FXFL’s Omaha Mammoths: Fitting football into baseball’s diamond

Omaha Mammoths
“Take me out to the ball game…Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks…”

I don’t think Jack Norwath could have envisioned that baseball tune applying to football, but for the Omaha Mammoths, that’s the case.

The Mammoths of the Fall Experimental Football League call TD Ameritrade Park of Omaha home for the five-game fall season in 2014.

The ballpark – home to the NCAA baseball College World Series – is home to the “Road to Omaha” statue. The Creighton Bluejays play their home games here in the spring.

TD Ameritrade Park

TD Ameritrade is not the first stadium to serve baseball/football teams. The Oakland Raiders of the National Football League and Major League Baseball’s Athletics share a stadium. Yankee Stadium hosts college football’s Pinstripe Bowl. Even the Minnesota Vikings and baseball’s Twins shared the old Metrodome in Minneapolis.

But, for the second time in the past few years, TD Ameritrade has become home to an outdoor football team. The former Omaha Nighthawks played here during the days of the United Football League. The Mammoths, however, plan to be long-term residents of this baseball mecca.

How does a baseball field become a football field? The field is laid out in a north-south direction. It allows for closer fan viewing, along the first baseline. The end zones sit in near home plate and right field.

Omaha Mammoths

The football field does run over the dirt infield. This can cause some potential issues during inclement or cold weather.

In the end, though, the FXFL players don’t care much if they are playing in a football-only stadium or in the parking lot, they want to play football and punch their ticket to the National Football League. Once they’re in The League, maybe it will matter a little more if they are playing at Soldier Field or at Mile High.

Omaha Mammoths

In the meantime, the Mammoths played a game on the turf inside TD Ameritrade. This week’s foe? The Blacktips. The Florida-based team is fielding a travel squad this season. The Blacktips play three games, one each at Omaha, Boston and Brooklyn.

Omaha improved to 2-0 with a 20-19 win before about 1500 fans. The Mammoths took a step back from their season-opening win. Both teams made a large number of mistakes early in the game, resulting in several penalties. For a while, I was thinking this was a scrimmage for the officiating crew to work its calls. Once the teams settled down, they played a tough and entertaining game.

Omaha Mammoths

Omaha again split quarterback time between Jordan Jefferson and Brock Jensen (who got the start). Both guided the Mammoths on touchdown drives. The Mammoths added two field goals in the win.

The Blacktips’ kicking game cost them the chance for a win. They missed a field goal attempt in the opening frame. Both PAT attempts were unsuccessful. The last one could have tied the game at 20-20. The FXFL has point after touchdown kicks attempted from the 17-yard line as an experiment.

Omaha travels to Brooklyn for an Oct. 24th game against the Bolts. Brooklyn won its game with a 27-20 victory of winless Boston. About 1400 people attended the game. The Mammoths return home for a Nov. 5th contest against Boston.

FXFL Standings:

Omaha 2-0
Brooklyn 1-0
Blacktips 0-1
Boston 0-2