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My idea for an NFL minor league system

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by midwestpatsfan, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. midwestpatsfan

    midwestpatsfan Rookie

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    #95 Jersey

    So I have been thinking about a way that the NFL could have a minor league system that would keep fans interested as well as make money and this is what I came up with.

    Each team has players that did not see a lot of playing time for a variety of reasons, be it injury, veteran in front of them, learning system, etc.

    After the draft, teams will have at or close to 90 players on their roster.

    What if each team could create a roster from players who did not play a certain % of snaps last year and they could play in an 8 game season or something like that. Younger coaches from each teams staff could be the coaching staff as a develepmental league for coaches as well.

    The draft could be moved up and with the new slotted system of pay and players signing faster, those new drafted guys could be on the team as well.

    I realize that injuries could be a concern to my system, but injuries can happen at any time, it is a risk, yes, but the development of guys might be worth it.

    I think a system like this would work better than say the NFL Europe because fans would still recognize and learn more about "their" guys, not just one or 2 guys scattered on several different teams.

    Just off the top of my head, guys from the Patriots that would fill out this roster before the draft would be:
    Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett
    Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley
    Donald Thomas, Kyle Hix, Marcus Cannon
    Ron Brace, Josh Barrett, Ras-I-Dowling, Marquis Cole, Jermaine Cunningham, Britt Davis.
    there are more, I just can't think of the names, but hopefully you get my point.

    Would you watch this type of minor league nfl?
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  2. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The now defunct NFL Europa says hello.

    Sorry, but the NFL tried this and it failed. There are some mediocre leagues that have failed or on life support like the UFL that are similiar to this and there isn't a market for it.

    Besides, the league is even less likely to do it now with the new CBA limiting the length of new contracts even more and the possibility of the league looking to introduce more expansion teams in Los Angeles, Toronto, Mexico City, and/or London. If the league adds two more teams in the next 5-10 years, it is only going to water down the talent pool even more. Creating a minor league will only do more damage to the main product.

    The NFL already has a minor league. It is called College Football. Unlike baseball, basketball, or to some extent hockey, 99% of the players are forced to spend 3-4 years playing in college. Baseball players can enter the minor leagues right out of high school. Basketball players can hit the pros at 19. International hockey players can join the NHL immediately after high school graduation. Football players must be 3 years removed from high school to enter the NFL/
  3. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    They should probably change the college teams to minor leagues. Just pay the players. But the whole system would have to change. They couldn't be students, they would just be hired guns. It would be warped and perverted, but no more so than the current system. I also think fans would lose interest pretty quickly. Players should realize that the facade/farce of their amateurism actually makes their sport very popular, and that they'd be no more popular than the WFL if that facade were destroyed. After all, the quality of most college football is no stronger than what we saw in the USFL or whatever.
  4. Funktopus

    Funktopus Rookie

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    It's tricky because when would you play? Friday is for high school, Saturday is college and Sunday is Pro. Naturally, I'd be in favor of adding another day to the weekend (which could only make the other 4 days more productive).
  5. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers Rookie

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    I would assume that if this was going to take place it would be done sometime in May, June and July, so it would not compete directly with the NFL, college or high school football - similar to the CFL schedule.

    I don't know if it is feasible with the NFLPA and the new CBA, even if it would be advantageous to the players and coaches that would be involved. Also, do teams want to risk an injury to a player like Ridley? How would the grind of all those extra games affect the performance of those players next November, December and beyond?


    I like the idea of considering such a league, even if it's for an even shorter schedule; I wouldn't mind watching Pats prospects play a few games during the slow part of the off-season. I'm just not sure if it is workable considering the various obstacles.
  6. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    #91 Jersey

    I played in the last true minor league. Back in the late 60's most NFL teams had affiliations with so called minor league teams. One of them was the Atlantic Coast League with teams in Quincy MA (Pats), Hartford (Bills) and Bridgeport (Jets) CT, LI (Giants) Harrisburg (Steelers) and Pottstown (Eagles) PA Richmond (Saints) and Roanoke (Skins) VA Salaries ranged from $250/game for guys like me up to $100,000 for a QB named King Cochran. BTW- to put it in better perspective the $250 a game I was making was more per week than I was making as a teacher. The crowds ranged from 10-15,000 for games in the northeast to 30-40,000 when we played in PA and VA. My coaches were mostly former players who looking to get into professional coaching (Bob Dee and Ross O'Hanley were 2 former Patriots who coached us)

    I know there were a few other leagues in the west and south that were supported by NFL teams very similar to ours. However one of the agreements to the merger of the NFL and AFL was that when it became final in 1970, no NFL team could have any affiliation with a "minor league" entity. Without that financial support several teams folded immediately including the Quincy Giants

    I believe that a true minor league COULD work as long as the teams regionally located. The success of Minor league baseball has proven that it can be done. I think you could have 4 leagues geographically centered of 8 teams each playing a 10 game season. Regional TV networks could support it (like comcast NE) Then at the end of the year the winners of the 4 leagues could play a 2 game playoff (now were talking ESPN) for the minor league championship. Each team could have a 45 man roster and the NFL teams could make their PS's available for games. Teams would practice 3 days a week in the evening and play their games on a Thursday.

    Except for the PS players, it could still be a part time job. Players would get between $500-1500/game. Each year the league would produce 5-10 NFL players, but it would also provide a great breeding ground for coaches as well.

    If the teams got $10MM from their parent team and a couple from the TV revenue, you could run a franchise on $12MM per year.if it were well run.
  7. Avenger

    Avenger Rookie

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    #11 Jersey

    I posted a proposal in the practice squad a while ago:
  8. Avenger

    Avenger Rookie

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    #11 Jersey

    And also the NFL Europe was only losing $20 million a year. For the developmental aspect I think it was worth that alone, along with expanding the sport into Europe, but that aspect has been taken over by a regular season game.
  9. Reckedtrek

    Reckedtrek Rookie

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    I'd love to have football 11 1/2 months a year... two weeks to really miss it, and then back again.. so in theory I'd be very happy to have football minor league.

    In practice, especially with the ways things are and the way they're going, I don't see it happening. Just because there aren't actual games from early Feb- early August doesn't mean that there aren't tons of things going on with the Pats and other teams.

    Too bad, because in many ways it would be a football junky's dream come true.
  10. TheComeback

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    The NFL has never really tried to create a minor league. The UFL was not the NFL's doing. Neither was the USFL. NFL Europa was more of an experiment to bring football to Europe than a true minor league.

    You can debate whether a minor league is really necessary or not.

    I happen to think it would be useful for the teams. It's a huge roster extension; it gives you a chance to develop lower-rung players without giving up roster spots. It would also allow teams to add more pro-ready players when the injury bug hits, improving the quality of the product.

    Seeing as thousands of people leave the college game to play in the AFL, UFL, and other pro/semi-pro football leagues, I seriously doubt there'd be a shortage of these guys willing to play in the minors. On top of that, no, college football is not "minor league NFL."

    The majority of college players are not even close to ready to play in the big leagues when they leave school. Having a minor league system where they learn from NFL coaches and playbooks could actually go a long way toward improving the quality of the game.

    Finally, I think that fans would be much more interested in watching minor league teams where the players had a legitimate chance to play on the fans' favorite NFL team, and where the minor league teams were an official extension of a real NFL franchise with NFL branding. It would only make sense if the teams were located in the same region as the NFL franchise.

    Minor league baseball teams are pretty popular and so are minor league hockey teams.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  11. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Banned

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    You forget that NFL Europa started out as the WLAF (World League of American Football) and had teams in Raleigh-Durham, New York, Sacramento, Orlando, Birmingham, Montreal and San Antonio as well as London, Frankfurt and Barcelona. It had a national TV contract and played in major stadiums. But, like all those other defunct leagues, it just didn't sell.

    We already have minor league football; it's called the NCAA. Why should the NFL spend millions and millions to get something they already enjoy for free? The only problem with the current system is I genuinely feel bad for quarterbacks assigned to a backup role who literally can go several years without ever seeing meaningful action. But you can't create a whole new league just for the benefit of players at that one position.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  12. McGinley

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    UFL, AFL, etc.
  13. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think I may have seen some of those games. I vaguely remember going to a few games at what was then a somewhat dirty, rundown old Veterans' Memorial Stadium in Quincy in the late sixties, maybe early seventies. (Of course dirty old stadiums were the norm for all the pro teams in the area at that time too, but I digress.) At the time I was very surprised at the size of the crowd: comparable to what there would be at Red Sox, Bruins or Celtics games at that time, and dwarfing that of local high school football games.

    I'm guessing that may have been the same league, but perhaps I'm thinking of some other semi-pro league from that time.



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  14. IcyPatriot

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    #87 Jersey

    I think this idea appeals to people living in areas like New England.

    Areas where high school and college are big time would probably care less about it.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  15. Mystery Pats Fan

    Mystery Pats Fan Banned

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    The team that played in Quincy originally played in Everett as the Boston Sweepers and won two ACFL championships. The league was much bigger then, two divisions north and south, and the entire length of the Atlantic Coast from Portland, Maine to Miami, Florida. I can give you the names of most of the teams.

    The Sweepers were owned by Teddy Barron and had two former Pats as coaches, Buth Songin and Rommie Loudd.

    Donnie Allard, from BC, was the quarterback. One of the players, punter/WR Rick Sapienza is etched forever in Patriots lore. He was the punter for the Titans of New York (Jets) in the American Football league and in one game, the first year I believe, 1960, with under a minute to go and the Titans leading by four or five, went back to punt, had it blocked and Chuck Shonta, I believe, ran it in for the winning score.

    When they moved to Lowell they were the Lowell Giants and were owned by Connie Pensavale (sp.) and the GM was Chuck Fucillo.

    Then, they moved from Lowell to Quincy.
  16. Mystery Pats Fan

    Mystery Pats Fan Banned

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    There was another league and I believe it was the EFL with teams in Randolph, Middleboro, Marblehead and several other local communities. it was a pretty good brand of football but at a much lesser level than the ACFL.

    Apparently they are still operating. here's a link to their web site.

    My brother in law played for the Middleboro Cobras who were always one of the top teams.

    Eastern Football League "The Best Game In Town" Est. 1961.

    http://www.eteamz.com/middleborocobras/
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  17. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    #91 Jersey

    Yup JM that was the place in the fall of 1969, God man have you just dated yourself. It was also the home of both Quincy and North Quincy HS.

    And you are right we got decent crowds to our games, but Hartford would always sell out, and when we played in PA and VA, the crowds were always over 30,000

    Mystery is right. They year before they played in Lowell. In fact, IIRC when I first started tryouts the team was supposed to be in Lowell, but that changed early on. It was fortunate for me because I was teaching in Dorchester and coaching in Braintree and living in Brookline. It would have been a hell of a commute to practice and games in Lowell. As it was doing all 3 was a LOOOONNNNG day

    A well managed, properly supported minor league WOULD work. I think it was working back then...until the NFL pulled the plug. Maybe some day after the draft when things are REALLY boring, I'll put down the plan on paper. ;)
  18. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    #91 Jersey

    The EFL has been around for a long time. One year the Middleboro, Milford, or Malboro team IIRC won a mythical national club football championship.
  19. blackglass3

    blackglass3 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    NFL Europa is a bad example, Europeans aren't really into our football to begin with. Trying to sell them on it by watching Rohan Davey or Kliff Kingsbury did the NFL no favors in expanding the market over there. Plus the games were always on very early in the morning on NFLN here, so we also had very little reason to watch it.

    The XFL had some good ideas (skycam that ESPN still uses, I liked the different XP choices) but was killed by Vince McMahon trying to make it too wrestling like and having too big of dreams of directly competing with the NFL. UFL made sense keeping things small and in fertile football areas, but suffered from horrible TV production and game times/channels. It looked like A/V students shot them and you never knew when they were on due to lack of advertising.

    There HAS to be a middle ground somewhere. I would love to watch some football right now (No AFL thanks) and I imagine as long as it was competitive and not promising "cheerleader locker room access" we would be able to take it seriously. And it would need the NFL's support and nurturing, they would have to be patient with it. Oh, and the games should be played in America, not Europe.
  20. Avenger

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    #11 Jersey

    What do you think of the proposal I wrote up?
  21. Mystery Pats Fan

    Mystery Pats Fan Banned

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    I probably saw you play. I think that the Pensavalles still owned the team when they were in Quincy. They originally had owned the Providence Steamrollers but moved them I believe and were somehow part of the Quincy team. Not sure, my memory is hazy a bit.
  22. PatsFanInVa

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    I tried to argue for this a few years back & met with about the same response.

    I realized then that the "there's already a minor NFL it's the NCAA" thing meant more to people saying it than to me because I just don't follow college ball like I do pro football. It just will never matter to me whether Michigan beats Penn State. Sorry.

    But NCAA is huge, so guys like me are in the minority. I would love there to be a flying elvis on a helmet 11 months a year, of course, but I don't think it's going to happen. Too many people are fine seeing buckeyes and wolverine claw marks and whatnot.

    So really, when you take the pro sub-franchise attraction away, the "NCAA already is the minor league for the NFL" analysis is pretty much right on. You can work a niche into the middle, but most guys think big-time college football is more important than a "B" league for the NFL.

    Of course, another option would be to let teams rotate out of the real NFL and into the B leagues every year. Think 64 teams, with 24 in the real NFL, and 40 in the B Leagues. You may have Buffalo A and B in the B league, and maybe, once in a blue moon, New England A and B both in the NFL. You rotate down a league if you suck bad enough, and if you win the "B Bowl," you play both halfs of that year, moving up into the A leagues. Shorter seasons for both of course, so the beat up B Leaguers can recuperate enough to start over.

    Nah.

    PFnV
  23. PatsFanSince74

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    1) The NFL thrives by generating a little less product than most people want to watch. The NFL pretty much has it "right" when it comes to supply and demand of quality product on the field. Why tinker with that?

    2) There already is a "minor league system" and it's called "Big Time College Football" that you can watch every Saturday from September on, leaving the Sunday and Monday stages to the "big league."

    3) The economics of every team having a "sub team" would be sketchy at best, not to mention a scheduling nightmare. "Tuesday Night Not-Quite-Big-East-Not-Quite-NFL-Football" anybody?
  24. Mystery Pats Fan

    Mystery Pats Fan Banned

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    Was Jimmy Piersall part of ownership of that Quincy team? Somehow that sticks in my memory.
  25. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    #91 Jersey

    I really can't remember much about the ownership. I do remember that I was warned by some of the older guys to always cash my check right away. ;) But there was definitely a Patriots connection. Our uniforms mimicked the old Pats unis. There were Pats players who went from the Pats camp to ours. I remember 2 in particular. One was a black QB (rare in those days) who the Pats drafted from Grambling or Morgan St. I can't remember his name. All I can remember was that he was tall and had a rocket for an arm. However he got homesick and left after a couple of games. The other was a guy named Ed Koontz (or something like that). I remember him because he directly affected me. I was the Will LB (weak side outside LB), which made sense since I was only 6'1 and around 210 lbs. Koonz was about 6'3 235, but he also played the Will. He got sent down about the same time our Sam LB got hurt. So "naturally" they moved ME to Sam so Koonz could play the Will. :rolleyes:

    Oh God, now I'm starting to have "old man" reminisces. I'd better stop before all the "war stories" begin to spill out ;)
  26. lurker1965

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    No Jersey Selected

    Rookie wall hits in October - but not limited to rookies.:)
    This off season thing is the worst of all worlds.

    Not the whole thing. A farm system if the NCAA stops would be needed. Now it is redundant.
  27. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    I like parts of it very much. If the league needs a reason for it, they have one ready made. The 18 game season. I'm sure one of the give backs the NFL is going to have to give the NFLPA to get this done is "expanded rosters". Your idea fits this requirement as well as development aspects.

    I like how you organized the divisions, which I would change into actual leagues of their own, but that's a small matter.

    I like how you would have all newly drafted players required to play on these teams, It would generate a lot of interest in the first half of the season. but I don't see how it would work. I don't think the Pats would want their top picks starting their practices in June, playing 4 games in July and THEN coming to camp. That is a lot of wear and tear. Its a very original and creative thought, but I don't think its workable.

    I think your idea to split the season is also very creative and very aggressive, but I'm having trouble figuring the logistics. I think its just too ambitious.

    I understand that the NCAA is the true "minor league", but I also think there needs to be a place where these kids can go and play AFTER college. I think there is a market for watching a higher level of the game than they get from most colleges. It would never be designed to become the major supplier of new talent, but rather a place where you could better catch the guys (like Welker) who might slip through the cracks, as a nurturing ground for late developers, as a place to give guys some actual playing time who don't get many snaps, and as a developmental place for young coaches

    For the fans, it would be a place to watch good football, with a connection to a team they already love, but at a price they can afford, very much like minor league baseball. I think the key question would be WHEN. Ideally I'd like it to be sometime around the football season only slightly staggered. For example starting a month earlier than the NFL and of course having a shorter season. But I want to think on it. After the draft there will be plenty of time to come up with a great plan that will probably never happen
  28. goheels22002

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    I think this would great - but not a money maker. It would serve more as a seasoning league for good players who might be pro material to learn how to play in a professional system. A guy like Tebow could have benefited from a year of throwing in a West Coast offense with a professional QB coach. Many guys are physically gifted but immature. So many excellent players play out of position in college or in systems that don't give them the understanding of the game at the NFL level. It would also serve as a proving ground for NFL players to become NFL-caliber coaches, and as a rehab stop for guys who get hurt and can come back.

    MLB's minor leagues provide invaluable service this way.

    The key to a league like this is that the NFL would have to establish a rule that no one is eligible until their 21st birthday to not gut college football the way MLB and NBA do. A higher age eligibility would keep kids in school, allow them to physically mature and give them a fair shot at actually learning something and getting close to a degree.

    The NBA and the NBDL is a travesty in the way kids who realistically have no shot or are just not ready jump to the pros and go undrafted, wind up overseas or on some dopey team in NBDL. No education, no money and not NBA skilled.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  29. patfanken

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    #91 Jersey

    That's an excellent idea, but I'd lower the age to 20. One of the benefits of this league would be to offer a chance for kids that didn't go to college could have a chance to develop at a higher level with good coaching. But it certainly couldn't be a league where you could come out of HS can play right away.
  30. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I wouldn't want guys like Ridley, Vereen, Brace, Cunningham, Dowling playing more games then the full NFL schedule they will need to make it through healthy.
    I'm also not sure what the benefit of essentially having scrimmages only for young players.
    I think your idea is the result of us knowing little about players who haven't seen a lot of action on the field, and assuming the coaches lack the necessary info as well.
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