Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can the UFL survive once again?

Over the pat year, I have written a number of posts declaring the UFL either dead or on its deathbed. Some how this little league that could finds a way to come back, despite reports all over the web that they have failed to pay their bills and even some of their employees. Now I find in posts on and the UFL league site that the UFL owners remain committed and will return in 2012.

That seems pretty unreasonable since all this league has done since its inception is lose money, and blunder there way through three seasons. When the pulled the plug on the 2011 season halfway through that looked to be the final deathblow. Now it appears the UFL is willing not only to come back, but also to switch to a spring schedule where they could actually make some head way.

The thing they have going for them is the on the field product is good. It is good football and people will flock to good football especially in the spring. They have identified several good markets for themselves and if they keep on working that, they could very well survive and even thrive.

Of course, the other side of this coin is NFL Commish Roger Goodell told the press in London this week that his league would like to have a springtime developmental league. A place for teams to develop players coming out of college who might not be ready for the NFL. A place for teams to develop young talent. Of course, the NFL has been down this road before, all NFL Europa did was lose money, however Goodell wants to grow his league, and the best way to do that would be a developmental spring league. The current best option for something like that would be a spring scheduled UFL.

Of course, the NFL would have to learn the mistakes of NFL Europa. First and foremost, they would have to make a rule that every member of a team’s practice squad must play in this league. It will not work having each team send one player. NFL Europe helped the NFL develop a number of quality players and a spring based UFL developmental league could very well do the same.

Of course, to accommodate all those practice squad players, and all of the not quite ready for the NFL players coming out of college the UFL would have to field more than four teams. It seems that eight teams would be the minimum number needed to make something like this viable. That of course would mean the UFL would have to find at least four more markets where their teams could thrive. They seem very interested in Jackson, Mississippi, and there are other markets where UFL teams could do very well especially if they were connected to the NFL.

The thing to remember here is Goodell wants a player development league that is not commercial, that is in one location ala the NFL Scouting Combine and annual Senior Bowl in Alabama. However, given the option to save the UFL and expand his league that might be a better propostion.

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