“I think it could be a really neat thing and can help a lot of players.”

The most important thing to remember about a professional developmental football league isn’t this

Why is it likely to get off the ground? Vincent, who recently became the NFL’s head of football operations, cites a bunch of reasons, from training coaches and officials to finding players to testing rules.

“It would be an opportunity to enhance our game on many levels, to develop the future, preserve and innovate the game,” he said.

or this…

Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a Chicago-based consulting firm, has a strong relationship with many team owners. He envisions a league being established for spring play, with all of the teams supplying players they want to see more from.

“After the NFL season and before the training camps, say March to July,” Ganis said. “It’s an open time in the sports schedule. The colleges are done and the NBA and NHL playoffs wind down.

“A league in the fall is really tough. It is not like baseball, where teams can be calling up players every day from the minors. There would be lots of restrictions on player movement then.”

or this…

“I do envision some sort of developmental league, based maybe in Florida or Texas or Arizona,” said former NFL general manager Phil Savage, who now is the executive director of the Senior Bowl. “Anywhere from four to six teams; I don’t think more than eight.

“I see it as tightly managed, with not a ton of travel. And I don’t think it would matter the size of the stadiums and crowds, because it’s a minor league, a place to look at players from the lower end of the roster or players trying to make it into the NFL.”

or even this…

“The networks have open time in the spring, and it’s an NFL product. There would be room on the networks for games on the weekend, and on the cable outlets for weeknights,” he said. “There’s really a dearth of major sports on the weekends then.

“I think you would see all the networks with cable channels — CBS, Fox, NBC, and of course NFL Network — to be interested. And ESPN would likely want in on the mix, although they need it the least.”

It’s that it would be an NFL-created enterprise.  Which means it would exist to serve the needs of the NFL and the NFL alone.  Which means this:

Tomlin is right that the NFL relies on the college game for developing the skills of potential pro players. That won’t change but, as the number of undrafted free agents who populate NFL rosters shows — 31.4 percent in 2014 — there are hundreds of players who would benefit from having a place to showcase themselves if the NFL doesn’t come calling.

Just a place to collect undrafted juniors.  Thanks, college football!


Filed under The NFL Is Your Friend.

16 responses to ““I think it could be a really neat thing and can help a lot of players.”

  1. Mayor

    Depending the age limitations it could also be a place where some HS graduates go who, under the present system, can’t afford to or don’t want to go to college.


    • Why, it could be anything you imagine, Mayor!

      Except it won’t.


      • Prep school, JUCO, and you’ve done your three years since high school time without having to qualify for a major college walking straight in to the National Football (minor) League.


      • Senator just think of the GOOD that the NFL is doing by forcing High School football players down the college path. And just think of the GOOD that colleges are doing by allowing football players to have a discounted education while they draw in millions for the institution.

        And just think of the GOOD the NCAA does for the student athlete as it provides the ‘funnel of fairness’ that allows the shit to roll down the hill faster.

        Why you need a farm system to ruin all that?


    • Obviously a lot could change between now and the actual formation of the D league, but I got the impression that the players would be allocated by the NFL teams, not signed independently by the D league. If that holds true, then age limits would stay the same. In other words, if the NFL team can’t sign them, then they can’t allocate them either. But granted, a lot could change between now and then. Maybe they would allow NFL teams to sign and allocate younger guys, but the younger guys can’t be called up until they reach the cutoff.

      It will be interesting to follow, for sure.


  2. Deutschland Domiciliary Dog

    Playing D League football as opposed to playing major college football means:

    Playing at high school stadiums before high school-sized crowds instead of before 100,000 or thereabouts.

    Playing on local access channel TV instead of on ESPN where your momma can see you.

    Commenting “How beautiful is downtown Youngstown this time of year!”

    Eating and sleeping at Motel Six.

    Riding the bus to Rochester.

    Sharply declining groupie attractiveness.

    (At some schools) sharply declining available walking around money.

    I was a Georgia fan when Andy Johnson, Jimmy Poulos, and Buzzy Rosenberg were Bulldog stars. I’ll be one whether there’s a D league or not.

    If a D league causes us to lose out on every Isaiah Crowell, Washaun Ealey, and Josh Harvey-Clemons who comes down the pike, then so be it!


  3. I would rather watch paint dry or the NBA before developmental league football.


    • Dog in Fla

      NFL feeder program statement about an NFL-created enterprise: “We didn’t come to paint.”®


    • Checks ESPN, CBS, other network TV ratings for their developmental football leagues called the SEC, Pac 12, ACC, B1G, etc.

      You seem to be going against popular opinion there sir.


      • Macallanlover

        I find it hard to believe you won’t have a major position change once that D League is up and running. I didn’t even know for sure that the NBA was still up and running.

        The reason this will happen for certain is: 1) it will benefit the NFL financially to know more about the players’ worth to teams by seeing the players against better competition and, 2) that “dead” period of available inventory is anxiously looking for a viable product and football is a known winner.


        • Macallanlover

          Sorry, meant for eethomas.


        • Macallan, see my answer below. I’m just not a professional football fan at all. The NBA reference was a jab at that product (I don’t watch that either).

          Once a Dawg leaves for the pros, I have some interest in how well they do, but, generally, I would rather do other things with my time on Sunday afternoons. Certainly, in the spring, there are a lot of other things to do rather than watch 2nd rate professional football.


      • Mr. Sanchez, I don’t watch the NFL because I find it a boring product that isn’t appealing (yes, I know I’m in the minority here). College football isn’t developmental football league to me due to the name on the front of the jersey, not the names on the back. I watch college football because the passion and tradition blow the pro game away. I don’t watch to see who is going to be the #1 overall pick in next spring’s draft. I’ll have no Dawg in the fight, so I could care less. I would rather play golf on a spring afternoon that sit in front of a TV watching a minor league sport.

        I come back to the premise that if developmental league football (non-NFL professional football) were such a good idea, the World League, the USFL, NFL Europe, and the XFL (at least 3 of which were spring leagues) would have made a mark. They are all footnotes in sports history now. If minor league football were a product that could generate profits to the NFL and its owners, we would have it by now. It’s a money loser, and one thing Jerry Jones, Arthur Blank and the rest of the NFL owners believe in is not losing money.


  4. 69Dawg

    The Colleges could solve this potential problem by changing their rules and making the undrafted lower classman eligible again. If a Junior declares for the draft, even if he signs a contract with an agent, but he is not drafted nor signs a free agent contract, then he retains his eligibility. The contract with the agent must become void if he is not drafted nor signs with a team. This would discourage the agents from soliciting players that were on the margin.

    If the NFL really wants a D League it will have one. The NFL channel needs off season product and NBCSN and CBS Sports need it too. The NFL does not sign enough players to staff 8 teams so more players from the Arena League will get a shot. I don’t think this will change the 3 years after high school deal at all.


  5. Bright Idea

    Do it without the TV. Keep it low key. If the best athletes end up in DLeague instead of SEC it could hurt the college game. Perhaps playing in the spring would limit some of the pain that colleges might suffer. Then again, it might help purify the college game, but would it still sell without the 4 and 5 stars?


    • Until the NFL changes the eligibility rules, you have nothing to worry about. No way, either the League or the NFLPA does that unless minor league football is successful beyond their wildest dreams. College football sold for decades before Rivals, 247, and Scout ran around telling everyone how great a particular high school player was. Will it be different? Likely, yes. That’s another reason why college football fans should stay away from whatever the NFL puts in place.