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Death of the Alliance of American Football


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4 hours ago, Gothamite said:

Exactly.  No room for a professional minor league.   Not unless the college game collapses, which is possible but not altogether likely. 

 

Not likely.  Outside of college football, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament are the money makers for the NCAA.  Everything else in NCAA is irrelevant.  I could see the NCAA remaining only to keep March Madness.   

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6 hours ago, Gothamite said:

The NCAA may not have a choice, though.   College football could (and should) find itself sued to oblivion for the health costs to their players.  

This is why they're so protective of the "student athlete" cover- it was made to keep athletes from being considered employees and duck workers' compensation and health claims way way way back. So now you get "full cost of attendance" as the means to give players stipends because it's a figure rooted somewhere in financial aid. The minute players are finally recognized as employees, all hell breaks loose for the NCAA. If it even gets close to that you know the lobbying efforts on Congress will go into overdrive

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54 minutes ago, RichO said:

This is why they're so protective of the "student athlete" cover- it was made to keep athletes from being considered employees and duck workers' compensation and health claims way way way back. So now you get "full cost of attendance" as the means to give players stipends because it's a figure rooted somewhere in financial aid. The minute players are finally recognized as employees, all hell breaks loose for the NCAA. If it even gets close to that you know the lobbying efforts on Congress will go into overdrive

 

Hence why I said unless you get some mythical eccentric multibillionaire willing and able to lose tens of millions annually (closest we have now is Vince McMahon and who knows how long his patience will last), you won't get another pro league of any caliber outside the NFL until the economics of college football cease to function for the vast majority of schools. This would also have to include the majority of Power 5 schools as well if you're wanting guys signed out if high school contract to go play for the Oklahoma City Braves or whatever potential farm team for an NFL franchise is out there.

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46 minutes ago, Red Comet said:

 

Hence why I said unless you get some mythical eccentric multibillionaire willing and able to lose tens of millions annually (closest we have now is Vince McMahon and who knows how long his patience will last), you won't get another pro league of any caliber outside the NFL until the economics of college football cease to function for the vast majority of schools. This would also have to include the majority of Power 5 schools as well if you're wanting guys signed out if high school contract to go play for the Oklahoma City Braves or whatever potential farm team for an NFL franchise is out there.

 

Vince McMahon has the tendency to be extremely impatient. He has been known to re-write scripts to his wrestling shows up to 30 minutes before the actual show airs, sometimes even during the shows. He also tends to push a guy at the start, but sometimes only after a few weeks he will lose confidence in the guy and that wrestler gets buried.

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22 hours ago, Gothamite said:

Because we already have minor-league football; we just call it "college".   Whatever market niche these guys think they see is already more than filled with college ball.

 

A minor league would fill a different niche than the one filled by college football.  College ball is for kids who have no pro experience.  Whereas, a spring league would be a place where a player could have a professional career at a level below the NFL, while still having a chance of getting a job with an NFL team somewhere down the line. It would also be a place where players cut by NFL teams could continue their pro careers.

More important, fans would benefit by seeing high-calibre competition.  We must always remember that players who are a step or two below NFL-quality are still elite athletes who are capable of delivering very entertaining play.  This is true of the CFL; it was true of the USFL; it was true of the Arena Football League from the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s; it was true of the AAF (notwithstanding the bizarre groupthink that has developed in here which uses the league's flimsy finances as an excuse to dismiss its excellent on-field product); and it will likely be true of the XFL.  Indeed, in the XFL's first go-round, the games got very good by mid-season after a shaky start.

Some of the standout players in any given season of a spring league would earn invitations to NFL training camps; and even a player who ultimately did not make the NFL team to whose camp he was invited would bring the spring league extra attention and prestige. And the league would eventually have its own history and its own set of stars, just as Pinball Clemons and Tracy Ham were CFL stars, Barry Wagner and Sherdrick Bonner were Arena League stars, and Kelvin Bryant and Chuch Fusina were USFL stars.

The only thing that stands in the way of a spring league being viable in the long term is the quasi-religious belief on the part of too many fans that "professional football" equals "NFL", and that any other league is inherently illegitimate and worthy of mockery. CFL fans know better, of course.  And we're lucky that American fans in the 1960s didn't react that way to the AFL. 

The NFL is the biggest and the best; but it needn't be the only. For that reason I was hoping that the AAF would succeed.  And now I am reduced to hoping that the XFL succeeds, despite my discomfort with rooting for McMahon.

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19 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

A minor league would fill a different niche than the one filled by college football.  College ball is for kids who have no pro experience.  Whereas, a spring league would be a place where a player could have a professional career at a level below the NFL, while still having a chance of getting a job with an NFL team somewhere down the line. It would also be a place where players cut by NFL teams could continue their pro careers.

 

But there's no market for a professional league "at a level below the NFL"  Because the level of skill that exists below the NFL is... college.  No matter how many rich guys try to delude themselves to the contrary.

 

And the distinction you're trying to draw between college play and professional play is an absurd one, which is why college athletes will themselves be getting paid before you know it.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

But there's no market for a professional league "at a level below the NFL" 

 

I mentioned the twisted perception of fans who have come to think that "pro football" = "NFL".  The main job of people promoting a spring league is to change that perception, so that some fans will be willing to give the spring league a chance.  Still, both the AAF and the USFL failed mainly on account of their own mistakes, after having drawn respectable audiences.  The story of the AAF's sleight-of-hand finances is now well known, and is the main topic of this thread.  And the USFL bungled its way to its demise by foolishly throwing away the niche it had earned in favour of following Trump's suicidal plan to move to the fall.

 

 

17 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

Because the level of skill that exists below the NFL is... college.

 

Not quite.  "College" covers a huge range of skill levels, from the major programs that consistently send players to the NFL, to small-time schools that have never had an alumnus play in the NFL.  And these are kids who are 19 to 21 years old, who spend two or at most three years with their teams.  A professional league full of experienced players in their prime years (20s to early 30s) playing on teams for years on end would be an entirely different fan experience.

 

 

36 minutes ago, Gothamite said:

And the distinction you're trying to draw between college play and professional play is an absurd one, which is why college athletes will themselves be getting paid before you know it.

 

The distinction is not between college and professional. (I, too, hope that college players will be paid and will soon be considered professionals.) The distinction is between boys and men, between novices and seasoned athletes. 


Some spring football league may one day catch the public's fancy, as the USFL would likely have done if not for the Trump-led idiocy.  If the AAF had had the funding that it claimed it had, then that could have been the one, as that league's games were routinely exciting and the production was absoultely top-notch. 

Now it's the XFL's turn.  If the play in that league is as good as in the AAF, and if the games are packaged with the same quality as AAF games (and not in the embarassing manner that the first XFL presented its early-season games), then perhaps that league will be the one that makes fans notice that a league full of players who are just shy of NFL-calibre can be very entertaining. 

People keep trying this because it's an obvious hole in the sports landscape: nothing says that football has to be played in the winter as opposed to the spring; and there is plenty of room in the chasm in quality between college football and the NFL. 

 

The odds of success are long, as it is very difficult to fight against people's engrained irrational prejudices.  But this is a battle worth waging.

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1 hour ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 


The only thing that stands in the way of a spring league being viable in the long term is the quasi-religious belief on the part of too many fans that "professional football" equals "NFL", and that any other league is inherently illegitimate and worthy of mockery. CFL fans know better, of course.  And we're lucky that American fans in the 1960s didn't react that way to the AFL. 

The NFL is the biggest and the best; but it needn't be the only. For that reason I was hoping that the AAF would succeed.  And now I am reduced to hoping that the XFL succeeds, despite my discomfort with rooting for McMahon.

That is patently false.  As Goth mentioned, the market has already proven what it will pay for in February through April.  Regardless of scale, the cost of tickets is not low enough for people to use their disposable income in it, and the AAF app sucked too, so the betting portion was worse than the play.

 

As for the AFL, they filled a gap with a league with teams south of D.C. and between Chicago and California, where the NFL wasn't.

 

Cannot wait to see the familiar tropes in the current or new XFL thread:

"They need better marketing"

"I cannot believe tickets cost so much"

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5 minutes ago, dfwabel said:

Regardless of scale, the cost of tickets is not low enough for people to use their disposable income [o]n it,

 

Far more important than tickets sold is television ratings, and therefore delivery of eyeballs to sponsors.  The goal of a new league would be to demonstrate its ability to draw television audiences, and then to move from time-buys to the selling of broadcast rights.

 

 

7 minutes ago, dfwabel said:

and the AAF app sucked too, so the betting portion was worse than the play.

 

App, schmapp. A sport is played on the field.  If you took all the people who watched AAF games, you probably couldn't find a hundred who could tell you what that app was supposedly good for.

 

 

9 minutes ago, dfwabel said:

As for the AFL, they filled a gap with a league with teams south of D.C. and between Chicago and California, where the NFL wasn't.

 

True.  And the AAF went to cities that the NFL was not in, as did the USFL before it. 

 

And yet people mock the placing of teams in Birmingham and Memphis and the like, ignoring the fact that Jacksonville was once one of those also-ran cities, until its support of its USFL team demonstrated to the NFL the soundness of putting a team there.

 

 

15 minutes ago, dfwabel said:

"I cannot believe tickets cost so much"

 

If the people running the XFL are smart, they'll avoid charging too much for tickets.  Paper the house, if you have to.  This is not the 1970s; the thing will live or die based entirely on television ratings; and a full stadium makes for a good show.

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16 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

I mentioned the twisted perception of fans who have come to think that "pro football" = "NFL".  The main job of people promoting a spring league is to change that perception, so that some fans will be willing to give the spring league a chance.  Still, both the AAF and the USFL failed mainly on account of their own mistakes, after having drawn respectable audiences.  The story of the AAF's sleight-of-hand finances is now well known, and is the main topic of this thread.  And the USFL bungled its way to its demise by foolishly throwing away the niche it had earned in favour of following Trump's suicidal plan to move to the fall.

 

Not quite.  "College" covers a huge range of skill levels, from the major programs that consistently send players to the NFL, to small-time schools that have never had an alumnus play in the NFL.  And these are kids who are 19 to 21 years old, who spend two or at most three years with their teams.  A professional league full of experienced players in their prime years (20s to early 30s) playing on teams for years on end would be an entirely different fan experience.

 

The distinction is not between college and professional. (I, too, hope that college players will be paid and will soon be considered professionals.) The distinction is between boys and men, between novices and seasoned athletes. 


Some spring football league may one day catch the public's fancy, as the USFL would likely have done if not for the Trump-led idiocy.  If the AAF had had the funding that it claimed it had, then that could have been the one, as that league's games were routinely exciting and the production was absoultely top-notch. 

Now it's the XFL's turn.  If the play in that league is as good as in the AAF, and if the games are packaged with the same quality as AAF games (and not in the embarassing manner that the first XFL presented its early-season games), then perhaps that league will be the one that makes fans notice that a league full of players who are just shy of NFL-calibre can be very entertaining. 
 

If the market was there, Don Yee would have gotten Pac Pro funded back when he first said he would start. Yee announced Pac Pro in January 2017!

 

Quote


People keep trying this because it's an obvious hole in the sports landscape: nothing says that football has to be played in the winter as opposed to the spring; and there is plenty of room in the chasm in quality between college football and the NFL. 

There isn't.  The novelty of AAF Week 1 was enough to best a regular season NBA game, which was just Thunder/Rockets.

 

Quote

The odds of success are long, as it is very difficult to fight against people's engrained irrational prejudices.  But this is a battle worth waging.

You better buy tickets, otherwise it truly isn't your money.

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There is already in existence a pro football league that isn't the NFL and they are called the Canadian Football League.  Sure, they play a different version of the game (Canadian Football) and its played in Canada, but it's still non-NFL professional football. 

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2 hours ago, GDAWG said:

There is already in existence a pro football league that isn't the NFL and they are called the Canadian Football League.  Sure, they play a different version of the game (Canadian Football) and its played in Canada, but it's still non-NFL professional football. 

 

It sure is.

 

After following the Calgary Stampeders on account of Doug Flutie (which was not easy in the pre-internet days), I was thrilled when then the league put a team in Baltimore. I would DX WBAL to listen to the sports talk shows and stay up on the team; and when I called in they would put "Freddie from New York" right to the head of the queue.

 

The Browns spoiled the fun by announcing their move to Baltimore right before the 1995 Grey Cup game, which the Stallions won. But then Flutie came to the Argos, and he became easier to follow. 

 

After Flutie left the league I didn't follow it as closely, also because then the Arena League's New York CityHawks had become my team.  But I continued to keep up on the league to an extent by listening to CHML in Hamilton.

 

I am not currently a close follower of the CFL; but I try to catch games now and then, and I pay attention to the playoffs. And for the past several years I have listened to the Grey Cup on the participating teams' radio stations. (Thank you, internet.)

 

The CFL is brilliant; it reminds us that there is plenty of high-level football talent out there — and this is what makes these rich people start to think of starting a spring league in the U.S.

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What if XFL (or some other sub-NFL pro league) simply started drafting high-schoolers and offering them $200K contracts?  Maybe the sure-fire no-doubt-about-it NFL prospects would still go (and hope to stay healthy) but wouldn't a lot of their supporting cast strongly consider signing that deal and make 'legal' money right off the bat?

 

They'd also have the opportunity to workout/lift full time, rather than waste valuable hours pretending to go to school, and they'd probably have teammates that have had a cup of coffee in 'the league'.  I get the point that an 18-year-old isn't strong enough to go straight to the NFL, so IMO this could better prepare them and bridge the gap, as you'd have a "B+ player" who's done nothing but eat-breathe-sleep football and weights for a couple of years, vs the "A+ player" who played against good college competition, but was limited in how much he could really do.

 

The thing is that in college, there's limited eligibility, so there's forced attrition and a HS kid knows he'll get his chance to start.  In a pro league, they could theoretically have the same QB for 15 years, so that would totally deter a HS prospect from signing without a guarantee.  Not sure how to solve that, except to impose a similar 'eligibility' rule and limit the time in the league to 4 seasons, but that opens the door to a host of other problems.

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2 minutes ago, BringBackTheVet said:

What if XFL (or some other sub-NFL pro league) simply started drafting high-schoolers and offering them $200K contracts?  Maybe the sure-fire no-doubt-about-it NFL prospects would still go (and hope to stay healthy) but wouldn't a lot of their supporting cast strongly consider signing that deal and make 'legal' money right off the bat?

 

They'd also have the opportunity to workout/lift full time, rather than waste valuable hours pretending to go to school, and they'd probably have teammates that have had a cup of coffee in 'the league'.  I get the point that an 18-year-old isn't strong enough to go straight to the NFL, so IMO this could better prepare them and bridge the gap, as you'd have a "B+ player" who's done nothing but eat-breathe-sleep football and weights for a couple of years, vs the "A+ player" who played against good college competition, but was limited in how much he could really do.

 

The thing is that in college, there's limited eligibility, so there's forced attrition and a HS kid knows he'll get his chance to start.  In a pro league, they could theoretically have the same QB for 15 years, so that would totally deter a HS prospect from signing without a guarantee.  Not sure how to solve that, except to impose a similar 'eligibility' rule and limit the time in the league to 4 seasons, but that opens the door to a host of other problems.

They're run out of money...fast.  Reports are the XFL will give a $250-600K to just one player per team with the bulk of players between $50-100K/year.  Even at your hypothetical salary, I think the public would question Vince even more about abusing those he has working for him. 

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On ‎9‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 7:17 PM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

It sure is.

 

After following the Calgary Stampeders on account of Doug Flutie (which was not easy in the pre-internet days), I was thrilled when then the league put a team in Baltimore. I would DX WBAL to listen to the sports talk shows and stay up on the team; and when I called in they would put "Freddie from New York" right to the head of the queue.

 

The Browns spoiled the fun by announcing their move to Baltimore right before the 1995 Grey Cup game, which the Stallions won. But then Flutie came to the Argos, and he became easier to follow. 

 

After Flutie left the league I didn't follow it as closely, also because then the Arena League's New York CityHawks had become my team.  But I continued to keep up on the league to an extent by listening to CHML in Hamilton.

 

I am not currently a close follower of the CFL; but I try to catch games now and then, and I pay attention to the playoffs. And for the past several years I have listened to the Grey Cup on the participating teams' radio stations. (Thank you, internet.)

 

The CFL is brilliant; it reminds us that there is plenty of high-level football talent out there — and this is what makes these rich people start to think of starting a spring league in the U.S.

 

Outside of the big 3 of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, the rest of the CFL has had some good attendance numbers.

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4 hours ago, GDAWG said:

 

Outside of the big 3 of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, the rest of the CFL has had some good attendance numbers.

 

Montreal (the former Stallions) can thank U2 for solving their attendance problems. They had a playoff game that was displaced from Olympic due to a U2 concert; so they had to play at McGill University — where they filled the place up. The team then decided to make make McGill its permanent home.

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1 hour ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

Montreal (the former Stallions) can thank U2 for solving their attendance problems. They had a playoff game that was displaced from Olympic due to a U2 concert; so they had to play at McGill University — where they filled the place up. The team then decided to make make McGill its permanent home.

 

Montreal is 6-4 this season so their attendance should improve.

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