The Utah Blaze invaded the Alamodome and knocked off top-ranked San Antonio in the first round of the 2012 Arena Football League playoffs on Friday. It was a sweet victory for the Blaze, their first playoff win in franchise history, and it came against a Talons team that won both regular-season contests (48-40 and 54-48), in large part to Utah's inability to maintain possession.
Utah quarterback Tommy Grady, an imposing 6-foot-8 signal-caller, led the AFL in nine offensive categories en route to breaking four single-season all-time marks this year: passing yards (5,970), passing touchdowns (142), passing completions (507) and passing attempts (743).
Deseret News reporter Trevor Phibbs caught up with Grady during practice this past week.
Q: You were named the Top AFL Player in 2012 by the fans, obviously team accolades are the main priority, but how gratifying was that award?
A: It makes you feel good. It's a fans' game, so it makes you feel good that they voted for you. At the same time, we had two others guys (Aaron Lesue and Tysson Poots) that were on there too, so it was a big accomplishment for us, personally.
Q: Other than EnergySolutions Arena what is your favorite stadium to play in?
A: There's a few places, Spokane was fun. I liked playing at San Jose. Pretty much all the teams in our (division) are probably the most fun because those are the biggest games.
Q: As former University of Utah player, what are your feelings on the Utah/BYU rivalry taking a two-year break?
A: Are they not playing each other? I didn't even hear anything about that. That's crazy, that's a big game in Utah. I think it's a good rivalry for the state of Utah; to have bragging rights and have something to talk about. There's not much here – a big rivalry game, it's huge to have it.
Q: The Blaze knocked off top-ranked San Antonio, 35-34, in the first round of the playoffs on Friday night. What does it mean to this franchise to finally secure that first playoff win?
A: I think it'd be huge. We've had a good young team; we're kind of on the rise right now. A win would be huge for the city, but (San Antonio) has a good team, so we'll have to come out and play our best.
A: You've basically had an EA Sports type season, putting up video game numbers and rewriting the record book. Has the NFL taken notice?
Q: I've been contacted by a few NFL teams (San Francisco, Miami, Arizona), but mostly they say to play the season out and they'll talk to me after.. Right now, I'm just focused on winning this week and that will take care of itself later.