It started quietly -- with a simple running play off left tackle for 3 yards -- and ended that way -- with J.P. Losman taking a knee and holding the ball triumphantly in the air.
In between, some hard-hitting, electrifying football was played in Sam Boyd Stadium as the United Football League launched its inaugural season Thursday.
Nobody can say how long the UFL will last. But in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd, the Las Vegas Locomotives rallied to defeat the California Redwoods, 30-17.
Losman threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns, DeDe Dorsey scored twice, and the Locos erased a 14-3 second-quarter deficit.
''It was a good football game,'' Las Vegas coach Jim Fassel said. ''We really scrutinized these guys and their love of football, and they showed they have heart. I thought we did a pretty good job overall.''
UFL officials were hoping for a crowd of 15,000, but the actual draw wasn't even a third of that -- though the attendance was announced as 14,209.
UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue didn't promise NFL-caliber football but did say the quality of play would be good.
Even though the teams had been together for less than a month, both played soundly with rosters that included few familiar names.
''We're very pleased,'' Huyghue said. ''It was good, hard-nosed football, the level of which we expected it to be.
''I think there was some anxiety on the part of both teams early on. But once things settled down, I thought they put on a good show.''
There were hard hits on defense, and a lot of bootlegs, passes into the flat and throws over the middle to tight ends on offense.
''Considering we'd only been together three weeks, I thought it was pretty good,'' Redwoods coach Dennis Green said. ''It was a game that had a lot of ebb and flow to it.
''I don't enjoy not winning, but it was an enjoyable game with some big plays and some big catches.''
The first points came with 3:20 to play in the first quarter when Graham Gano kicked a 33-yard field goal after the Locos' second drive stalled at the Redwoods 15.
Gano went 3-for-3, including a 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that boosted Las Vegas' lead to 23-17.
The Redwoods scored the UFL's first touchdown, on a quarterback keeper by Shane Boyd, who scrambled from 5 yards out in the second quarter.
But the performance wasn't always crisp.
The Locos drew three straight false start penalties in the fourth quarter as they were trying to add to their lead. When they finally managed to get off the line of scrimmage together, fans cheered.
There were plenty of missed assignments and dropped passes along with errant throws. But Las Vegas, a 7-point favorite, iced the game with a methodical 11-play, 86-yard drive capped by Dorsey's 9-yard touchdown run with 2:18 to play.
''We have a lot of veterans on this team, and we didn't need to panic,'' said Dorsey, who rushed for 63 yards on nine carries. ''Just stay with the game plan, eat up the clock and put some points on the board.''
Losman, the former Buffalo Bills quarterback, was 21-for-31 passing, though he was stripped twice in the second quarter and lost one of them, leading to the second Redwoods touchdown.
''It's definitely different from what I'm used to,'' Losman said. ''The atmosphere. The size of the crowd. The speed of the game. But as the game went on, I got more comfortable with the receivers and the general speed of the game.''
The Locos' second and final Las Vegas appearance is Wednesday against Florida. Their other home game is against New York on Nov. 20 in Los Angeles.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913.