace the origins if you're willing to do the research, but to the latent eye, it is quite hard to say. And surely, then, if one could not see the relation between the rugby union code and American football, then any relation to arena football must be invisible, correct?

Maybe. Maybe not.

In the final match of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, England took on Australia, the host of the tournament at Telestra Stadium, currently known as Stadium Australia, in Sydney. It was here where English fly-half Jonathan Peter Wilkinson tempted fate, and won.

Jonny Wilkinson's drop goal with just 26 seconds remaining in extra time is one of the everlasting moments in not just rugby, but all of sports. To beat the Wallabies in Australia during the World Cup was, at that time, unfathomable. The last World Cup match loss for the Wallabies came 8 years prior, handed to them by England, on, astoundingly, a drop goal at the brink of full time.

A drop goal is scored by performing a drop kick, rather than a set kick from a tee or from the touch of the holder, propelling the ball through the uprights. This is a common site in rugby union and to some extent in rugby league, however, a actual drop kick is used to begin play or "kickoff" after a score (league prefers to use the drop kick in some other situations) . But it is no anomaly to see them used in the union code strategically to score points during play. Often times they are used with little or no time remaining, or when the leading team is looking to simply expand or maintain their lead.

To most Americans, however, a drop kick is an archaic novelty. The only time we see it is in an NFL Films program about your grandfather's St. Louis Cardinals or when Doug Flutie is attempting one in a career-validating maneuver, which at that point, a reference to Ray "Scooter" McLean of the Chicago Bears, who converted the last successful NFL drop kick attempt (1941) prior to Flutie, must be made. A drop kick is hardly ever utilized in the American game.

It is fundamentally important to consider the point value of a drop goal and its role in both sports. Scoring is similar except for one fundamental difference. In rugby union, a drop goal is worth 3 points as well, however, there is no option for a placekick, or set field goal, thus making the drop goal the sole option for kick based points during run of play. "Conversion kicks", or the term for a rugby "point after attempt" (PAT), placekicks are allowed and are typical. In American football, a drop kick is worth 1 point when employed for an extra point attempt and three points when used in place of the traditional placekicked field goal, meaning, the point value is the same whether drop kicked or a holder is used. It is clear to see, then, that the set field goal of American football essentially eliminates the need to "risk" taking a drop kick in the first place.

The placekick was common in the American game for some time, but took a real foothold (pun intended) in the 1930s, relegating the drop goal, and the drop kick, to novelty status. As mentioned before, American football derived from rugby, a loose, free-form and free-flowing game which does not allow for practical application of the "set-snap-hold-kick" placekick. But as football as we know it today evolved, the game became more structured and rigid, and full of pauses between plays that allowed teams to set up for a placekick. Given the game's current form and point scoring format, the drop kick is obsolete.

And it might remain obsolete on this side of the Atlantic if not for the Arena Football League restoring its validity. In the Arena league, a drop kick during the PAT is worth 2 points, one more than the standard placekick. On top of that, a drop kick instead of a placekick for a field goal, typically worth 3 points, is worth a whopping 4 points in the AFL. So then, it would seem, in a league that does not allow punting, that these quick strike sticks, that would look not unlike Jonny Wilkinson's game winner, would be commonplace.

A quick look at the stats as per shows that only one player in AFL history has nailed the vaunted 4-pointer. In 1994, Brian Mitchell booted six, yes six, 4-point drop goals for the Cleveland Thunderbolts to go along with 18 drop kicked extra points. In '95 he played shortly for the St. Louis Stampede, failing to register a 4-pointer, despite making 10 2-point conversions. The story remains unclear as to why the sudden drop off, but regardless, it seems almost unbelievable that Mitchell would be the only player to convert a 4-point drop kick in the existence of the league. A handful of players have converted a 2-point attempt, however, other than Mitchell, the highest total for a single season is 4, and none have been made since 2001.

It seems odd that there would be such a lack of attempts given the potential value they hold. Finding an answer or explanation for this lack of drop goals could be daunting although not impossible. In the United States, obviously, drop kicking is basically never committed at any level of football, meaning it is never taught. The number of people who can accurately kick a drop kick is limited, and those that can are found on an amateur rugby pitch. Perhaps it is that the high scoring style of game in the AFL makes touchdowns almost too alluring. Teams are more likely to throw in hopes of a touchdown, rather than make a conservative play for a field goal, something far more common in the NFL or at the collegiate level.

The indoor style of play focuses much less on the kick game than most professional levels of football, but what if drop goals were not limited to kicking specialists? Sure, this conjures up images of Kordell Stewart in his "Slash" days which did not prove fruitful at the NFL level. But it is entirely possible, with the much smaller, faster field and game play of the Arena League, that a player not unlike Stewart could potentially be very dangerous.

Albeit, such speculation is just that, speculation, but a quarterback that could throw for 6-points and kick for 4-points at any given point in the game could change the way the game is played entirely. The role of the quarterback and his attributes is decidedly American - a stoic leader passing his way down the field against all obstacles to reach the goal line. Perhaps we take a cue from the other side of the pond and drop kick our way to glory. Surely, Francis Maule Campbell would approve. At least something would be recognizable.

Getting Pumped For The Big Game - OFFICIAL PUMP-UP POST

First off, thanks for the link and a big welcome to our new readers from The Pensblog. We trust that you will find our innovative site design and cutting-edge color scheme as well as our in-depth knowledge of Arena Football to your liking.

Feel free to comment on any of the posts and we encourage active participation in our site!


August 1, 1987.

The Setting:

ArenaBowl I.

We all remember the feeling that fateful August day.

You woke up, poured yourself out of bed, took a shower, maybe had a cup of coffee.
You knew that it wasn't just any other day, though.
You knew that it was an historic day for the ages.

As you drove to work, you nervously flicked the radio between DVE and B94, trying desperately to get the latest injury update on Mike Hohenesee. Was he ready to play? Could the Gladiators stop the potent punch of the Denver Dynamite's offensive juggernaut?

You trudged through another miserable day at the office. Nobody was getting anything done. Not on this day. This day was special. It was the day of the first ArenaBowl. The Igloo. The Steel City -- ARENA FOOTBALL CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

The roof was open at the Civic Arena as you pulled up to your customary parking spot on the Bluff at Duquesne University. It was in the air. It was everywhere that night. Energy. Hope. A capacity crowd of 13,232 of your brothers in arms, there for their coronation. The city of champions.

Then, it happened.

DL Phil Forte recovers a fumble in the Gladiators endzone for a 6-0 lead. The Dynamite never looked back. Before you knew it, it was the end of the third quarter, and the Glads are down 32-0.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. Hohenesee was public enemy number one that night, having failed to produce any meaningful offense in the biggest football game ever played in the history of the City of Pittsburgh. To this day, you still hear people in bars from the North Shore to Cannonsburg lamenting the name Mike Hohenesee for costing us our dream - a dream that so many people had worked so hard for.

Arena Football would die a shameful death in Pittsburgh after that night, as the national media lampooned this marquee matchup, carried live on national TV by ESPN, as a total joke. Fans poured into Market Square in the following years to make their voices heard. Petitions were signed. Dirty back room political deals were made. The Gladiators were headed to Tampa, where they would become the Tampa Bay Storm.

Our players. Gone. In a flash, it seems.

It was there that OUR players became the most successful and storied Arena Football League franchise in history. Everybody forgot about Pittsburgh, but.......

.... Today.... The Phoenix finally rises from the ashes. Pittsburgh finally has a football team to call our own.

It's only fitting that our first opponent, the Philadelphia Soul, are coached by none other than the man who killed Arena ball in Pittsburgh to begin with.

If you don't have a reason already to hate the Soul or to be absolutely house-rockingly pumped for this game, may I present to you the evidence in kind:


If that's not enough, I don't know what is.

It's time for revenge, boys.


(Recap coming after we get home from the game sometime during the overnight period.)


vs.Friday, March 11, 2011
8:00 PM
TV: NFL Network
Radio: 93.7 The Fan
Consol Energy Center - Pittsburgh, PA

The dust has finally settled. The brand new Consol Energy Center is open for business - but for this new crown jewel of Pittsburgh's downtown renaissance, only a smash-mouth, high-scoring, high-octane anchor tenant will suffice.

Yes, after over a messy decade without major league indoor football in the 'Burgh -- The AFL has finally returned.

In the inaugural game of the Pittsburgh Power's first ever season, it is hated cross-state rival Philadelphia who invades the CEC. The Soul, winners of the 2008 ArenaBowl, are coached by Mike Honesee, who also has an ArenaBowl under his belt, winning ArenaBowl XX with the venerated Chicago Rush.

On offense, the Soul are lead by former Tulsa Talon's stud Justin Allgood. Allgood lead the league last year with 109 touchdown passes. Algood checks in at a stout 6'2" and 240 lbs - the AFL's very own version of the Pillsbury Throw Boy.

So, the Soul have a gunslinger -- That's "All good" -- but can they compete with the raw emotion and the aura that will be all over Consol Energy Center tomorrow night? I can tell you right now, I live thirty miles away, and I've already got out the Ginsu knives -- the tension is so thick it takes three of these things to cut it.

Power head coach Chris Siegfried had a bit of a scramble in a short offseason to put together a stable of young quarterbacks, but Coach Seig has more than a solid one-two punch with Marshall University standout Bernard Morris and Cal U (PA) grad and AF2 stalwart Kevin McCabe.

I've had beers at the Cactus Lounge with McCabe - let me tell you - I can see why this guy beat out Anthony Morelli for the backup QB spot. He eats, breathes, sleeps, pukes, bleeds, and ejaculates football. He is a born leader for the 50 yard indoor war -- and don't be surprised if Seig has a quick hook for Morris if he doesn't light it up early -- McCabe can play.

Also, coming out of training camp, a lot of my sources have noted the chemistry between Morris, McCabe, and WR Terry Grossetti. I know that Dave Ball and Jerome Mathis figure to be the go-to guys and the ones who put up the gaudy numbers - but the ace in the hole for the Bolts is Grosetti. He's deceptively quick.

For every Power game we cover here on the BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG, our three contributing editors will pass along their expert picks for the game, along with the key to victory. We call these our BOLTSBURGH POWER BLOG KEYS TO VICTORY! There are three of them. One each.

- Perry -
MIKE and JACK LB'ers Bostic and Graham get huge support from the D-Line's major-league pass rush and get to Allgood early and often.

Power 65
Soul 50

- Pro -
The Soul have no soul, but what they do have is experience. And they were featured heavily on the Real World Philadelphia. I think the Power have all the tools to put up a fight, though, and most importantly, that ol' Black & Gold spirit.

Power 66
Soul 63

- Schwartz -
This is Pittsburgh's week to lose 76-74.

Soul 76
Power 74

1) Pressure the QB early and often
2) Ole' Black and Gold Spirit
3) Lose


Power vs Soul. Tomorrow. First game in franchise history. Preview coming soon. Bring the noise.