UFL announces Omaha expansion team
ERIC OLSON,AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. — Omaha will host the fifth franchise in the United Football League, and former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski will coach the team.
Commissioner Michael Huyghue said at a news conference that the yet-to-be-named team will play at Rosenblatt Stadium this fall, then move downtown to the new TD Ameritrade Park in 2011.
The fledgling minor league, which touts itself as a developmental league for the NFL, reportedly lost about $30 million in 2009, its first season.
The UFL is the sole owner of the Omaha team, but Huyghue said he hopes to find local investors to whittle the league's stake to 50 percent.
Omaha will join teams in Hartford, Conn., Sacramento, Calif., Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla., for a season that runs from September to November. Huyghue said the league hopes to announce another expansion team within three weeks and that it plans to add two franchises a year until the UFL reaches 12 to 14 teams.
The league is trying to identify non-NFL markets that have demonstrated a passion for football.
Huyghue said about 30 players landed on NFL rosters after the UFL season ended last year.
"The caliber we're looking for are players with NFL experience and an average age of 26," he said. "In some cases they played in Super Bowls, Pro Bowls. The fact the NFL hasn't expanded in several years means there is a strong pool of players."
Huyghue said the team will play a minimum of four home games, with players earning about $6,000 a week. The league's average attendance last year was about 10,000 a game.
Jagodzinski was offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers before leading Boston College to a combined 20-8 record in 2007-08. BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo fired Jagodzinski last year for seeking the New York Jets' head coaching job without permission.
Jagodzinski was hired as offensive coordinator by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January 2009 but was fired 10 days before the season by first-year coach Raheem Morris.
Jagodzinski said he was excited about restarting his coaching career in Omaha, which is 50 miles from the University of Nebraska campus in Lincoln.
"One thing these people know is football," he said. "They understand the game and the passion of the game. You're going to see high energy, a fast tempo and a fun team to watch."
A name-the-team contest will be held, with fans given the choice of four nicknames: Mustangs, Stags, Navigators and Spirit.