Tasker says 'Final Showdown' could get serious

It's only four days until "The Final Showdown," when Jim Kelly squares off one last time against Dan Marino on July 21 in UB Stadium. Kelly and Marino will be surrounded by many of their old teammates.

"It's going to be a nice little reunion for the guys," Tasker said. "We have a mandatory practice on Saturday and we'll get some things down so we don't go out there and draw plays in the dirt. There's a big party Saturday night and when we finally get in there Sunday and hike the ball for real, I'm sure it will be fun and kind of lighthearted in the beginning, but when it starts to get down to when someone has to actually win or lose, I'm sure the fangs are going to come out."

The players, of course, are a little older now and half-a-step slower than they used to be. Perhaps the simple nature of competition will force them into going full-speed.

Tasker said, "I don't think I'm capable of going full-speed. I don't know. I haven't competed like that for a long time. I don't know what the other guys are doing – what kind of shape they're in. I think it will be varying degrees of out-of-shape."

The Kelly Squad features Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Kent Hull, Darryl Talley, Fred Smerlas, Steve Tasker, Cornelius Bennett and Scott Norwood. In addition, Will Wolford, Pete Metzelaars, Shane Conlan, Ray Bentley, Kent Hull, Jim Richter, Tim Vogler, Chris Spielman, Kenneth Davis, Leonard Smith, Bill Brooks will also play. Current QB Alex Van Pelt may participate too.

The Marino Squad features Marcus Allen, Tony Dorsett, Mark Duper, Roger Craig, Jim Jensen, Dave Craig, Everson Walls, Keith Byars and William "The Refrigerator" Perry.

Tickets cost $25.50 and $32.50 and are available at Tickets.com, Tops Friendly Markets and the UB Alumni Arena Box Office. The game is at 7:30 p.m., but the festivities kick off at 2 p.m. and include autograph sessions, plus an interactive "Hall of Fame Park." The event's proceeds benefit Hunter's Hope, the Ilio DePaolo Scholarship Fund and the UB athletic scholarship fund.

The idea behind the game came from the Elway vs. Montana flag football game played at Denver's Mile High Stadium in September 2001. It drew 34,000 fans and was won by Elway, 34-33.


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