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My idea for an NFL minor league system

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Dec 12th
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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. ;)

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.
 

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
 

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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?
 
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. ;)

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

patfanken

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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.
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 ;)
 

lurker1965

In the Starting Line-Up
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.

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.
 

patfanken

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What do you think of the proposal I wrote up?
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
 

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.
 
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patfanken

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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.
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.
 

Ring 6

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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?

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.
 
Although I, too, think a NFL sponsored minor league system would be good, it will never happen.

Why would the NFL want to go to the expense, even if it would be good for the fans (of which Goodell couldn't care less about) when they have a full blown minor league system already in place, and it doesn't cost them a dime. It's called the NCAA.

Some of the NFL owners have become involved with the Arena Football League but not in a financial way.

And, other than an occasional one or two that makes it from Arena Ball to the NFL, it really isn't a good source because of the major differences in the game.

If they did establish some sort of minor league football league, in the future, IMO the best locations would be in cities that do not have an NFL franchise. They would be more apt, IMO, to go to the games in stadiums that do not have a huge seating capacity, say a maximum of 20,000 or so. (or less)

And, every now and they they could play one game a season in the home stadium of the team that is their sponsor.

Of course the playing rules would be identical to the NFL rules and rosters would be much smaller, 35 or less.

However, I seriously doubt that anything like that will happen.
 

Observer

In the Starting Line-Up
Can they move the NFL season to the summer months? Maybe then we also wouldn't have to hear about baseball... win/win.
 
Can they move the NFL season to the summer months? Maybe then we also wouldn't have to hear about baseball... win/win.

Speaking of baseball, the season needs to be shortened so that the playoffs and world series arent played in areas where they could be snowed out by a blizzard, or played in near freezing temperatures. Fans have to be bundled up like it's a football game.

The best way to do it, and of course the owners, and the players association, will never agree to it, is to schedule doubleheaders, one admission price, on most Sundays the way it was done years ago. They could easily shorten the season by two to three weeks.

The players association will argue like hell against that saying that their players cant handle two games in one day in the summer. I say BS to that. They get paid millions of dollars so let them play twice on Sundays.

How would a world series, say between the Cubs and Red Sox, two northern based teams in open stadiums, work out if the Northeast got hit by a couple of major wintery storms? Colorado had snow on the field a few years ago when they were in the world series.

Sorry to get off topic but the post above triggered my mind about baseball.

BTW, I think that the entire country, including the media, would love to see a Cubs/Sox world series.
 
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Avenger

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Minor league proponents: who would rank higher, minor leaguers or practice squaders?

Depending on implementation minor leaguers could either be also on the practice squad or the minor league would abolish the need for a practice squad.
 

Nitro

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Nfl europe? Lots of people had no interest in rooting for the frankfurt hamburgers at 7am EST time because one patriot was on the team.

College? Lots of people have no connection to colleges with football teams, and then theirs the fact a majority of college teams suck and not worth giving a crap about anyway.

How about a nfl junior league.. the divisions would be the teams.. ie pats/jets/buff/miami send their practice squads and a few more lower roster players to form "the afc east <insert team name>. Probably have to expand the player cap for teams a few players, but i see nothing wrong with that. Play it in the spring, have a playoffs and Minorbowl early summer.

Gets those players that need to be developed an opportunity to do so, gives every nfl fan a reason to be interested. WIN!
 

Why?PJ

On the Game Day Roster
So I think it should happen because we need to destroy the disgusting NCAA. Not to mention it is modern day slavery.

model it after baseball's minor leagues, take kids right from high school, make all owners start 1 new team for it, and make the rosters unlimited with the caveat that if the parent team does not bring the player in for camp any other NFL team can as well. Make the season end a week or two before NFL camps open and pay everyone involved the same weekly paycheck somewhere in the couple grand a week range, below nfl practice squad but not by much.

There is a market for Summer football. No one has really tried it long enough. There is a reason the Arena League has been around for 22 years.
 

Dufflebagz

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
Instead of a whole new league, why not just have reserve teams?

It would basically be like practice squad, obviously with more players, but they actually play games against other reserve teams. Maybe the games would be midweek so they don't interfere with NFL, NCAA, or high school. Remember, the true point of a "minor league" is to develop players not to entertain the fans....although I believe there would be a decent turnout every, let's say, Wednesday night to watch the reserve team games.

Why not give the players a chance to prove themselves in games, rather than just practice?
 

Avenger

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Instead of a whole new league, why not just have reserve teams?

It would basically be like practice squad, obviously with more players, but they actually play games against other reserve teams. Maybe the games would be midweek so they don't interfere with NFL, NCAA, or high school. Remember, the true point of a "minor league" is to develop players not to entertain the fans....although I believe there would be a decent turnout every, let's say, Wednesday night to watch the reserve team games.

Why not give the players a chance to prove themselves in games, rather than just practice?

I say play it Tuesday and Wednesday nights on college campuses. 8 game schedule 4 before the NFL Preseason 4 after This gives young players 12 games to develop, 4 minor league, then 4 preseason, then another 4 minor league. 4 divisions (AFC E + NFC E), (AFC S + NFC S), (AFC N + NFC N) and (AFC W + NFC W) round robin play, winner of each division goes into a 4 team playoff to determine the winner. The Patriots team could play in Providence, close enough to call up players and share practice facilities. Name it the Providence Steamrollers, the 1928 NFL championship team that folded in 1933.
 
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