Thursday, September 12, 2019
AMERICAN FOOTBALL RETURNS YEARS AFTER BRIGG PUB HELPED ESTABLISH THE SPORT IN THIS AREA
Brigg played a key role in bringing a new sport to North Lincolnshire in the mid-1980s - American football (gridiron).
The Brigg Jets became the first local team, with the all-action sport later blossoming in Scunthorpe through the renowned Steelers franchise, with home games at the town's Quibell Park on Sunday afternoons between March and September.
Following the eventual demise of the Scunthorpe Steelers, there has been a 29-year gap, but that will end this weekend when the newly-formed Scunthope Alphas play their first home fixture.
On Sunday (September 15) at 2pm they will take on Northants Knights at Quibell Park, off Brumby Wood Lane, Scunthorpe. Admission is £3 (adults) and free for children.
Cheerleaders will entertain the crowd at half-time, and food and other refreshments will be available throughout. There will be bouncy castles for the youngsters, and face-painting on offer.
Spokesman for the Alphas, Charlie Wilson, who we know well, says: "We have hundreds of people interested in the event and we'll have plenty of entertainment on the day."
Back in January 1984, one cold midweek evening, we visited the Lord Nelson, in Brigg Market Place for a pint, and spotted a poster about efforts to form a local American football team.
This was in an era when Channel 4 was enjoying big audience ratings for its Sunday evening show featuring highlights of American football matches played on the other side of the Atlantic in the National Football League (NFL).
We wrote a story for the Scunthorpe Telegraph about American football being established in North Lincolnshire and went on to cover many home matches at Quibell Park.
We also introduced a Saturday column about the sport, and the Steelers, which ran for several years.
Some of the squad members came from the Brigg area.
It's a good sport for spectators - once you pick up the rules; like rugby in many respects.
The best job in any sport belongs to the American football place kicker who comes on to boot the ball through the posts from close range after a touchdown (like a try in rugby) and sometimes does likewise from longer distance for what's known as a field goal.
At professional level the kicker can put his feet up on the sidelines for the remainder of the match.
So some of the most reliable kickers in the NFL have kept playing well into their 40s or even beyond 50 in a few cases.
If you are free on Sunday afternoon, pop over to QP and take a look at the QB (quarterback) and other players in action for the Alphas.
The quarterback is the main man, throwing or handing the ball to team-mates (speedy wide receivers or powerful running backs respectively) in an effort to advance down the field and ultimately score touchdowns - the main way in which points are put on the board.
PICTURED: The Lord Nelson as it looked in the 1980s when it played a part in bringing American football to this area.