Pittsburgh powerless in arena opener
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The worst part of the Power's first game of the season wasn't just the long wait at concession stands for $1 hot dogs.
Or quarterback Jordan Jefferson — an indoor football novice — fumbling three times and throwing two interceptions.
Or the scoreless second half (before the last play) in a league where rules facilitate touchdowns.
It was all those things, plus the opportunity Power management lost to impress and keep its fans.
Intense marketing efforts helped attract a crowd of 8,390 to Consol Energy Center on Saturday night to see a team from Utah light up the scoreboard. It was the franchise's biggest indoor football throng since the Power's first season two years ago and 3,200 over last year's average attendance.
But if the team continues to go 31 minutes without scoring — such as it did in the 64-33 loss — not many people will want to go inside to watch football on warm spring and summer nights.
The indoor game was built on quick strikes that excite the fans and run up the score, but the Power's point total was the smallest in the Arena Football League on its opening weekend.
The Power is no different than other AFL teams, whose destinies are determined by the quarterback. But Jefferson was sacked four times, often appeared uncomfortable in the pocket and averaged only 10.3 yards per completion.
For the Power to experience success, the offensive line needs to protect its quarterback, so he can get the ball to veteran wide receivers Mike Washington, P.J. Berry and Christian Wise.
Coach Derek Stingley said he was encouraged by Jefferson's first game, but he also is smart enough to realize the former LSU quarterback remains “a work in progress.”
“I still say he picked up this game much quicker than we thought,” Stingley said. “He now has an opportunity to have a game under his belt to see how fast things really move.
“In my opinion, he's going to be a star in this league. He's going to make all the throws. We just have to do a much better job of protecting the quarterback.”
Born in 2011, the Power no longer is an expansion team, but only two players — Washington and defensive lineman Neil Purvis — have been with the team all three seasons. Jefferson is the eighth quarterback in that time. Half of the starting lineup wasn't on the roster last season.
Something else: The Power has lost all of its previously formidable Pitt/Penn State/Duquesne presence. Only five players live in Western Pennsylvania.
Stingley was smart to bring back linebacker Gary Butler, a West End guy from Langley High School and California (Pa.), who brought spirit, leadership and fans to the 2011 team. But he is on injured reserve with a concussion and may miss half the season.
Indoor football players are a transient group — the Power brings players together from 14 states — but it's a cross every coach must bear. Good team chemistry and the proper attitude can be difficult to maintain.
“I think some guys' heads were still in the game,” Washington said of the end of the Utah game, “but you never know until those guys look in the mirror themselves.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Norwin High School health teacher charged with selling heroin
- West Homestead man taken into custody after 8-hour standoff in Hempfield
- Pirates cut 12, including outfielder Tabata and pitcher Lincoln
- Bodies of Kochu, Gray found in Ohio River in West Virginia
- Penguins’ protracted slump continues with 5-2 loss at Carolina
- Roberto Clemente Bridge closes for construction of bike lanes
- State police seek info on police impersonator in Export
- Jury convicts East Hills man in ‘party bus’ shooting
- Aldi to open store where Bottom Dollar closed in Garfield
- Pa. woman charged with forging docs to claim she was an attorney
- Plagued by bomb threats, Yough offering $1,000 reward