UFL Championship Game
Logo used for the first UFL Championship Game in 2009
|First played||November 27, 2009|
|Trophy||William Hambrecht Trophy|
|Recent and upcoming games|
The UFL Championship Game was an American football game held annually to determine the champion of the United Football League. The game was played annually from the UFL's first season in 2009 until the 2011 season, and involved the first and second place teams in the league's single-division standings playing one week after the conclusion of the UFL's regular season at a pre-determined site. The winner of the game was awarded the William Hambrecht Trophy, named for the league's founder and majority owner. The 2012 season of the UFL was cut short when the league ceased operations, and that year's championship game was never played.
On October 13, 2007, the United Football League announced it would hold its inaugural championship game over Thanksgiving weekend in 2008. The league had originally used the name "United Bowl" for the contest, but was unable to gain rights from United Indoor Football or its successor, the Indoor Football League, to use the name (the IFL continues to use the United Bowl name). In March 2008, the league chose Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada to hose the 2008 title game on the day after Thanksgiving. When the inaugural season was postponed to 2009, the game was moved to the corresponding date in 2009 and kept in Las Vegas.
The first UFL Championship Game, played on November 27, 2009, involved the Florida Tuskers, who had just finished a perfect 6-0 regular season, against the 2nd place team, the home-standing Las Vegas Locomotives. The Locos, thanks to a 33-yard field goal by Graham Gano in overtime, defeated the Tuskers by a 20-17 score. The game holds a distinction of being the UFL's first ever overtime game.
The second UFL Championship Game was held on November 27, 2010 at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. The game site was not determined until after October 18, 2010 (after the 5th week of the regular season), with the UFL taking "advance ticket and merchandise sales, energy for all events prior to the season starting, and team record" into consideration for site selection. (After Omaha was selected, the league moved the game date to the Saturday after Thanksgiving to avoid conflicts with a Nebraska Cornhuskers home game that Friday.) The game was a rematch of 2009; both the Las Vegas Locomotives and Florida Tuskers finished the regular season with 5-3 records. Las Vegas once again won the title with a three-point margin of victory over Florida, with the final score being 23-20 in favor of Las Vegas.
Prior to the 2010 game, league commissioner Michael Huyghue revealed that the league's season start would move to August beginning in 2011; to accommodate, the 2011 Championship Game was moved up to the weekend of October 21–23. The move was an effort to capitalize on the labor uncertainty surrounding the 2011 NFL season, an effort that proved futile; the league announced in July 2011 that the season would be moved back to a September to November time frame as it was in 2010, with the UFL Championship Game accordingly moved back to the first week of November. However, the UFL suddenly called off the balance of its 2011 season on October 17 and moved up the Championship Game to its original weekend—Friday October 21. The 2011 title game was hosted and won by the Virginia Destroyers, the former Florida Tuskers, who defeated the 2-time defending champion Las Vegas Locomotives, 17-3, thanks to a stifling defense led by game MVP Aaron Rouse, the Destroyers strong safety who recorded 2 interceptions. Virginia's home stadium, Virginia Beach Sportsplex, was host venue by virtue of the Destroyers' popular following in the Tidewater area, including game attendance (both Destroyer home games attracted crowds above 12,000, while the Locos' lone 2011 home game drew just 6,100).
The 2012 game was cancelled outright, due to extensive financial and attendance shortfalls that forced the league to cease operations four weeks into the season. By regular season record, the Las Vegas Locomotives, who had compiled a perfect season up to that point, would be the champions.
Championship Game results
|Season||Date||Site||Winning Team||Score||Losing Team||Winning Coach||Game MVP|
|2009||11/27/2009||Sam Boyd Stadium, Whitney, Nevada||Las Vegas Locomotives||20-17 (OT)||Florida Tuskers||Jim Fassel||DeDe Dorsey (Las Vegas RB)|
|2010||11/27/2010||Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha, Nebraska||Las Vegas Locomotives||23-20||Florida Tuskers||Jim Fassel||Chase Clement (Las Vegas QB)|
|2011||10/21/2011||Virginia Beach Sportsplex, Virginia Beach, Virginia||Virginia Destroyers||17-3||Las Vegas Locomotives||Marty Schottenheimer||Aaron Rouse (Virginia S)|
Appearances by Team
|1||Las Vegas Locomotives||3||2–1||.667||46||54|
|2||Florida Tuskers/Virginia Destroyers||3||1–2||.333||54||46|
Versus broadcast the first two UFL Championship Games (2009 and 2010), with Doug Flutie handling color commentary for both games and paired with play-by-play announcers Dave Sims (2009) and Craig Minervini (2010). With the UFL without a national TV partner in 2011, that season's title was carried on a regional basis only through the Destroyers' TV partner, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, with Brent Harris on play-by-play and Jerry Glanville on color commentary.
William Hambrecht Trophy
The winner of the UFL Championship Game is awarded William Hambrecht Trophy, which is named in honor of Bill Hambrecht, a co-founder of the UFL, co-owner of the Las Vegas Locomotives, and current UFL commissioner after Michael Huyghue resigned. The 2009 edition of the trophy was an arcing silver star (resembling the star on the UFL's logo) emerging from an upward arcing base. A new Hambrecht Trophy was unveiled in 2010; it stands 38 inches in height, is topped by a 3D silver-plated UFL football, and features plaques honoring past and future UFL champions.
- By perry161492. "Locomotives win inaugural UFL championship in overtime - Las Vegas Sun News". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- Kirk, Billy (2010-10-18). "Omaha to Host 2010 United Football League Championship Game at Historic Rosenblatt Stadium on November 27 | United Football League (UFL) news, opinion, and discussion –". Uflaccess.com. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "Fan Loyalty to Help Determine Site for 2010 UFL Championship Game". United Football League. 2010-05-12. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- Pivovar, Steve (2010-11-27). "Tuskers fall short in UFL championship game - Orlando Sentinel". Articles.orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "Virginia Beats Vegas 17-3 to Win UFL Championship Game". Vegasnews.com. 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "Destroyers to Host UFL Championship Game Friday - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News". OurSports Central. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
- "New William Hambrecht Trophy to Debut During United Football League Championship Game Week", from ufl-football.com, accessed 11/22/2010