Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, September 15, 2004
Around the EFL
It’s a month into the 2004 EFL season, a good time to unload a barrage of
pithy comments about the state of the league in general and about specific teams
QBs Holding Up Well
Each team has started the same quarterback every game, from Trent Green in Albany,
south to Donovan McNabb in Richmond, and every outpost in between, including Brett
Favre for the Cherries here. Only two reserve signal-callers —
Richmond’s Koy Detmer and Baltimore’s Jesse Palmer — have thrown a pass. That’s pretty
amazing durability for a hazardous position. How long will it go on?
No Place Like It
A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d be writing an item about the mysterious lack of
home field advantage. In weeks 1, 2, and 3, home and visiting teams split 18 games.
However, in weeks 4 and 5, home teams won nine of 12 games, so overall the home team
has won 60 percent of the time. In fact, the only home team to lose in week 5 was
— unfortunately — the Cherries, 24-13, to Atlantic City.
200 Yards Rushing as New Standard?
One hundred yards rushing in a game by a running back is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s becoming
a rather ho-hum achievement. LaDainian Tomlinson of the Cherries has done it four
times in five games, but in total rushing yards he’s behind five other running backs.
The new standard for a really nice output in a game on the part of a running back might be 200 yards.
These guys have done it so far:
- Philadelphia’s Jamal Lewis, 230 on 37 carries against Atlantic City, August 28
- Baltimore’s Curtis Martin, 204 on 33 carries against Washington, August 29
- Martin again, 200 on 27 carries against New York, September 4
- Atlantic City’s Tiki Barber, 204 on 29 carries against the Cherries, September 11
- Pittsburgh’s Ahman Green, 278 (and five touchdowns) on 27 carries against Baltimore,
Martin Carrying the Load for Baltimore
Speaking of Curtis Martin, he has really been carrying a heavy rushing load for
the Baltimore Bolts. His two 200-yard plus efforts have helped jack his league-leading
total to 828 yards. Not only that, he is on a pace, with 163 carries thus far, to run
with the ball 456 times. Providence’s Priest Holmes is hot on Martin’s
heels with 158 carries.
Sunday Morning TV Ratings
I pooh-poohed the idea, but ASPN has to be pleased with the size of the audience for their
Sunday Morning EFL game telecasts. They are reporting a 27 percent increase in the
ratings over their previous Sunday morning programming. With the NFL season now heating up it
will be interesting to see if the national audience interest in the regional EFL will
With the Cherries only having sacked opposing quarterbacks four times in five games, my
eyes wandered to the league leader board for some higher sack numbers. Indeed, the following
players have outsacked the entire Cherries defense:
- Providence’s Aaron Schobel, 7
- Syracuse’s top draft pick, Peter Boulware, 5
Equaling the Cherries’ team sack count with four apiece are Leonard Little of New
York, Mike Rucker of Syracuse, Shaun Ellis of Richmond, Josh Evans of Washington,
and Brent Alexander of Albany. Alexander, by the way, has three interceptions as well,
tying him for second in the league behind Pittsburgh’s Jason Sehorn, who has
Team Scoring Feats
No statistic is more important than points. Here are single game mosts and least
points feats so far:
- Most by one team — 45, by Pittsburgh in 45-13 win over Baltimore, September 11
- Least by one team — 3, by Baltimore in 30-3 loss to Providence, August 14
- Most combined — 71, New York over Connecticut, 37-34 in OT, August 15
- Least combined — 25, Atlantic City over Richmond, 13-12, August 14
- Largest winning margin — 32, by Providence over Baltimore, 45-13, September 11
- Smallest winning margin — 1, by:
- Atlantic City over Richmond, 13-12, August 14
- Albany over Connecticut, 25-24, September 11
- Largest deficit overcome to win — 18 (10-28), by Providence to beat Albany, 38-31, August 21
- Largest deficit overcome only to lose — 17 (0-17) by Pittsburgh, in 38-28 loss to Richmond, August 28
Parity or Mediocrity?
Amazingly, there is only one team in the league whose record is not either 3-2
or 2-3. Is that parity or mediocrity? I tend to think parity. When you figure
eleven of the league’s twelve teams — every team except the Cherries — relied on the same computer algorithm
to guide their player draft selections, it’s not that surprising the teams are so evenly matched.
The team outside the pack is the Syracuse Crunch, leaders of the Northern
Division with a 4-1 record. Before the season this reporter predicted “Five
wins max” for the Crunch. Wouldn’t it be the height of irony if Syracuse were to gain
their fifth win against the Cherries on the road this Saturday night — and
still have more than half the season remaining to increase their win count? I
shudder to think of it.