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Green Bay welcomes back quarterback

Andrew Pekarek
Monday August 4, 2008

You’re probably sick of hearing about Green Bay quarterbacks, but it’s been a popular story for media publications across the country, so why not stick with that theme here at ArenaFan.

Recently a former Green Bay quarterback asked the franchise if he could return to the team after deciding to leave, but was told by management and the head coach that the team had moved on.

But when another former Green Bay signal caller did the same thing a few weeks ago, he got a different response from the team.

Ok, maybe comparing Gino Guidugli to Brett Favre is a bit of a stretch, but when you are in a position to win a championship, a smart franchise would allow the quarterback that gives it the best chance to win play if he wants to.

That’s what the Green Bay Blizzard has done, unlike the team that plays across the street.

Guidugli was the Blizzard’s starter for most of the regular season last year. In his last three starts the offense scored 69, 77 and 74 points, and he had the team in position to win the Midwest Division with a win in the regular season finale against the Mahoning Valley Thunder.

Guidugli never played in the game because the Canadian Football League’s British Columbia Lions signed him.

The Blizzard lost to Mahoning Valley 70-50 without Guidugli, but would win two playoff games before losing in the American Conference championship against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers.

Even in the two-playoff wins, however, you could tell Guidugli’s presence was missed as the Blizzard scored only 39 and 37 points.

This season the Blizzard has relied on a dominating defense, which finished the regular season number one overall in arenafootball2, while the team searched for a signal caller.

Meanwhile, Guidugli was released from the B.C. Lions and signed with the New York Dragons of the Arena Football League to backup Aaron Garcia in the playoffs.

After the eventual ArenaBowl champions, the Philadelphia Soul, knocked the Dragons out of the playoffs Guidugli decided to not sign a deal for next season to be a backup because he felt he could start in the AFL with more experience at the af2 level.

This led him back to Green Bay after he made the call to Blizzard owner Brian Noble, who was happy to welcome him back to compete for the starting job.

Guidugli joined the team with one week left in the regular season, and impressed the coaching staff enough to give him the job over Collin Drafts, who was 6-3 in games that he appeared in.

In the nine games with Drafts at the helm, however, the offense scored 50 points only three times, and lost twice to the Lexington Horsemen by one point.

So, one year after leaving the Blizzard for the CFL, Guidugli found himself back with the Blizzard in the same situation he was in a year ago, a chance to win the Midwest Division by beating the Mahoning Valley Thunder.

Guidugli helped the Blizzard do that by beating the Thunder 61-13, but the Thunder wasn’t the toughest opponent either considering it finished the season 3-13 and its quarterback, Ray Marrow, was making his first af2 start.

The true test to find out if Guidugli could get the Blizzard offense on track came last Friday in the opening round of the af2 playoffs against the Lexington Horsemen.

It’s safe to say Guidugli and the offense passed the test.

Guidugli was 14-of-19 for 206 yards passing for five touchdowns and rushing for another leading the Blizzard to a 65-37 win over the Horsemen.

The Blizzard defense remained dominant as well, collecting a franchise-record 10 sacks.

The Blizzard appears to be peaking at the right time, and with Guidugli back, has a full arsenal of weapons to continue its push for an ArenaCup title.

The Blizzard will host the Manchester Wolves this Saturday at the Resch Center, which is located across the street from Lambeau Field.

When you cross Oneida Street in Green Bay you’ll find a professional football team on each side of the street.

One team is struggling to make a decision about a quarterback because it is more concerned about the future, and another that is trying to win a championship now. 

Andrew is a senior at UW-Green Bay and has written for the student newspaper. He began following arena football in 1998 as a fan of the Green Bay Bombers (IFL). Was a programming intern for Sports Radio 107.5 & 1400 The Fan and is currently pursuing a career in radio broadcasting.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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