• by: Phil Cantor/@osgphil

Are You Ready for Three Professional Football Leagues?


Are you ready? Are you ready for more Professional Football than you ever imagined?

Well, just under a year from now, we're about to find out.....

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) announced they will play games beginning shortly after the NFL Super Bowl wraps up in 2019. Yes, 2019.

The AAF will be headed by Charlie Ebersol, son of legendary NBC Sports wizard Dick Ebersol. Joining Ebersol will be former NFL Executive Bill Polian who'll run the league, former Pittsburgh Steelers star Troy Polamalu who will supervise the teams and J.K. McKay, son of legendary USC Coach John McKay will oversee the teams.

The AAF does already have one thing going for it (sort of)....a TV deal.

CBS Sports will broadcast the games, likely on their rarely seen Cable Network or possibly on their "On Demand" network.

There is some structure in place--a 12 week season with 8 teams featuring 50-players each with regional drafts. The rosters will be primarily non-NFL level players and free agents. The league will try to eliminate a horrible NFL issue by running no "TV" timeouts and some 60% fewer commercials.

I should add I'm not sure how CBS profits from the "Fewer" commercials part...I'm going to assume by sponsorships or something like that.

The league will also NOT have kickoffs, or extra points. I assume they'll have field goal kickers since there's no mention of them not.

In 2020, in theory we will see the rebirth of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon's "XFL".

Details on the XFL have been considerably less specific and we believe McMahon is going to try taking on the NFL. For many, the XFL, which lasted one season amid much hype achieved cult status over the years despite being a colossal failure.

I do believe we're going to see at least one of these leagues. Likely the AAF. They seem to have a well thought out plan and aren't trying to take on the NFL which would be a big mistake without deep, deep pockets.

Neither of these are original ideas--the thought of a spring/summer Football league has been floated many, many times. None of those came to fruition due to a variety of issues--the biggest being financing.

The league will apparently fund itself and counts some big money investors including somewhat psychopathic billionaire Peter Thiel and The Chernin Group (owners of Barstool Sports) among the investors.

A curious experiment to say the least, the challenge here will be finding an audience in a fragmented media world. A clean and safe football product is all well and good---but if nobody watches or goes, well, it has no reason to actually exist.

The AAF could in theory function as a "Minor League" feeder to the NFL and would be smart to ally themselves that way. Only time will tell if that actually happens.

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