There is no new thing under the sun, according to Ecclesiastes, but as football fans, we’d be better off had we been told, there is not now, nor will there ever be, anything like the Pittsburgh Passion. The Passion is Women’s Football’s Rock of Gibraltar—so solid or permanent, it can never be broken.
|PRIME-TIME PERFORMER—Most Valuable Defender Olivia “Prime-Time” Griswold intercepted a pass and high stepped 50-yards and did a full body flip into the end zone. (Courtesy Photos/Pittsburgh Passion)
The Passion (5-0) lived up to its billing as the hottest team in the Women’s Football Alliance League by shutting out the Pittsburgh Force 66-0, at Steel Valley High School’s Campbell Field May 19.
The day began very badly for the Force and got progressively worse. First, the honorary captain for the game was supposed to be Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. However, Sanders was a no-show, just like he was for much of the 2011 season.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Force surprised the Passion by moving the football easily to mid-field. The team and the crowd were pumped up until a center to quarterback exchange was fumbled and recovered by the Passion.
Passion first year head coach Harvey Smith designed an offensive scheme as potent as any in the country. The players studied hard to learn this new offense and picked it up without the help of Rosetta Stone. Through five games the Passion is averaging 52-points per game.
Defensively the Force decided to gamble by double teaming star receiver Tammy Spencer, who is also the Passion’s community relations director. But concentrating on Spencer left the team’s other receiver with one-on-one coverage. Amanda Haeg caught four touchdown passes from quarterback Lisa Horton and ran for another.
“We’ve got a really exciting offense,” owner Teresa Conn said. “We’ve got so many people back there. The same people can run it and pass it. We can do all the so-called trick plays. We just keep our opponents guessing.”
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Troy Polamalu has the utmost respect of his professional peers. Michelle Brevard-Wilkerson, a surgical technologist, wears the same number and plays the same position as Polamalu. Brevard-Wilkerson is an 8-year veteran and all-star, but the Most Valuable defender had to go to Olivia “Prime-Time” Griswold, who intercepted a pass and high stepped 50-yards and did a full body flip into the endzone.
Griswold also had a couple quarterback sacks and a forced fumble and recovered a fumble.
Fullback Melinda Henderson, yet another great football player from Aliquippa, made a lot of great blocks and bulldozed her way into the end zone for a touchdown.
“It was a force of passion,” said Delana Williams, CEO of Eyes of Jordan. “Whatever boys can do girls can do better!”
The best all-around player may have been Tia “Monti” Montgomery of the Force. The former Westinghouse High School all-star was all over the field. Montgomery blocked a kick, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and had a lot of big hits.
“We are disappointed but we’ll bounce back,” said owner and head coach Kathy “Kat” Ferrari. “Everybody gets their butt kicked once in a while. Even the New England Patriots gets beat bad sometimes. Only difference is they get millions.”
The Force don’t have enough players yet who can step up their “Swag” enough to compete with a team like the Passion.
“Our goal is to win a national championship,” said Passion defensive coach Jerry Lee. “The national championship game is at Heinz Field and we expect to be there.”
Heinz Field will host the 2012 Silver Sport Women’s Football Alliance National Championship on Saturday, Aug. 4. It will be the first time a women’s football championship will be played in an NFL stadium.
Could the Pittsburgh Passion be America’s team? The Passion was the first women’s football team to have a game shown on ESPN.
As keeper of the Passion, the important thing for Conn is to always be prepared. The flame must not be allowed to burn out, or even flicker.
As a gladiator centuries ago once said, “What we do in life, echoes in eternity!” Dreams don’t end on the football field, it’s where they begin.
Teresa Conn’s life has been one from which books of encouragement are conceived and movie deals end up on the big screen. But the dreams and achievements of this remarkable woman reach far beyond a fantasy story or cinema agreement.
Last year Heinz Field hosted a football championship in the Batman movie of Gotham City.
Coach Smith, Teresa Conn and the Pittsburgh Passion expect to win another championship, so get your popcorn ready.