The Hartford Colonials defeated the Sacramento Mountain Lions 27-10 in UFL action on Saturday. Connecticut was represented well by the Colonials as a team and also by a few players with ties to the state. Andre Dixon, from UConn, had a huge game running the ball and Ryan Glasper, who was born in the state and excelled at Southington High School, had an interception.
However, if you wanted to find the most interesting player in the game you would have had to look at the losing side and their starting quarterback. Daunte Culpepper was among the best quarterbacks in the NFL in the early 2000’s. Culpepper was very young and full of talent. He would heave the ball as far as he could and teammate Randy Moss would chase it down and catch it. His future looked bright. Fast forward about 5 years and now he is in the UFL.
Interestingly, Culpepper did not have a great game against Hartford on Saturday. He actually struggled. This is not to say that Culpepper is not still a good player. It just is intriguing that a guy who had it all in the NFL, where he played in the nicest stadiums, threw the ball to the most elite receivers in the world, and had all the other perks of the job, is now playing on a field in Hartford. You probably are likely to add to that by saying he is playing inferior talent. However, on this, you are not totally accurate.
The Omaha Nighthawks, another team in the UFL, has some big-name players, formerly in the NFL, on their roster. Among them are Jeff Garcia and Ahman Green. Also, putting on the Nighthawks uniform is Maurice Clarett. Garcia and Green have had great NFL careers. You would not expect to see them on UFL teams. Clarett, still surprisingly young, has had some troubles off the field and has not yet exhibited his great talent at the professional level.
These players make the UFL great. Even if Ahman Green was still in the NFL, he would not be rushing the ball 30 times a game. In the UFL, he might be able to since he will be given the opportunity. Clarett, obviously, will be very eager to prove himself. Basically all that is known about him is his fantastic college career. How does that translate to the UFL? While the NFL might not give him a chance, the UFL lets him showcase his talent. Maybe he’ll perform better than Green, a proven NFL talent, and start over him. Will this season be the launch to a long NFL career for him?
Anybody who doesn’t believe in players needing just one opportunity to prove themselves need to look no further than Kurt Warner. Warner was playing in the Arena Football League (AFL). He now is a Super Bowl Champion and arguably might find his way into Canton, Ohio as a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Imagine if he had never been found in the AFL. He was also lucky because Trent Green, who was the starting quarterback ahead of him in the NFL, got hurt.
Warner was given an opportunity and never looked back. If Warner does not convince you, take a look at Tom Brady, who became a starter after Drew Bledsoe got hurt. Of course, Brady has won multiple Super Bowls since. History would be a lot different if these chances were never given to these talented players.
Also, the UFL is great to the cities that have teams. These cities don’t have many other sports teams in their area. Fans who normally would not be able to see sports up close get the opportunity with these teams. As a bonus, the tickets are much cheaper. Imagine if Andre Dixon makes it to the NFL and you try to get a ticket for 20 dollars to see him play. It just isn’t going to happen.