What? You, unlike me, may be old enough to remember the United States Football League. The USFL produced some great players like Doug Flutie, Steve Young, Herschel Walker, Jim Kelly, and others. The USFL would only last from 1983 to 1987 as it would end up failing for numerous reasons, mainly Donald Trump wanting to compete with the NFL.
Jamie Cuadra, a 52-year old entrepreneur from San Diego, has acquired the USFL brand and is in the early stages of bringing the league back. Cuadra will also have help from Jim Steeg, who organized many Super Bowls and was the COO of the Chargers. Here is what Steeg had to say about the possibility of the USFL:
“I like the idea a lot,” Steeg says. “I haven’t talked to anyone who thinks the idea sucks. If you truly believe a triple-A spring football league has merit, this is the way to go. It’s not meant to compete with the NFL. It will give players the opportunity to develop. There are 3,000 football players and only 1,800 roster spots in the NFL. Particularly with the NFL’s new CBA, I think this kind of thing has a different place.”
The new group, unlike other failed leagues, understands that they can’t compete with the NFL.
“The USFL and UFL did the same thing — they weren’t fiscally responsible,” Cuadra said. “The XFL went totally gimmicky. It’s not going to work with purists. NFL Europe was a great idea, but costly. We can see the mistakes that have been made and try to avoid them.”
I really like this idea and believe it may work. The NFL is the only major sports league without a minor league system. Right now you have the Canadian League, Arena Football, and the United Football League (which is currently in limbo) as alternative football leagues. Both the CFL and the AFL’s rules and play are completely different than the NFL. I’m not sure what the salary is for CFL players, but AFL players make next-to-nothing. Cuadra says that players in the USFL would be paid between $3,000 to $3,500 per game, which isn’t bad.
I’m not sure if the NFL teams would have affiliations with USFL teams. That won’t stop a pipeline from the USFL to the NFL as the USFL will allow their players to go the NFL whenever they want.
The USFL will stay away from cities that host NFL teams, MLB teams, and big-time college football.
Like I said, I like this idea. Players in the NFL that are on the bottom of the depth chart will have chances to improve their skills in the USFL. Hopefully teams like the Detroit Lions could find gems in the “minor leagues” like Kurt Warner (played in the AFL and NFL Europa before the NFL).