Another group is trying to put together a spring football league in the United States, probably the fifth or sixth organization that has tried to find a niche that was created by the United States Football League in 1983 and abandoned when the league went away after the 1985 season. This attempt will probably feature fringe players who could be the last players or development players on NFL teams looking for one last chance to make it in pro football.
In retrospect, the United States Football League probably would still be in existence if the owners didn’t listen to Donald Trump. The USFL had pretty good acceptance in 1983 and might have been able to make it had the owners practiced financial sanity and not over expanded to collect fees to pay for their 1983 financial mistakes. Eventually with the growth of cable TV, the USFL would have been perfect spring programming for the cable TV industry. That never happened because Trump pushed the owners to go head to head with the NFL in the fall. The USFL folded after winning three dollars in a court case despite proving the NFL tried to harm their business. There were a number of attempts by investors to start a spring league with initials like the IFL, the PSFL, SFL and one of them, the XFL played a full season in 2001. The XFL was a joint venture between wrestling promoter Vince McMahon and NBC TV. It might have survived if NBC didn’t pull the plug on the deal. The league was killed when NBC decided not to let Disney’s ESPN buy the football programming for the 2002 season. NBC didn’t want an NBC product on ESPN.
The Major Football League will feature a 12 week season and will be placing franchises in smaller cities. There will be no big names, big salary players. There is a market for spring football and finding players is the easiest part of making a spring league work.
Mr. Evan Weiner is a sports journalist/commentator known for his columns about the business and politics of sports. He was the winner of the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award.