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A football minor league...thoughts????

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Pats726, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    PFT has had a number of articles over the past week as NFL Europe has gone the way of many other leagues...Ron Del Duca wrote an artivle about that 4 years ago with an interesting proposal.. http://www.profootballtalk.com/minorleague.htm
    in fact it's really a thought that many NFL execs might be able to finally implement. I like the idea of minor league football...and having 15 players from each team would really help the situation. Playing in teh fall also would NOT interfere with the off season programs and having games in the fall would mean the players would still be available if needed by the parent club.
    I do like this idea...however, I do NOT like the possibility of existing leagues filling that vacuum. The AFL seems to be positioning itself for that, but the play is so different, it's totally NOT the same in anyway. No D or really running the ball..so?? Interesting but HARDLY a minor league. Same with the
    AAFL. I truly believe teh NFL has to make it closer to the NFL in rules and staff the teacm the people who wish to develop the players and who are not at all affiliated with the NFL teams. I am sure this could be done...certainly is needed..THIS time it may happen for real!!
  2. scott99

    scott99 Rookie

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    I think it's a brilliant idea. Though I would really like a spring football league, watchable to fans like me WITHOUT the NFL network, on a major network.
  3. satz

    satz Rookie

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    I do not like this idea , as we already have a minor league in colleges.Also, in baseball a player can play to the 40`s and a minor league gives a transition point from a 20 yr old to late 20s.In footbal careers are over by 30 so will not work.
  4. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The problem I see is WHEN do they play the games? Friday night conflicts with high school football, Saturday conflicts with college footall, they can't play on Sunday of course, and nobody will want to go out on a weeknight. The NFL has been very careful not to conflict with the high school and college games, which I respect. The best option I see for minor-league football is Saturday, May-July.
  5. MoLewisrocks

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    The NCAA runs a minor league system for the NFL. It is wildly successful. I think any attempt at a true league affiliated minor league would be as unsuccessful as NFLE was. Too few people like watching second half pre season or small college games as it is. For the most part those who can play out of college make their way to the NFL. And half of those who make it that far simply don't have the requisite minimum talent or fail to develop beyond that to catch on as more than jags.

    The concept of the league controlling the coaching at that level would pretty much negate developmental value for us - which is why you saw us not do much with NFLE in the BB era. Rohan was that league's MVP and he couldn't run our offense to save his life. Aside from kickers and the occasional QB how many players have developed of late out of NFLE - because for the most part the guys who get sent to that kind of setting to "develop" are lacking the kind of intensely structured coaching they would likely need to max out their talent and have an iceberg's chance in hell to make an NFL teams roster.
  6. Keegs

    Keegs Rookie

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    yes i think this is a good idea.

    They could play during baseball season since that sport sucks anyways and is about as fun as watching a chess tournament.
  7. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I do think this would have a negative effect on the college game (and graduation rates). With 424 more paying football jobs, plenty more 3rd-tier juniors will come out. But on the flip side, a developmental league that gives raw and borderline players a way to improve their skills could be invaluable. Right now, if you're cut out of TC you're on your own.

    I have to say I found Del Duca's description of the details clear as mud, especially on the issue of what it means to "assign" a player. I'd like to see a side by side comparison of the rules with practice squad signing rules.
  8. stinkypete

    stinkypete Rookie

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    I'm assuming that a football minor league would not be like a baseball minor league, where virtually everybody plays a few years before they are ready for the bigs. A day one pick would still be a virtual lock for the opening day roster. The purpose of the minor league is to develop players to fill in the bottom parts of the roster.

    Picture it this way, the Patriots have a 53 man roster and a 8 man practice squad. The presence of a minor league would allow the team to get a guy like Justin Rodgers some seasoning so that more pro ready players can be kept on the practice squad. Also, it would lessen the need to cut an established vet over a "project" type player.

    In all, it would not have a huge impact, but I think a minor league would elevate the competition among special teams/role player types, and would produce a feel good story every now and then.
  9. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    I think in other PFT entries a few of these siiues are addressed. I am not sure it would have much on an effect on college games or play..the money is not great..PSqd oney being more or less the high amount..so it's not going to be the "goldmine" that would draw players away from college.
    If played during teh season more a weekday night..Tues/Wed whuch would allow the PSQd players time with the main club..(I am not sure how that really will work out..in a recent PGT article, they thought that the 8 would be part of the minor league, but I could see comflicts with the main team..) Also if that was teh case, iy would open up only maybe 200 extra jobs. More brainstorming needed to make this work..
  10. Box_O_Rocks

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    The farm team concept only works if there is one farm club per NFL club - pooled players under a coach with his own ideas for team development does little to prepare guys for your team's system, as NFLE has shown. A true farm system creates headaches in terms of each NFL Head Coach/GM needing to oversee the coaching and development of another pool of players. Visualize Herm Edwards trying to run a team and a farm program.

    The closure of NFL Europe just appears to be a typical bad decision by committee. Somehow the fans who have been developed in Germany and Holland are supposed to transfer their allegiance to an NFL club. I don't see it, anyone who watched those games saw fans in the stands who believed in their team and their game, you saw those players interacting with their fans, it's much harder to see the NFL players interacting the same way after flying into Frankfort on Friday for a "home" game.

    I can't wait to see how the NFL decides to handle European fans use of whistles from the stands. Is Goodall going to suspend European fans who blow a whistle or a kazoo?

    I suspect that over the fifteen year run in Europe, the NFL did not do a very consistent job of managing the league. I can't help thinking a Bob Kraft or Jerry Jones could have put that program in the black if they'd been running it themselves. As Scott99 said, I want Spring Football, and it would be nice if it was broadcast to a wider audience. This is an abysmal failure by the League, too many suits sipping lattes, not enough sweat.
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't see the need. Expand the Practice Squads if you must, or change the Practice Squad rules. There exists an excellent developmental league;l it is called the NCAA. We also have the CFL and the AFL. These are leagues where players can continue their football careers, even if they do not qualify for an NFL Practice Squad.

    Why do we need another league for those who do not make Practice Squads?

    The open question (as always) is whether to expand the NFL, to different days, to more world coverage, to games outside the US, to teams outside the US. I am fine with Canadian teams, and even a Central American team. However, I don't think that there is any real need. The need to crack the world TV/cable/satellite market. This can be done through solid marketing.


    just my two cents
  12. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    Actually according to a recent posting on PFT one suggestion would be that the PSQd players would be involved in the league...timing of practices of sort of being with 2 teams..not easy.. I DO think some kind of league is needed...I agree the NFLE was not run well...and there are many players who with time MAY develop..I wonder what solution BB would offer to this?? AFL was one scenario..but really..except for some positions QB, WR, DB...if a player was really good could they play in the NFL from there?? It's so different..that is more like a supplemental league.. The NCAA is great of course..but post college..there is a big pool of players and no league for them. I think many execs in the NFL are looking for something developmental...and really..I am not sure what would be the best solution.
    A winter Americanized NFLE may be the solution..and not teh AFL, AAFL or something like that.
  13. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    As someone who ACTUALLY played in the last true minor league experiment I have some insights...though I'm not sure they have any value. ;) Back in the day.....(btw- as you get older, you really begin to hate that expression, even though you use it more and more ;) ), the Atlantic coast league was a TRUE minor league, with the NFL team actually subsudizing the team with players and coaches. FYI - Joe Belino was the GM, Ross O'Hanely the HC, and Bob Dee one of the coaches. It acted as a true minor league. We wore the Patriots colors, we ran their basic offense, we had guys coming down from the big team to play with us. Several guys who I played against had very good careers in the NFL after playing down in this league. (due to a "slight" problem with athletic ability, I was not one of them. :D) The league even had a $100,000 player (huge money back in 69), while most of us made the $250/wk minimum, which, btw, was almost twice what I was making/wk teaching school.

    FYI there were teams in Quincy(Pats), MA, Hartford(Buffalo) and Bridgeport(Jets) CT, LI(Giants)- NY, Pottstown (Eagles) and Harrisburg (Steelers) PA, Richmond (Saints) and Roanoke (Redskins), VA. We usually played in front of crowds that ranged from 7000 (Quincy) to 40,000 in Pottstown and Richmond. It was a huge kick for me to actually get paid to play, especially since I played at a college where the big game was against Bowdin to see who was the worst team in NE. ;)

    All that being said, while I am in favor of a true minor league, I don't think it would work as it was described. I DO think that there would be towns that would support their teams, however LIKE the Baseball minor leagues, you would need to have your own SUBSIDIZED team, using YOUR terminology, using YOUR plays and schemes, and coaching YOUR techniques, for it to be truly successfull in a football sense.

    One of problems with the quality of play in NFLE, was the lack of coaching continuity. Just think about it. Look at ALL the work NFL teams do just to prepare for Training camp, when 80% of your roster is coming back and is familiar with system. They give the NFLE teams about 4 weeks of work and 90% of the rosters are made up of players who are entirely NEW to their systems, and in about a month THEY ARE PLAYING GAMES. And pundits complain about the "quality of play". I think its amazing...given the time they have.

    So I don't see the value in, say, "pooling" the PS players into 8 teams. What good will it do for the Pats if a player like Rogers is playing a 4-3 LB position on a team using one gap techniques. What I think would work is if the Pats (along with the rest of the league's teams), put together a team. Place it in a nearby town like Quincy, Pawtucket, Worcester, etc and have it play a 10 game schedule against teams in the NE and Atlantic Coast. (CT/PA/VA) They can pay the players around $1,500-$3000/game plus expenses and have 40 man rosters, run under the exact same rules as the NFL (except when they wanted to test a rules change) with no replay (too expensive). It would also be a great training ground for future coaches and refs.

    Since there would be 32 teams, there could be 4, eight team leagues spread around the country. Maybe at the end of the year there could be a playoff.
    The NFL could use their influence and get the game televised on local cable and play on Wednesday nites.

    BOTTOM LINE- people would be interested especially when every year a player or two makes it to the big club. Most of the Parent clubs would lose money (around a half million to million per year), but that would play itself back multifold, since they would have a true developmental source of players that are good, can step right into their systems, AND are low cost.

    There are a lot more details that would have to go into it, but it would work. There is an appetite and market for anything with NFL on the label....and if run well could actually turn a profit.

    JMHO
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I do not want patriot Practice Squad players risking injury playing for a minor league team that the patriots share with other teams. I don't want our Practice Squad players learning bad habits. I want our Practice Squad players learning from patriot coaches and pratices with the patriots. The bottom line is that we develop OL prospects BECAUSE dante's coaching and guidance.

  15. PatsFanInVa

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    I like the Winter/Spring league idea outlined above. It would be HUGE... I remember, back when we thought NFLE players stood some minor chance of improving their hopes in the NFL, how cool it was to try to watch the team with 2 or 3 Pats on it. How cool would it be to watch the minor league game from Feb. - May, have a Pats team to root for, and see a few guys actually improve their game enough to make the real club?

    Some counterpoints to think about:

    - Injury? Well, yeah, there is a chance of injury, and there is no chance of injury if you never even see the field in front of a crowd. The trick of a league like this is that it would have to be "marginals", but they would have to have a chance. Think of it as extended training camp competition.

    - guys coming out of college in the newly reinstated late rounds of the draft would be signed to the developmental team. If you don't make the cut on the real Pats, that's another way to land in the minors. You could also go there in the last leg of a rehab. So you really really want to keep a draftee... now you can, but he hits the field after the Super Bowl.

    - You can also stash a guy there who belongs in the NFL but doesn't earn a spot. Think about our receivers. Do we really want to throw Jabar Gaffney back, given his playoff performances? Well, maybe... or maybe he's worth another look. Someone gets hurt? No problem. Purchase his contract from the minors. They'll be opening camp right about when we hit the playoffs, if opening day is the end of February. These teams will boost NFL depth.

    - Let's say they play vanilla ball for the most part. You could play a 2 gap 3-4, but probably would not mix and match fronts as the real Patriots do. You could get coaches good enough to handle the fundamentals, and give them a leg up on the college-to-pro transition. Guys would get to show they grasp the truncated "system" at the semi-pro level, a huge step toward being able to grasp the real system as instilled in TC.

    - This would not be a place where guys who would otherwise be starring in the NFL go to die. This is mainly a place where guys who would otherwise not be playing would go for a last chance at life. So from age 22-24, you could get a leg up on your goal of managing a footwear store... or you could keep plugging. By 24 or 25 you would know whether you are just a minor leaguer, or a possible NFL talent. Is your NFL career shorter? Yeah, but 6-10 years longer than it would have been (i.e., zero.) Then there are the "holding pattern" guys who might be worth a roster spot, if someone goes down... no doubt, these guys would be big draws in the minors.

    - You could build in pressure for the developmental league to let go of guys that can't feed into the real NFL. Or alternately, you could let there be local heroes that know they are minor leaguers, but dabnabbit they're going to be the best damn minor leaguers in the world. Either scheme would actually interest me, although making room for the guys who need more polishing after college would make the most sense.

    - Are you really telling me that watching the Hartford Patriots, or the Providence Patriots, or whatever, start playing two weeks after the Super Bowl would not help you get through the long dark tea-time of the soul before the next season? I would just need to see that Flying Elvis, with the record at 0-0, and I'd be ready for some uh, well, minor football.

    - Where else does Gutierez get playing time?

    Okay enough of this. I would just really, really, really love this idea. Probably the NFLPA would hate it, for reasons outlined above. Yah. Well, you really think baseball players love getting sent down to Pawtucket? If a guy has his NFL contract, you can't convert it. You can just use the minors as a holding bin, but he'd be drawing his NFL pay.

    But I am sure the idea would be popular with victims of the Turk througout the NFL.

    PFnV
  16. Box_O_Rocks

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    As a fan, I'd love a Spring league, but every scenerio I read here just sounds like more of a headache.
  17. PatsFanInVa

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    "We choose to go to the moon, and do the othah things, not because it is easy, but because it is hahd..."

    JFK would do it!

    PFnV
  18. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeh, but his baby brother would hold hearings and turn it into a circus. Besides, what makes you think the same NFL who hosed up the league in Europe and the owners who whined their way through revenue sharing discussions is going to make a go of it here? Go read that SI article ranking NFL owners and ponder the prospect of the brilliant business minds listed there trying to make a go of more than one football team. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/michael_silver/06/27/ownerrankings/index.html
  19. PonyExpress

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    There already is a minor league. It's called Division I college football.
  20. PatsFanInVa

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    So NCAA D1 serves as a feeder to the NFL. Not news.

    If there are 53 guys on each team, and 32 teams, that's very roughly the 1600 best players in the country.

    How sure are you that these are, without a doubt, the finest 1600 football players available?

    A LOT more come out of the NCAA wanting to play, than there is room for. Most prospects wash out of the league within 3 years as it is. Then you have overachievers. And how many overachievers are we missing, because we can not squeeze them into a camp, or they don't catch on immediately?

    There's room for the concept of the league. The point of whether these financial gurus can handle a minor league affiliate is a completely separate one. The minor league franchisee could not be a "hands on 24/7" project... he'd have to drink the koolaid from team central, for each team. I don't know baseball that well, but I don't think Theo Epstein concerns himself with the furniture in the Pawtucket clubhouse.

    Yes fans would love it...yes, anything that hasn't happened yet, that there is a market for, must face significant obstacles. Obviously, it's always correct to assume the obstacles are insurmountable, except the one time when it's not correct. So the odds are that any given innovation will not occur.

    But then, innovations do occur. It would be cool, from a fan point of view, if this were one that happened.

    PFnV

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