Our Daily Dread: The UnFriendLy UFL

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A story on CNN’s website today (linked here) notes that “unfriend” has been picked as word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, beating out things such as “netbook,” “hashtag” and “sexting.”

Oxford defines “unfriend,” a verb: “To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.”

It also notes that on some blogs Tuesday, debate about the decision centered on whether the “unfriend” or “defriend” was the proper word for weeding someone from one’s online circle.

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Somehow this brings us to the United Football League.

We have unfriended them. They’re UnFriendLy in our social circles. We’ve been abandoned.

We’ve kept seeing this billboard (above) around town the last couple of months, and it has definitely had us interested … in an odd way. It promotes a professional football game at the Home Depot Center for this Friday, two teams full of NFL rejects, pointing the spotlight on the names on the two coaches participating.

It looks more like a UFC event than the UFL.

Two guys who will “battle for U.” What, in a halftime arm wrestling? A clipboard toss competition? Honestly, these guys should be wearing nametags as much as the players.

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But, from what we can now determine, this game isn’t taking place in Southern California. And we can’t get a straight answer.

The official site of the Home Depot Center (linked here), home of the MLS Galaxy and Chivas, is publicizing only the upcoming high school football state championships and a Mia Hamm-Nomar Garciaparra charity soccer event.

Through a Google search, we find out through some sketch reports that back in mid-October, the league pulled the plug on this. Someone decided (linked here) that the contest between your Las Vegas Locomotives (aka, the Locos) and the New York Sentinels should stay at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas and not venture this way.

It goes against the league’s original plan to showcase their four teams in not just their four “hometowns” but also in potential markets for expansion.

Because, in L.A., you know, there is no pro football. And this could be the answer.

“This is a move to help the Locos build a solid fan base in their home city, help sell tickets for the championship game to be held in Vegas (on the Friday after Thanksgiving) to not ruin L.A. as a potential UFL market,” the story says, attributing this information to no one in particular.

It also explains: The UFL isn’t drawing.

They thought they’d get 20,000 a game. They’ve been estimating crowd counts as closer to about 12,500. Those who are actually in attendance think that’s about twice as much as are really there. That’s less than what the old XFL used to draw (23,400 in its one year). Even the older USFL was a much bigger attaction, with far greater names.

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JP Losman (bio linked here), the former Venice High standout and UCLA scholarship holder who left the program as a redshirt and ended up with improving his NFL stock at Tulane, continues to pilot the Locos of Vegas, who last week clinched a championship berth. This, after his career with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills (33 starts in four years) seemed to fizzle. He’d been reduced to a backup. The 28-year-old decided to join this upstart D-league-type league back in August. Fassel, the former New York Giants coach, would be the two most high-profile faces — even with Jim Haslett (Florida Tuskers, in Orlando), Dennis Green (California Redwood, in San Francisco) and Cotrell (New York) coaching the other teams.

We know of this Losman. We actually wanted to see him play. We can’t now.

He’s not our friend.

What the XFL did for Tommy Maddox and the Arena Football League did for Kurt Warner, this UFL thing could be useful for Losman. A stop in L.A. this week would have really upped his profile.

Instead, he’s back in Vegas, off the strip, competing with Carrot Top and some reality show ventrilloquist for attention. Here, we’d have embraced him. Now, we erase his memory.

If there was a curiosity factor for this UFL, it’s gone. Like most of these coaches’ futures. Plant a franchise here next year, and we’ll tell you right now, we don’t care. You had your chance. You had us at the crazy billboard, which is still up near the 110 Harbor Freeway near Sepulveda, a few miles from the HDC. Which will apparently be dark on Friday.

This unfriendly UFL is about as goin’ rogue as some woman trying to reclaim her political career.

Thanks, nonfriend. It was nice not knowing you.

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