The Pittsburgh Power knocked off the Orlando Predators, 57-54, last night before a crowd of just over 4400 at the Consol Energy Center. I was one of the 4400-plus in attendance, and I got to witness the biggest comeback in Arena Football League history, as the Power stormed back from a 31-point second half deficit to win in overtime.
You might be thinking, "what does this have to do with the Steelers, Tony?" Well, first of all, Lynn Swann and Mike Logan, two former Steelers, were both there. At least there's some Steelers connection.
Also, I just broke up with my girlfriend, and I need this writing release, damn it!
Sorry, I got emotional. That's what happens at times like these. Your emotions are just all over the place. I must control them in-order to finish this post. I'll try.
The reason why Mike Logan was there is because he's the new color analyst for the Pittsburgh Power radio broadcasts. I was in line to buy a ticket for the game, and I happened to look over to see him talking to a woman. I said to myself, "That's Mike Logan! I'm going to go get his autograph!" After I bought my ticket, I started to approach him to maybe ask for an autograph, but I couldn't decide. Before I could make up my mind, he turned toward me to walk to wherever he was going, and I almost bumped into him. At least that was something.
My ticket was in section 106, row z, seat 8. It was near one of the reserved areas, and as I was searching for my seat, right in front of me was Steelers Hall of Fame receiver, and hero of Super Bowl X, Lynn Swann. Why was Swanny there, you may be thinking to yourself? Well, he's part owner of the team, and he can do whatever he wants. I was instantly star-struck. I don't think I've ever been that close to a Hall of Famer. Again, I wanted to ask for an autograph or whatever, but instead, I blurted out, "Am I in the right section?" Why did I say that? I don't know. Like Lynn Swann had time to help me find my seat. That's why he pays ushers. Anyway, Swann didn't even hear me (at least I hope he didn't), because he walked away without saying a word.
I don't know why I had such trouble talking to those guys. But I'm going through a breakup, and sometimes, it's not easy approaching former Steelers when you're hurting and vulnerable.
I found my seat soon enough, but I discovered that I was sitting right in the middle of a bunch of kids and their parents. And that meant that I couldn't swear the whole game. But that was OK, because I didn't know many of the players names anyway. It also meant that I couldn't spend too much time ogling the Pittsburgh Power cheerleaders--the Sparks.
Another reason why it's alright to talk about an arena football game on BTSC is because Antonio Brown was there for some pre-game festivities, and he got a pretty loud ovation. (CORRECTION: I made a mistake. It was actually Antonio's dad, AFL legend Eddie Brown, who was there for a pre-game ceremony. I wasn't paying close attention. My bad. Still, though, close enough connection to the Steelers to include in a BTSC post).
As for the game itself, you can find a thorough summary of the game-action right here. I would do it, but again, I don't know many of the names. That would require me to constantly reference the Pittsburgh Power game day program.
The first half was pretty boring, as the Predators jumped out to a 41-17 lead, and I almost left at halftime. Fortunately, I decided to stay, mainly because I wanted to scope out the women-folk beings that I'm newly single--I know, too soon, but you have to start sometime.
I didn't approach any lovely ladies, but I did buy a beer and decided to order some chicken fried rice. That's right, you read that correctly. They were serving Chinese food at a football game. It was great, and just like any other Chinese restaurant, they gave me huge portions.
When I was walking back to my seat with my food and drink, I didn't think there would be any way I would be able to finish all of the fried rice. Fortunately, my breakup has left me without much of an appetite, and I haven't eaten much food in recent days. Therefore, I was able to finish off my meal, and I didn't even feel very full afterwards.
I was so busy filling my face with food and drowning my sorrows with Pabst Blue Light, I didn't look up to see any of the second half action until about halfway through the 3rd quarter. By then, Orlando had built their lead to 48-17, and I didn't think there was any way Pittsburgh could come back.
The Power's offense looked awful as it was, and besides, even if they did start to come back, it's pretty hard to keep a team from scoring in arena football. What were the odds of the Predators failing to score another touchdown the rest of the way? Well, as it turned out, the odds were pretty good, and Orlando could only muster another three points in regulation.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh took advantage of a quarterback change--I don't remember the guy's name, someone called number 15 or whatever--as well as some turnovers by Orlando, and they were able to storm all the way back to tie the score with less than a minute remaining.
Orlando had a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but their kicker missed a long field goal as time expired, and the game went into overtime tied at 51.
In fairness to the Predators, they probably should have won the game in regulation. Late in the contest, a Predator defensive back picked off a pass in the end zone and had full possession with both feet down. Touchback, right? Wrong. A Power player stripped him of the football and Pittsburgh recovered for a touchdown. That didn't seem like the right call, but it's arena football. Nobody will notice.
The arena football overtime rules state that each team gets a possession. If the game is still tied after each team has a possession, sudden death rules apply, and the first team to score after that wins.
Orlando did manage to kick a field goal on their first possession to take a 54-51 lead.
However, Pittsburgh had great field position after nearly taking the kickoff the distance, and a few plays later, the Power scored a touchdown to win the game and complete the epic comeback.
I know that minutes from now, there won't be too many people who remember the biggest comeback in Arena Football League history, but I'm happy to say that I was there to see it in person. Heck, it might have been the biggest football comeback of any kind in Pittsburgh history.
Besides, maybe it's a metaphor for my situation. If the Pittsburgh Power can make the biggest comeback in Arena League history, maybe I can make the biggest comeback in break-up history and date Jennifer Aniston. Or at least one of the Pittsburgh Sparks.