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NFL D-League


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I have this idea and I'm looking for honest feedback. 


I'm working on this "hypothetical" league under the NFL, which is basically a NFL D-League. The NFL is the only "Big 4" league with no minor league system. There are other leagues such as the CFL, AFL, and FXFL which are just too small and might not be able to make it. Plus, if you were to play football, wouldn't you want to play it right, the same way you played it where you grew up. 


There will be 16 teams in the league, 8 in 2 conferences. Two NFL Teams will be part of one team, giving 30 players each to the one team. Players will consist of players that teams decide to put on practice squad or a cut and were not picked up on waivers by another team. The league will take place in the spring and summer and will end in between the time training camp starts to the first preseason game on the season. A player is signed under contract with one team, giving the team to call them up when the feel is a good time for them and could be useful to the team. 


The cities teams are in are cities that do not have a football team, put a good size television market. They are spread out though the United States and into Canada. The cities are: (Western Conference): Memphis, Vancouver, Omaha, Louisville, Austin, Boston (Patriots are about 45 minutes South), Syracuse; (Eastern Conference): Toronto, Madison, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Portland, Orlando, Raleigh and St. Louis (originally in LA). 


I hope to hear your honest feedback and I will take it into consideration while creating this league. 



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11 minutes ago, sleuthpanther said:

The cities are fine but there in the wrong conferences

Cities proposed aren't fine. They are awful.


Memphis: Liberty Bowl lease for pro football is owned by a 3rd party.


Omaha: Twice burned by minor leagues.


Louisville/Austin/Madison/Raleigh/Albuquerque: Essentially college towns whose fanbase cares about them for football first.


Boston: Nobody showed up for the FXFL and the spring places you against the Sox, the B's and the C's.


Plus the idea of a dude playing football weekly basically from April to December (or January) is a healthcare nightmare.

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The old WLAF season was from March to the end of June counting preseason to the championship.  That gave players 3 to 4 weeks off before training camp if they played in the World Bowl. If the season started by the middle of March with a 10 game season  they'd get more time off before training camp.  

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Suggestion I had for an NFL D-League type setup would be to just have each team run their own D-League team from their own market. Season would start about Week 3 of the NFL season and run for ten or 12 weeks (depending on number of games).


Each team would wear the same uniforms and logos as the NFL team. They would simply be the reserve squad. 45 or so players. They'd train and practice and their coaches would be an extension of head team's coaching staff (assistants, lower team coaches, etc). Teams could call up and send down players to the practice squad at will. Though, if they want to not pay the player their full NFL contract rate, they'd have to put them on the waiver wire and if not taken elsewhere, would be assigned to the practice squad for a set statutory rate for reserves (i.e., each position gets its own rate).


Games would be played in regionally appropriate small college or high school venues (10k-15k preferable). Games played on Tuesday or Wednesday nights. Schedule would be piecemeal. No set standard. Local games, such as played in preseason, for scheduling. Generally, home-away with the parent team's regular division opponents accounts for 6 games. Then, 4 or 6 (depending on when you'd want the reserves to be done) playing regionally significant games.


Some examples: Tennessee-Indianapolis could play a game at Bowling Green's Western Kentucky University while the second game could be in Evansville, IN. Browns-Steelers in Youngstown, Ohio or Warren, Ohio. Browns-Lions at Toledo or Bowling Green.  Browns-Bengals in a suburban Columbus HS stadium (Hilliard, Dublin, or Upper Arlington). Colts-Bengals in Dayton or Richmond, IN. Bears-Colts at Purdue. Bears-Packers in Milwaukee, Madison, Rockford, or some other decently sized stadium to hold a small crowd.


Games wouldn't be a huge affair. Other than western teams, plane trips would be infrequent.


A lot of the appeal for the games for fans would e cheap tickets seeing their regular teams, even backups, playing games on a night generally devoid of football (other than MAC games on TV), and players that, with a 45-50 man roster could easily move up and down the list. Also, the draft could be longer, and teams could stash draft picks or UDFAs into the reserve squad, to let them get some playing time under the team's regular playbook, coaches, philosophies, etc. Get a chance to see how they handle things before throwing them into the big league.


The problem is, just as with the NFLEL, it probably won't make money. It can be offset by a lot of expense cutting (nominal player pay similar to current practice squad players just extended for 45 players instead). Travel, stadiums, etc would be nominal. But, teams woul dhave to realize that player development is an expense. o different than their player personnel department is an expense. Only now, they can stash projects, retreads, work-in-progresses, UDFAs they don't want to see go elsewhere, onto a roster that plays and develop them. Being able to fill a hole in their primary roster with a guy who already knows their offense, their personnel decisions, and can jump in and out of the NFL (assuming they don't go above league set rates, otherwise subject to the waiver wire, unless it's an injury call-up and returns once the player they're replacing is healthy).

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Honestly, I would see the rise of promotion/relegation before D-League, it is a good idea on paper, but becomes worse when you realize that the same thing can be done in the former(Barcelona has its its B team in the second division in Spain), and can make more money, as you know that with a good season, they can fight for the Super Bowl next season, but yes there need to be games played mid-week for any hope of success, and note this, a team in PR makes more sense that a team in Canada for now. If the D-League were formed, the first team would be likely in Canton, OH, and there is no guarantee that the NFDL won't become a "NFL-2" because people decided to buy franchises in this lower league and not tie them to the NFL teams because of independent identity

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