The Pittsburgh Power will be the city's first arena football team since the Gladiators left town many years ago and I know they're going to want to give the fans a reason to care.
Sure, we all love our football here in the Pittsburgh region, but it's going to be hard to convince a lot of folks to take the Power seriously because, let's face it, the AFL might be a pro league, but it's not a MAJOR league. And Pittsburghers are all about major pro sports.
People have been saying for years that the city would never support an NBA team and they cite examples of past failures in the ABA and CBA. Well, they were minor leagues, the NBA is quite different. I'd bet money that if the city was awarded an NBA team, the people would support it. Especially if it became successful.
Now, that brings me back to the Power. The franchise is going to need a name or two to get people excited about the product. They already have one with former Steeler legend and co-owner, Lynn Swann. But an owner might not be enough. A big name coach might do it, but I can't think of anyone that would get the masses excited enough. Well, Cowher, of course. But I don't think he's about to do that. Walt Harris could be a possibility since the league is all passing, but we don't want to alienate the fan-base.
So that brings us to players. Maybe local favorite, ex Steeler Mike Logan, will come out of retirement and become "Mckeesport Mike" again. But he was a safety. I'm not sure if a former backup safety would be enough to do it.
The Bus could be a possibility. I don't know if he's physically capable anymore, but just imagine Bussy wearing out arena teams in the 4th quarter. The Power would be the first and only team in arena ball history to have a ball control offense. The over and under for Power games would only be in the 60's. However, I'd hate to see Jerome tarnish his legacy like that. Don't get me wrong, the AFL is a cool league, but the Bus was an NFL legend. He's a sure-fire future Hall-of-Famer. It would be like that time Meadowlark Lemon left the Globetrotters and formed that other fake basketball team.
Those names are all great and would certainly spark interest, but the name I'm thinking of might be a little more tangible:
I think it would be great. When Palko was the starting quarterback for PITT, he was the unquestioned heart and soul of the team. He was their leader.
Remember the time he steamrolled a BC defender? And who could forget the moment when he said the F-word on national television after the team's emotional victory over Notre Dame in South Bend?
I think Palko would get the people excited. He's still very popular locally.
And it could benefit him, too. He's been floating around on the fringes of the NFL for four years now. But he's still young enough to make a name for himself.
Exposure in the AFL could help him tremendously. Just ask Tommy Maddox what it did for his career. All he needs is for one or two NFL-types to stand up and take notice and he could get more of a chance to make it in the NFL than he's had thus far.
And I think Tyler would take the opportunity and run with it. He would take things seriously and lend a little credibility to the team.
So, you see, it's a win-win situation.
Right now, he's fighting to be the 3rd string quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, but if that doesn't work out between now and early next year, I say give him a call and see if he's receptive.