EFL Home 2004 Season
Wilmington Snooze-Terminal, September 15, 2004

Rip Snorter

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 and players.

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:

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 be sustained.

Sack Race

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:

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 four picks.

Team Scoring Feats

No statistic is more important than points. Here are single game mosts and least points feats so far:

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.