Saturday, April 16, 2011

Power vs Sharks - Liveblog

I know nobody's going to show up for this, since it's a homegame, but liveblogging is way easier than sitting here and taking notes and writing up a recap, so we're just going to go ahead and do it that way.

We'll be here around 7-7:15 for the "pregame". Join us if you want. Not expecting anyone.

By the way, tonight is country night at the CEC, which could only mean one thing:

If you can find a better babe than Sarah Marince, you must be Charlie Sheen or something.

Holy crap. She's awesome. Sometimes I can't even believe it.

Anyways, the liveblog starts HERE:

Friday, April 15, 2011





Saturday, April 16, 2011
7:30 PM
TV: Pittsburgh's CW Channel 19
Radio: 93.7 The Fan
Consol Energy Center - Pittsburgh, PA

After two weeks of strife, arrests, injuries, and other general bad press, the Power return to action at the Consol Energy Center to take on one of the hottest teams in the AFL, the Jacksonville Sharks. Let's hope the week off was a good thing, because this is going to be Pittsburgh's stiffest test yet.

The Sharks are led by 17 (yes, seventeen) year veteran and career 46,000 (not a typo, either) yard passer Aaron Garcia. This is by far one of the, if not the head-and-shoulders, greatest players in the history of the AFL.

Jacksonville also boasts three big-time, productive receivers in Jomo Wilson (25 REC 398 Yds 9 TD), Jeron Harvey (26 REC 353 Yds 10 TD), and Sale Key (24 REC 232 Yds 5 TD) -- an absolute offensive wrecking crew. Heh. Jomo.

On top of all that, they have a fantastic former offensive coordinator in Power Head Coach Chris Siegfried. Perhaps that could be an ace in the hole for the Power defense.

The Power come into the game with two injured starting QB's -- Bernard Morris is still on the IR and Kevin McCabe was just placed on it, meaning that Penn State grad Anthony Morelli gets the nod. In limited action this season, Morelli is 11-17 for 141 yds and 1 TD. This week, he is backed up by new signing Xavier Lee, the Florida State graduate who fills the infamous Pittsburgh favorite "slash" role. Last year for the Yard Dawgz, Lee amassed a respectable 700+ receiving yards, and also is a rushing threat. He will serve as Morelli's backup in case of another disaster. It will be curious to see if he plays any WR in this game, given the Power's bad luck with injuries as of late.

As usual, it will be up to the Power's cadre of talented receivers to prop up a patchwork QB/OL -- Lonnell DeWalt, Jason Willis, and Mike "Joystick" Washington as well as Jerome Mathis and Eddie Thompson. Productive WR Irv Campbell is on the IR, as well.

As for the Power defense, will Josh Lay play? He's not on any kind of official league suspension, and rumours abound that his recent run-in with the law may have been overstated. He's been a key piece in the Pittsburgh secondary and would be sorely missed. Lay also suffered a brutal helmet to helmet hit in the last game, and may still be feeling that a little bit.

When the Power have been successful, it has been when they've been able to control the clock and slow down the pace, putting together long and methodical drives. Let's be honest -- they have absolutely no chance if they get into a shootout with Jacksonville. They are going to need to dink and dunk and keep the football out of the hands of Garcia if they have any chance to win this game.

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 -
Pittsburgh needs to be conservative yet productive on offense. Control the pace. They can't let Aaron Garcia get too much time with the ball - he will torch them. This is my first time picking against the Power. I hope I'm wrong.

Sharks 65
Power 42

- Pro -

- Schwartz -
The Sharks never get good goaltending after the weather breaks.

Power 57
Sharks 45


1) Ball control.
2) ???
3) Sharks goaltending collapse?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Power Sign New QB, Make Other Adjustments

The Power have found their new backup quarterback to fill in while Kevin McCabe is on the shelf and they await the re-arrival of Bernard Morris from injured reserve.

It's former Florida State WR Xavier Lee.

He has some indoor experience, making a brief stint in 2010 for the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz. He was 22 of 44 for 3o4 Yds, 4 TD and 1 INT. He also ran 11 times for 65 yds and two TD's. As a receiver, Lee caught 62 balls for 718 yards and 7 TD.

It looks like Morelli will get the start and they will perhaps use Lee as a dual threat/emergency QB.

In other roster activity, Pittsburgh has activated DB Antonio Smith from IR and placed DB Lenny Wicks and lineman Darius Robinson on "Recallable Reassignment".

Monday, April 11, 2011

Another Groupon Ticket Deal

This is the first piece of good news we've posted in quite a while, so savor it.

People ask us a lot to post when there are good ticket deals. We usually just say to keep an eye on LivingSocial, Groupon, etc. However, someone on Twitter did tip us off that there's an excellent deal currently on Groupon.

You can get tickets to the Jacksonville or Milwaukee game, lower levels (50 dollar face value) for $20. An outstanding deal.

Click here, select Pittsburgh, fill in your info, and enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

McCabe on IR - Could Things Get Worse?

Sorry for the lateness of this post, we've been taking a break and enjoying the bye week doing non-Arena Ball related things.

Regardless, the Power placed Kevin McCabe on IR as of Friday. The extent or nature of the injury is unknown.

Absolutely no idea who the Power go to at this point. As far as we know, they've only got one QB on the roster.

As soon as we hear something, you'll hear something.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bad Week Gets Worse - Lay Arrested On Drug Charges

Power CB Josh Lay was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped in Alliquippa on March 21, and apparently had some weed in the car with him. A lot. And some scales. And some cell phones. A recipe for "intent to distribute."

This somehow went completely under the radar until now. Lay played in last week's loss to the Tulsa Talons.

Michael Gorham, COO of the Power, was also apparently not aware of the charges, the exact nature of which is undisclosed at this time. It probably goes against best practices to have drug charges filed against you and not tell your employer.

Lay's status with the league and the team are unknown at this time.

The Post-Gazette has more.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Barfjob At the Barn - Power vs Talons - Game Recap

Only way to describe this one.

Bob Pompeani nails it, pronouncing Talons correctly twice in the opening few seconds of the broadcast. Cleveland got a huge win over the Chicago Rush, making it critical for the Power to get the job done in order to keep pace in the division.

Pomp tells us that Matt Bassuener will start in place of Bobby Reid. Gee, who all but overtly suggested that in our game preview? A running quarterback won't get it done in the AFL.

The coin toss is won by Tulsa, who will kick it away.


Bubba introduces the starting lineups, the special teams take the field, and we're off. The lower level seems pretty sporadically filled at the Consol Energy Center, but it's a loud and enthusiastic crowd as always.

Opening kick is taken by Eddie Thompson out to about the 19, and immediately there is laundry.

Illegal block in the back against Carlos Campbell.

We're in business. Ugh.

McCabe time. Let's see if he can put together a complete game.

First play is a dumpoff to Jason Willis for a first down. Very good patience shown by big Kev. David Ball is starting at WR. Where the hell is Mike Washington? Let's see how much the suspension of Lonnell DeWalt affects the game as it goes on.

McCabe finds Ball on first down and moves the sticks again. Absolutely wide open. McCabe then takes a shot at the endzone and JC Neal just barely gets a hand on it, tipping it away from Willis. He was open. Fantastic play by Neal makes up for the lapse in the Talons secondary on the earlier play which left Ball wide open.

LETS GO POWER chant breaks out.

McCabe finds Eddie Thompson down at the four. McCabe isn't looking for anyone but the guy being covered by JC Neal. I don't know a lot about him, but I'm assuming Neal is a joke.

McCabe then hits Ball directly in the chest. He might as well have hit him in the Balls. He drops it in the endzone. Huge early 4th down.

McCabe floats one for Thompson. Picked off in the endzone by Jamar Ransom. NOT GOOD. Talons take over on the touchback with 11:50 remaining in the 1st.

Copeland, Hunt, and McBroom start at receiver for Tulsa. No Rodney White... Yet.

Bassuener's first throw is a little tight on the wall and falls safely to the turf. He then looks to the same side and finds McBroom. What the hell kind of a name is McBroom? He must be half witch. First down Talons.

Bassuener then dumps one to Copeland who is introduced to Josh Lay - hard hit into the boards. Ensuing play, Bassuener takes off and picks up another first down before being stopped by Tyrell Herbert.

Woof compares Reid being the best running quarterback in the AFL to being the tallest person in a midget contest. WTF?

After an incomplete pass in the endzone, Bassuener dumps it off to Jordan Bedore for a short gain. 3rd and 6 deep in Power territory. This is where the defense shines. The count and the snap - FALSE START, TULSA. Make it a 3rd and 11.

Bassuener then finds Al Hunt over the middle where he's wrapped up by Tyrell Herbert, but has enough for the first down after battling off the tackle.

Inside the four, they go with the run. Jordan Bedore up the middle and down to about the one inch line.

Pomp makes a huge announcement -- Sarah Marince performing live on April 16 at the Jacksonville game.

What a babe.

Tulsa goes left again, as Bobby Reid checks into the game. Stuffed by Josh Lay and Terrell. On 3rd down, they go to Ransom, again stopped short. 4th and goal at the inch line. Reid always a threat to keep it down here.

He keeps and Reid scores. 5:27 remaining.

Talons 7
Power 0

Bongarra kicks it away, fielded by Thompson on the wall in his own endzone and spins out to the ten yard line where the Bolts take over.

First play, McCabe goes deep. THERE'S JOYSTICK!! Wide open! Overthrown. Good God is it awesome to see Mike Washington back, even if McCabe is throwing it 50 yards over his head.

Following that play, a false start on Jason Willis. NOT A GOOD START.

3:45 left and a 2nd and 15 for the Big Kev Machine.

Another deep ball, David Ball has a defender hanging all over him the whole way down the sideline -- no flag. 3rd and 15 for the Power.

McCabe then hit as he threw. Some asshole in a Lynn Swann jersey in the front row drops it. That's why you're in the stands, dick. You'll never get a sweet nickname like Joystick.

4th and 15, Paul Edinger coming on to attempt the field goal (read: punt) from his own goal line. Two minutes left in what has been a low scoring game thus far. Snap is high, Edingers kick is.... Short... Fielded in the endzone by Varner who returns it to the 15 yardline. Gary Butler on the tackle. Wow, that kick was JUST short, maybe 3 or 4 more feet and he would've had it.

Talons take over leading 7-0. Under 2 remain in the quarter.

Bassuener back in the game, hits on a short screen, then finds McBroom along the wall. Makes the catch for a first down, but not before Carlos Campbell takes his head off into the wall.

Another handoff. This might be the lowest-scoring AFL game of the modern era. Bedore good for two yards. Bassuener then finds hunt on the underneath route for another first down inside the Pittsburgh 15. That's the end of the first quarter.

Tulsa 7
Pittsburgh 0


Tulsa starts at the Power 6. Bassuener keeps it, rolls right. Touchdown on the keeper. Consol Energy Center opens its roof and pukes onto Fifth Avenue.

Darius Robinson injured on the play. He's helped off on his own power. PAT is good.

Talons 14
Power 0

Eddie Thompson back deep once again. The Power need to get a score here. Thompson plays it off the net. Breaks out to the left. All the way to the Tulsa six yard line. That's huge.

McCabe throws a little quick dump to Thompson who runs right and then backwards for a loss of about seventy thousand yards. 2nd and goal at the 14.

McCabe then looks for Thompson again. Overthrown.

We're witnessing the complete undoing of a folk hero. McCabe falling apart before our eyes. 0 for his last 6 with a pick.

Tried and true, RUEEEEEEEEE.

McCabe with the quick out to Josh Rue who does it all himself. TOUCHDOWN POWER!

Edinger's PAT is good. We've got a whole new ballgame.


Edinger's kick is off the net. Misplayed in the endzone by Christian Varner, dumped for the quick touchback. Momentum starting to swing. Remember the swing revival in the mid-late 90's? God was that fucking retarded. Brian Setzer my ass.

Bassuener goes deep on the first play of the drive and Carlos Campbell is all over it. No dice on the home run ball. The next throw goes into the front row. Again, a guy in the stands makes a fool of himself. Falls down. The guy in the row behind him makes the pick, but gives the ball back. He was sitting right next to the Lynn Swann guy. That section has the worst receiving corps ever.

Bassuener then with a quick out to Copeland, Josh Lay with the quick stop, but not before the first down with 9:30 left.

Bassuener throws a lateral behind the line, who knows who it was intended for. Chris Terrell got heavy pressure on Bassuener. Tulsa falls on it for a loss. 2nd and 14.

Bassuener's next throw is WAY behind McBroom and Josh Lay nearly picks it off. It's 3rd and long. Big 'Mo' continues in the direction of the Power.

Bassuener finds McBroom over the middle, Campbell makes the stop short of the first down, but there's a flag on the play. Chris Terrell lined up in the neutral zone. He's a little too hungry. 3rd and 9.

The throw is WELL short intended for McBroom, Carlos Campbell is there but not in position to pick it off. More pressure on Bassuener by the Power defense. Looking good even in the absense of Neil Purvis.

4th and 9, crowd goes nuts. Bassuener pressured heavily, flag down. Throw is tipped and PICKED OFF BY TYRELL HERBERT!

Call has got to be a hold here, right? Right.

Power take over with 6:56 left.

What have we got. Illegal defense, roughing the passer, and holding. Penalties offset. Replay the down. God damnit.

Definitely was a late hit there. Hawaii is Hawaii.

4th and 9 again... 6:47 left. Bassuener to throw, dumps one off, and I have no idea what it hit, maybe Tyrell Herbert, incomplete. Another flag down.

Illegal twist on Pittsburgh. Ugh.

Bassuener then scrambles for a gain of about eight, and the Talons are back in business with another long drive. 2nd and 2 coming up. Prime time to take a shot at the endzone.

Bassuener with a designed run, picks up the first down and a couple yards more down to the Power 15 yard line.

Not sure why Bobby Reid isn't playing. Bassuener is running just as much. I really disagree with the strategy. It's just not befitting of the sport.

Pass complete to Copeland. Hit by Campbell. FUMBLE. CARLOS CAMPBELL RECOVERS! Pittsburgh takes over!

First down, McCabe flushed out, scrambles for the first down, an apparent fumbel is called down. McCabe then finds Eddie Thompson for a gain of eight. More flags.

Let them play, bojo refs.

Eh, nevermind. Facemask against Tulsa. Half the distance. First down. McCabe is starting to cook. Finding that rhythm that he lost somewhere in the 2nd half of the Iowa game. Rue checks in. Gets the call, stuffed for a loss of one. 3:30 left.

McCabe looks for Mike Washington in the endzone on the fade route. Fade routes don't really work when there's a wall in the endzone. Incomplete.

On 3rd down, McCabe looks for Joystick again. Pass is broken up by JC Neal, but there's some more laundry down. Jason Willis exchanges words with a Tulsa DB. The officials needs to figure this garbage out. Two penalties. Pass interference against Neal. Half the distance, first down. After the play, Willis tacked with the personal foul. Either way, it's a Power first down with 2:34 remaining in the half.

Ball on the 13. McCabe dumps off to Joystick Washington who gets down to about the five yard line, where it's 2nd and goal.

There it is.

McCabe finds MIKE "JOYSTICK" WASHINGTON for the POWER TOUCHDOWN! The PAT ties it up.


Edinger's kick, taken by Christian Varner who gets out to about the 7 and Jason Willis makes the stop. One minute warning.

Bassuener runs again on first down. Jesus. Why can't they stop that? Picks up a nice chunk of yardage, and Tulsa inexplicably allows 10 extra seconds to run off before calling time out. 2nd and 1.

Bassuener finds Brandon Copeland on the crossing route, stopped by Lay. That's a first down. Tulsa's coach flips out. The clock didn't stop... Or didn't start. Nobody has any clue exactly what happens. Another time out.

Bassuener finds Brandon Copeland for a first down, and the Talons are in business. 12 seconds left and a first down at the Power 10. Throw to the endzone is overthrown. Larico Stevenson with picture perfect blanket coverage. Six ticks left.

Bassuener pressured, hit, loose ball, flag down, horn sounds, and we've got another mess.

Holding on the Talons. Phew. That's the end of the first half.



Pomp interviews Chris Siegfried. Coach says the offense is off-balance and the penalties need to stop. Siegfried says that the surprise start of Bassuener hasn't caught them off guard. Power being outgained 144 to 91 in total yardage. Tulsa 31 offensive plays to Pittsburgh's 18. 40 rush yards for Tulsa to 14 for Pittsburgh. Lopsided, yes. The scoreboard, however, says it's a tie game.


Paul Edinger tees it up and we're underway in the 2nd half. Weird bounce is fielded by Varner and he is hit by Mike Washington and Lenny Wicks inside his own five. Good start.

Bassuener immediately goes back to Troy McBroom for a gain of 10 and a first down. Tulsa looking to strike early. Bassuener looks deep for Al Hunt and there's nobody even in the same zip code as that ball.

Again, Bassuener goes back to McBroom out to the Power 22. Ensuing play is another deep ball for McBroom, and again, Carlos Campbell is all over him. Incomplete.

Bassuener drops back to throw again and Gary F'n Butler is there for yet another sack. He's been huge game in and game out. Brings up a 3rd and 15 for Tulsa. Bassuener pressured, scrambles, and he once again gets acquainted with Gary Butler who drills him into the near wall. 4th and 11. Tulsa will go for it. Chris Terrell helps their cause by jumping offsides. 4th and 6.

Bassuener is hit as he throws, Terrance Carter gets there. Pass falls incomplete, and the Power take over with a chance to grab their first lead of the game. Another huge defensive stand lead by Gary Butler.

McCabe with 9:19 left drops back, dances around and throws the ball directly to Ransom. His second pick. Yuck.

Ransom is slow to get up. Looks like he's in a ton of pain. You never wish an injury on any athlete, and we hope it's minor, but it can only help that this guy is out of the game, at least for a little while. He's going to haunt Kevin McCabe's dreams for months.

McCabe 8/18 for 77 yards, 2 TD and 2 INT at this point. No rhythm.

LETS GO POWER chant breaks out. Bassuener scrambles and is hit by Tyrell Herbert and Gary Butler after a short gain. 3rd and 7 at the Power 10 yard line for Tulsa. Can the defense possibly make another miracle stop?

DE-FENSE chant takes over the Consol. An uneasy one. Bassuener pressured again, scrambles to his right and is forced into the wall by Gary Butler. Well short of the first down. 4th and 5 for Tulsa. Can't say enough about how clutch this defense has been.

Juan Bongarra comes out to try the field goal from the Power 14. The kick is good, and Tulsa regains the lead.


Thompson muffs the kick in the endzone, gets out to the ten, and fumbles. Dear lord. This defense has bailed the offense out time after time, and this is the way the offense and special teams repay them? Unbelievable. Tulsa takes over at the 13. The crowd gets restless.

Bassuener's throw over the middle is dropped by McBroom. Should've been a touchdown.

Bassuener has McBroom wide open in the endzone. It's getting ugly, because this offense has struggled all night.


Bubba announces the attendance: Another solid crowd of 9,924. The only people who haven't showed up yet are the Power offensive unit.

So, a chance for redemption for Eddie Thompson. He gets out to the 7 yard line and is pile driven by Nikos Brown.

Good Christ.

Anthony Morelli checks in at QB, looking to spark the Power.

He looks left and finds Joystick Washington for a first down.

*Editorial Note* I'm having a horrific time cheering for a Penn State guy, but I'm trying my best.

Morelli then finds Jason Willis off to his left, another first down.

The buzz starts to come back into the crowd a little bit.

Morelli's first series really reminding me of McCabes first series so far. Safe, low-risk passes, and he's been efficient so far. 2:32 remaining and the Power driving methodically.

Morelli is 4 for 5 with 27 yards at this point. He then finds Mike Washington for another first down. 1:30 left in the 3rd. The Nitter is moving the ball.

Morelli looks for Willis in the endzone and Neal nearly picks it off. Good break. He was all over Jason on that play.

Morelli on 2nd and goal goes to the endzone. Picked off by Darian Williams.

The crowd begins a chant in support of Morelli.



Anyone miss Bernard Morris? Anyone wish the Roethlisberger article wasn't an April Fools joke?

Ain't Talkin 'Bout Love. Becoming a Power tradition. Time to turn it up, boys. Tulsa takes over at their own two. It was mini football night, as one fan, then two, then several more remind us. Game has to be stopped to clean up the mini footballs. The officials are clearly annoyed.

Bassuener throws over some bojo's head. Larico Stevenson on the coverage. End of the third quarter. Frustrated? You bet.



CW Brandi says to eat at Pizza Hut. I say meet me at my parents house for a hot makeout session. CW Brandi: "Nonplussed."

Bassuener finds Al Hunt. 9 yard gain. 3rd and 1. Absolutely need a turnover here, as the clock is ticking. Bassuener keeps and picks up the first down, another tackle by Gary Butler. 14 minutes left. Ugh. They've got to find a way to beat this joke of a team.

Deep ball. Campbell all over Al Hunt. Incomplete. Campbell is my defensive player of the game for Pittsburgh at this point. Brings up a 2nd and 10 for the Talons. Quick out to McBroom who is absolutely killed by Josh Lay. In a comparable American gridiron football league who will remain nameless forever on this blog, that's a 900 game suspension and a $650,000 fine for a helmet to helmet hit. Lay leaves the game with Brain Slushie Syndrome. Bassuener finds Copeland for 8 yards and another first down. Just a hair over 12 minutes remaining.

Where's that turnover?

Bassuener to the stocky receiver Al Hunt for another first down, inside the Power fifteen. Game over if they score here.

Handoff to Bedore, a gain of a few yards. Tick, tick, tick. 10:25 left.

Bassuener rolls right, takes a hit from Terrance Carter, and the Talons QB throws it to the Sparks outside of the right side of the endzone. Hannah - call me. <3.


Bassuener finds Troy McBroom. That's his 2nd touchdown in addition to the earlier fumble recovery. We're boned. PAT is good. A few fans start pouring out.


Power go completely insane. Pitch to Rue at their own five. Fumble. Talons recover. One way trip to suicide island. Absolutely no confidence in Anthony Morelli. 8 minutes left. Tulsa takes over, looking to deal the death blow. Reid checks in and walks into the endzone. I feel like walking into a freight train.

Tulsa 38
Pittsburgh 17

Ensuing drive, deep ball caught for the touchdown by Mike Washington. Fun fact: Pittsburgh's high motion man was offsides. Morelli's first AFL touchdown pass has still yet to happen. 6 minutes left.

A couple more little Morrelli dumpoffs, more penalties, whatever.

I miss Lonnell DeWalt and I wish someone would tell me when he's coming back.

Morelli finds Eddie Thompson. He's crushed. Helmet to helmet, again. Jesus. You may never see another hit harder than that in the entire rest of the AFL's existence. Another time out to tend to another head injury. Eddie Thompson joins the club with Josh Lay and Irv Washington. Thompson gets off the field on his own power.

Meanwhile, Morelli finds Jason Willis inside Tulsa territory with 4:30 left. The Power need to score. First downs are nice, but they don't stop the clock.

There it is.

Morelli with his first career AFL touchdown pass. It's Mike Washington, good for twenty four yards. Joystick with a tough catch up against the wall. Two point conversion attempt coming up.

Morelli floats one for David Ball, over his head, but he was interfered with. Half the distance. Come one guys, bury it. Make it interesting here.

Morelli keeps, stretches, and JUST BARELY gets it. Two pointer is good.


PS, Morelli was down. Horrible call. One of many in this game.

Onside kick attempt is recovered by Shaw for Tulsa. Bassuener takes over at the Power ten. A pitch to Hunt keeps the clock moving. I have no idea how much time is left, because the CW's graphic disappeared. It's not much.

Ah, it's back. 2:30. Need a turnover worse than they need oxygen.

Bassuener pressured, throws it away. Flag down. Roughing the passer against Pittsburgh. The undisciplined, frustrated play continues.

First and goal. Bassuener keeps and gets down to the two. Siegfried calls a time out that you could hear from Mt. Washington. Terrance Carter on the tackle. 2:07 left. Reid checks back in, keeps, runs right, hit by Larico Stevenson gets a hat on it, and Reid FUMBLES. Tulsa recovers.

Another flag.

This game is a mess. Chop block on Tulsa.

1:45 left.

Bassuener back in, pressured, and finds Al Hunt for the Talons score. FML.

Tulsa 45
Pittsburgh 22

This is the most humiliating moment in the history of Pittsburgh sports.


Who cares? What an empty feeling. This team is just decimated by injuries and suspensions at this point, and it's showing. It can only get worse. Eddie Thompson is back in the game, at least.

Morelli was buried inside his own five, about to get sacked, and somehow finds Eddie Thompson out to near midfield. 38 seconds left. The Power call their final time out.

Morelli is then sacked by Nikos Brown AKA his own left foot. 20 seconds left. It's academic at this point.

The Power will fall to 2-2 and lose pace with the Gladiators in the division. Let us never speak of this pukefest again.

Tulsa 45
Pittsburgh 22

Players of the game:

- Offense -
Matt Basseuner, QB Tulsa
252 Yds Total Offense

- Defense -
Jamar Ransom, DB Tulsa

No words. A week off to lick our wounds and recover. 4/16 vs Jacksonville at the Consol Energy Center.

Friday, April 1, 2011

"If I am Too Loud, You Are Too Old" - The Redemption of Bubba

Under The Gun: Bubba vs The World

The rush a fan gets when the home team takes the field for a game is like nothing else. An indescribable experience that gets the adrenaline flowing and causes grown men to cheer for guys half their age. The trademark intro music blares, fireworks go off, people are dancing, screaming, spilling their beer. It's a rite of passage passed down from father to son since the days of the Roman Colosseum.

The experience transcends all sports. Each individual league has their own traditions and customs. In baseball, it's the introduction of each individual player on opening day. In hockey, the lights come down and hard rock blasts through the PA system. The referees come out first, usually to a chorus of boos. The visiting team follows suit. As the music builds to a crescendo, the home team finally takes the ice as the announcer declares them YOUR team.

Even nontraditional sports, such as professional wrestling, use the introductions as a way of storytelling, a way to build up anticipation. Who doesn't remember the feeling you got just knowing that in about five seconds, the Ultimate Warrior's music was going to hit and beat you over the head with power chords and a driving beat as your favorite roided up maniac went full bore to the ring, Gorilla Monsoon criticizing him for using up all of his energy before the bell even rang.

It's the same for Arena Football, a sport which brings to the table a completely different breed of the mix between sports and entertainment spectacle. Fireworks, dancers, hard rock, and the public address announcer introducing your team.

In Pittsburgh, where the Power are only four weeks old, the man introducing the team is no stranger to any of this action. He is known simply as Bubba - kind of a Pittsburgh version of a Jack-of-All-Trades who was made most famous by his run as a co-host of the popular morning show on now-defunct B94 FM.

Bubba is extraordinarily popular with the young adult demographic. He helped to usher in the teen pop of the early 90's to the Steel City through his gig as the voice of top 40 active pop and pop culture shenanigans on WBZZ. A lot of older radio listeners, the Howard Stern and 'DVE crowd, in particular, didn't exactly flock to 93.7 on their radio dial. It goes without question that Bubba was off their radar, sort of written off instantaneously with the brand of bubble gum pop that his radio home was churning out.

Far be it from Bubba to care, though.

He's always been a guy who does his own thing. Bubba, a fan of pro wrestling, used his local fame to find work as a grappler with several organizations in the mid to late 90's. It was his first of many explorations of his personal interest.

"My first match ever in the WWF was a tag team match. Me and Yokozuna versus the British Bulldog and Owen Hart. Sadly I am the only person from that match that is still alive," Bubba recalled.

"I have wrestled everyone from Mick Foley to Shane Douglas to many many more over the years."

Not one to stop at chasing one dream, he's also in the bar business. Bubba is a proprietor of the popular local Mullens chain. There's one on the South Side and one on the North Shore. You can find the Power hosting post-game parties there with regularity.

Today, the survivors of Bubba's morning team at the ill-fated B94 co-host a morning show on Pittsburgh's Star 100.7, the bastard lovechild of the old Variety 96 and B94. He's still pulling goofy stunts and still spinning mostly pop music. It's easy to see why a large segment of the younger, hipper Pittsburgh crowd would hate him... Or at least like him, but only ironically.

Love him or hate him, Bubba's career path lead to another unique opportunity earlier this year, when, Michael Gorham, Chief Operating Officer of the fledgling Pittsburgh Power Arena Football League franchise came calling.

"[He] called me and asked me if I wanted to audition and interview for the position. They approached me. I have zero idea [how they chose me]. I am just very happy and fortunate that they did."

Shortly after starting his stint as the arena voice of the Power, Bubba began to, for better or worse, build up his own style and personality.

He's had a love of the sport since the AFL on NBC era, and tries to incorporate what he learned and loves of the game into the gameday product.

"The thing that I love about Arena football is the speed of the game. I have been a fan of Arena football for years. I used to watch the games on Sundays on NBC. The wide receivers have some much speed and skill and the QB's have such a fast release, that skill level is awesome," he noted.

Speed, speed, speed. It's what everybody first notices about arena football. Given that, Bubba says he's tried to incorporate a high-energy approach to his announcing style. He makes no qualms that some of the things that he says are unrehearsed, including his infamous player nicknames.

"They were not planned. They just sort of came out.....I want Pittsburgh Power football to be a fun fan participation sport. So if they love the names, or hate the names, at least they are participating. There are more to come, and the number one question I get is about Mike 'The Joystick' Washington - What does the nickname mean? He plays like a video game receiver, it's like he is controlled with an old school Atari Joystick."

Not everybody who attends Power games wants to accept that this is a professional or even entertaining practice. One only has to read the comments on this blog to see that Bubba has been receiving a lot of fan criticism for his overzealous style. In fact, one of the regular posters on BoltsBurgh, "The Voice" (aka Dom Errico, who has been pimping an upcoming Pittsburgh Power talk segment on TribLive Online Radio), has often times challenged Bubba's status as public address announcer for his favorite team. Bubba pulled no punches when answering the criticism.

With several laughs peppered in, Bubba obviously doesn't take the armchair announcers too seriously, stating, "It is very simple. I want Pittsburgh Power Football to be fun. The feedback that I have received has been 98% positive, that people love it. They want more of it. It seems like the people that don't like it are old! If I am too loud, you are too old!" Bubba sprinkled in another laugh for good measure. "I can tell you this: Lynn Swann LOVES it and so do the Shaners. Mr. Swann has asked me to even turn it up a bit more."

In his normal humorous, pull no punches, yet laid back style, Bubba addressed the situation with Mr. Errico, who has challenged Bubba to a "Voice-Off" to determine who really is the best fit to be the Power's PA announcer.

"As for the the guy that hates me, he has sent me e-mails, he has sent the radio station e-mails, the Pittsburgh Power e-mails. I even told him, 'I am not sure that this the track I would take to try and get my foot in the door', but then again I am not him. If this is what he wants to do....he should probably learn humility first. I have a horrible voice, I have a stammering problem, so beating me in a voice off would not be hard!"

Still, we pushed harder to see if any kind of adjustments were forthcoming in light of such harsh criticism. Bubba says, "I will let the crowd drive me."

Bubba also reiterates that the gameday presentation you're getting is neither spoon-fed nor scripted, but 100% Bubba.

"The commercials come from the team, but the rest is all me. I am always open to discussions, although I know the ownership is happy with my direction."

The controversial voice of the Power also touched on several other tidbits, including the commitment of the Swann group to Pittsburgh for the long term. He says the team is here to stay, and he's on board for as long as they'll let him.

"I am a Pittsburgh sports fan: Pirates, Penguins and [expletive omitted]. The Power is just the next logical step in that progression. They are great for different reasons. I really love this team and this organization and am so excited about the buzz they are creating."

No matter what you think of Bubba, which aspect of his career formed your opinion of him, or whether you've never even noticed him, you have to respect him. He's come full circle, from borderline local teen idol to just a voice in the background on the very frequency that made him famous (B94, after several format changes, eventually became 93.7 The Fan, the radio home of the Power), but never compromised doing things his way. Like him or not, Bubba is a part of the Power.

Bubba has also offered an invitation for an open dialogue with any reader of BoltsBurgh Blog, so feel free to post any followup questions in the comments. You can check him out on the Star 100.7 Morning show every weekday. You can also compare Bubba's work to Dom Errico's by checking out Dominic's site.

Roethlisberger Signs With Power

After the offensive meltdown last week against the Milwaukee Mustangs, the Power have cut Anthony Morelli and gone out and signed a promissing young quarterback who will start tomorrow against the Tulsa Talons.

Pretty sure you're not going to believe this, but the superstar QB was confirmed and spotted at the Power's practice facility earlier today, speaking to team owner Lynn Swann.

"Really, it's a matter of staying in football shape. With the lockout looming, a lot of guys were looking for a way to stay competitive. I'm a competitor," Roethlisberger stated in a press release.

It goes without saying that this is the biggest coup in AFL history. Roethlisberger has had a sparkling career with the Pittsburgh [expletive deleted], winning two Super [Expletive Deleted] before the age of thirty.

Like many other players who are jumping ship, Roethlisberger knows that there is a distinct risk of career-threatning injury.

"For my entire career, I've faced adversity. I've had a motorcycle accident. Off-the-field type stuff. Anything can happen. I could break my leg in the weight room. The risk is less than the potential reward of bringing a professional football championship to the city of Pittsburgh once and for all."

On the topic of why he chose to play for the Power, he said, "Lynn Swann is just a natural connection for me. We've both won [Expletive Deleted] with the Pittsburgh [expletive deleted], so we already had an existing relationship."

Outside of Pittsburgh, the Arena Football League was buzzing about the startling signing of the wunderkind quarterback, who last played for Miami of Ohio.

"Look, I understand that Lynn Swann is a billionaire playboy, but there's no reason to rub it in the face of the league like this. It's a disgrace," stated one poster on the ArenaFan message boards.

So it may be, but it can only be beneficial for Pittsburgh Power fans.

PS. Please make note of today's date and the first letter of each paragraph in this article.