The UFL has been around for two years now, and while it's not exactly challenging the NFL for football supremacy, it's doing what it's meant to do -- provide another football option for players, coaches and fans.
I went to Saturday's Las Vegas vs Hartford game at Rentschler Field with my dad, and it was a solidly fun experience. Hartford doesn't have an NFL team, nor does it really warrant having one, but not everyone in the Hartford area is that interested in watching UConn football either. As it turns out, I might be the exact kind of fan the UFL is looking for: someone who likes football, but lives in an area without an NFL team and doesn't have any connection to the local college team.
The five current UFL franchises play in Hartford, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Omaha and Orlando. That's five non-NFL markets, and five markets without a connection to a major college football program. Yes, people in Omaha are likely University of Nebraska fans, but it's a one-hour drive to Lincoln. Ditto for Orlando, which probably is home to a lot of Gator fans, not all of whom want to make the two-hour trip to Gainesville. In fact, Hartford is the only market with a direct connection to a BCS program, with the Colonials sharing a stadium with the Big East's UConn Huskies (insert joke about Big East football here). Next season, the UFL is adding a sixth team that will play in Virginia Beach, which is about 3 hours away from BCS or NFL action.
This afternoon, Las Vegas had nothing to play for, having already clinched a spot in the UFL championship game. Hartford had long since been eliminated from championship contention. Las Vegas might not have exactly been going all out, but Hartford was, and earned a 27-14 victory. The Colonials benefited from a pair of pick-sixes from former Rice QB Chase Clement, and got a 39-yard Hail Mary at the end of the first half from former Cardinals (and Panthers and Dolphins and others) QB Josh McCown. The level of football being played wasn't NFL caliber, but it wasn't embarrassing either.
I'll fully admit that I left early, not because of anything happening on the field, but because the temperature must have dropped 15 degrees from kickoff to the time I left (turns out that giant yellow ball in the sky is pretty important in terms of providing heat). Also, because it was so damn cold, I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I usually would at a sporting event, but I'll share the ones I have below. Also, I had a good enough time that I'll definitely be going to more Colonials games next season.