The Final Week For The Hitmen?

New York – (6 April 2001) — It’s real simple, for the NY/NJ Hitmen to make the playoffs, they must beat the Bolts on TNN this Sunday afternoon. Once they do that, they must root for the Orlando Rage to defeat the red-hot Chicago Enforcers on Sunday night. If those two things happen, NY will clinch a playoff spot in the east.

It’s very hard to believe that at 3 and 6, NY still has a shot at the playoffs. At this point, NY has to question whether or not they are good enough to get the job done. They were 1 and 4 after 5 weeks. They won 3 straight and they now have dropped their last 2 games. The glory ride is over. Another loss and all that they have accomplished to get into this position will mean nothing.

The Hitmen are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Chicago at home. They had Chicago down, but they couldn’t take them out. That’s been the story of the season for NY. It’s been a very frustrating season for the Hitmen, They have had their chances but they have blown them.

This Sunday, they walk into Legion Field to face an angry Birmingham team. While NY has made things interesting this year, the Bolts have lost 6 straight football games. They are now 2 and 7, They have lost 2 quarterbacks and they are hungry for a win. On Sunday Graham Leigh makes the start at QB for Birmingham. Casey Weldon and Jay Barker are done for the year.

The Hitmen may also have to rely on their third string quarterback. Pro Rookie, Corte McGuffey, who will probably make his second straight start of the season. The Hitmen’s best signal caller, Wally Richardson is doubtful with a knee injury and his team needs him with a playoff spot on the line, but he is not likely to play.

The Bolts will be playing the role of spoiler and they would love to end their season on a high note. A win will not erase all of their troubles but it may help heal some of the wounds. Birmingham defeated NY earlier this season when Casey Weldon, James Bostic and Stepfret Williams made big plays and aided the Bolts to victory in week 2. Two of those players still remain and they have been two of Birmingham’s brightest stars.

In order for the Hitmen to win, they will need last weeks goat Joe Aska to carry them in the ground game.

The playoffs give a team new life. Two wins in the XFL playoffs and you are the champion. It does not matter how you get there, as long as you get there. To salvage their season, the Hitmen must make the playoffs. If they don’t, then this season has to be considered a failure. That’s a harsh way to look at it but in sports, the bottom line is the bottom line. NY had control of their playoff destiny and now after two straight losses, their destiny is in Orlando’s hands.