Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tommy Maddox's New Home

A group of investors, led by former NCAA president Cedric Dempsey, have formed the All American Football League, scheduled to start play next spring.

Unfortunately, Vince McMahon is not expected to be involved.

The league plans to field eight teams based in college towns, playing in stadiums on campus or nearby. The expected cities will likely come from the ACC, SEC and Big Ten and already has stadium usage agreements (Purdue is believed to be one). The league, based in San Diego, will not have a West Coast team during the inaugural season. (Damn. )

Players will be required to have college degrees in order to prevent people like Maurice Clarett or Mike Williams from leaving school early. Or any members of the Bengals from ever joining the league once they are paroled. Or for the media to pretend that Reggie Bush will play for the league. AAFL players will earn about $100K per season, higher than both the Arena Football League and NFL Europe.

The league is pulling a lot of positives from failed spring leagues like the XFL and USFL. Players will be paid by the league, instead being paid by individual owners. Players will be placed in teams based on college affiliation. But unlike the XFL, the league owner is not going to shoot his mouth off about being real football. And hey, it will give Dick Butkus a chance to latch on to something new.

This idea should work. It will give those who ignore the NHL and NBA something to watch after March Madness. And if done correctly, it could grow into a real NFL developmental league. NFL owners currently investing in AFL team could instead turn to the AAFL. And NFL Europe could finally be chalked up as a bad idea. (Seriously, the thought of NFL Europe is as dumb as having a professional soccer league in the US. At least nobody has tried that.) No team in LA? There is an open stadium at Cal State Fullerton to become LA's franchise.

But seriously, Vince McMahon needs to be involved in this thing. Or if not, at least add this. Otherwise it just wouldn't be the same.


Greg said...

They have to have college degrees? That's cute that they think people will be dropping out of college to join their league. That's like saying you have to have a condom to bang a supermodel. Which is noble, sure. Except for the actual "bedding the supermodel" part. I'm not sure I know what I'm talking about right now.

Adam B said...

greg, i'm pretty sure it's so that players who don't cut it in the NFL can't join the AAFL unless they graduated. I kind of like the idea.

daddy said...

If all it took was to get some condoms to bang a supermodel, I would have gotten those a long time ago.

Diane said...

I liked your post on Bean's blog today about reclaiming the rainbow, and hopped over - good blog!

NFL Jennifer said...

As long as Joe Buck isn't going to call the games....

The Analyzer said...

He Hate Me is a Raider now. At least for one season. He should just get his last name changed legally.

taltman said...

A couple of articles came out last week on this. Seems to be heating up.

This is the Anniston Star's Column from Saturday:
(The link won't work for you so I had to paste the text)


Start-up pro league hopefully won't be another W-Laugh

When you watch Auburn play Mississippi State this morning and then take in the Alabama-Vanderbilt game this afternoon, you'll be seeing several players who'll be in the NFL next season.

And you could be seeing several players who'll be in the fledgling All-American Football League next season, as well.

Reports are that Birmingham's Legion Field likely will host one of the eight flagship franchises when the league kicks off in the spring of 2007. The AAFL is designed to be something of a post-graduate pro league; the players must have college degrees to be eligible, and the teams, for the most part, will play on college campuses.

West Lafayette, Ind., home of Purdue University, has secured a franchise, while Gainesville, Fla., and Knoxville, Tenn. — where the NCAA's Gators and Volunteers, respectively, call home — also are sure bets.

Legion Field is not located on a college campus. However, it qualifies as a venue because it's the site of a college bowl game. Any team that played there primarily would be made up of Alabama, Auburn and UAB graduates, although I'm sure former Jacksonville State Gamecocks and Troy Trojans also will be on the field — as long as they have degrees, of course.

On the one hand the AAFL has potential. With players making $100,000 per season, the league will attract far better athletes than those who toil in semi-pro leagues. And with the blessings of the NCAA, it has credibility right out of the gate.

But ...

While quite a few football nuts like myself gladly would watch the gridiron game 52 weeks out of the year, the only non-NFL pro football circuit that has thrived in the United States is the Arena Football League.

And let's be honest: The AFL can be fun to watch, but it's not “real” football. It's a niche sport stocked mostly with minor league-caliber athletes.

A real 11-on-11 outdoor league is a long shot.

In 1974 and 1975 the World Football League was in operation, but owners with shallow pockets and a public that quickly tired of the novelty of an alternative league spelled its doom.

The 1980s marked the evolution of the United States Football League, which was solid and popular — until it inexplicably decided to move to the fall and compete with the NFL.

Next thing you know the USFL is fodder for trivia aficionados.

Really, no spring league since the USFL has been viable.

The World League of American Football — WLAF for short (and, perhaps, to its detriment) — flopped and now primarily is a German-based farm system for the NFL known as NFL Europe.

The Canadian Football League's expansion to the Lower 48 was short-lived, as the CFL quickly contracted back to the Great White North where fans could appreciate three downs and 25-yards-deep end zones.

The last spring league, of course, was the XFL — one of the greatest disasters in pro sports history.

So what do we make of the All-American Football League? It's a nice idea with credible people behind it. It's something I'd watch and likely enjoy.

Yet considering all other spring leagues that have come before it died, I'm not convinced it'll live. Heck, I'm not even convinced it'll get beyond the point of conception.

I guess we'll see.

Meantime, enjoy watching the Tide and Tigers play today. You probably can tell which seniors, and perhaps juniors, will be performing on Sundays in 2007.

As for the ones not good enough for the NFL, well, those degrees will come in handy with or without the AAFL.