By Eric Schmidt

Last year, football fans were given some great news, spring football was going to be back in the form of the USFL. Mr. Jaime Cuadra purchased the rights to the retro league and laid out plans to create a developmental league which would with the NFL instead of against the powerhouse. The plan that was outlined was music to a football fans ears. No more blackhole between the Super Bowl and Labor Day. Yes, it wouldn’t be NFL quality football, but it was going to be football none the less.

Thepigskinreport spoke with one of the new league’s directors, former NFL legendary receiver, Fred Biletnikoff on a few occasions last season, and came away with the thought that while the plan sounded good, it seems like just a bit much to accomplish is a very short span of time. A few months later, it was announced that the start of the league would be pushed back to March 2014.

Around the Super Bowl this year, Mr. Cuadra made the rounds in the media and suggested the new plans for the USFL. While the original plans seemed ambitious, the new ones were very aggressive. Not only would the new USFL be placing teams in 8 cities, but they would be building stadiums and communities around the venues while working with an unnamed developer. Again, looking at the timeline, how this could be achieved in eight separate communities in one year seemed unreasonable.

Thepigskinreport reached out to Mr. Biletnikoff in order to get some clarity on this matter, but emails have not been returned. Football fans were told that an announcement on placement of the teams would be made within a few weeks. 10 weeks later, silence. Thepigskinreport was on the media press release email list, and we’ve received nothing in the last several weeks.

In an interesting turn of events, it appears that the league has taken down it’s website.

Is this just another tease to football fans? Another failed attempt to provide an alternative during the lull in between the NFL regular season? Another failed attempt to re-introduce the league that was very entertaining to watch? It appears that might be the case.

The NFL is the only league which has had commercial success. The original USFL was successful to a point but when they became arrogant and decided they could knock the behemoth off the block, they found out who was king. In recent years, we’ve had the XFL and UFL among others, all failed experiments and monumental wastes of money.

Roger Goodell has stated repeatedly about his desire to take the NFL product global. Instead of placing a franchise in London, why not create a spring/summer developmental league? 10-12 teams around the country with players that NFL teams have the rights to. This helps to create a new talent pool for players that need time on the field as well as creating a new wave of coaching prospects.

The NFL is wildly popular and it has proven that anything it does, people will watch. The league drew record numbers of viewers for this year’s NFL Combine, which is referred to as the underwear olympics. Millions tuned in to watch player lift weights and run 40-yard dashes. According to one site, in cities with NBA teams in the playoffs, more viewers tuned in to watch the NFL Draft than watch their hometown team play an important game.

If the league were to lay their golden hands on a spring football league, people would come out in droves and tune in their televisions. They could broadcast the games on their own television network. For that matter, networks would be falling over themselves for the rights to broadcast games. Each year there are roughly 1,000 players released from rosters at the end of training camp, more than enough to field 10-12 teams. Add in all the current participants from adult amateur leagues around the country, there would be an overabundance of players to fill rosters.

The NFL is missing the boat on a great opportunity. There are millions of football fans wanting to watch football. Hell, millions watched 7-rounds of players being drafted, imagine if there was actual football being played.

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Readers Comments (13)

  1. avatar Ron H

    I loved the USFL and was excited about the new USFL…I just don’t see it happening I hope i’m wrong but the problems just seem to be coming one by one. I look forward to USFL football but 2014 just doesn’t seem possible.

     
  2. avatar IkeD

    National Spring Football League…

     
    • avatar Eric Schmidt

      The what?

       
      • avatar Unknown

        The National Spring Football League (NSFL) look us up, and visit our http://www.gonsfl.com page as well.

         
    • avatar Dennis

      You mean the league with no website?

       
      • avatar Dennis

        And I mean nsfleague.com which the Freedom Fighters link to. The other one sucks, too.

         
  3. avatar Sonny Clark

    In the mean time watch the IFL! If you like scoring, it is the place to be http://www.goifl.com

     
    • avatar Eric Schmidt

      And exactly where am I going to watch them?

       
  4. avatar Nick Chavis

    The NATIONAL SPRING FOOTBALL LEAGUE

     
  5. avatar Bernard Hunt

    The APDFL, with teams throughout 7 states in the southeast and presently expanding into the Northeast. Televised games of the week and major sponsorships. We plan to provide every community with exactly what they are looking for.

     
  6. avatar nick

    Overkill. Oversaturation. Too many games already. Like the NHL ad NBA – The seasons never end. Leave it as it is. We don’t need spring football. More excitement for Fall. More is not always better.

     
  7. avatar Mark K Trueblood

    The USFL, NSFL, PDFL, this FL, that FL, here an FL, there an FL…all these leagues profess something different than the other along with credentials that would only impress the casual observer. Claims of experienced businessmen, commercial partnerships, etc. Here’s the deal pigskin junkies: No TV deal and/or NFL direct association, there is no tenure. Translation? Local commercial sponsorship cannot support a football team for a full 12 months. Let me repeat that. NO local commercial partnership(s) can support a 12-month organization. Because to do it right, the team is operational 12 months. When you factor in off-season admin (scouting, sales, team & lg meetings, etc)& off-field training, camps, pre-season, regular season & post-season…it equals 12 months. game tix, food, parking & souvenir concessions won’t cover the operational costs alone. So, if there is no TV deal $$ or direct NFL backing, then there is no league around for very long (aka: tenure). Gold Bless ‘em though, they keep trying.

     
  8. avatar Bill Mattis

    Obviously a TV contract where the league is getting paid to have the games televised would be best, but not realistic at this point.

    In my opinion, the problem with the NSFL is that travel is going to bankrupt those teams unless they can get an airline sponsor who will provide all airfares (not likely these days).

    The UFL failed because it paid the players too much money AND had big expenses on top of that. Just look at the debt they racked up in 2 years.

    You really can’t have the NFL involved directly because that means the union would have to be involved. They would never go for players making small amounts per game.

    You’d need to do something regional…say, maybe 8 teams across PA in markets like Scranton, Harrisburg, Allentown, etc. These cities would love an outdoor league.

    Being within 7 hours of each other would allow teams to bus to each game and may even be able to avoid hotel nights on the road.

    You pay the players like the AFL used to…$400 a game…maybe even $250. Heck, players would pay to play in a quality outdoor league these days.

    After year one you add to everything on all sides and continue to grow.

    It’s possible and we would be able to help recruit the players to play.

    I just don’t understand why these guys who plan these leagues keep making the same basic mistakes.

     

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