The Las Vegas Locomotives are on the brink of winning the United Football League title for the second time in as many years. Now if they could just find a quarterback who can complete the job.
The Locos will play the Florida Tuskers in the UFL Championship Game for the second straight season at 9 a.m. Nov. 27 in Omaha, Neb., airing live on Versus, but Las Vegas’ prospects for a repeat are a lot shakier since QB Tim Rattay went down for the season with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon on Oct. 15.
Backups Drew Willy and Chase Clement have been inconsistent in trying to replace Rattay, and the Locos (5-3) enter the title game coming off consecutive losses. Las Vegas’ best chance for victory against the Tuskers (5-3) hinges on a ground game powered by running back DeDe Dorsey and a defense headed by cornerback Isaiah Trufant, who leads the league with three interceptions.
The Locos defeated Florida 20-17 in overtime at Sam Boyd Stadium to win last year’s championship and the teams split two meetings this season, with both teams winning on the road (and Rattay starting each game for the Locos).
A strong showing in the title game could help propel players from both teams onto NFL rosters, as 43 UFL players made the transition following last season. But that number could drop this season after UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue announced this month that the league would enforce a $150,000 transfer fee for players to be released to the NFL.
With the growing likelihood of an NFL lockout in 2011, UFL players might be better off staying where they are. And if the Locos win back-to-back league championships, maybe Mayor Oscar Goodman will embrace the team as the professional franchise he’s been lusting over for years.