An announcement that was made yesterday in New York City could, eventually, lead to the National Football League getting the "developmental league" that many have been wanting to see for a number of years.
The Fall Experimental Football League, or FXFL (perhaps "Experimental" is represented by an X in the acronym because it's X-TREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEME) will begin play this fall. The season is scheduled to be an eight-game slate that will take place in October and November, with games apparently being played on Wednesday nights.
"Cost containment is the top priority," Woods said, explaining that the league will employ minor-league baseball venues not in use and embrace the fan-friendly, community-driven business models of successful minor league franchises. "Our success will not be predicated by TV," he said, but adding that a TV contract is also in the works.
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The FXFL will draw from a pool of players who have a maximum of three years away from college and will stress safety employing the latest in helmet technology and rule proposals such as eliminating the punt and point after try.
While it would not be an official developmental league, the article says that the FXFL has gotten positive feedback from the NFL, with the ultimate goal being some sort of arrangement with the National Football League.
Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com touched on this a bit in an article this afternoon, and cost containment looks like it's easily achievable. According to Seifert, players in the FXFL would make between $1,000 and $1,250 a week. For comparison, he tells us that a practice squad player in the NFL makes approximately six times that much every week.
Seifert's article makes another good point. . .you wouldn't expect a lot of superstars to come out of something like the FXFL, though there is the possibility of it happening. A lot of this would be to prop up the "back end" of NFL rosters so that, if someone were to get injured, you could replace them with someone that's been actively participating in football rather than simply signing someone "off the street" that might take time to get up to speed.
While it isn't the primary goal of the league, I have to wonder if playing in the fall would limit the amount of exposure that the league would potentially receive. Already during the fall, we have football on Thursday nights (both college and professional), Friday night is high school football night all over the country, college football owns Saturdays, Sunday is the NFL's domain, and there's always Monday Night Football. Don't get me wrong. . .a lot of us are crazy and could always use MOAR FOOTBALL, but I'm not sure if the casual fan would really be able to get into it.
All in all, though, a potential developmental league for the NFL can only be a good thing, in my opinion. We'll have to keep an eye on how the FXFL develops and how they come along as far as a relationship with the National Football League.