14 December 2000
T - 7 weeks and counting
By Bamaslammer - Birmingham Bolts Co-Reporter

Things are beginning to heat up around Birmingham in anticipation of the Bolts first game. Activity is taking place on several fronts.

The BIGGEST news around town is the hiring of the radio broadcast team. This would normally be a small news item were it not for the "gravity" of the situation. The self-described "Two sexiest fat men alive" a.k.a. "Rick and Bubba" of the Rick and Bubba Morning Broadcast on 94.5 FM in Birmingham have been hired to do the radio broadcast for the Bolts games.

The two East Alabama natives started as small time radio jocks and have amassed an empire of followers spanning several states. The fact is that these two guys have a good show that makes a solid connection with your southern middle class folks. Sure, if your from north of the Mason Dixon you probably would have better luck understanding a French Foreign Film but thankfully for those born outside the south their web site (www.rickandbubba.com) has a full dictionary.

Rick and Bubba are not professional sports announcers but both played sports in High School. Rick was an All State Defensive Lineman while Bill was apparently an All County basketball player. For those of you have not heard them I expect many of their colorful metaphors to equal if not exceed those of John Madden. According to published reports in the Birmingham News the two plan to have cookouts in the booth, concession reviews from various stadiums and other unusual topics.

Ticket sales have been lagging behind other cities. This isn't surprising due to the fact that Birmingham has a long history of skepticism for anything new. Birmingham has been known for it's large "walk up" crowds. The last major player here, the Birmingham Stallions, rarely sold many season tickets but posted crowds of over 40 thousand several times and usually posted averages in the 20 to 30 thousand range.

Coach Dinardo took a blow to the talent pool early when his second draft pick, Michael Lies was placed on an NFL practice squad. I'm not sure if this is a great move or not for him. At the outset I'm sure it means money and prestige but I believe it is very difficult to climb off the practice squad because you never get any game time. It seems you could develop your skills better on the field of battle in the XFL and then try and get a traveling squad position the following fall in the NFL. Additionally there were CFL players that were originally thought to be available who may not be due to their contract expiration dates.

The Bolt cheerleaders are nowhere to be found. The choices have been made and the Evening news showed a few clips from the tryouts but to date not a single picture has been published of the soon to be crowned "Hottest Babes in the South". I guess their saving the best for the last.

Rick and Bubba?
By Sonny Sanders - Birmingham Bolts Co-Reporter

The hiring of Rick and Bubba as the radio announcers for the Birmingham Thunderbolts has me scratching my head. It is true that they have a very successful morning show and that they are extremely popular, but what other qualifications do they posses?

It's possible that the XFL and the Bolts wanted to use their unorthodox method of radio to draw in the listeners that normally would not tune in to the Bolts games. This could be sound strategy on their part.

Unfortunately this is also contrary to what Vince McMahon has declared the XFL to be. He has stated numerous times that the XFL will be "old school" football. That to me means true play by play called by real sportscasters.

I'm a fan of Rick and Bubba's morning show. It is very funny and entertaining but I, like most people, listed to the radio broadcast to hear the game being described. I fear that this crew will emphasize more non-football action that most football fans will desire. Wasn't Dennis Miller enough? Will the gadgetry and gimmickry work for the XFL or will the true football fans shake their heads and turn away in disgust?

It is a bold move on the part of the XFL. Only time will tell if this will work.