Friday, August 14, 2009

UFL: A Brilliant Concept or Another Dud?

The UFL is ready to do a soft launch this October with four teams playing a 6 games schedule. This season the California Redwoods, New York Sentinels, Las Vegas Locomotives and the Florida Tuskers (nickname for boars that inhabit the Florida Everglades) take the field playing in multiple venues. Trying to find suitable markets for football next season, when they plan to launch a full scale league. Other franchises being considered in Los Angeles, Washington DC and other football crazy cities the NFL neglects. The league will play in the fall and have their championship game the weekend after Thanksgiving. The league has inked a television deal with Versus (formerly Outdoor Life Network and current carrier of the NHL) to give the league some much needed revenue early on. The Head Coaches of the league are all NFL vets. Ted Cottrel, Dennis Green, Jim Fassel and Jim Haslett all coach teams in the league. Mark Cuban has shown interest in owning a team to give the league much needed press. Cuban will also broadcast games on his network HDNet and will likely being the owner of the LA franchise in 2010.

The mission is simple for the UFL. Produce talent for the NFL, becoming a sort of minor league. Players not getting reps in the NFL and some who were deemed to be busts can get a second chance in the new league. Michael Vick, before signing a 2 year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, was considering a comeback in the UFL. The UFL has gotten one name familiar with NFL fans in former first round pick JP Losman to quarterback the Las Vegas team. ESPN Insider ran an article supporting the idea of the UFL grabbing underclassmen wanting to make some money and receive NFL coaching and play around possibly better talent. The league plans to be fan friendly with Q&A with the commissioner and coach and commissioner blogs.

The UFL has already received some good press (XFL lacked that) a good television contract (USFL lacked that) a good mission and a solid business plan. Shares of teams will be sold to public sometime soon, and the salary cap for players and coaches will be kept low. If the UFL can produce a star or two in the NFL (look at the exposure the Arena Football League after Kurt Warner's magical career which is still going) than maybe a few teams can become financially stable and the league can make it as a minor league. The AFL is gone. The All-American Football League never took the field, NFL Europa was folded and the new USFL will try to start this spring. If the UFL can stick to its plan, play it safe and develop talent, than it can surely find its place in American sports.

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