Parks’s Pulse – On TB12, shirtless Stallions, and Good Quinten

Quinten Dormady #12 of the San Antonio Brahmas looks to pass during the second quarter against the Arlington Renegades at Alamodome on May 19, 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riely/UFL/Getty Images)

Each week during the season, Parks’s Pulse presents a smattering of thoughts on the previous weekend’s games.

Ranking the games

  1. Panthers 24, Showboats 18 – Michigan escaped a potentially disastrous situation against Memphis, keeping their USFL Conference championship hopes alive. John DeFilippo’s team fought hard but couldn’t overcome 13 penalties.
  2. Battlehawks 26, Defenders 21 – D.C. is just not going to be successful passing the ball 42 times in this close of a game. St. Louis QB Manny Wilkins avoided big mistakes to guide the Battlehawks to a playoff berth.
  3. Stallions 35, Roughnecks 28 – There were a lot of “close but no cigar” upsets in week eight. This was one of them. Ten receivers caught passes for Birmingham. They just have too many weapons.
  4. Brahmas 20, Renegades 15 – Another strong performance by Luis Perez wasted. The return of Anthony McFarland added a dynamic element to the Brahmas’ offense that had been missing since he went down with an injury.

TB12 in the house

Fox’s #1 broadcast team for the NFL this fall will look different, as Tom Brady joins Kevin Burkhardt on Sundays. Burkhardt and Brady were at Ford Field in Detroit for Saturday’s Panthers vs. Showboats game. Some reports have it that they were doing a dry run of a broadcast together in preparation for September. Pictures and video of Brady on the sidelines before the game made it to UFL social media channels. Aside from a brief mention at the top of the television broadcast, Brady did not appear during the game, even to join the commentators for a drive or two (lending credence to the idea that he and Burkhardt were hard at work during the game).

All-access moment of the week, part one

While Houston deserves credit for keeping the game close against Birmingham, early tackling issues by the Roughnecks made it look as if it could get out of hand. As the defense was coming off the field following a Stallions score, head coach Curtis Johnson matter-of-factly told CB Colby Richardson, who was passing Johnson on his way to the bench, “C’mon, you gotta tackle.” Richardson was one of the guilty parties in the missed tackle parade. Johnson didn’t yell and scream, but let his defender know he saw the error all the same.

Shirtless Stallions

Perhaps following the lead of OL Cole Schneider, whose fashion exploits I wrote about two weeks ago, the entire end zone section of Stallions fans on Saturday went shirtless. ESPN was more than happy to shine a spotlight on those folks who appeared to be having the time of their lives. Sideline reporter Eric Mac Lain even went over to interview some of the participants. They started chanting for Mac Lain to join them in ditching his top, but he opted to keep it professional. In a weird way, this may provide Birmingham an identity that so many fanbases in the league have lacked so far. St. Louis has the size, D.C. has the beer snake and the lemons, and that’s really about it. If the Stallions and the league can get behind this macho show of bravado, they may have something here.

A new “man” in Michigan?

A mid-season signing with starting QB EJ Perry injured, Bryce Perkins has garnered significant playing time the last two weeks. Perkins, who has spent three summers playing under offensive guru Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams, has impressed with his arm and legs. Head coach Mike Nolan committed to alternating Perkins and Brian Lewerke by series on Saturday, though at the end Perkins did get back-to-back drives. With Danny Etling reaching full health and potentially ready to return this week, Nolan will have to decide who to roll with heading into the final weeks of the regular season and the playoffs.

Good Quinten

The last two weeks have been a roller-coaster for Brahmas QB Quinten Dormady, showing fans both Bad Quinten and Good Quinten. He suffered through a 1-for-11 passing streak against Houston that got him benched for NFL veteran Kevin Hogan in week seven. Hogan was able to engineer a comeback and get the victory over the Roughnecks. Despite that, Dormady was reinstalled as the starter for week eight. He responded by throwing for over 300 yards and two touchdowns against Arlington. Over the course of his two years in spring football, Dormady has proven to be a high-ceiling, low-floor player. Dormady steadied the ship after the injury to Chase Garbers and led the Brahmas to the playoffs. Whatever else you can say about his play, that is an accomplishment worth touting.

All-access moment of the week, part two.

Defensive backs are known for their confidence. Former NFL first round draft pick Deandre Baker displayed that confidence early on versus St. Louis. Playing against backup QB Manny Wilkins, Baker was targeted twice on the first Battlehawks drive of the game. He seemed to take that personally, telling sideline reporter Cole Cubelic, “It ain’t in their best interest to go at me all game. They gotta change their game plan.” Baker may have won the battle by helping to limit St. Louis to just nine completions and 126 passing yards, but the Battlehawks won the war by eliminating the Defenders from playoff contention with their win.

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