The United Football League confirmed on Monday that the league will shut down operations cancelling the last two games of the regular season for the four teams. The championship game will be played Friday between Las Vegas and Virginia, but a final “consolation” game will also be played at TD Ameritrade Ballpark in what will be the final Nighthawks game.
Las Vegas beat the Omaha Nighthawks Saturday night 13-6 in front of 16,000+ fans at T.D. Ameritrade Park in Omaha in the fourth game of their season. Sunday news leaked that the UFL plans to end its season this Friday, two weeks early. Investors have lost over 100 million dollars the past two seasons and there were no signs of turning it around this year.
Marty Schottenheimer, the sixth winningest coach in NFL history, coached his first game with the newest franchise of the UFL to a victory as his Destroyers pounced on Nighthawks turnovers and penalties in a 23-13 win. Former Husker Eric Crouch made his first start at quarterback and played organized ball for the first time since 2006…and it showed.
Crouch was in on 8 of the teams 13 offensive series and went just 8 of 23 for 99 yards and an interception on a ball that slipped out of his hands. “Overall it was good just to break the ice and play in the game, but obviously the dropped passes and turnovers hurt us.”
Making the transition from boardroom to sideline, former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia was unable to guide his home Omaha team to a win. “I’m not sure anyone else beat us, but our penalties and turnovers lost the game tonight,” said Moglia.
The Omaha Nighthawks United Football League season kicks off tonight when the host the Virginia Destroyers who are coached by Marty Schottenheimer. 32 year old and 2001 Heisman winner Eric Crouch will start for the Nighthawks, his first football game since he played with Toronto in the CFL in 2006.
For a complete game preview, click here.
Former Nebraska receiver Maurice Purify is back on the Omaha Nighthawks’ roster. The United Football League team had cut Purify back in late July. Purify played for the Huskers in 2006 and 2007. He suited up for five games with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009. Earlier this month, he was named the Arena Football League’s Rookie of the Year and Big Game Breakout Player of the Year while playing for Georgia.
The Nighthawks will open this season against Marty Schottenheimer’s Virginia Destroyers on Thursday, September 15 at 7 p.m.
“I’m thrilled the season is finally here so we can show Nighthawk fans an exciting, physical, and determined brand of football,” said Head Coach Joe Moglia. “We want to make Omaha and the UFL proud, and promise to work hard to do that.”
The Nighthawks will play three home games and three away games over the course of a seven week season. The two teams with the best records will play in the championship game to be held November 4 or 5. Determination of the host city for the championship game is based on record, attendance and social media presence.
2011 Omaha Nighthawks Schedule
* All times local to home team
Wk 1 9/15 VIRGINIA 7pm
Wk 2 Bye
Wk 3 10/1 at Sacramento 4pm
Wk 4 10/8 at Las Vegas 5pm
Wk 5 10/15 LAS VEGAS 7pm
Wk 6 10/21 at Virginia 7pm
Wk 7 10/28 SACRAMENTO 7pm
The United Football League will go ahead with its third season, despite losing more than $100 million in its first two years. The start of the league has been pushed back to September and it’s not sure whether they will stick with five teams or four. The Omaha Nighthawks had a very receptive fan base last year, so much so that Omaha hosted their championship game.
Former Husker Eric Crouch is trying to land a spot the Nighthawks rosters as their starting quarterback.
The Omaha Nighthawks are giving Eric Crouch another shot at professional football. The United Football League signed the 32 year old and 2001 Heisman Trophy winner giving him one more chance to play football in his home town.
Crouch last played for the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL in 2006. “I’m excited to play again, especially in my home town,” said Crouch, a graduate of Millard North High School where he was a two time All-State selection at quarterback. “I’m grateful for this opportunity and I will do everything I can to make Omaha proud of their team.”
The Nighthawks start their season on the road against the Sacramento Mountain Lions on August 14, followed by their first home game of the season at TD Ameritrade Park on August 21 vs. the Virginia Destroyers.
He went from being a third round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2002, last played in the Canadian Football League in 2006 and then sold playground equipment and medical supplies. Now, former Husker quarterback Eric Crouch is getting another shot at football. He’s working out with the Nighthawks. Marvin Sanders, who on Feb. 3 resigned as the Nebraska football team’s secondary coach, is doing some volunteer stuff during the Omaha Nighthawks’ minicamp.
Former Husker Tierre Green who last played at NU in 2007 has landed with the Nebraska Danger, an Indoor Football League team out of Grand Island. Green played with the Nighthawks last season.
The United Football League held their draft last night. Nebraska offensive tackles Mike Smith and DJ Jones were selected by the Omaha Nighthawks. Husker guard Ricky Henry was picked by Hartford. Here are bios of all of Omaha’s selections.
#2 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – CB REYNALDO HILL, FLORIDA
Hill played for the National Football League’s Tennessee Titans from 2005-08, appearing in 48 games with 26 starts. Hill’s career NFL numbers include six interceptions for 108 yards and a touchdown, 11 pass breakups and 126 total tackles. He had a 52-yard interception return touchdown as a rookie against the Oakland Raiders.
#7 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – DT JAMIE CUMBIE, CLEMSON
A rookie, Cumbie played for the Tigers from 2006-09, and had five career sacks. In 2009, he recorded 33 total tackles and two sacks, making a season-high seven total stops against South Carolina. Cumbie had two sacks and 24 total tackles in 2007.
#12 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – OT JOE TOLEDO, WASHINGTON
Toledo was a fourth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in the 2006 NFL Draft, although he has yet to appear in a regular-season NFL game. He also was on the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad for the entire 2008 NFL season.
#17 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – CB CHRIS SMITH, NORTHERN ILLINOIS
A rookie, Smith started all 13 games at cornerback in as a senior in 2010 despite playing much of the season with an injured thumb that required a cast for each game. Last fall, he posted 70 total tackles, three interceptions, 15 pass breakups and 4 1/2 tackles for loss. In 2009, he had 70 total stops. Smith previously played at Highland Community College in 2008.
#23 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – OT MIKE SMITH, NEBRASKA
A rookie, Smith is looking to begin his professional career after missing all of the 2010 season with a broken leg. In 2009, Smith started all 14 games, and in 2008, he started 12 of 13 games played – all at left tackle. He played in all 12 games as a backup tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2007.
#28 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – OT D.J. JONES, NEBRASKA
A rookie, Jones, an Omaha native, gets the chance to play professionally at home. He started all 14 games at right tackle as a senior in 2010, and played in all 14 games in 2009, primarily as a backup at both tackle spots. In all, Jones played in 39 games for the Cornhuskers, starting 17.
#33 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – TE KYLE NELSON, NEW MEXICO STATE
A rookie, Nelson brings a productive senior season with him to the beginning of his professional career. In 2010, he caught 41 passes for 371 yards and a touchdown, including a six-catch day against Louisiana Tech. Nelson also served as NMSU’s long snapper.
#38 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – QB JEREMIAH MASOLI, MISSISSIPPI
A rookie, Masoli brings versatility to the Nighthawks’ new offense. In 2010, he played for the Running Rebels, passing for 2,039 yards and 14 touchdowns and running for 544 yards and six touchdowns. In two seasons with Oregon (2008-09), Masoli passed for 3,891 yards and 28 touchdowns and ran for 1,386 yards and 23 touchdowns.
#39 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – DE BRIAN JOHNSTON, GARDNER-WEBB
Johnston was a seventh-round selection of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2008 NFL Draft, playing in nine games with the team in 2008 and making three total tackles. He was a Division I-AA All-American as a senior in 2007, racking up 74 total tackles, 29 tackles for loss, six sacks and 22 quarterback pressures. Johnston was a two-time Division I-AA All-American.
#43 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – RB DERRICK LOCKE, KENTUCKY
A rookie, Locke begins his professional football career coming off an 887-yard, 10-touchdown rushing season as a senior in 2010. Locke had four straight 100-yard rushing games to start 2010, including a 166-yard, two-touchdown performance against Akron. Locke also caught 34 passes as a senior.
#48 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – DT AKIEM HICKS, UNIVERSITY OF REGINA
A rookie, Hicks was a 2010 Canada West All-Star in his only season with the Rams. In eight games last fall, Hicks had 29 total tackles, four for loss, 1 1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles. Hicks played two seasons at Sacramento City College in 2007-08.
#51 OVERALL – OMAHA NIGHTHAWKS – LB MARK HERZLICH, LB, BOSTON COLLEGE
A rookie, Herzlich was one of the best stories in all of college football in 2010. After missing the entire 2009 season due to his diagnosis of Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, Herzlich returned for the 2010 season and started all 13 games for Boston College. He recorded 65 total tackles and 50 solo stops, both good for third on the team, while picking off four passes. Herzlich also had 3.5 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and two forced fumbles as a senior last fall.