The NFL “off-season” is officially underway after the 2014 Scouting Combine recently finished up. After watching the likes of Jadeveon Clowney and Greg Robinson blow people away with their 40 times, football fans are anxiously waiting for the 2014 NFL season to begin. Free agency is set to begin in March with the draft to follow in May. This is a time where all NFL fans are all closely watching to see if their team can make the right moves to help bring their franchise back to prominence. But still, that doesn’t necessarily fill the void of watching that team play on Sundays. Could that void soon be a thing of the past?
The new A11 Football League is an up and coming 8 team league and is set to kick off in 2015 with a season that runs during the spring until around the Fourth of July. So basically from when the end of the Super Bowl until right before the beginning of training camp. This would seem to take away the empty void of not having football for several months and should be a slam dunk right? Don’t be so sure on it just yet.
The biggest concern that comes to mind is the quality of competition. The best athletes in the world are going to want to continue to play in the NFL and recruiting big names to play in the A11FL is nearly impossible. However, the league could recruit some of the bigger name college athletes that maybe didn’t have a “pro-style game” and have them step into this new league. But there are still complications with that. The college football game has so much pride surrounding each and every program and that alone brings fans to the stands. It is going to be very difficult for the A11FL to create that same atmosphere.
Finally, one of the most overwhelming challenges for this new league is going to be competing against the NFL. Yes the NFL season is officially over, but does it ever really end? NFL fans are some of the most passionate in the world and are going to follow their team 24/7/365. Fans may not care what the Tampa Bay Bandits are doing when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are showing upside while bringing in a new coaching staff. And how is it possible for the likes of the Chicago Staggs and Dallas Wranglers to compete with the Bears and Cowboys? It simply just does not make sense from an economic standpoint.
Then again, our society is obsessed with football and there is definitely potential for the league to succeed. By getting ESPN to form a TV partnership, the A11FL has already made huge strides in making their product a success. ESPN has the ability to make any sport look appealing to any viewer. Take a look at what ESPN has done for the World Series of Poker. I remember watching SportsCenter as a kid and having the episode end and having the WSOP come on. It didn’t really interest me, but hey if ESPN is going to broadcast it then yeah I’ll watch it. I ended up falling in love with poker for several years and watched the WSOP Main Event every time it was on. If they can do that with poker, just imagine what they can do for football.
One other major success for the A11FL has going for them is bringing a team to Los Angeles. LA has been starving for an NFL franchise ever since Raiders and Rams left but have yet to land a team in the area. The LA Express will finally bring the fans what they have been craving since 1995. This market is by far the most likely to succeed and could alone keep the A11FL afloat for many years to come. And just imagine what would happen if the Express brought in a polarizing player looking to resurrect their football career. I don’t know, a guy named Tim Tebow comes to mind (Woody Paige of the Denver Post has reported the chance of Tebow returning to Denver if the city is rewarded a franchise).
The potential for the A11FL is definitely there, but there are so many hurdles to overcome. After seeing the collapses of the USFL and XFL, maybe we aren’t ready for two football leagues. But maybe, just maybe, this is the league that can finally solve the American issue of having to go seven months without regular season football. Or maybe too much football is just too much of a good thing.