The Pittsburgh Power Are in First Place

Because we want some actual football to talk about, here’s another update on the Pittsburgh Power…

I’m sure it didn’t have the excitement of last week’s 76-75 win in Dallas, in which a fan recovered a crucial onside kick (isn’t the AFL great?), but the Pittsburgh Power’s 35-32 win over Cleveland on Saturday night propelled the expansion franchise into first place in the American Conference’s East Division. The Power have now won four games in a row and improved their record to 7-4, a full game ahead of Cleveland.

Perhaps even more impressive than the winning streak, or the Power’s rise to the top of the division, is the announced attendance of 9,066, especially when you consider the competition they had for Pittsburgh’s entertainment dollar this past weekend. For one, it was a beautiful June night. But among the other events taking place in the city were the Three Rivers Arts Festival that started over the weekend, as well as a Pirates-Phillies game at PNC Park that drew a record crowd of over 39,000 — though, it’s worth pointing out that between 15-20,000 of those fans were probably from Philadelphia. Still, when you’re competing with a sell out baseball game and normal summer weekend activities, a crowd of over 9,000 for an indoor football game is a solid draw.

I figured this game would be a test for the Power at the box office, given that it was a big game against a team that should be a natural rival, and that it was going up against baseball and other events, and it seems as if they passed.

The game itself was a defensive slugfest by AFL standards, which should have been expected given that it featured two of the better defenses and two of the more mediocre offenses. There was no scoring in the entire fourth quarter.

Quarterback Bernard Morris threw three touchdowns and rushed for 64 yards, including a game-clinching 43-yard run late in the fourth quarter.

The Power have seven games remaining, with five of them coming on the road, including a game that could potentially decide the division in Cleveland on July 15.

For another look at Pittsburgh’s newest football team, check out Craig Wolfley’s blog for a behind the scenes look at the TV broadcast where he works as an analyst.

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