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Elway wants AFL to be NFL's minor league


kewp80

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http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2007/07/02/...cial-minor-lea/

If this happens I will not be an arena fan anymore. John Elway is ruining the game and the league! I already have stopped paying attention to it as closely as I did because he changed the ironman rule, but this is just ridiculous! This is what every die hard AFL fan WANTS to avoid, I think if this happens then many of the season ticket holders of all the teams will not renew. The Arena game would have to be further revised so that it would be like the NIFL with more running and more defense, and of coarse NFL coaches will have to be persuaded. I have never really liked David Baker, but he looks like an AFL Saint compared to John Elway. Ladis and gentlemen welcome to AFL hell... :cry:

I just want things like it was last year, with ironman football, and hope that the game would be able to be successful on its own, but now I have my doubts as to whether the AFL can work or not. I'm just sick and tired of John Elway trying to step in and change something that was fine before he come in.

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Well, it's just rumor, but what a rumor.

I don't think Mr. Baker is going to let John Elway just walk all over him and let him be the new commish of the Arena League mainly because of his focus to turn the league into the new minor league for the NFL. The focus of Arena ball is to enjoy the game the way it was meant to be.

Come to think of it, I think more people are going to hate the Crush now and hope that they get iced in the Divisional Round this weekend.

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I've always hated the Crush, and John Elway.

Anyway, I was just on the Arena Fan boards, and they were saying that an AFL exec contacted the webmaster and asked for the story to be removed. From experience the AFL does these kinds of things when they are correct, and don't want bad publicity towards the league.

I just hope we wont be seeing the NFL Indoors or worse yet... NFL Lite!

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I think that's the last thing the AFL wants, to be honest. I that while they don't mind having a ton of NFL connections (Elway, Ditka, Jarworski, Adams, Blank), they want to still be their own product and run things their own way. As much as I dislike Baker, I do agree that he'll do what he can to avoid it.

And kewp, as much as I was fearful as to what the lack of ironman football would do the quality of play, I must admit that it hasn't hurt it one bit. I think the general opinion is that it's actually helped things because you're getting better play out of six or seven one-way players than you are getting out of two. The games are still exciting, the scoring is still high (although there are way, way too many penalties and way too many blown calls), and it hasn't been as bad as I thought it was going to be.

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I will just point out that with NFL Europa being dead, that this does not surprise me one bit.

I will also state that I prefer the "indoor football" rule book to the "arena football" rulebook (enjoy having a bit more of a running game.) Getting the NFL more firmly behind the AFL might help it out long term, and given that the AFL's marketing strategy has relied on NFL names, an increased NFL presence would probably further help it.

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I don't think this is a good idea on the fact that it's a different sport with the same basics. I liken it to baseball and softball. Very similar on basics, but different. The MLB isn't raiding softball leagues trying to get them to be the minor league.

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I've been doing a bit of thinking, and a bit of drinking, on this subject, and here's what I've come up with.

If the rumors are true, and Elway, backed by the big-money coalition of NFL/AFL ownership, ascends to the commissioner's throne, the AFL is dead. Not the AFL's style of play, its somewhat rebellious spirit, or its closeness to fans. I'm talking the whole league - dead. Think about it: if the AFL gets re-branded as a minor-league, establishing itself as something inferior to the NFL, are people in Chicago, New Orleans, Denver, Philadelphia, and all the other NFL/AFL markets going to buy tickets to see what is, on its face, second-rate football? Are they going to fill 15,000+ seat arenas to a respectable level? Are they going to tune in to ESPN2 to watch minor league games? No, they aren't. The AFL, in its current form, provides an alternative to the NFL. If people are, through branding and presentation, shown that this is just more of the same, regardless of the field size, they won't be interested. Why bother with the Soul if they're all just halfway-Eagles?

No, NFL Indoor would not be for the current roster of AFL teams. Like any minor league, it needs to base itself in smaller cities, where expectations are never above minor league, and arena dates during the NFL season (and I would think having a stateside minor league would necessitate a move to parallel the NFL's season) would be more readily available. Cities like, oh, I dunno, Corpus Christi, Fort Wayne, Moline, Tulsa, Albany, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton... Hey, what do ya know! The af2 has cities just like that! And they've got a good 30 teams up and running, most of them not in NFL cities, and they all operate with significantly lower overhead than their AFL counterparts. Ding ding ding.

Bottom line: if this all plays out as feared, the AFL will not become NFL Lite. The af2 will. The AFL will simply cease to be. And all of the fringe indoor leagues - your CIFLs, AIFLs, and NIFLs, will get a boost by suddenly becoming (theoretically) 2 steps from the NFL, as opposed to being 2 steps from the AFL. Maybe the NFL could set up a tiered developmental system, and arrange for affiliations with those lesser leagues. That could get coupled with a lessening of restrictions on early entry into the pro ranks by college players - you know, assuming they play down in the minors until they're 21.

In the end, just about everyone involved in professional football in this country could see benefits from such a series of developments. The only people left with the shaft end of the deal would be loyal, dedicated AFL fans. But hey, who the hell cares about us, right?

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Here's an update:

POSTED 8:24 a.m. EDT; LAST UPDATED 9:03 a.m. EDT, July 3, 2007

ELWAY STORY CONFIRMED

We've touched base with the source on our Monday story regarding the intentions of John Elway to make a run at re-making the Arena Football League into a developmental league for the NFL, and our source stands by the information 100 percent.

We reported that Elway wants to oust AFL Commissioner David Baker, re-work the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players union (which by the way is tied closely to the NFLPA), and then position the AFL to fill the void created by the dissolution of NFL Europa.

A big part of the motivation is financial. Elway's team, the Colorado Crush, isn't doing as well on paper as it could be or should be. And Elways wants that to change.

"Elway isn?t going to lose his !!! again without doing things his way," said the source, "which includes getting rid of Baker, locking out the union, etc. He's tired of selling out the arena, winning football games, and losing money because the AFL business model is flawed. It's not a toy to him, it's a business venture."

The source explained that Elway's team has often carried less than the maximum number of active players and practice squad players in order to save money. Currently, the Crush have (has?) 23 players, one less than the limit.

Under AFL rules, teams are allowed to have up to 24 players on the team, with 20 dressed out on game day. The source says that, during the 2006 season, the Crush often went with only 19 active players, and had no practice squad.

One of the big financial problems is injuries, explained the source. Some teams pay up to $700,000 per year for workers' compensation premiums in the states where they are based.

Here's another point to keep in mind -- the patent on the AFL's game rules expires at some point in 2007. This means that the door will be wide open for competitive leagues to copy every aspect of the AFL game.

And, as the source notes, this creates an alternative for Elway. He could take the Crush, and several other AFL teams, and create a new indoor league with an express purpose of serving as an NFL developmental league.

Meanwhile, the AFL refuted our report on Monday, via a couple of e-mails from Executive V.P. of Communications Chris McCloskey. (Scroll down for more.)

Stay tuned to PFT for more details -- especially since you won't hear much about this behind-the-scenes rancor on ESPN, which now owns a piece of the AFL.

Sodboy, I think you hit the nail right on the head. I was wondering that myself. If they move the schedule to the fall, which they pretty much would have to, then how would teams in the NFL markets draw fans? I think the af2 will become the NFL Indoors, with maybe some holdovers from the original AFL with teams that aren't in NFL markets like Orlando, Utah, Columbus, and Austin (who already jumped down).

Also there's a possibilty Elway may form his own league, with the other NFL owned teams, which could leave the rest of the teams to carry on the AFL. We'll see what happens, but I hope the AFL stays as it is, and I hope Elway chokes on something. :evil:

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Like I said in the Arena Fan boards: It will NOT be successful. Plus just leaving the AFL is easier said than done, I believe there are some strict penalties.

Plus look where all those teams are, NFL markets, and this league would have to play in the fall, when the NFL is going on. There's no way an arena team can survive in an NFL market during the fall. Plus there's college football going on as well. Think people there will go to games on Saturday or Sunday? That just leaves the weeknights. If the NFL is gonna have a developmental league during the fall it needs to be in markets with no NFL team.

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Imagine the new Elway led 8-Team NFL Indoor league consisting of:

Chicago

Colorado

Dallas

Georgia

Kansas City

Nashville

New Orleans

Philadelphia

I don't believe the Kansas City Brigade and Kansas City Chiefs share the same ownership like the other 7 teams do.

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I don't see any way this could work. Like the article states, you'd need to amend the rules to suit player development, and that would take away from what people love about Arena Football. I think a true Minor League for the NFL would be a good idea. Same (or very close to the same) rules, outdoor. As has been said by plenty of coaches and GMs, there's not much difference between the last few guys cut and the last few guys that make the roster. Giving those last few cut a place to ply their trade and develop as a player only helps the NFL, and I think there'd be significant interest in that kind of league, provided it didn't play during the NFL season. Something like that spring league could work. The only question would be, is this a place you send your first round QB that you don't want to play yet? I would guess (and suggest) the answer is "no." But, you can send that sixth round QB you took a flyer on, or that guy that tried Minor League baseball, but now wants to get back in football.

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I've been doing a bit of thinking, and a bit of drinking, on this subject, and here's what I've come up with.

If the rumors are true, and Elway, backed by the big-money coalition of NFL/AFL ownership, ascends to the commissioner's throne, the AFL is dead. Not the AFL's style of play, its somewhat rebellious spirit, or its closeness to fans. I'm talking the whole league - dead. Think about it: if the AFL gets re-branded as a minor-league, establishing itself as something inferior to the NFL, are people in Chicago, New Orleans, Denver, Philadelphia, and all the other NFL/AFL markets going to buy tickets to see what is, on its face, second-rate football? Are they going to fill 15,000+ seat arenas to a respectable level? Are they going to tune in to ESPN2 to watch minor league games? No, they aren't. The AFL, in its current form, provides an alternative to the NFL. If people are, through branding and presentation, shown that this is just more of the same, regardless of the field size, they won't be interested. Why bother with the Soul if they're all just halfway-Eagles?

No, NFL Indoor would not be for the current roster of AFL teams. Like any minor league, it needs to base itself in smaller cities, where expectations are never above minor league, and arena dates during the NFL season (and I would think having a stateside minor league would necessitate a move to parallel the NFL's season) would be more readily available. Cities like, oh, I dunno, Corpus Christi, Fort Wayne, Moline, Tulsa, Albany, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton... Hey, what do ya know! The af2 has cities just like that! And they've got a good 30 teams up and running, most of them not in NFL cities, and they all operate with significantly lower overhead than their AFL counterparts. Ding ding ding.

Bottom line: if this all plays out as feared, the AFL will not become NFL Lite. The af2 will. The AFL will simply cease to be. And all of the fringe indoor leagues - your CIFLs, AIFLs, and NIFLs, will get a boost by suddenly becoming (theoretically) 2 steps from the NFL, as opposed to being 2 steps from the AFL. Maybe the NFL could set up a tiered developmental system, and arrange for affiliations with those lesser leagues. That could get coupled with a lessening of restrictions on early entry into the pro ranks by college players - you know, assuming they play down in the minors until they're 21.

In the end, just about everyone involved in professional football in this country could see benefits from such a series of developments. The only people left with the shaft end of the deal would be loyal, dedicated AFL fans. But hey, who the hell cares about us, right?

Well....as I live in a probable af2 city, prefer rules that are closer to the NFL (including losing the nets), etc. I honestly see nothing wrong with this scenario. (wonders what it would take to make the Pirates 2.0 a Rams affiliate).

The only problem with getting the lesser leagues on board is the fact that I'm not sure they'd be willing to either give up some of their independence or work together with other leagues.

I can't see the NFL having any part of a indoor fall developmental league, wasnt the whole player development part of NFLE set-up so guys could get playing time before the season.

AFL's season currently runs from spring to summer. If they would go to the NFL developmental model, I think their schedule would shift later to be like the current af2 one. (Unless it said that Elway does want to do this in the fall, in which case he is genuinely an idiot).

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Honestly, I don't see this happening. This would IMHO kill the arena leagues. Besides, it would be kind of stupid to play with only half a field, doesn't really show preparations for the big leagues.

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The only problem with getting the lesser leagues on board is the fact that I'm not sure they'd be willing to either give up some of their independence or work together with other leagues.

Oh, and you think that fans of the AFL want to be a part of the AFL? AFL fans don't want independence from the NFL? As an AFL fan myself I can say that is certainly not the case, by far! If you look at the Arena Fan boards you will see that NO ONE is supporting this. I think the league will lose a lot of season ticket holders if they become affiliated with the NFL.

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Imagine the new Elway led 8-Team NFL Indoor league consisting of:

Chicago

Colorado

Dallas

Georgia

Kansas City

Nashville

New Orleans

Philadelphia

I don't believe the Kansas City Brigade and Kansas City Chiefs share the same ownership like the other 7 teams do.

The Eagles don't own the Soul, either. I think that his point was the 8 teams listed above have substantial NFL connections, even if it isn't outright ownership. Were Elway to form some splinter movement, it's possible that he would court Ron Jaworski to come with, and Jaws still has a lot of NFL connections. The situation in KC may be similar, though I don't know for sure.

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