The Latest Headlines from Cork Bowl 21

September 22 - Cork Bowl 21 Teams Announced
September 29 - Chris Cork and Wilson Fireworks Start Early in Camp
October 8 - Rushing the Passer Returns for First Time Since Cork Bowl 12
October 23 - Blobfish Rumored to be Leaving Cork Bowl to Join Big 10 Conference
November 11 - Red Pandas Strike May Cancel Cork Bowl 21
November 14 - Love and Marriage Runs Rampant Prior to Cork Bowl 21
November 20 - Jeff Henney Eyeing Possible Return for Cork Bowl 22
November 23 - The Preview to End All Previews
November 24 - Willy Truitt Big Announcement Set for Pregame Show
November 28 - Jason Sutfin to Announce Cork Bowl 21....If Demands Are Met

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Cork Bowl 21 Teams Announced

September 22nd - The rosters for Cork Bowl 21 were announced on Thursday at a press conference at Corklestick Park with the Red Pandas facing off against the Blobfish. After playing for the first time with seven players per team in last year's game, the rosters have returned to the conventional number of six for this year's contest. "Last year had some very unique circumstances that we needed to work around," remarked Commissioner Patrick Cork. "With Greg and Dustin playing quarterback and not being able to play defense, we needed to add an extra player. But those circumstances aren't there this year and we're going back to six-man teams."

Greg Howard will return to quarterback after making his debut last season to lead the Red Pandas. Howard struggled out of the gate, but settled down to lead his team to an easy victory completing 42 passes with 20 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. "Last year was definitely a completely new experience for me," said Howard. "After I got adjusted late in the first half things really slowed down for me. There won't be any early game jitters this time around." Unlike last year, Howard will be playing on the defensive side of the ball where he will increase his all-time lead in career tackles (currently at 131). After a year at receiver, Cork Bowl's all-time leading passer Willy Truitt will be back under center again for the Blobfish. Truitt had what may have been the best game of his career in Cork Bowl 19 when he completed a career high 62 passes and tied a Cork Bowl record with 22 touchdowns. "It will be nice to be back where I belong," said Truitt.

Missing from last year's game will be Dustin Waldrop, Josh Massey and Jason Sutfin who all made their Cork Bowl debuts in Cork Bowl 20. Returning will be one of Cork Bowl's all-time greats in Josh Williamson. Williamson established himself from Cork Bowls 5-13, but missed three years from 2004-2006 before playing in Cork Bowls 17 and 18, but has not played in the past two years. "Needless to say, anytime we get somebody like Josh back in the game it's great," responded Commissioner Cork. "It took some work to get a deal worked out with him since he's in Virginia now, but we finally came to an agreement and having him here on December 3rd will be worth every penny.

This year's teams will be a total contrast in styles. For the Red Pandas, Greg Howard will have a wealth of experience at his disposal. Veterans Chris Cork and Brooks Wilson will join three-time MVP Robert Trimble, Kevin Ryan and Williamson. "You look at the guys on my team and it's a who's who of Cork Bowl greats," added Howard. "Every player on our team has established himself and we know exactly what each of them will bring to the table." The six players combine for 80 years of Cork Bowl experience, compared to just 49 for their opponent. In an unprecedented situation, the Red Pandas will have the past eight Cork Bowl MVPs on the same roster (Howard MVP of CB 13 and co-MVP 14, Trimble 15, 18 and 20; Ryan 16, Cork 17, Wilson co-MVP 19). "I think what that shows is our team is full of winners," remarked Chris Cork. "Each of us knows how to step up when our team needs us to." They will by far be the more physical team with bruisers such as Howard, Trimble and Wilson on the defensive side of the ball. "We're going to be aggressive and we're going to enforce our will on them," added Wilson. "The tougher team usually wins and we're going to make sure that's us. If we can't be tougher I can guarantee we'll be cheaper."

As for the Blobfish, Willy Truitt will be asked to lead a young, inexperienced team for one of the only times in his career. There will be a heavy burden placed on the shoulders of the two veteran receivers Jake Hoalt and Patrick Cork. "There was a time when I welcomed having to carry a big load," remarked Patrick Cork. "But those days ended several years ago. I think what Willy and I need to do this year is to lead these young guys by example and to show them what it takes to win a Cork Bowl with our practices over the next few months. They have the physical ability to be stars, but it takes much more than athleticism to win the big game when it matters. Just ask Tony Romo." While Cork and Truitt have 35 years of experience between them, Hoalt is the next longest tenured player with 8 years, while Woodard, Zehr and Barmes have combined to play in just six games. Hoalt has established himself as a hard-nosed runner and has caught 31 passes over the past two seasons combined. Woodard has increased his production in each of his four seasons and will likely need to do so again this season. Zehr and Barmes made their debuts last year with each showing flashes of stardom. They caught five passes between them and turned four of them into touchdowns. "They are both explosive players once they get the ball in their hands," remarked Truitt. "They both had tough situations making their debuts with the seven-man rosters. Neither really found their groove on offense with all the substitutions so I would expect them to both have impressive numbers this season. I know I have confidence in both of them to look their way at any time."

Cork Bowl 21 is scheduled to start at 10:00 central time on Saturday, December 3rd.

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Chris Cork and Wilson Fireworks Start Early in Camp

September 29th - It was only a matter of time before Chris Cork and Brooks Wilson's long-time rivalry led to some training camp issues, but few thought it would happen in the first week of camp. The surprising part was what fueled the fire on Wednesday afternoon. "Apparently Chris and Brooks got into a discussion about who was going to be the one to retire at the end of the season," remarked a team representative. "Brooks' oldest son (Noah) is 12, and that's the age when a number of Cork Bowl players started their careers. Chris was adamant that he called "dibs" on having Noah take his spot when he turned 13, but Brooks took offense. Needless to say things got ugly fast."

"I have a notarized document from 2003 that specifically says when Noah is ready to play that he will replace me," said a frustrated Chris Cork. "If Wilson doesn't like, he can take me to court. I've been waiting for Noah to make his debut for eight years and you better believe he's taking my spot when he's ready." Wilson, on the other hand, isn't buying it. "He's my kid. If I decide to let him play, it's my decision whether he takes my spot or not. That's in my contract. Chris is going to have to find another replacement if he thinks he's getting out before me."

Needless to say, some fellow Red Pandas aren't cracked up about the in-fighting from the two veterans. "I know they've been around a long time and we all have a ton of respect for them, but it definitely isn't helping our team's focus when two of our team leaders are arguing about who gets to quit playing first," added quarterback Greg Howard. "We should be focused on this game and not on our pensions. There will be plenty of time to work that stuff out after the game."

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Rushing the Passer Returns for First Time Since Cork 12

October 8th - Last year's Cork Bowl will be remembered for breaking ground with the debut of seven-man rosters. Cork Bowl 21 will be remembered as the year the blitz came back. In a ruling that will likely have a huge impact on this year's game, Commissioner Patrick Cork made the formal announcement over the weekend that there will be rushing the passer for the first time since Cork Bowl 12. The return of Kirby Newell from a career-threatening leg injury forced the league to outlaw blitzing when he played quarterback for the Grisons in Cork Bowl 13. Since then, the rule has remained unchanged. However, the league has decided that facet of the game will return this year, albeit in limited form.

"We obviously had to make the rule change back in the day for Kirby," remakred Commissioner Cork. "And over the years, there have been a number of other circumstances that have caused us to leave the rule in place including Tony Cork's return, Reggie Truitt's injured back and Greg Howard's police academy training. But this year, there's really no reason for us to keep that rule intact so we're going to give it a try and see what happens."

Unlike years past, there will be stipulations on blitzing. As has been the case in the past, only one defender will be allowed to rush the passer. However this year, teams will only be allowed to rush the passer one time per possession. "One of the reasons we got rid of the rule was the constant pressure the quarterbacks were under," added Cork. "It took away from the game itself with the QB's running for their lives every play. This game was built on throwing the ball so we need to make sure that aspect never goes away." Being limited to one rush per drive will definitely add to the strategy on the defensive side of the ball. "Frankly I love that the blitz is back," remarked long-time blitzer Greg Howard. "Teams are going to have to be prepared for it every play, but they're only going to get it one time. Do you use it early and put them in 2nd/3rd and long? Do you wait until a potential fourth down? There are a lot of different ways to approach it so we'll have to see how things work out."

Immediately following the announcement, the media bombarded Reggie Truitt's representatives to see if he would be joining the Blobfish as their defensive coordinator. Truitt, who thrived on complicated blitzing packages during his playing days, would be a huge addition to the Blobfish. "Reggie taught me everything I know about defensive schemes," commented Willy Truitt. "We would love to have him come in and work with us but I have no indication right now that it will happen. The Red Pandas definitely have more guys that can make an impact blitzing than we do, so the schemes and preparation Reggie could provide would go a long way."

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Blobfish Rumored to Possibly be Leaving Cork Bowl to Join Big 10 Conference

October 23rd - The wave of major universities bolting conferences for more cash has recently made its impact on Cork Bowl. Sunday afternoon, rumors began to surface that the Big 10 Conference had been wooing the Blobfish to bail out of Cork Bowl 21 and join the Big Ten Conference. "It's all nonsense," responded a defensive Commissioner Patrick Cork. "It's just another media-created rumor with no truth to it."

Others, however, aren't so sure. "Let's see here. The Commissioner of Cork Bowl has always been looking for extra revenue for the league and suddenly someone is throwing millions of dollars out there to anybody that has a football team and we're supposed to believe that he has no interest in taking that money?" questioned an anonymous source close to the league. "It's all a little too convenient for me. I mean, he's got his hand in the cookie jar and he can do whatever he wants. It just goes to show that Cork Bowl needs a little more balance of power at the top so things like this won't happen."

Several players from the Blobfish seemed to be fond of the idea of joining the Big Ten. "As an Illinois fan, it would be a dream to compete at that level," responded second-year player Aaron Zehr. "As much as I love playing games in front of the fans at Corklestick, to play in the Horseshoe at Ohio State or The Big House in Michigan would be quite a treat." "I've put up numbers for over a decade that would make most Big Ten quarterbacks jealous," added Willy Truitt. "I'd love to see what I could do against that type of competition. Would you rather match wits with the defensive schemes of Joe Paterno or those drawn up by Chris Cork? I mean, come on."

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Red Pandas Strike May Cancel Cork Bowl 21

November 11th - Cork Bowl 21 is in danger of being cancelled due to a players’ strike of the Red Panda roster. The Red Panda players seem dissatisfied with the lack of revenue sharing between the players and Commissioner Patrick Cork. “I’ve played in this game for 15 years, and I haven’t received one dollar of the revenues this game brings in” Red Panda quarterback Greg Howard said. “And we have to pay for our own uniforms too. Fringed t-shirts and Santa shorts aren’t cheap, you know.” Brooks Wilson added, “I don’t know how much longer I can play for post-game sandwiches and chili. Some of my teammates are still living the single life, but I have a family to feed.”

The Red Pandas’ demands include a 40 percent share of all revenue generated, a pension system for veterans of 10 years or more, and field improvements at Corklestick Park. Commissioner Patrick Cork responded, “Maybe I should require helmets, because these guys have taken way too many hits to the head. What revenues do they think Cork Bowl produces?” Cork continued, “Sure, we sell a few DVDs of the game, but any revenue generated is completely cancelled out by expenses like field paint, championship rings, etc. I’m lucky to break even.” Kevin Ryan is still suspicious though. “Why would he run this thing for 21 years if it wasn’t making money?” Ryan asked. “Maybe Chris Cork should do an audit on the books; he’s pretty good with numbers. That is, if he’s not on the take, too.”

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Love and Marriage Run Rampant Leading up to Cork Bowl 21

November 14th - What was once a single man's game, Cork Bowl's family dynamic has changed considerably over the years with no year seeing more change than this offseason. Of the 14 players to compete in Cork Bowl 20 last year, only four were married. However, the wedding bells were ringing this offseason as Willy Truitt, Evan Barmes, Robert Trimble and Josh Williamson tied the knot. Also, Aaron Zehr welcomed his first child into the world with the birth of his daughter in April. "Needless to say things have changed significantly from last year," remarked Commissioner Patrick Cork. 33% of the players in this year's game got married - and now for the first time in Cork Bowl history we will have more married men (7) than single men (5) on the field this year."

"Obviously the best part of all the married guys is that we have the opportunity to double our attendance from last year," added Commissioner Cork. "If Wilson would ever bring his family with him, we could set a single-game attendance record." The new lives of nearly half of this year's players leaves a lot of things up in the air. "You always wonder if guys are going to go soft once they get hitched," responded Greg Howard. "That's one reason I'm still single. I don't need that added distraction to my game preparation. I need to focus on film study and getting the reps in with my receivers. I don't have time to worry about whose turn it is to do dishes or to go to the grocery store, let alone having kids keep me up at all hours crying. I dealt with that enough rooming with Tomlinson in high school on road trips."

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Henney Eyeing Possible Return for Cork Bowl 22

November 20th - Few players have had as much of an instant impact as Jeff Henney did during his debut in Cork Bowl 11. And few players could draw as much excitement around the league as Henney when he announced, through his spokesman, that he may be returning to the field next fall for Cork Bowl 22. "I would like to officially announce I am eyeing Cork Bowl 22 as a possible return to the playing field," said the report. "There is still a lot of red tape to cut through, but I'm going to do all I can to make it happen."

Henney was named MVP his rookie season with a 12 catch, 12 tackle, 3 interceptions for touchdowns performance. He followed that game up with games of 16, 22, 18 and 18 receptions in Cork Bowls 12, 16, 17 and 18 before making the move to quarterback in Cork Bowl 19 where he connected on 19 touchdown passes in a tough loss. Knowing there is a chance of him returning to the field has added some energy around Cork Bowl circles in recent days. "Obviously to have one of the all-time greats back in the game would be a huge lift for the league," commented Commissioner Patrick Cork. "There are few players who have combined the excitement, the energy and the attitude that Cork Bowl has become famous for. He embodies everything Cork Bowl is about. There aren't a lot of Jeff Henneys out there so we're going to do everything in our power to get him on the field next year."

Henney has been overseas for the past couple of years joining fellow former Cork Bowler Steve Sanders in the far east. Sanders (China) and Henney (Laos) have been working vigorously the past few years to get the Oriental Cork Bowl league up and running, but Henney senses the importance of making one last showing in the states. "I really want to cement my legacy and get those milestones that every player dreams of," remarked Henney. "I'm 14 catches away from 100, 4 touchdown receptions from 30, 48 completions from 100 and 1 touchdown pass from 20 for my career. I'm not all about the numbers, but it adds a little extra meaning to your career when you can look back and see those marks by your name." Despite playing only five seasons at receiver, Henney ranks 6th all-time in career receptions with 86. "To see your name above the likes of Kirby Newell, Reggie Truitt and Ryan Tomlinson is something I never dreamed would happen when I played my first game ten years ago," added Henney. "Those are the guys you dream of playing with when you're coming up in the ranks, let alone to be listed alongside them in the record books. It's surreal."

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The Preview to End All Previews, The One in Which All Questions are Answered

November 23rd - The following preview was submitted by Cork Bowl veteran Ryan Tomlinson from his good friend Howie Vague. Vague is being listed as a possible replacement for "The Scoop" who has let everyone down this year with his lack of effort.

It's finally here, the preview for one of the greatest games that has ever been played. The game of kings, if kings would've played the game. Now that the season has changed and the winds are blowing from a different directions, the teams have been set, the travel plans have been made, and thrift shops have been visited. In this preview I'll break the game and its elements into the raw pieces that make this such a dynamic endeavor. I take great pride in the detailed research that I have done to bring you the 'Big Picture' of this occasion.

The Quarterbacks

Some people consider this the most crucial player on the field, and I agree with them sometimes. This years contest pits two old foes, or perhaps friends against each other. The throwing techniques of these players is incomparable to most modern day players, but some will say otherwise. I predict that at the end of the game both of them will walk of the field better men for the experience, unless one of them dies.

The Team Names

No names ring truer in sports then these, no names have ever been spoken with such awe and bemusement as they are. For generations people will discuss the names, just why they were they picked. Were they picked to bring honor to the animal gods? Were they picked to ridicule the animal kingdom?

The Touchdown Dance

One of the most beguiled and celebrated traditions of the game, some players will celebrate when they watch the film, while others will want a shot at sweet redemption and will be look towards next years game.

The Play by Play Announcers

Sitting on their throne of judgment they will have some critics, but others will nod their heads and say, 'that is so true.' There will be comments that fall short and are Tim McCarver like, and there will be moments that remind you of some of the most special moments in sports, those moments that are really, really good.

The First Half

This will be a hard fought battle of the gridiron. Heads will be lowered in shame, fists will be raised in pride. As the game wears on players will be breathing hard and wanting that little extra boost. But not all players will be feeling the burn in the legs and hearts, some will be strong and carry on as if they've been working out on a regular basis. The sun will shine if there are no clouds and the rain or snow will fall if it wants but nothing will be more sure as what happens on that field.

The Second Half

It'll be a lot like the first, only at the end someone will win, unless there is overtime. In that case rules will be reviewed and they will play some sort of 'extra time.'

The Food After the Game

There is no doubt that it will be delicious, and for one, be missed by this previewer.

Steriods and “The Gay Factor”
Greg Howard

I hope that I have cleared some of the misconceptions and given you a clearer picture of just what a special day this is to some people. No one can quite put into words how this game will affect the world and the people involved.

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Willy Truitt Preparing Big Announcement for Pregame Show

November 24th - The Avon Hills Gazette has learned legendary Corkbowl quarterback Willy Truitt will make a major announcement during the Pre-game Show for Corkbowl 21. A Westside YMCA tipster overheard the end of a locker room conversation this past week. "You could hear the excitement in his voice, but all I caught was the end. He mentioned that he couldn't wait to end the speculation and put his fans at ease," stated Jamal Jameson, origin unknown.

Word has spread quickly amongst the Corkbowl community and fans. Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with speculation. As seen below, fan opinion runs the gamut.

"The end is near, the end is near," tweeted TruittFan1.

"Hmm, back with Patrick, getting older... #storybookending" tweeted Corkbowl4Life

"I'll believe it when I see it. He's been working too hard on his fitness, I'm his witness," tweeted TheRealFergie.

"Whatever, he's all talk," from NewellsTool on Facebook.

For the record, Corkbowl officials maintain that there are no announcements planned for Game Day. "That goes against league policy," offered Commissioner Patrick Cork. "That said, since when does anyone follow league policy. We can't get Howard to wear pants half the time."

His Corkbowl peers didn't hold back in speculating, either.

"He knows his golden-arm is getting a little old, and there is a new stud in town," gloated Red Pandas Quarterback Greg Howard.

"I sure hope not," said a stunned Jeff Henney. "My whole comeback is really keyed around playing with Willy."

Truitt's reps were unavailable as of press time, but the AHG did reach his brother, Reggie Truitt. "No chance. From what I've seen he's totally rededicated himself. He has not talked to me in a few years about retirement, but of course he is married now. Maybe Jenn is weary of him playing into his mid-30s. I can't see him just walking away like this. He'd want a full year of hype and jersey sales."

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Jason Sutfin to Announce Cork Bowl 21....If Demands Are Met

November 28th - One of last year's Cork Bowl rookies is preparing for another rookie campaign on Saturday. Jason Sutfin, a member of the Cork Bowl 20 Championship Mallards team, will be making his debut behind the microphone for Cork Bowl 21....as long as his long list of demands is met. "I'm doing what every world-class athlete does after playing - going behind the microphone and telling everyone how bad they are doing," remarked Sutfin. "I'm undefeated in my Cork Bowl career which not many people can say. Since I've never lost a Cork Bowl, I feel I have the clout to say whatever I need to say. And nobody on the field is safe."

Sutfin was asked just weeks ago about announcing the game, and responded with a long list of demands. Although the contract has not been officially signed, the Cork Bowl front office staff has been working diligently to meet as many of Sutfin's requests as possible. The list includes:

1. heated chair
2. coffee. Columbian. grounds free. served at a temperature between 200-204 degrees F. freshly brewed each quarter.
3. 12 - 16oz bottles of Evian
4. private dressing room
5. halftime meal: 6 pc. shrimp cocktail, hamburger (medium well, pickles,onions, lettuce,tomato,mayo,no bun), 2-gala apples, 1-banana, 16oz whole milk. cloth napkins.
6. M&Ms served in a gallon size Ziplock brand bag with all brown M&Ms removed
7. elevated positioning within 20' of out of bounds line, no more than 10' from midfield. Lines of sight should be unobstructed and free of errant passes from QBs.
8. private hot tub
9. recording equipment should include a previously unused microphone; 5 second delay for censoring any profanities that may be heard on the playing field, 50" HDTV monitor (to be taken home by the "talent" at the end of the game) with a live feed of the video being taken at the game. Accessories should include: latest versions of: Playstation, XBox, Nintendo Wii and Atari.
10. one pack of Topps baseball cards w/bubble gum

Our union requires an exact duplicate of all items for each announcer, 50% of all items for each retired announcer on site, and 25% of all items for all future announcers on site.

"Obviously that is an extensive list, but Jason will be worth all of it if we can come to an agreement," responded Commissioner Patrick Cork. "Some might say these demands are in the prima donna territory, and they are absolutely right. But Jason's never been one to shy away from who he is, and really that's what Cork Bowl is all about." Sutfin will likely be joined by Mike Miller - who will be announcing his fourth Cork Bowl. Also, Cork Bowl Hall of Famer Reggie Truitt is currently in contract negiotiations with the league. Truitt, who has been working extensively with the Blobfish as a defensive consultant, has not committed to any in-game responsibilities. "You think Jason's list is extensive, you should see Reggie's," added Cork. "We're talking a Hall of Fame player here so Jason's list is nothing compared to Reg, but with all the married guys this year we are hoping attendance is way up so there should be some extra money in the budget to work with."

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