Jump to content

Minor League Football


Recommended Posts

I've been toying with this project on and off for years. It's something I do every now and again to unwind, and I really wish I put more priority on it, but I digress.


Anyway, I've always felt the NFL has demonstrated a need for a minor league. Arguably, the NCAA fills that need, but while college football no doubt produces talent, the NFL lacks the ability to send players back to the minors. Further, I think we may be reaching a point where the NCAA is becoming obsolete.


From television contracts, to video games, to merchandise, NCAA football generates billions in revenue. And yet only a small fraction of schools actually reap a profit from their football programs. Football is a sport that epitomizes the pay-to-play idiom, and unsurprisingly, the schools that generate the most money are also the most well-funded. The fact that that funding is allocated out of university budgets is not without controversy. And to exacerbate that issue, the NCAA restrictions on player compensation border on exploitation. In theory, student athletes are compensated via college scholarships, but many schools float student-athletes with made-up course. NCAA scandals are numerous, and it may be past time to separate athletics from academics.


This project images a professional league to replace college football, with operations modeled roughly off of minor league baseball. I have a four-tier minor league system in mind, with 128 teams. Some are in markets formally served by the NCAA, and some... not so much. I know 128 sounds like a lot (and it is) but between Division-I FBS, Division-I FCS, Division II, and Division III, it's not like the NCAA doesn't have hundreds of teams.


My school of thought is that allowing each NFL team to maintain four developmental teams, in theory, it would eliminate the fierce competition in the NFL draft while paying players for what would otherwise be their college years. This means the NFL owners would pay more of a flat rate across the board for new players rather than the ludicrous draft pick bonuses we have in practice today.


Also, I have always held the Green Bay model of ownership in high regard, and I envision something of a hybrid system, with each host market having at least some percent owned at the city, county, or state/provincial level, and some percentage of ownership available for shareholders, while the bulk percentage is held by private ownership. This would allow host markets at least some control over relocation bids, but also allow at least some validity for the use of public money. As a matter of course, every US state and nearly every Canadian province is granted at least one team.




National Football League




I have very little in mind for the NFL itself. I would like to rebrand Washington and Kansas City (my girlfriend is Cherokee, so we refrain from the R-word). And while it won't really impact this project, I did opt to make a new map of the NFL. I based the four tiers of my minor league on the east-vs-west system used in the NBA and NHL. Football and baseball are the only major-league sports to use the National-American conference system (that I know of), because both leagues expanded by merging with competing organizations. So more for my own what-if curiosity than anything else, I created this realignment map. Personally, I find the new divisions that resulted rather intriguing, but that's just my own biased opinion. A lot of old rivalries would be upset, but I'm curious how making the NFL divisions more geographically oriented would ultimately impact the league.




Alpha Football League




The Alpha League consists of the largest markets not served directly by the NFL. The minimum NFL salary is about half a million, but here, the salary would be about a quarter million. This would equate to the NCAA Div-I FBS, with players that have worked their way up from the Beta league.


San Diego and St. Louis once again become host to professional football franchises. And I ultimately decided for sake of this project to absorb the CFL into this project. Notably, I granted a franchise to Mexico. The conversion rate for the Mexican peso is not as strong as the rate between American and Canadian dollars, plus American football has limited popularity outside the United States. As a result, I opted to place the sole Mexican franchise where lies the strongest support. Monterrey, it turns out, has the highest affinity for the NFL in Mexico.




Beta Football League




The Beta League simply follows the above pattern with the largest markets not served in the Alpha League. The minimum salary would be $125K, and would consist of players that have finished their time in the Gamma League. It would equate to the Div-I FCS. 


The only real note to the Beta League is that it includes Hawaii. I had some concerns on remoteness, but the NCAA finances transportation for game in Hawaii, so assuming all operational costs were covered by the NFL (an entity that made an estimated $14B in 2017), then travel expenses for smaller markets becomes less of a concern.




Gamma Football League




Minimum salary in the Gamma League drops to $62,500, higher than the national median income, but we're getting down to blue-collar football here. These are the players that have made it a year or two in the Delta League and have made their first jump up the ranks.




Delta Football League




This is the bottom of the barrel, with media markets down to about three hundred thousand on average, with the smallest market being Casper, Wyoming. I opted to include a team in The Bahamas, as the sport is growing in popularity there and it would increase exposure to American Football in the Caribbean. And Anchorage, while by far the northernmost city in this project, is purportedly not much worse in winter than Seattle, with the surrounding oceans mitigating much of the harsher Alaskan winters. With a minimum salary down to $31,250, this would be the league that recruits players directly out of high school and takes walk-on try-outs. It would be comparable to Div-III, essentially the Single-A Short Season league of professional football.


Assuming a player plays one year in each league, they'd earn roughly half a million over four years before signing with the NFL. And at any time, whether for salary cap reasons or recovery from injury, the NFL would have the ability to send players down to the minors.


On a final note, I have concepts in mind for about half these markets, so I'm open to suggestions.


EDIT: I apologize for the frequent edits since posting. I'd written the entire post in HTML... only to find that the forum displays HTML as naked code, which wasn't my intention. I didn't have access to my computer till this morning and my phone browser was rather temperamental with the post editor.


EDIT: Replaced images since I'd stupidly mixed up Chattanooga and Knoxville in my map.


EDIT: Changed cities in the Delta League Map.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 54
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I'm all for London having an American football franchise, but honestly, I'm not sure it needs to be in a North American League. The NFL Europa didn't do well, and while the NFL games in London do sell out, I'm not sure how much of that is due to legit market demand for the sport versus the simple gimmick of it just being the NFL in London for that one game they do.


As far as concepts go, I plan to do a total of 128 with logos and uniforms, probably about one every week. I've noticed that when I work on my logos too hard that I tend to get bogged down into little details and it ultimately kills my rhythm for producing content rather than just planning content. I am honestly not sure if I will recycle any logos. I have teams in markets currently served by the NCAA, so for example I like the name Alaska Seawolves, but I'm not a fan of the green and yellow, and I have an idea for a logo concept. The University of Alaska Anchorage doesn't have a football team that I know of anyway. I actually really liked the Orlando Tuskers logo, and I'm probably going to have all of the Canadian teams at least reference their CFL counterparts. I am going to make a Washington Thunderbirds logo and a Kansas City Outlaws logo. I personally don't feel KC is as offensive as DC, but I'm not going to parse the line of what is or isn't acceptable for Native American cultural appropriation.


Hmm, come to think of it, even though it's one of my smallest markets, I think I'll do Alaska Seawolves first.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Artisan219 said:

Not sure for Ohio yet.

Dakota Trikes (the state fossil of South Dakota is a triceratops, and how many teams have a dinosaur logo?)

And Des Moines Reapers?

But that’s the wrong side of the state for that. South Dakota is broken down into West river and East river, and the love doesn’t cross that.  Rapid City Trikes would be perfect.


THE Xtreme Fantasy Football League

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I notice after uploading to Imgur that I failed to check the numbers on the jersey first, but since this is just a placeholder for now, I don't really care enough to fix it.




This is my first concept sketch for Alaska. I based it on Native American imagery, and I'm rather find of the real and salmon color scheme.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks Fantastic! Absolutely love that choice of colors. Two questions though, are you doing this league by league, so will you complete this league before moving into the next? Secondly, are you going to sketch up an idea of what it looks like on a helmet?


Follow the NFA, and My Baseball League here: https://ahsports.boardhost.com/index.php

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, panthers_2012 said:

Wow... The SeaWolves logo is amazing! The colors you chose are perfect for the set and I really like the design of the uniform. Can't wait to see the rest!


Well, this one isn't done yet. I'm going to see what kind of feedback I get on the logo and I may have to do more sketches before I'm set. Then I'll vector-trace and update the uniform template.


12 hours ago, BellaSpurs said:

Looks Fantastic! Absolutely love that choice of colors. Two questions though, are you doing this league by league, so will you complete this league before moving into the next? Secondly, are you going to sketch up an idea of what it looks like on a helmet?


When the logo is finished, yes, I'll upload a finalized team sheet, probably three of them, home uniform, road uniform, and possibly an alternate if I feel like doing it.


As for concept order, I have no real restrictions. If I get one set done in a week, it'll take me over two years to go through the whole minor league. I'm trying to refresh my sketching skills and get in a better state with Illustrator, so this should be good practice.


On a side note, I really suck at wordmarks. If anyone knows any good sites, tutorials, etc for word logos, I'd be very appreciative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fair enough.


Oh, before I get any new feedback on the Seawolves logo, I did do some very minor tweaking in Photoshop. I wanted to clean up the arc to the body and I'm still a little unsure how to work some the cream areas.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.