The offices at 1019 Leavenworth St. are empty. Cleaned out. The sign on the door says the Omaha Nighthawks' office is closed for the offseason, and "offseason" is underlined.
There's a phone number you can call if you have any questions or deliveries.
So I called the number. A woman answered, "Omaha Nighthawks."
"Yes, I'm with the Omaha World-Herald. And I was wondering if you're going to play next season."
"Play? I'm sorry?"
"Play football. Will there be a UFL season next year?"
"I'm sorry, sir. This is a message service. You'll have to leave your name and number and I will have someone from the Nighthawks call you back."
Three hours later, someone who identified himself as an employee of the Nighthawks did.
He wanted to help, but on the topics of whether there will be a team or a season in 2012, the staffer simply said, "We don't know. But if they give us the green light, we'll be ready to rock and roll."
The rumors of the Nighthawks' demise are only slightly exaggerated. It's a mystery without any clues. The franchise hovers in the atmosphere, like a ghost fighter plane with no destination.
There was one person who would know. On Wednesday I called Joe Moglia, the former Nighthawks president and coach, to ask what was up with the Nighthawks and the UFL.
"There is an Omaha Nighthawks," Moglia said. "Technically, I'm still the president."
The president of the Nighthawks was in Conway, S.C., getting ready to run spring football practice as head football coach for Coastal Carolina University.
Moglia, who took the job at Coastal last December, didn't have a lot of details. But he said the fate of the UFL was in the hands of the three majority owners: Bill Hambrecht, Bill Mayer and Paul Pelosi.
"There could still be a 2012 UFL season," Moglia said. "The owners are enthusiastic about making it work. They've talked to the NFL, although I don't think anything serious has been discussed at the highest levels there.
"They are looking at a lot of options right now. It's a matter of them finding a strategic partner to make a major investment of capital. My stance has always been that they need to have a partnership with the National Football League in order to make it. I know they want to have a season this year. Maybe they have something up their sleeves."
When you go to the UFL's website, and try to click on the "contact us" link, it says the server is down. There isn't much on the UFL site that is up.
I contacted Roger Dixon, Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority president, on Wednesday. Dixon said he hadn't heard from the Nighthawks or the UFL, but he said the team isn't breaking its lease at TD Ameritrade Park. That's because the one-year lease ran out after last season.
"The only conversation I had with anyone with the Nighthawks was after last season. Someone on their staff asked what I thought about spring football," Dixon said. "I told them that Creighton baseball would take priority and that typically baseball and football don't work well at the same time on a natural turf surface. That wasn't going to be an option.
"Other than that, I haven't heard a word from them. Do they still have a commissioner?"
Nope. Michael Huyghue resigned on Jan. 31. Moglia said the three majority owners run the league and added, "they don't need a commissioner. The owners feel comfortable running the league. They might hire an administrator to run the office."
Meanwhile, former Nighthawks General Manager Rick Mueller landed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a player personnel executive. Moglia said the Nighthawks fulfilled their financial obligations with the players and staff at the end of December. Moglia took four Nighthawks assistants with him to Coastal Carolina.
Somehow, there could still be a season this year. Moglia said enough former staffers who live in the area would come back to work if the offices reopened. Dixon said dates for a handful of games would be available at TD Ameritrade in the fall.
That's if the majority owners can find a financial partner. They'd better hurry, although with this league, things can pop into place fast. Like a traveling circus.
"I would think they would have to figure it out by the end of April," Moglia said. "They are optimistic that there will be a season. They really think they will move forward as planned. I guess we'll see."
Moglia used the UFL as a steppingstone to get back into coaching. Good for him. The longtime CEO looks like a nice fit, mentoring young men about football and life.
But not everyone in the Myrtle Beach/Conway area has been impressed. Moglia replaced David Bennett, a popular coach who was 63-39 in nine years but was 29-28 the past five seasons, including 15-12 in the Big South Conference.
Some CCU fans wanted to hire Steve Spurrier Jr. They raised their eyebrows at the idea of Moglia, a longtime CEO at TD Ameritrade who had just recently re-entered the coaching world.
"Some of them have said, 'Why did we get the Wall Street reject?'" Moglia said. "I understand. It's going to take time. When I go somewhere to speak to the boosters, I tell them you can ask me any question and I'll be as honest as I can be. There are always two or three fans who have a hard time with my being here, and that doesn't change by the end of the talk. But the rest of the people usually say, 'This isn't such a bad guy' at the end."
Changing the culture on the field won't be easy, either. Moglia said 25 of his 71 players have "academic or behavioral issues, but we're going to have to work through them." He told the story of his first team meeting.
"I told them we were going to start an offseason program tomorrow at 6," Moglia said. "One kid says, 'But coach, that's when we have dinner.' I said, 'No, 6 a.m.'"
Meanwhile, the offseason program of the Omaha Nighthawks continues, but nobody knows when, or if, it will end.
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