In an article I read today about the possibility of an 18-game season, it was stated the league is considering forming a developmental league to make up for the loss of the two preseason games. This is something I've been wondering about ever since NFL Europe folded a few years ago - should the league start another minor league to get experience for players who don't get it outside of preseason games? Any NFL coach will tell you the best way to really see what a guy's got is to see him in a real game situation. Not a scrimmage, not a practice, etc. Even though most fans couldn't tell you the names of more than one or two of its teams, the NFL coaches loved having NFL Europe to evaluate players. Heck, they even liked it when the XFL was going because they could see guys play. (Makes me wonder how many of the 18 or so fans in the stands at each XFL game were NFL scouts. ) The problem, though, is the same as it is in preseason games - most of the time you're only seeing guys play against subpar talent. I was at a preseason game between the Packers and the Saints in 1998, and there was this back-up RB for Green Bay named Travis Jervey. That night this guy looked like the next Barry Sanders. Needless to say, that didn't translate into the regular season, which is why 99% of you reading this have probably never even heard of the guy. Likewise, when Kurt Warner exploded onto the scene in '99, the NFL promoted the heck out of the fact that he had played in NFL Europe. Problem is for every Kurt Warner, there's dozens of guys who played well in NFLE who never did anything in the real league. I remember an NFLE game that same year where the QB for my favorite team from that league, the Scottish Claymores, a guy by the name of Dameyune (sp?) Craig, set a record for the most passing yards in a pro football game in history. Ever heard of him? No. The game ball from that game is in Canton, the guy who threw it is selling insurance somewhere. Then there's another issue - would this league be successful enough to stay in business? NFL Europe started out as the World League of American Football with teams in America, Canada and Europe; but the American and Canadian teams only lasted a few years because no one went to the games or watched them on TV. Would it be any different today? The Arena League doesn't really count, because most NFL scouts don't feel success in the Arena game translates to traditional football. Yeah, there was Kurt Warner... but we've already discussed this. And yes, there are those who say "That's what college is for." But look at the numbers - how many guys play college football and never even get invited to an NFL training camp? If college ball is enough, why is there such a shortage of truly good quarterbacks, O-linemen, etc.? Oh and before I forget, yes, there is the United Football League, which is trying to set itself up as the "go-to" minor league for the NFL, but they've only played one season, so the jury's still out on that one.