"He was always just Dad," Derek said. "Being his son often gave me a platform to show my talents. I never looked at it like I had to live up to my dad's expectations or what he did. If people recognized me because of my dad, that's great. I'll be honest, doors were opened for me because I was Darryl Stingley's son."
Oddly, on Sunday night, momentum turned the Soul's way when defensive lineman T.J. Langley blasted Pittsburgh's A.J. Jackson during a peel-back block on an interception return. Both players got up after the frightening collision and the Soul's bench was energized.
"Buddy Ryan always said a big hit is often more important than a turnover," said Soul coach Doug Plank. "It electrifies your sideline. This is a physical, tough game. When that happens, everyone sees it and feeds off it."
Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh threw seven touchdown passes and set the club record for most in a season when he hit lineman Greg Ryan with a third-quarter score. Tony Graziani had 90 TD passes in the 16-game season of 2005. Raudabaugh has 94 in 15 games this year.
"It's a tribute to the o-line, to [Derrick] Ross and the running game, the receivers making great plays and the coach [offensive coordinator Clint Dolezel] calling great plays," Raudabaugh said. "It makes my job easy when we got it all clicking. I'm happy, but it's not the ultimate goal."
Rayshaun Kizer had two interceptions and forced the fumble that Justin Warren returned for a touchdown to lead the Soul's defense. Fellow d-back Kent Richardson, who leads the Arena League with 12 picks, left the game early in the second half with a lacerated right index finger.
It's been a difficult season for Pittsburgh (3-11). But for Stingley, who took over head-coaching duties four games ago, difficult is a relative term.
Stingley began his athletic career as a baseball player and was drafted by the Phillies in the 26th round in 1993. He kicked around for 3 years before frustration got the better of him.
"The slider was my worst pitch," laughed Stingley, an outfielder. "I was in big-league camp my second year and those major league pitchers can pinpoint a slider like it was a fastball. Playing baseball is something I learned to do. Football was something that was instilled in me and something that came naturally. Once baseball became a struggle, I got stressed out and said I'm done."
He worked his way into the Arena League (maybe the name helped) and played 9 years as a defensive back.
While Stingley still keeps an occasional eye on the Phillies, he is definitely monitoring the player-safety developments and difficulties the NFL is going through. Darryl Stingley passed away in 2007 from complications of his football injury.
"Of course," he said. "That's part of what my household is all about. This is a violent game. I like the fact that they are protecting players, that they are doing things to make the game safer so that people don't have to go through what me and my family went through with the breadwinner of the family being taken away from us."
Greg Ryan, the lineman who caught the record touchdown, was Dan Raudabaugh's center in Dallas last season … Wide receiver Larry Brackins caught a touchdown, filled in ably for Kent Richardson in the secondary, and also played well on special teams … Though a labor deal between the players and owners was reached last week, it still has yet to be officially signed. Soul owner Ron Jaworski downplayed the delay. "It's in the lawyers' hands now," he said … The Soul (12-3) plays at Tampa on Friday. n
Contact Ed Barkowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org