I am a huge football fan, but have you noticed that there is no real gateway to the NFL? There are several leagues such as the Arena Football League (AFL), Canadian Football League (CFL) and the Indoor Football League (IFL), but not many players make it to the league.
While there is an occasional player or two that make it to the NFL from each of these leagues, these teams do not get many looks from the powerhouse NFL.
Most of the players noticed from the smaller leagues are taking part in Combines, or pro days that put them in the face of an NFL scout. These games are not highly recruited, and let’s face it, if the agent of the player is not pushing their players name out there, he likely will not get noticed for a bigger league.
There is a new league coming in to play this fall. It is called the FXFL which will feature six teams, a 40-man roster for each, six games per season, and $1,000 per week for each player.
This is not a lot of money, roughly 6,000 dollars to play the game you love. It is very manageable for the league, if they can in fact get the stadiums, insurance, and other things in place. The biggest problems with these developmental leagues are the players usually never get paid.
There have been several leagues that have started and then stopped. We can go back to the USFL, the XFL and even the UFL which all failed due to money. There was once a little developmental league overseas called NFL Europa. These games featured the players actual NFL team on their jersey. That worked quite well for a little time, and it quickly fell off.
Since Roger Goodell wants to build such a monster of a product, why doesn’t he invest in more football leagues to develop more players, to give more individuals a shot?
Many players get a taste to be on a football team by making the 90 man roster. But when the team cuts 37 players before the start of the season where do these guys go? No where, they sit at home hoping to land a spot. There is no league for them to make it, because the AFL season is about over, and the CFL is almost over as well. These players sit at home, and they get in trouble in some cases.
Take Janzen Jackson, the former Tennessee standout cornerback, he made the 90 man roster with the New York Giants and before the season he was cut. He tried hard to get into another league, and after a short stint with the Toronto Argonauts, he could not find a job. He was arrested recently for murder. We need to stop these types of situation.
I understand not everyone can make it to the NFL, but that is the lifelong dream of many kids. If there was an outlet for them to shine and get an opportunity, things would be amazing.
Let’s go back in time and look at three players, if it was not for the UIFL, we would not know who Fred Jackson was. What about Super Bowl Champion Kurt Warner? He was a stud in the Arena Football League, after he was cut by the Green Bay Packers, and lastly what about Cam Wake? The man made a name for himself in the CFL. I don’t know why a league doesn’t exist or have a connection with the NFL, but it would not be hard to to just throw a few logos and make an affiliation.
What does the NFL have to do? They will not need to put any money in it, they can assist with the league to get a television deal, and help them plan out the finances. I honestly think if Roger Goodell wants to grow, all he has to do is stamp the league. Hopefully, Goodell will stamp the FXFL, and help them put something together for these kids.
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