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Old 07-27-2006, 08:13 AM   #1
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All American Football League

http://www.allamericanfootballleague.com/

Interesting concept. It is a new spring outdoor professional football league. They'll take guys who didn't get drafted or are on the bubble with NFL clubs and let them play. The are going to play on University fields, and they are going to try and have the players play for the team located closest to the college they graduated from.

From the site:

The All American Football League is a for-profit, professional football league. Most of the League's teams will be hosted by universities with Division IA football programs. Games will be scheduled in the spring and early summer at times that will not conflict with university activities.

League teams will employ only those players who have both completed their college football eligibility and earned a four-year degree. This policy is expected to have a very positive impact on universities’ NCAA Graduation Success Rate and their Academic Progress Rate. To the extent practical, graduates of host universities will play for the team hosted by their alma mater.

The League intends that each League team will sell memberships to its fans and supporters. Members may be entitled to renewable season tickets in preferred locations, preferred parking, and other “insider” benefits. The League also hopes to provide Members access to high-definition private broadcasts of League games.

According to a January 2004 USA Today article entitled, "What's Going Through Prep Stars' Minds?" the nation's top high school football seniors express professional football ambitions.

Some 77% of those surveyed expect to eventually play in the NFL, with an additional 15% believing their chances of making the NFL are between 25% and 50%.

However, only a small percentage of players will actually make the NFL, and the average career length for those that do make it is only 4 years.

League teams will provide many players the opportunity to play before a loyal and enthusiastic fan base. For some, the League will be a stepping-stone into, or back into the NFL, but for most, it will be their best opportunity to play professional football. Based on NCAA figures that 50% of all college football players on scholarship graduate, the League estimates about 1,600 former college players, and about 640 new players each year would meet its minimum educational requirements and desire to play in the League.




The league is set to start play in April of 2007. It might be nice to have a true spring league and farm system for the NFL besides Arena.

On the site, they also have all kinds of polls to help them shape how the fans want the league to be.
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Old 07-27-2006, 08:18 AM   #2
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If they're following NFL rules for the most part, and throwing a pointy ball around the field, I'll be there.
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Old 07-27-2006, 08:26 AM   #3
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Not totally dissimilar to the original USFL business plan.
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Old 07-27-2006, 08:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Benign Despot
Not totally dissimilar to the original USFL business plan.
Ah, the glorious year of 1983...
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Benign Despot
Not totally dissimilar to the original USFL business plan.
The main difference is the USFL actually tried to get star players (i.e. Reggie White, Jim Kelly, Steve Young) while these guys are just going to take the cast-offs.
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Old 08-31-2006, 01:33 AM   #6
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Groovy, I've been hoping for another outfoor football league since the XFL turned into a disaster. I'll watch.
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:09 AM   #7
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That reminds me...

One thing about the XFL was that they promoted it as "Guys who play for the glory of the game." BS! All those guys were NFL castoffs or guys that left the NFL to get more playing time. In either case, they were just hoping to get back in the NFL.

At least this league, from what I can tell, is honest about it.
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Old 03-21-2008, 03:56 PM   #8
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Detailing the demise of the XFL and the probable demise of the AAFL:

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7...40813162&ATT=5
The concept had promise.

Place six football teams in cities with a strong college football tradition. Stock the roster with alumni (provided they had a college degree). And play during the NFL's off-season when there is a void for live action.

Travis McGriff was touting the All American Football League long before April's projected kickoff. A former Denver Broncos wide receiver who was going to play for the Gainesville-based Team Florida, McGriff was looking forward to catching passes from Chris Leak while being coached by another storied University of Florida quarterback in Shane Matthews.

"Everyone I spoke to was excited about the uniqueness of the concept — being tied to college football and playing in those venues," McGriff said.

Unfortunately for the AAFL, such enthusiasm wasn't shared much outside of McGriff's inner circle. The AAFL already has canceled plans for a 2008 season, instead trying to focus on a 2009 start that may never come.

"Obviously, people are skeptical in general about upstart spring pro leagues," McGriff said. "Now that we've been postponed, we're going to take a huge PR hit. I don't know if we'll ever get off the ground at this point."

Advocates insist there is a market for spring football besides the hybrid Arena League. The marketplace shows otherwise.

The AAFL may very well join the XFL, NFL Europa and Spring Football League — which drew 200 fans at the 80,000-seat Orange Bowl for its first and only game in Miami — as extinct springtime ventures from this decade alone.

Trying to capture the public's interest after the Super Bowl has become increasingly difficult — and costly.

Marcus Katz, the AAFL's chief financial officer, told a Houston television station he already had invested $29 million in the league but couldn't provide more backing.

Katz didn't receive much for what he did spend. Before going on hiatus, the AAFL still hadn't secured a television contract. The league also halved projected player salaries to $50,000.

Sports business executive Randy Vataha of Boston-based Game Plan LLC says ownership in a spring football league is a "very expensive business proposition." Vataha learned that first-hand as co-owner of the United States Football League's Boston Breakers in the mid-1980s. After one season, Vataha sold his share in a struggling franchise that bounced to New Orleans and Portland before folding.

Vataha got out at the right time. The USFL was $160 million in debt when disbanding after three seasons. The USFL had good attendance and television ratings but collapsed after team owners — led by billionaire Donald Trump — unsuccessfully tried competing directly with the NFL by switching to a fall schedule.

"There are a lot of factors that make spring football a much bigger challenge today than what existed in 1983," said Vataha, who was an NFL wide receiver for seven years during the 1970s.

"You have other sports leagues that fragment fans at that time of year. You have workman's comp issues. Just trying to put together a 40-man team and travel around the country makes it difficult."

Having ownership with deep pockets also doesn't guarantee success. The XFL was bankrolled by NBC, which was seeking a football presence after losing its NFL contract, and World Wrestling Entertainment. Despite a heavy promotional push by both sides, the XFL folded three months after its debut. The final loss for NBC and WWE was roughly $70 million apiece.

Even the NFL has failed to successfully market spring football. NFL Europa and its previous incarnations (NFL Europe and the World League of American Football) helped raise the game's profile overseas after launching in 1991 but drew sparse notice stateside.

Replays of "classic" NFL contests were drawing much higher ratings on the league's television network than live NFL Europa games in 2007. Interest in Europe also was waning, which caused frequent reshuffling of franchise locales.

The NFL was reportedly losing $30 million annually when it yanked NFL Europa funding after last season. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said NFL Europa was "unable to generate significant media revenue in Europe to match the cost structure of the league."

The NFL is now trying to bolster its popularity outside the U.S. by playing international regular-season games, with San Diego vs. New Orleans set for the United Kingdom in October. The NFL also has scrapped funding for a spring developmental league for the first time since 1994.

"The TV audience here in the U.S. wasn't a priority for (NFL Europa)," McCarthy said. "Our focus was on developing a foundation of passionate football fans in Europe, which we achieved."

NFL Europa faced the same problem overseas that upstart leagues have in the U.S.: A lack of marquee talent that gives the product a minor-league feel.

While originally touted as a developmental league, NFL teams became increasingly uncomfortable sending players to NFL Europa. Some NFL squads wanted to develop their own players; others didn't trust the NFL Europa coaching. Another drawback was having players miss an entire off-season program and return for training camp fatigued — and possibly injured — from an NFL Europa season.

NFL Europa's value for most NFL teams became preseason roster exemptions. The NFL allocated an extra roster spot for each player sent overseas. To insure having extra camp bodies, NFL teams would sign street free agents each winter and immediately allocate them to NFL Europa. Few of those players — even those chosen to NFL Europa's all-star teams — would stick on NFL rosters.

For other spring leagues, financially competing to sign top-tier players away from a multibillion entity like the NFL isn't viable. More than 1,900 players are under NFL contracts each season. That forces spring leagues to sign NFL castoffs or those who didn't even make it that far after leaving college.

The XFL took a different tack, trying to market unheralded players in the way WWE owner Vince McMahon pushes his wrestlers. Rod Smart became the XFL's most well-known player not because of his skills but the nickname — He Hate Me — on the back of his jersey. Such antics generated publicity but didn't create new fans.

Incidentally, Smart was on the AAFL Roster of Team Tennessee. Other AAFL players of note included former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Clint Stoerner and 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch.

The key to the league's initial success would have centered around nostalgia. The AAFL had hoped fans of six storied college programs (Michigan, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Florida) would want to relive memories by seeing some of their favorites.

Instead, season-ticket sales were so tepid that the league leader (Florida) had only vended about 4,000 seats, according to the Gainesville Sun.

"As a franchise, we had pretty much done everything but gone out and practiced," McGriff said. "Everything was really moving along nicely. We had a good bunch of guys and really could have been successful.

"We tried doing our part and it didn't happen in 2008. We'll see if there's any chance in 2009."

Unfortunately for spring football advocates, the "wait-until-next-year" refrain has become all too familiar.


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Didn't really know about the extra roster spots during training camp thing. Wonder if the NFL will do something to replace it?

The XFL was doomed from the start. Sports (regardless of Spygate ;) ) are founded in integrity. Having Vince McMahon associated with the XFL was a HUGE marketing blunder. I have no idea what NBC was thinking 'til this day on partnering with him.

The AAFL it appears, was also pretty much doomed from the start. Any entrepreneur will tell you the #1 riskiest thing you can do when starting a new business is to go in undercapitalized.

I do wonder how the UFL will fare.

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Old 03-23-2008, 04:39 PM   #9
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I think NBC agreed to partner with McMahon because he had the cash to back it up. So many of these new teams/leagues collapse because there are a ton of unforeseen expenses that these guys aren't prepared for; one goes down, then another, and soon there's a domino effect because the other owners can't hold themselves and others up. With McMahon's XFL, he owned everything from the start and had more than enough to cover the surprise expenses.

No doubt NBC looked at the WWF (as it was then known) and said "If a guy could become unimaginably rich marketing this foolish crap, just think what he can do with a sport that's actually respectable!"
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wandering Athol View Post
Didn't really know about the extra roster spots during training camp thing. Wonder if the NFL will do something to replace it?
Answering my own question again:

http://www.nfl.com/news/story;jsessi...o&confirm=true
There are multiple proposals concerning the size of rosters. One possibility is expanding beyond 80 in the offseason and the first cut-down in training camp, but this topic will need much more discussion before any change will even be considered.

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One of these days, I'd like to do a little research and explain how I think cash-over-cap expenditures are potential huge advantages for big market/rich teams. You don't see much in the media regarding this topic, but it certainly affects how certain teams run their operations/mull their strategic options.
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