Scooby Wright lets 'Shark Dog' loose, lifts Stallions to title
No player sunk his teeth into the USFL quite like Scooby Wright, who fittingly made the title-winning play, RJ Young writes.
By RJ Young
FOX Sports USFL Writer
CANTON, Ohio — It had to be Scooby, (W)right?!
With a black snap-back atop his head and twisted backward like a shark fin, the Birmingham Stallions linebacker, the man whose spirit animal is a shark dog, gave me a blow-by-blow of how he scored the touchdown that sealed a 33-30 victory over the Philadelphia Stars in the inaugural United States Football League Championship game.
"Man, we were in a fire zone call," he said. "My man ran across my face, and I had to go pick it up. And picked it up, caught it [the ball] and ran it in for six."
Scooby Wright and Bo Scarbrough reflect on title
Running back Bo Scarbrough saw it differently.
"Man, I was jumping up out of my pants," he said. "I was like, ‘Oh yeah, Shark Dog!’ It was just unbelievable, just one of those magic moments."
From the sideline, it looked as if Wright had found an extra burst to put himself in position to pick off KJ Costello and then, like a starving man carrying a Christmas ham, trundle toward the end zone and take a stumbling leap over the goal line.
"I had to go for it," Wright said.
Wright has spent his career going for it — going forward.
After putting together one of the greatest defensive seasons in FBS history in 2014 at Arizona, where he won nearly every award a linebacker could win, an injury pushed Wright to the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
But instead of letting that affect him, he made it a part of his identity. When you find Wright on Instagram, you'll see his username is seventhroundscoob.
After an abbreviated stint in the NFL, he kept looking for ways to chase his dream to play football professionally. Along the way, he became a firefighter, too.
But then Stallions coach Skip Holtz told Wright he wanted to draft him not just to play, but to lead his defense. He wanted him to be his talisman, to carry the weight of playing for the hometown team — the home of the USFL for the entire regular season. Wright didn't just say yes, he came running.
He brought charm, tenacity and fun to a league that was a blank slate for him and others like him to pursue their dream once again. Alongside DeMarquis Gates, he formed one of the best linebacker duos in the league.
Even through injuries that kept him sidelined for multiple games this season, Wright found a way to contribute to coordinator John Chavis’ defense.
The result was enough to make Holtz misty.
"To see him do what he did and to finish in style," Holtz said, "his play of the season was a touchdown. There aren't many linebackers that can make that statement.
"I'm just really proud of him. What a character he is and what a great player as well."
The Shark Dog sunk his teeth into this game, and he never let go.
RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast "The No. 1 Ranked Show with RJ Young." Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young, and subscribe to "The RJ Young Show" on YouTube. He is not on a StepMill.