It's all been done before...
Ooh ooh ooh...it's all been done...ooh ooh...it's all been done, before...
That Barenaked Ladies song popped into my head when I read an article this morning that Mark Cuban, the much ballyhooed owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, wants to launch his own professional football league.
Cuban's idea centers around taking lower round draft picks to populate the league, which will save on having to pay high salaries to players. I actually thought about that point after the recent draft. How many NFL players drafted below the 3rd round actually get a chance to play? I mean not to say you don't have "gems" later in the draft (i.e. Tom Brady) or guys that weren't drafted at all (i.e. Tony Romo), but by and large most guys drafted end up on practice squads or playing in Europe. So conceivably this idea of another league, which if they do it right should be positioned as a development league, could stick. Not to say it'll be popular as NFL football on Sundays...but if minor league baseball works...then why not "minor league football?". People love to tailgate. As long as they kept ticket prices down and did some zany local market promotions (like the minor league baseball team in Sauget with the deep fried White Castles at their concessions).
I honestly think this could work though. I was an avid and rapid fan of the New Jersey Generals of the USFL in the early 80s. Mainly because it gave me a local team to root for since I was a Dallas Cowboys fan.
Walker hitting the hole for the Generals
Plus Herschel Walker ended up getting a "promotion" to the "big league" a few years later landing a spot on the Cowboys years later. But it doesn't just end with Herschel. Look at all of the great NFL talent that came directly from the USFL:
Future Super Bowl Champion and MVP Doug Williams of the Redskins
Future 4 time Super Bowl participant Jim Kelly of the Bills
Future Super Bowl Champion and one of the greatest scrambling QBs in NFL history, Steve Young of the 49ers
Reggie White would become arguably the greatest defensive end ever to play in the NFL for the Eagles
Without the USFL, we may never had been introduced to Flutie Flakes and longtime fan favorite Doug Flutie of the Bills
Other players who made an impact in the NFL coming from the USFL include:
Mel Gray - RB/KR Lions
Mike Rozier - RB Oilers
Bobby Hebert - QB Saints
Albert Bentley - WR Colts
Anthony Carter - WR Vikings
Ricky Sanders - WR Redskins
So when done right, an alternate league can yield some great undiscovered talent. Even the short-lived XFL contributed to the NFL by giving them Rod Smart of He Hate Me fame. Plus the NFL also stole the XFL's roving field cameras and started using them during games (despite the NFL saying these were once-in-a-lifetime revolutionary cameras which as anyone who watched the XFL know was complete bullshit).
So even though I hate Mark Cuban because he's a meddling pompous asshole who complains and whines about everything (hmm...remind you of a Mr. Steinbrenner?), I wish him well with this new league. After all, I'd love to see the next Herschel Walker or Doug Flutie in action before they hit it big!
Thursday, May 31, 2007
It's all been done before...