The Watering Hole: Power Up? How about Power Out

By Michael Waterloo
Of The Spirit

After an 0-3 start to begin the 2013-2014 season, the Philadelphia Flyers fired head coach Peter Laviolette as a scapegoat for the poor start.

It's not first time we've seen a coach lose his job that soon, especially in hockey, which is considered by many to be the hardest sport to keep a coaching job.

But what about a football team firing its coach after an 0-1 start to the season?

Well, look no further than Pittsburgh, as the black and gold relieved their coach after the season started with a loss.

No, not the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I'm talking about the Pittsburgh Power.

You've heard of them, right?

Well, if you haven't, I wouldn't be too surprised, but they are a professional football team in Pittsburgh and play in the Arena Football League.

Following the season-opening loss to the Cleveland Gladiators, the Power relieved head coach Derek Stingley.

Congrats, Power, that's why you'll continue to be irrelevant.

In two years (and one game), Stingley had a 7-20 record behind the bench.

So 7-19 isn't enough to make the ownership fire the coach?

You had to get that extra loss in there, didn't you?

I'm never rooting for anybody to lose their job, but why go through an entire offseason and practices leading up to the season, only to fire him one game into an 18-game season?

For the small group that actually does follow this team (and they are vocal, trust me), how does this not tick you off?

This isn't the first time that the Power have embarrassed themselves, either.

In fact, two years ago the Power showed why they shouldn't be considered a "real" sports team, but instead, showed why they are a joke and a spectacle.

Prior to a game against the Orlando Predators, Matt Shaner, the team's owner, had his team meet at an Olive Garden in Orlando for a pre-game meal.

The AFL players were looking for a strike before the season, as the AFL Player's Association wanted an increase of 300 percent from the $400 game checks, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Shaner threw the first blow, as he cut his entire roster just hours before the game.

He cut the entire roster.

Let that sink in for just a moment, would you?

Twenty-four players, making what amounts to be nothing as far as professional athletes go, all fired before a game.

The players who didn't split from the union and return for the game, were stranded in Orlando and had to find their own way home.

To be fair, members of other teams were released, too, but to do it hours before the game in an Olive Garden of all places?

I hope the endless salad, soup and breadsticks came out before they were fired.

To boot, the game was televised on the NFL Network, according to the Yahoo! Sports report, and the announcers couldn't identify a number of the players on the team.

Bravo, Power, bravo.

The sport already doesn't get respect around the area, which I felt bad about at first, but when they do things like this — along with losing nonstop — it's not a good look.

When the news first broke last week about the firing of Stingley, I voiced my opinion on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

Everyone who commented had the same basic opinion — it's a joke and a sideshow.

When the Power first started up in 2011, I actually got to cover the inaugural season.

It was my first "major" event that I got to cover.

I was professional during it, and it was nice to get into the press box.

The action, however, was laughable, and it seems like the "fans" agree.

The high-watermark for the franchise in home attendance was 13,904 — in the team's first ever game.

For the rest of the 9-9 year, during which the Power missed the playoffs, the team averaged a modest 9,197 fans per game.

In 2012, the team finished 5-13 and averaged 5,163 fans per game.

Last year, the team finished 4-14 with 5,865 fans per game.

But don't worry, Power fans (if you exist), this is the year...or so I've been told.

The Power replaced Stingley with Ron James, the 2012 AFL Head Coach of the Year.

James gets to reunite with quarterback Tommy Grady, as well as a pair of wide receivers — Aaron Lesue and Shaun Kauleinamoku — whom he coached with the Utah Blaze.

Will that be enough to draw fans and make the Power a winner?

I heard the same thing the past three years, as a matter of fact.

After 2012, I was told the Power were going to take strides after a great rookie season.

Well, that failed.

Last year, the answer was Jordan Jefferson, the former LSU quarterback.

That answer was wrong.

This year, it's James.

Yeah, good luck with that, coach.

The Power extended their lease with the Consol Energy Center through 2016.

I'm not a betting man, but after that, I don't think you'll see another Pittsburgh Power game.

But that's OK.

Until then, you can get tickets for as low as $15, or get them off of a place like Groupon, since they are desperate to fill the arena.

If you haven't checked out a game yet, it's "something" to take your kids to on a weekend.

While they keep score, don't think of it as an actual sport, though.

It's a gimmick, and it's like the WWE of football.