The mess of a 1-7 record will almost assuredly keep the Arizona Rattlers from the playoffs this season.
But out of the wreckage has evolved a potentially recordbreaking performance by offensive specialist Siaha Burley.
Halfway through the season, the Westwood High School product leads the Arena Football League in scoring and has 24 touchdown catches. He has 943 receiving yards, tops in the AFL. His 67 catches are second in the league to the 69 of New Orleans’ Aaron Bailey.
Double those numbers, and the statistics will challenge Calvin Schexnayder’s spectacular 1998 season for Arizona, when the longtime Rattlers offensive specialist had 136 catches for a league-record 1,982 yards and 44 touchdown receptions.
"We all see the stats, we are aware of it," Burley said. "But there is a lot of football left. A lot of things can happen. I don’t think about it too much, and of course, your team comes first."
Burley was among the league leaders in 2004, but a shoulder injury kept him out of three games near the end of the season and lessened his production in other games he did play.
Burley still led the team with 103 receptions for 1,201 yards and 24 touchdowns, and that was in former coach Danny White’s spread-the-wealth offense.
This season, despite the Rattlers’ quarterback problems — backup Joe Germaine is entering his second stint as a starter today after Sherdrick Bonner’s second knee injury — and issues with Shell’s new offense, Burley has been the main offensive threat.
"He has the ability to get open, he has great hands, and he has the ability to get in the air," Shell said of the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Burley.
" . . . Siaha, hey, I believe he is as good as anyone in the league."
The question is whether Burley will get recognition from the league, especially if the Rattlers’ free-fall to the bottom of the standings continues.
"I don’t know how you can overlook him," Shell said. "We’ve played some great teams, none of them have been able to cover him."
But Burley wouldn’t be surprised if his production isn’t acknowledged with an all-Arena selection. Last season he was never mentioned as one of the league’s best, even though his numbers were good and the Rattlers finished with the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs.
"The cats who face me know," Burley said. "I will just keep fighting for respect, fighting for the team."
He’ll also keep fighting for his place in the record book, with Schexnayder’s marks at the finish line.
"I am getting the ball a little more," Burley said. "But I can’t look at it like I am trying to get the most stats."
EXTRA POINT: The Week 15 game between the Rattlers and Chicago at America West Arena has been rescheduled from Saturday, May 7 to Friday, May 6. Game time is still 7 p.m.
Rattlers at Kats
When: 5:30 p.m. today
Where: Gaylord Entertainment Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
TV/Radio: None/ESPN (860 AM)