View Full Version : Is NFL creating a minor league?

07-05-2007, 10:03 AM
Should the NFL create a minor league? If so, perhaps OKC should be putting together a proposal package already.

Should the NFL have a minor league?
Randy Hill /
Posted: 11 hours ago

In addition to an obvious shortage of competent parole officers, the NFL seems to be lacking in developmental toughness.
This issue became even more acute when it was announced that -- after 16 glorious seasons -- the league was putting an end to NFL Europa. According to inside sources, NFL owners were tired of spending big airfare money for in-person scouting missions and compensating a few ex-patriots who were hired to coach European fans on the proper times to cheer, boo and start riots.

The end of NFL Europa is a shame. How can the world not be diminished by the termination of a franchise known as the Rhein Fire? And the developmental angle also is tough to chew on. Through the league's allocation program, several prospects became good enough to play on special teams back in the NFL.

Anyway, with shipping players to Europe no longer an option, many NFL officials reportedly are interested in creating a real-life minor league here in the United States. That's great news because Americans never can be exposed to enough football.

For the record, the creation of a new minor league does not mean the NFL will cancel the NFC. A new minor league also has nothing to do with Mark Cuban and his pals who are threatening to create the UFL as in-season competition for the NFL. It should be noted that Cuban's contribution to this effort may be delayed while the psychiatric profession attempts to figure out how the hell he can accuse Don Nelson of using inside information to defeat his Dallas Mavericks.

The NFL's interpretation of a minor league has nothing to do (for now, at least) with the Arena Football League. It has been reported that John Elway, who owns the AFL's Colorado Crush franchise, is hoping the NFL will embrace the indoor circuit as its true minor league.

I'm against this. Sure, the speed of the indoor game has been a career boon to guys like Kurt Warner and, well, there may be a couple of others. But it just seems that adopting the abbreviated nature of arena football to develop NFL players is as strategically kaput as limiting aspiring chefs to cooking with microwave ovens.

Is a minor league really necessary in professional football? If you don't think so, you haven't been paying attention during NFL games. Despite its continued rise in prominence, the quality of the NFL has taken a turn for the worse.

Coins are flipped so that enough quarterbacks can be selected to represent the NFC at the Pro Bowl.

Turnstile-caliber offensive linemen are paid like kings because their buddies are even worse. Defensive backs are categorized as cover corners and exposed corners. Route-challenged receivers are outfitted with GPS devices and hookups to Mapquest.

So the answer to my previous question is a screaming yes!

Any credentialed NFL beat writer will tell you that NFL practices feature numerous repetitions for frontline players while relative scrubs stand around like condemned buildings. This creates quite the ironic situation for stalwarts on the "practice squad" who -- if they're fortunate -- are allowed to shadowbox when the active players are finished.

OK, with a need for a minor league established, how would it work? Well, according to suggested models, each of the league's 32 teams could furnish the eight practice-squad employees for duty in an eight-team league. As math scholars, you've just figured out that the eight teams would start with 32 players; they league could fill out the rosters with players from NFL Europa who weren't allocated. Or they could use Arena League players who haven't seen the sun for a while.

Four NFL teams would have allegiance pledged to one minor-league franchise and maintain the exclusive ability to retrieve the players they allocate. For example, if the San Diego Chargers allocate a tackle to a Tulsa Commandos team also fortified by the Oakland Raiders, Al Davis would be forbidden from snatching this tackle for his own use.

Instead of standing around during an NFL practice week, the minor-leaguers would prepare for games and then actually play in the games. They may never develop the skill necessary to play in the NFL, but at least the teams would find out for sure.

But there may be problems.

For example, with four teams attached to one minor-league franchise, who would determine the style of play? If the New England Patriots ship a linebacker to their minor league affiliate, would there be a guarantee that a 3-4 defensive scheme would be in place?

Would the Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears send defensive backs to a team that doesn't use the Tampa 2 coverage philosophy? Would NFL teams committed to the West Coast offense seek affiliations with other teams that use a similar attack?

Prevailing models prefer mid-week games if a minor league is created. If developmental poker can be televised, broadcast options shouldn't be a problem. There may be ratings issues when American Idol returns, but the key issue is development.

The big-thinkers also propose that these minor-league franchises should be located in American cities currently existing without professional football. This means Detroit and Houston could be in play. Another possible destination is Los Angeles, although that city's ache for a team might be overwhelmed by a competing bid from Bakersfield.

While viable strategy for this minor idea will unfold in the coming months, critics may be legion. The naysayer could question the creation of a minor league by pointing out that the NFL already is abetted by the greatest minor league of all.

Most of us refer to it as college football.

07-05-2007, 01:34 PM
Most of us refer to it as college football.

In a sense, college football seems to be the minor league of the NFL. I understand the point of minor leagues is to develop prospects, but that's exactly what college ball does. Heck, that's the whole reason why players aren't allowed to leave until after their Junior year. If you're not ready after college, you're not ready for the NFL.

With that being said, if the NFL decides to go with a minor league system, OKC would no doubt be a success.

07-05-2007, 11:57 PM
I completely agree with AFCM. One of the reasons minor league baseball works so well is that most of the good young players go pro immediately after high school. In basketball and football though, they stay (for at least 1-3 years) in college. The good 20-24 year olds in hoops and football are in college. In baseball, they are in the minor leagues. The only way a NFL Minor League would work is if NCAA football was dumbed down to the level that NCAA baseball is. NFL minor league would never have the fan support--if someone is going to spend their football entertainment dollar on something below the best of the best, they're going to a college game.

El Gato Pollo Loco!!!
07-10-2007, 05:24 PM
I thought it did? They're called the Canadian Football League, NFL Euopre and the Arena Football Legue...

07-11-2007, 08:44 AM
If you read the article, NFL Europa or NFL Europe for us Americans is no longer...