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The most interesting thing I took away - and what ultimately may distinguish this football league from failed predecessors - is that it isn't trying to take on the NFL but rather compliment it. When NFL Europe folded last year, the NFL lost a valuable tool for developing players. The UFL seeks to fill that niche. The idea, as explained by Commissioner Michael Huyghue, is to work with the NFL to help develop and showcase future Kurt Warners and David Patten's. "I think the robust feeling that 'we're going to take the NFL on' is a foolish ploy," Huyghue said.
Each of the four teams will have an affiliation with NFL divisions. The SF franchise, for example, will get first dibs on players cut by teams in the NFC and AFC West. Orlando will have the same relationship with the NFC and AFC South, New York with the East divisions and Las Vegas with the North. The UFL will experiment with gadgets - GPS devices inside footballs, cameras to document halftime speeches - but the rules won't stray far from NFL rules. Huyghue said that once the UFL season is over on Thanksgiving, players from that league will be free to sign with any NFL team. The UFL believes its value will come from developing quarterbacks. "Where do you go right now if you're a third quarterback?" Huyghue said. "How do you get that opportunity?"
They are going to work with the NFL and become like an NFL Europe but in America. Great idea.
Yeah throw in Tulsa and Austin as two more cities that could support a lesser football team. Little Rock possibly as well.
The cities they've started in are great. Las Vegas, Orlando, SF, and NY are all great expansion cities, esp. Vegas and Orlando.
The amount of cities that could support an upstart football league are many, however, what could serve the new league well is if new teams were created in cities that already have stadiums available to play in.
I've broken down expansion cities based on population, stadiums, and any kind of prior attendance I could go on (college, USFL, CFL, etc...). This isn't as in-depth as some of you may like but it's a loose record.
Los Angeles, CA - Has there ever been a list that didn't rank LA as #1? Location? Check. Population? Check. Stadium? Check. Success of prior professional football teams? Errr. Let me get back to you on that one. Memphis, TN - Has great prior attendance records (had one of the best USFL attendance records), has Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (62,000+ seating), and is a good location as the closest professional team is in Nashville. San Antonio, TX - One of the most populous cities without a professional football team. There is the Alamodome, which is rarely used through the spring and summer months and is perfect for football. Had a bad run in the USFL, but there were few teams that were ran well. Birmingham, AL - boasts Legion Field which was home of better run USFL franchises and which drew in a considerable amount of fans. While old, it is still very much usuable, and the state of Alabama has some of the most rabid football fans in the country.
Close Yet Far
Salt Lake City, UT - The population of the city is one that should warrant NFL expansion consideration. BYU and Utah have great football attendance and both have nice stadiums that could be played in. Arena league football was big in the city. There is also Rio Tinto Soccer Stadium which could be converted for football games if allowed. Would be in the Elite category if not for the fact there isn't an outright football stadium allowed that isn't owned by a university. Columbus, OH - Always a great place for football, very good population base, and has the facilities, however, more places are ideal. El Paso, TX - Holds the population, yet has no prior professional experience with any teams. It does have a stadium in the Sun Bowl so should receive immediate consideration. Louisville, KY - Great location which can pull people from both Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH. Could play at either Cardinal Stadium or Papa John's Stadium. Has some previous professional football exposure. More desirable markets exist, however.
On The Brink
Virginia Beach, VA - Great population on the VA peninsula which has Hampton Roads, VA Beach, Norfolk, etc... all located nearby. Has a nice history of professional soccer yet no football stadium. The only thing that could help them out is if Foreman Field on the campus of Old Dominion University is upgraded (which is in the works) and a franchise is allowed to play there. Albuquerque, NM - Good population and would make for a natural rivalry if a team was located in El Paso, TX. Problem is no prior experience with professional teams (only minor league like most cities), and outside of University Stadium, would have no place to play. Austin, TX - Has no professional football experience. If a deal could be worked out between UT and an Austin based UFL franchise then the Austin team could play at Darrell K. Royal Texas Stadium, where the Longhorns play. A franchise here and in San Antonio would make for a natural rivalry, esp. if an Austin franchise is forced to play in the Alamodome.
Portland, OR - Has a couple of options. It's a very populous city with only one professional franchise. If a football team wanted to play in the actual city of Portland then PGE Park is about the only venue they could play at. The closest stadium is Reser Stadium in Corvallis. San Jose, CA - Great population base but I'm not sure how it would handle a professional football franchise although it does have the facilities. Milwaukee, WI - Great population and is located in a state where football fever is always high. Problem is finding a place to play.
There were other cities I could consider and I'm sure there are some that people would like for me to list, and if you want one listed just let me know and I could do it, but the aforementioned, minus cities like Houston, Chicago, Boston, and Miami, probably represent the best cities for the UFL to expand and compete with the NFL.
from what i hear this league will get most of the players what will be cut from the nfl and all the players are able to play in the nfl once the season ends which is around thanksgiving. So youll might see some NFL transactions that occur if players do well and seeing a team in mid season picking up a few players during the second part of the nfl season. Also i think this will develope certain coaches. I think it can work especially if it doesnt conflict with the nfl that much if players can freely go from this league to the nfl with out contract disputes with there UFL teams youll see more players willing to come in and play and maybe develop.
I really hope this succeeds. Hopefully when/if this gets into high gear there will be about 16 teams and perhaps even this becoming an official minor league of the NFL. I think the timing of the season is good as well. I think they should make the games on Thursday night and have the season end right before thanksgiving (like it is already planned to). That way all it has to compete with is some of the less interesting college football games they usually put on ESPN. On Friday night they'd have to compete with high school football. Also, having it end right before thanksgiving is brilliant, IMO. Right after thanksgiving is when the playoff races really get interesting, but a lot of players get banged up, and there could be some BIG FA signings coming out that help teams.
This could be big, and make things even more interesting and fun, IMO.