CANTON, Ohio (WIAT) — The gloves are off for the Birmingham Stallions … literally.
The Stallions secured a spot in the inaugural USFL Championship by dominating the New Orleans Breakers in a 31-17 win Saturday night and a big reason why falls on Victor Bolden Jr.’s fingertips.
With just over one minute left in the second quarter, the game was all knotted up at 14 after New Orleans went on an 88-yard touchdown drive. The Breakers had seized the momentum and would be getting the ball back to start the third quarter. But then kicker Taylor Bertolet made the mistake of kicking off to Bolden.
The All-USFL wide receiver caught the ball at his own 10-yard line, made a beeline to the right side of the field, broke three tackles and then left everyone behind in his dust on his way to a 90-yard score.
Not only did Bolden bring the lead and energy back to Birmingham, but he also recorded the first kickoff return touchdown in the entire league. It was a historic moment for the USFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame took notice.
The hall, which is conveniently located next door to Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio and also the site for the USFL playoffs, got in touch with Bolden after the game and the Stallions’ dual-threat gifted them his game-worn gloves to be displayed.
“We’re very grateful for Victor’s donation to the Hall,” said Jason Aikens, the head curator for the Hall of Fame. “The Hall’s primary goal is to honor the heroes of the game. Victor was a hero for his team in Saturday night’s game, so these gloves will be a great addition to our collection.”
Those gloves now become the latest piece in the hall’s 40 million-plus collection in Canton. Bolden wasn’t coy about what the honor meant to him.
“To have something that you wore be part of history is amazing. It’s something you can never ask for,” Bolden said.
The Stallions will take on the Philadelphia Stars in the USFL Championship Sunday at 6:30 p.m.