American Forces Network Europe hosts first ever bowl game
December 16, 2010
- Air Force, Navy and Army servicemembers compete in the first ever "Toilet Bowl"
- Game held in honor of annual Army-Navy football matchup
- Spectators enjoy prizes and games on the sidelines
MANNHEIM, Germany - The Air Force and Army battled it out Dec. 11 at Woods Field on Benjamin Franklin Village in Mannheim, Germany in an event with an odd but memorable name, "The Toilet Bowl."
It started as a low-key AFN Europe Army versus Air Force flag-football game.
But then somehow, like a snowball rolling down an Alpine slope, the game gathered momentum until it morphed into something much bigger - a don't-take-us-seriously Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation event complete with the Mannheim and Heidelberg cheerleaders, live play-by-play announcements and giveaways of a 32" flat screen television, 4GB iPod, 21-speed mountain bike and a gas operated barbeque grill.
In front of a chilled audience of 130, the Army team opened scoring in the second quarter with Adam Shaw throwing a 34-yard strike to Jesse Belford.
The two-point conversion was unsuccessful and the quarter ended 6-0.
While the Army and Air Force teams fought it out on the field, there was entertainment aplenty on the side-lines.
Military Police from the Mannheim correctional facility on Coleman Barracks arrested spectators and players alike and put them in "jail" with "bail" money donated to charity.
One arrest target, AFN Europe Command Sgt. Major John Brenci, ran from his jailers yelling, "You can't arrest me, I'm a command sergeant major," before he was nabbed and put behind bars.
The game's play-by-play announcer was hauled off to jail, leaving behind color commentator Jacqui Haggerty, who told the crowd, "Well, I don't know much about football, so let's talk about fashion and the cheerleaders."
Half-time included a competition to see who could hold a "Heisman Pose" for the longest time while enduring getting covered in toilet paper.
The game resumed, and in the third quarter, Air Force player Nathaniel Sanchious took a pitch up the right sideline for a 64-yard touchdown. The Air Force went for an extra point and made it, going ahead 7-6.
The Army threatened in the third quarter.
On the third down with five yards to go from their 35-yard line, Shaw took the snap and threw another bomb to Belford for what appeared to be a 45-yard touchdown.
But holding was called on the Army squad, and the ball was called back.
After a punt by the Army team to open the fourth quarter, the Air Force team went back to their ground game with Sanchious as the workhorse.
In another key play on third down and 20, Sanchious took a sweep down the sideline, slipped to the ground and a pursuing Army player fell on top of him for a personal foul.
The penalty gave the Air Force team a first down.
Three plays later Air Force quarterback Joshua Peargin connected with a large target, 6-foot-7-inch receiver Don Gurganous. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
The Air Force team proceeded to run the clock out and win the game 13-6.
In the end, most everyone had a good time, according to AFN Europe Commander Col. Bill Bigelow who summed it up.
"I'm glad so many people turned out to participate in a great FMWR event," Bigelow said.