The NBA has the D-League, and Major League Baseball has the minors.
Well, it might be time for the NFL to follow suit.
“There are about a thousand players on NFL rosters that are going to be ex-NFL players in about 10 days,” MMQB.com NFL insider Andrew Brandt said on The MoJo Show. “We’ve got a major cut down coming on Tuesday and a major one coming a week from Saturday. That’s 10 days from now. A thousand players.”
Hmm, very interesting.
“Now, what happens to these guys?” Brandt asked. “Well, some come back into practice squads, some hang around; they get a cup of coffee throughout the season. But most of them go through the standard procedure of trying to stay in shape, hounding their agents – especially when there are injuries at certain positions – and trying to get a job where they’re kind of flexible to go for a tryout if they have to do that. And that’s really a tough way to live.”
“What if there was an alternative?” Brandt continued. “What if there was a realistic alternative? I’m not talking about the AFL, (and) I’m not talking about the CFL, which are not NFL football. I’m taking about an NFL alternative which would be a developmental league.”
Brandt fully believes this could work.
“I was part of the European League,” he said. “I was the first general manager of the Barcelona Dragons. They cheered at the wrong times. They did the wave the entire game long. The mission there was not so much developmental but introducing the sport overseas.”
“What if we forgot about that part of it? (What if) we just concentrate on D-League development? I think it makes sense – and it’s not just me. The NFL has actually made comments on this. I think there’s a chance – not only for players, but for coaches, for officials, and to be an experimental lab for new rules. It definitely seems like its time has come.”
And yet, it hasn’t. In fact, the FXFL is being unveiled this season. It’s a four-team league with franchises in Boston, Brooklyn, Miami and Omaha.
Could the FXFL become an NFL D-League?
“I guess it could be,” Brandt said, unconvinced. “It seems to have low expectations in terms of number of teams, number of games. Listen, as you know, we’ve had the UFL, we’ve had the XFL. And the reason none of them work is simply one word: it’s funding.”
As Brandt explained, there are two keys to funding. The first is programming (in other words, having a network that pays you instead of you paying a network). The second is, well, having deep pockets at your disposal.
“The biggest deep pockets there are, are NFL owners,” Brandt said. “If they put their signature on this, then it’s really going to have a chance. I’m not ascribing this new league to failure, but what we’ve seen before is if you compete with the NFL product, you have a hard time.”