Sunday, February 4, 2001
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- The football might not be scripted in the XFL, but that doesn't mean the made-for-TV league doesn't follow a formula.
There was football for the sports fan and scantily clad cheerleaders for the workaday guy Sunday as the Memphis Maniax beat the Birmingham Bolts 22-20 in the opening game for both teams.
Yeah, some profanity was broadcast over the Legion Field speakers. Players wore microphones on the field, and sometimes it really did sound like a locker room.
Memphis' Rashaan Salaam scored on runs of 39 and 1 yards, and Marcus Crandell threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Daryl Hobbs. Jeff Hall added a 40-yard field goal.
But close your eyes and it was just like being at a World Wrestling Federation show -- no surprise since the bawdy, in-your-face programming powerhouse owns the XFL jointly with NBC-TV.
The music was loud, the fireworks were bright, the players were intense, and the cheerleaders were dressed -- mostly.
The football wasn't all that good, especially at the start. Birmingham had only 65 yards rushing, and a lot of those came on missed tackles by the Maniax.
Beer in hand, fan Tony Hale took in the whole show as he stood near a platform close to the cheerleaders.
"I knew what it was going to be like -- I watch wrestling," said Hale. "But it's not wrestling. It's real football."
It was real enough that there was a made-for-TV quarterback controversy less than 20 minutes into the Bolts' season.
As Birmingham quarterback Casey Weldon struggled through a 10-of-21 first half, fans started chanting for backup Jay Barker, who led Alabama to the 1992 national championship.
As the boos mounted, the camera zoomed in on Barker standing on the sideline in a purple baseball cap. A cheer went up. So this is what Vince McMahon was talking about when he said XFL broadcasts would "tell the story" without cue cards.
The camera zoomed in again as Barker talked to a coach. The cheer got louder. "We want Barker" fans screamed.
Barker never made it in and Weldon didn't fold -- he threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Damon Gourdine and followed that with a late, 32-yard TD throw to Quincy Jackson.
"I played with Trent Dilfer (at Tampa Bay) for awhile, so I know what it's like to have a hometown favorite," Weldon told a sideline reporter who rushed up to him during the game before the boos died down.
James Bostic had Birmingham's other touchdown on a 3-yard run.
The crowd of 35,321 was about 4,100 people better than when the Canadian Football League, the last outdoor pro league to come through Birmingham, made its debut in 1995.
XFL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
MEMPHIS 6 13 3 0 22
BIRMINGHAM 0 7 7 6 20 FINAL
1ST QUARTER: MEM - TD, RASHAAN SALAAM 39 YD RUN (PAT
Drive: 6 plays, 72 yards in 2:50. Key plays:
Crandell 17-yard pass to Prentiss to Birmingham
39. MEMPHIS 6-0
2ND QUARTER: MEM - TD, DARYL HOBBS 49 YD PASS FROM MARCUS CRANDELL
(RASHAAN SALAAM RUN FOR CONVERISON), 1:01.
Drive: 3 plays, 70 yards in 1:23. Key plays:
Crandell 18-yard pass to Hobbs to Birmingham
49. MEMPHIS 13-0
MEM - TD, RASHAAN SALAAM 1 YD RUN (PAT FAILED), 7:52.
Drive: 6 plays, 25 yards in 3:54. Key plays:
Clark 17-yard interception return to Birmingham
25;. MEMPHIS 19-0
BIR - TD, DAMON GOURDINE 15 YD PASS FROM CASEY WELDON
(CASEY WELDON PASS TO ED SMITH FOR CONVERISON),
13:47. Drive: 14 plays, 75 yards in 5:47. Key
plays: Weldon 17-yard pass to Williams to
Memphis 36; Bostic 21-yard run to Memphis 15.
3RD QUARTER: BIR - TD, JAMES BOSTIC 3 YD RUN (CASEY WELDON PASS TO
STEVE SMITH FOR CONVERISON), 2:02. Drive: 4
plays, 81 yards in 1:34. Key plays: Weldon
50-yard pass to Bostic to Memphis 3. MEMPHIS
MEM - FG, JEFF HALL 40 YD, 11:32. Drive: 7 plays, 67
yards in 3:26. Key plays: Crandell 26-yard pass
to Prentiss to Birmingham 39; Salaam 13-yard
run to Birmingham 26. MEMPHIS 22-14
4TH QUARTER: BIR - TD, QUINCY JACKSON 33 YD PASS FROM CASEY WELDON
(PAT FAILED), 14:38. Drive: 8 plays, 77 yards
in 1:20. Key plays: Weldon 13-yard pass to
Bostic Birmingham 36; Weldon 13-yard pass to
Williams to Memphis 47. MEMPHIS 22-20
FIRST DOWNS 18 21
Rushing 11 6
Passing 7 14
Penalty 0 1
3RD-DOWN EFFICIENCY 5-10 7-14
4TH-DOWN EFFICIENCY 0-1 1-1
TOTAL NET YARDS 312 358
Total plays 55 59
Average gain 5.7 6.1
NET YARDS RUSHING 153 52
Rushes 33 16
Average per rush 4.6 3.3
NET YARDS PASSING 159 306
Completed-attempted 11-19 24-42
Yards per pass 7.2 7.1
Sacked-yards lost 3-14 1-6
Had intercepted 1 1
PUNTS-AVERAGE 3-31.7 3-30.7
RETURN YARDAGE 130 94
Punts-returns 3-59 2-5
Kickoffs-returns 4-54 5-89
Interceptions-returns 1-17 1-0
PENALTIES-YARDS 5-52 7-40
FUMBLES-LOST 0-0 1-1
TIME OF POSSESSION 30:19 29:41
Missed field goals: Birmingham (Palazzo Brad 58).
rushing: Rashaan Salaam 27-154, Brent Moss 2-4, Jim
1-3, Marcus Crandell 2-2, Kevin Prentiss 1-minus 10.
Birmingham rushing: Bostic James 13-39, Weldon Casey 3-13.
Memphis passing: Marcus Crandell 11-19 for 173 yards, 1 INT, 1 TD.
Birmingham passing: Weldon Casey 24-42 for 312 yards, 1 INT, 0 TD.
receiving: Kevin Prentiss 7-94, Daryl Hobbs 2-67, Rashaan
receiving: Williams Stepfret 6-72, Smith Steve 5-43,
Jackson Quincy 4-66, Bostic James 2-63, Damon Gourdine 2-31, Smith Ed
2-25, Mcguire Kaipo 2-10, Alexander Curtis 1-2.
tackles-assists-sacks (unofficial): John Williams 7-1-0,
Anthony Marshall 3-3-0, Kevin Peoples 3-2-0, Corey Sawyer 3-2-0,
Richard Hogans 2-3-0, Leonta Rheams 1-3-0, Shante Carver 1-3-0, Rico
Clark 2-1-0, Kevin Cobb 0-3-0, Cornell Menafee 2-0-0, Jack Kellogg
2-0-0, Shin Yamada 1-1-0, Caspor Stiles 0-2-0, Jim Kitts 1-0-0,
Tramont Lawless 1-0-1, Paul Lacoste 0-1-0, Beau Morgan 0-1-0, Patrick
Sapp 0-1-0, Marvin Thomas 0-1-0.
tackles-assists-sacks (unofficial): Willis James 5-4-0,
Scott Patrick 4-3-1, Preston Charles 4-2-1, Foxx Dion 2-4-0, Butler
Duane 4-1-0, Reese Quinton 3-1-0, Calvin Jackson 3-1-0, Mitchell
Johnny 2-2-1, Shelling Chris 2-2-0, Brumbaugh Jimmy 2-0-0, Sloan Eric
2-0-0, Jones Toya 1-1-0, Mcguire Kaipo 1-0-0, Knott David 0-1-0.
Memphis (Rico Clark 1 for 17 yards); Birmingham (Jones
Toya 1 for 0 yards).
Fumbles lost: Birmingham (Smith Steve).
Opponent's fumbles recovered: Memphis (Kevin Cobb).
Referee-No Info, Umpire-No Info, Head linesman-No Info,
Line judge-No Info, Back judge-No Info, Side judge-No Info, Field
A: 35,321; T: 0:00.