PFT: Momentum for NFL Minor League Builds

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    POSTED 9:03 p.m. EDT; UPDATED 9:34 p.m. EDT, June 28, 2007


    Once upon a time, pro football agent Ron Del Duca wrote an item for this site advocating the replacement of NFL Europe with a true minor league system.

    More than three years after the fact, reality could be catching up with Del Duca's idea.

    Under the plan first proposed by Del Duca back in 2004, NFL Europe would be scuttled. In its place, a true NFL minor league would be created, and it would play games in the fall. The system would allow NFL teams to allocate players to the minor league, and call them up as needed.

    We're now told that a growing number of NFL management types are in favor of launching such a venture. The value is that the players would be able to fully participate in the offseason program, and then get live game reps during football season, at a time when they otherwise would be hanging around and waiting for guys on the 53-man roster to get hurt.

    The teams would be based in cities that don't currently have NFL teams, and every team would allocate its practice squad to the minor league. With 32 NFL franchises having eight guys on their practice squads, that's 256 players right out of the gates. The rest of the minor league could be made up of guys who have yet to make the cut in the pros, and who otherwise might be fodder for the soon-to-be-former NFL Europa.

    Eight teams would be an ideal starting point, and the games could be played in the middle of the week. Since Tuesday and Wednesday evenings typically feature no college or pro football broadcasts, a middle-of-the-week television schedule would be ideal.

    One of the potential barriers to the creation of a true NFL minor league is the reported plan of a new league, the UFL, to drop teams in several non-NFL cities and lure some of the same guys who would otherwise be courted by the NFL's junior circuit. The mere establishment of an NFL minor league could be interpreted as a sign that the NFL is worried about the UFL, and the NFL won't want to create that impression.

    So while we believe that it's a great idea to develop a true NFL minor league, we think that it won't happen unless and until the coming UFL experiment crashes and burns.

    In other words, the NFL minor league will launch in 2010.
  2. DallasEast

    DallasEast Cowboys 24/7/365 Staff Member

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    The minor league thing may eventually happen, but I don't believe that it will be at the expense of NFL Europe. The league has invested millions and years in building a fanbase in Europe. Now it's going to abandon the beachhead established over there? Not likely, imo.
  3. Angus

    Angus Active Member

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    On that note:

    This from the Houston Chronicle:

    Peterson: Some NFL owners want to fold European League

    Chronicle News Services

    Some National Football League owners want to close the NFL's six-team European developmental league because it's losing too much money, said Kansas City Chiefs President Carl Peterson.

    NFL Europa, which began operating in its current format in 1995, plays its season from April to June and offers teams an opportunity for young players to gain experience. Peterson said that outweighs the losses, which he said averaged $500,000 for each of the NFL's 32 clubs.

    "We're not in a place, very frankly, where we're breaking even," Peterson said in an interview. He said NFL teams will be studying financial reports before making any decisions.

    NFL spokesman Michael Signora said the European league is undergoing its annual review and declined to comment further.

    The league has produced players such as quarterback Kurt Warner, who led the St. Louis Rams to the 2000 Super Bowl championship and won two NFL Most Valuable Player awards; Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme; and Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, a two-time Pro Bowl pick.

    "From a football standpoint, I think it pays for itself," Peterson said. "The money we put into the NFL Europa league is well worth the investment because we are not only improving the quality of our game at the NFL level, but we're developing young players who sometimes do become stars in our league."

    Peterson didn't name the owners opposed to NFL Europa.

    The league played its first season in 1991 as the World League of American Football, with 10 teams located in North America and Europe. After a two-year hiatus in 1993 and 1994, the league returned with a six-team all-European format in London, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Scotland and Dusseldorf.

    The league currently has teams in Amsterdam, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin.

    NFL Europa averaged a record 20,024 fans a game this season, up from the previous all-time high of 18,965 in 2005, according to the NFL. Its games were broadcast on cable television in the U.S. on the league-owned NFL Network.
  4. flashback

    flashback Real Man of Genius

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  5. DallasEast

    DallasEast Cowboys 24/7/365 Staff Member

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    Good article, but it sounds to me like a handful of small market team owners are doing the grumbling. When Goodell or Jerry Jones start fretting publicly, I'll give it more consideration.
  6. ThreeSportStar80

    ThreeSportStar80 Benched

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    I disagree, NFL Europa is going to be finished in 4 or 5 years, the ratings are horrible and people rarely attend the games...

    I would rather see the NFL develope a minor league system here in the U.S.
  7. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    I wouldn't say he's fretting, but I don't know that it has his full support either.
  8. ThreeSportStar80

    ThreeSportStar80 Benched

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    I guess you were wrong..:laugh2:
  9. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    If this comes about I would think it will be the end of teams having a practice squad. Not that it would be a big deal.
  10. CrazyCowboy

    CrazyCowboy Well-Known Member

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    I say keep it like it gets the man ready

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, I know this. A city like Albuquerque could never support an NFL franchise. Just don't have the population IMO. However, something like a minor league team would be a perfect fit IMO. If you could find a way to tie it to local geographic ties such as the Cowboys and the Broncos, then it would be a huge success IMO. Of course, there would probably be fist fights in the stands every home game but I'd be willing to wager that come fight night, those stands would be filled regardless.
  12. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    Seems to me like it would be better for the game if clubs had larger practice (taxi) squads.

    Better to have a guy who was practicing with your club (within your system) get elevated to your roster than some guy who was playing on the Sacramento Sharks.
  13. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I would think that depends if we are talking a true minor league teams, if so then your going to want these guys playing which is what the minor league would be used for. These guys don't get that type of work as practice squad players.
  14. zeromaster

    zeromaster New Member

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    We need sensory overload. Bring on the minor leagues.

    It'll give Theisman something to talk about, too :D
  15. Stephen Colboar

    Stephen Colboar New Member

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    The main question is, do you run this "minor league" simultaneously during the NFL season?

    Running it in the spring/summer interferes with Arena ball, and I know there are some NFL connections in the AFL that might not sit too easy with that. Then again, those connections probably aren't strong enough to matter.
  16. Yeagermeister

    Yeagermeister Active Member

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    Yes that way if you need a player they are in shape and ready to go.
  17. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I would think you would have the season taking place during the NFL season. I really don't think you will see national coverage of it just as you don't get national coverage of minor league baseball. The object is to develop players who other wise would be out of the game all together or trying catch on with the CFL or AFL
  18. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    Is it just me, or does it seem like this minor league is a whole lot of effort just to see if Keylon Kincaid can develop into a 3rd down back?

    There are plenty of high quality players coming out of college. What's the point of having a number of lesser players play against other lesser players?

    The USFL did help to develop many players who were later successful in the NFL, but many of these USFL players would have made NFL rosters anyway (had the USFL not existed).
  19. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I guess it is the turning over every stone theory where you hope to find a diamond in the rough. Some guys do not develop as quickly as others so maybe this minor league will help some guys prolong their dream of making it on an NFL roster one day. Thing about the USFL is they were trying to compete with the NFL and as you said they drafted players who would have been top choices in the NFL such as Kelly, Young and Walker to name a few.
  20. kevwun

    kevwun New Member

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    MLB's minor league system works because every player goes through it. 99.99% of prospects drafted by MLB teams aren't ready for the big leagues when they are drafted. Most of them won't be ready for at least 3 or 4 years. Fans go to the games because they're watching the stars of tomorrow. There won't be a draw to watch guys who are there because they don't have enough talent to be in the the league. NFL teams are never going to send their best prospects in to a minor league system. They don't need to because it's much easier for college players to transition to the NFL.

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