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Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Grimmy, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. Grimmy

    Grimmy Rookie

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    Hi all, casual UK based fan, new to the forum, so apologies in advance if this is a stupid question or should be in a different sub-forum. On a lot of the college American Football films, the coach tends to say 'many of you will never play this game again' or similar. Is amateur or semi-pro American Football not really a thing over there? Seems like some good athletes could be getting thrown onto the scrap heap at a young age otherwise. Maybe I've just watched 'Remember the Titans' too many times! Thanks in advance.
     
  2. nabwong

    nabwong Vice President of Boycott NFL Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    They’re referring to players being drafted by the browns or jets.
     
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  3. Grimmy

    Grimmy Rookie

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    It's almost impressive how often the Browns are down there despite the salary cap, draft system, the fact there is no such thing as relegation, and you only need to finish top/second of a four team division to make the play offs. Seems like it would be difficult to be so consistently bad!
     
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  4. neckroll#14

    neckroll#14 On the Roster

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    to answer your question: while there are semi-pro leagues and alternate versions of the game (like arena football), you are correct: its not really a thing over here.
     
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  5. SammyBlueCat

    SammyBlueCat PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Are you comparing (American) Football to Baseball? There is no defined minor league system for Football unless of course you consider the collegiate game to be a feeder program for the NFL. Attempts to create a minor league or a semi pro league often have a short shelf life due to the financial burden caused by the high rate of injuries. Some teams near me:

    Tacoma Cobras

    Bengals
     
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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  6. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There is semi pro football but not much of it.
    Working a full time job then playing football for no money plus the risk of affecting your job if you have an injury is not easy.
     
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  7. Grimmy

    Grimmy Rookie

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    I'm from the UK so know nothing about baseball. My experience is more rugby based, for example a player named Luke Gale was released at academy level, so he went semi pro, impressed, got signed up by a top division side, and was voted man of steel this year (best player in the top division, voted for by the players). I'm guessing that route is shut over there? Below that, you have just normal guys playing competitively for amateur teams for the enjoyment with no ambition of ever going further. I suppose maybe it's more difficult to organise american football teams that way due to the number of players required, each with specialist skills, cost of equipment etc.
     
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  8. VectorPrime

    VectorPrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    For all intents and purposes there is just one pro Football league in the US. There are no minor leagues. And it's too dangerous of a sport with too much of a time commitment to lend itself for amateur leagues.
     
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  9. primetime

    primetime Pro Bowl Player

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    There are a couple of smaller professional leagues, the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League, both of which play variations on the game (Canadian football has been around for a long time, and has a larger field, 3 downs, and 12 players per side, while Arena football has a 50 yard field and 8 players on the field) but ultimately require much the same skillset for success and the vast majority of the players in both leagues are drawn from the NCAA ranks (though the CFL has a requirement for a certain number of Canadian players per team, many of them played college football in the US as the Canadian college football system isn't nearly as strong).

    Salaries in these leagues are usually fairly low. I remember Eddie Brown, probably the greatest AFL player in history (and Antonio Brown's father), had to work as an assistant football coach and substitute teacher in the off-season in Albany despite being the highest-paid player in the league, and that was during the height of the league which is nowadays teetering on the brink. The minimum salary in the CFL is $50,000 and average $80,000 - enough to be a full-time job, but the salary cap is just $4.2 million, which means NFL players like Mike Gillislee, Alan Branch, and Patrick Chung earn more than an entire CFL team this year.

    There are a handful of players who have made the jump from one of these leagues to the NFL, but it's like one per year at best. Delvin Breaux of the Saints is the most notable CFL transplant in recent years (he also played in the AFL briefly).

    Jeff Garcia, Cameron Wake, Joe Horn, Joe Theismann, and Warren Moon all played in the CFL before the NFL. In Moon's case, he was rejected by the NFL at first due to racism that led to teams not wanting a black quarterback. Kurt Warner played in the AFL for the Iowa Barnstormers before heading to the Rams. Fred Jackson played in a sub-AFL indoor league prior to joining the Bills.

    For Patriots fans, the most notable player is probably Doug Flutie, who jumped to the CFL after being underappreciated due to his size in the NFL and then came back years later after establishing himself as the greatest player in Canadian football history. But Flutie was a Heisman Trophy winner. David Patten also played alongside Eddie Brown in the AFL and then jumped to the NFL with the Patriots.

    There was a brief attempt at a parallel league a couple years back called the UFL that attracted has-beens (Daunte Culpepper, Ahman Green) and never-was (Maurice Clarett, Eric Crouch) but there were a few players that jumped from there to the NFL such as Eric Moore, who spent a year and change with the Patriots. Josh McCown's probably the most notable guy who played in the UFL, Quintin Demps played in the UFL, as well as some kickers like Hauschka, Novak, and Bryant. But the league was run like ****, players didn't get paid what they were owed because of financial difficulties, and the whole thing felt like kind of a huge joke.

    All these are exceptions that prove the rule. The majority of guys who are in the AFL thinking they'll play in the NFL one day are chasing dreams. The overwhelming majority of NFL players go from the NCAA ranks to the NFL, perhaps with some time on an NFL practice squad in-between. The other paths are just moonshots on top of moonshots, or in the case of the CFL an entirely different career.
     
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  10. Grimmy

    Grimmy Rookie

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    Wow that's really informative, thanks!
     
  11. Urgent

    Urgent In the Starting Line-Up

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    But what do they do?
    A lot of high-level college athletes that don't make it in the pros are recruited into professional sales roles in financial services and pharma. Companies love former athletes for sales roles like this - used to hard work, long hours, driven to win, and with stories people want to hear; a touch of fame.
     
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  12. borg

    borg PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Players that don't possess the superior athleticism required to make an NFL roster often lower their dreams and move on to hopscotch, tiddlywinks, or European soccer.
     
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  13. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member

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    Fifty-plus years ago minor leagues and their teams could survive by building a small but loyal local fan base. The competition of better teams and leagues was somewhat limited. That was when television consisted of three stations. Now there is an overload of both pro football and college games on tv, which has for the most part removed those fans/customers from minor league games. It's difficult to compete with cable and the internet for consumer's entertainment time and money.

    Many years ago there was this league: Atlantic Coast Football League - if I recall correctly at least one forum member here played in the ACFL.

    Currently there is the New England Football League - History | New England Football League - but people in leagues such as this are playing for the love of the game, not for money or dreams of making it into the NFL.
     
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  14. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Informative posts like this are what makes Patsfans great.
     
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  15. Gumby

    Gumby PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    For the first bold, not sure what 'academy level' is, I assume that is US college/university equivalent. Which as other folks mentioned or alluded to, is the main feeder system for the NFL. A few guys come thru CFL and rarities come from elsewhere (for example, Popeyes ;) ).

    For the 2d bold. There is no US equivalent to 2/3/lower leagues in football that " normal" folks could play in. Normal guys (and girls) will however play in city / local recreational FLAG FOOTBALL.

    The equipment is minimal: 1 football, waist belts with red (team1) and blue (team2) flags hanging by Velcro off the left-right sides of the belt for each player, and a whistle for the ref. (no pads and no helmets). Team Jerseys (tshirts) optional depending on league seriousness. That gets fairly competitive with the main requirements being speed, throwing, and catching skills very similar to tackle football . To tackle in FF, you have to grab hold of the flag. So ideally, is limited "contact". FF tends to be a passing game, limited run game effectiveness. I have never heard of anyone impressing anyone enough in FF to earn a tryout, but stranger things have happened. After all, BB has taken Lacrosse and Wrestling guys ;)and made them SB champs. :)
     
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  16. Grimmy

    Grimmy Rookie

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    Academy is similar, the top teams sign players at around 15/16 from amateur clubs and play them in their own league up to under 19s. Not really any razzle dazzle about it until the final though, just a development league. These players are also first team eligible and will be called in if they impress or the first team have injuries. Then they either make it, or they get released and go to a lower league side or play as amateurs. No educational element involved, in fact most of them sacrifice an education to persue a rugby career. The lower leagues present an opportunity for late bloomers to impress and get signed by a top team, maybe 5 or so a year. Maybe they should be looking at NFL drop-outs!
     
  17. Tony2046

    Tony2046 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter Weekly NFL Picks Winner

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    I was one of those good athletes who got thrown onto the scrap heap at the tender young age of 14. Sure my 6.5 second 40 was a tad slow and maybe my 132 lb wiry frame didn't intimidate many.... ok ..... anyone. But I had heart damnit. I could have been a contender..

    Seriously though I worked with a guy who made it to the last round of cuts when trying out for the Panthers years ago. The guy was a fantastic athlete and a physically gifted freak. Fast as hell, strong as hell and smart as hell and he still couldn't make a practice squad. Anyways the guys we see on Sunday are the fractional remains of the millions who started out dreaming of playing in the NFL.
     
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  18. SalemPats

    SalemPats Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    CFL and Arena football league are probably the only two real venues. QBs can get paid well in both (and nicely in the CFL).

    But, this is no different than other leagues. In basketball, the D-League players get paid ok, but not great, you can play euroball and get paid nicely, but there really aren't that many import sports.

    I know hockey well, the AHL guys make make roughly 70K, East Coast league around $1,500-$2,000 / month. Europe, yes Swiss and German leagues play well, but only in the top division and maybe a couple of guys on each team (150K - 350K) - we are talking maybe 50 players in total. KHL is getting up there, but is more on par with the AHL pay scale. With Europe it's tax-free (so it is higher). You typically get a stipend. When i played overseas, i played on one team that paid me $200/$150 for a win/lose and paid for my apartment. You're not really making money, but it's the best time of your life. Wish i decided to play longer and defer my 'work' career a couple of years.
     
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  19. Grimmy

    Grimmy Rookie

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    Thanks for all the responses, seems like a welcoming, knowledgable forum! On the subject of players who didn't make it, anyone get cut from the Pats and come back to bite them? I'd love to see 'Hard Knocks' come to New England, guessing BB wouldn't like the distraction......
     
  20. AQPE

    AQPE Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    It's a level of incompetence usually reserved for government.
     
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