Nineteen seems to be the magic number for the United Football League, as the league announced today that its Las Vegas franchise — which, despite the rumors, remains officially unnamed — has signed that number of players to its roster. This comes one day after the also-nameless New York franchise made public the exact same thing.
The one name that particularly stood out to me was ex-NFL QB Tim Rattay. Despite the fact that he played on the big stage, the reason I found this interesting is because the Las Vegas franchise (typing that out is really starting to bother me … how about some names already?) already has a former-NFL quarterback in J.P. Losman.
This tells me one of two things:
1. The league actually has NFL-caliber talent lined up for the other two franchises, or 2. Tim Rattay really is as bad as we all thought — being relegated to backup duty in the UFL isn’t exactly going to pump up one’s stock. (As my esteemed co-worker Nolan Nawrocki so nicely put it, Rattay “lacks the tools to ever be a frontline quarterback” and he was “always barely hanging on to a clipboard job.”)
As the prospect of the upstart league signing QB Michael Vick, whose negotiating rights are in the hands of the Orlando franchise, seem to be growing thinner and thinner, I am led to wonder who the Orlando team expects to get to run the offense that is better than Rattay. It seems to me like the UFL is looking for name-brand recognition under center, and Rattay fits that bill.
Seemingly all set to pace the sidelines wearing a headset yet again, Rattay really doesn’t have a shot to make it back into the NFL at age 32, but he has been there and is, at the very least, a smart quarterback. Certainly good enough to lead a UFL team, one would think. If nothing else, his being on the field in Orlando would probably put a few more fans in the seats. Isn’t that the main goal at this point? Remember, he did play for the nearby Buccaneers in 2006.
Anyway, J.P. Losman-Tim Rattay is hardly Brett Favre-Tarvaris Jackson-Sage Rosenfels, but it’s just another quarterback situation to stir up some controversy during the weeks leading up to kickoff.
That’s my two cents on the latest UFL announcement. I’ll let you know when the San Francisco franchise (at least the “name” of that one has some alliteration) signs its now-standard 19 players.