November 28, 2009: The fledging United Football League concluded its first season by crowinng the Las Vegas Locomotives league champs, by virtue of a 20-17 overtime victory against the Florida Tuskers on Nov. 27. The game was played before an announced crowd of 14,801, heady numbers for the UFL but still just about one-third of capacity at the 40,000-seat Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The hometown Locomotives have been the league's most successful team of the four UFL franchises, averaging more than 10,000 per game., including an announced crowd of 13,306 on Nov. 20 at its last home game of the regular season.
Las Vegas cornerback Isaiah Trufant was named MVP of the game, during which he intercepted Florida quarterback Brooks Bollinger's pass in overtime to set up the winning score. Vegas head coach Jim Fassel was head coach of the NFL's New York Giants when the team lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV. Florida came in as the favorites, the only undefeated team at 6-0; Las Vegas was 4-2, with both losses coming at the hands of the Tuskers. Vegas was quarterbacked by J.P. Losman, a former first-round NFL draft pick (22 overall) in 2004 who played with the Buffalo Bills. When he signed with Las Vegas, Losman offered, "This is a pivotal year for me. I'm trying to get back on the field as soon as possible. I want to play. I don't want to be in the [NFL] waiting for somebody to get hurt or not play well."
"Games like this, the teams want it badly," said Fassel. "Both teams went at each other hard today. We won the game and I am so proud of my guys. They fought like I haven’t seen a team fight . . . I want to thank Bill Hambrecht for having the guts to start a league like this. I think it’s going to be here for a long, long time. It is going to do nothing but get better too."
However, considering that many of the league's players and coaches are aiming to get into or back into the NFL, many of this year's stars may not be around in 2010, when the league plans to expand from four to six teams (with Los Angeles and Hartford considered the top locations). "A lot of guys have been contacted; myself, a bunch of coaches have been contacted so we’ll see.," said Jim Haslett, head coach of Florida, who has been a head coach in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams. "I think New York (Sentinals) had two guys signed already if I’m not mistaken. So I am sure there will be a few others from these two teams. DeDe Dorsey is a heck of a player on the Locos and we have a bunch of guys who I think will be contacted."
About a week before the game. the UFL said that Electric Beverage Co. had signed a multi-year deal to become a UFL “premiere” season foundation partner and that its Title ElectroEnergy Drink is now the league's official isotonic beverage. Title will also be the presenting sponsor of the UFL’s championship game, which will be played Nov. 27 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Electric Beverage joins StubHub as a “premiere” season foundation partner.
Miami-based Electric Beverage launched this past summer in the South Florida area but is trying to make larger regional, and eventually national, inroads with its endorsement deals. The company has signed Ronnie Brown and Vontae Davis of the Miami Dolphins, Terrell Owens of the Buffalo Bills and heavyweight boxer Cedric Boswell as spokesmen to appear in upcoming marketing campaigns, including regional TV and POP.
During the UFL title game between the Las Vegas Locomotives and the Florida Tuskers, the Title ElectroEnergy Drink logo will be displayed on the front bumper of the Las Vegas Locos’ helmet, will receive commercial inventory on the Versus and HDNet telecasts and will be included on ANC’s on-field LED rotational signage. The drink also will get Gatorade-type display along both UFL team sidelines via coolers and water bottles.
The Tuskers played this season with the StubHub logo on the front bumper of their helmets. Florida beat Las Vegas in both games they met during the UFL's inaugural campaign.
Electric Beverage plans to use its UFL and athlete endorsements to expand Title's distribution to include the Southeast U.S. The company said that Title is currently available at Walgreens, Sedanos, Presidente and convenience stores in South Florida. Electric Beverage also plans to get exposure in its Florida stomping grounds via local press coverage of the Tuskers' berth in the title game.
“The Electric Beverage Company and our proprietary sports drink Title have a lot in common with the UFL: We both have a new and exciting product , as well as tremendously committed and qualified ownership and management to move forward and grow,” company president and founder Kevin Sepe said in statement. "We look forward to growing together and remaining partners for years to come, as we are proud of and committed to the UFL, its fans and its mission.”
As an entrepreneur, Sepe's resume includes launching Youth Enhancement Systems, a company that developed and sold personal-care products, and Funny Bagels, a line of pre-packaged kids lunches. His career also includes writing and producing music, and he has won numerous Addy awards for excellence in advertising.
“Continuing with our goal of identifying companies who are looking to grow with the United Football League, we are excited to be partnering with Title ElectroEnergy Drink” Frank Vuono, COO of the UFL, said in a statement. “We are already in discussions with Title to expand our relationship to increase exposure for both brands through third-party partnerships.”