I think I speak for everyone when I say more actual football is a good thing. With the NFL supposedly looking into “over 100 proposals,” lets take a look at one way I think this NFL developmental league idea could work.
Every division gets a team. They can put guys down on the team and pull them up similarly to their practice squad guys they already have. If another team in your division wants one of your guys on that team, they have to keep him up on their 53 man roster just like the practice squad now.
There would have to be restrictions on guys who could play at that level, like rookies and practice squad guys only. The NFL would have to limit the number of call ups a team gets in season. The logistics of where these teams play and when are a little more tricky. I think that in markets like San Antonio, or Los Angeles while on the surface these places would be good fits, there may be too much else going on as a distraction to garner much interest beyond the hardcore NFL fan. Maybe something closer to the market size of a Boise or a Shreveport would be more appropriate.
Lastly the when may be the toughest sell of all. Football is America’s most physical mainstream sport. It can’t be played year round, for fear of over taxing these young developing players. With that said, I would think that the NFL should look at starting the developmental league during the playoffs and running it up until the draft. Then allow these guys time after the draft to rest and get ready for training camp.
I know that might not be the most popular time span choice because everyone wants the league to be in the summer when all we have is baseball (which for the past few years in Houston can we really call it that?) to get us through until training camp. However, I think that time span would be the best choice for the NFL because it will give NFL teams an opportunity to see what they have in certain guys before they draft and get ready for the next season.
Additionally, most of the guys on these teams are going to be going to training camps with their respective teams. So rather than call it a developmental league or minor league system, I think this design would more appropriately be closer to baseball’s winter league or basketballs summer league. Lets call it Spring Training, oh wait, thats already taken, NFL’s Spring Fling? I don’t know. I obviously am not good with catchy titles.
After the disaster of last season, I can think of a multitude of benefits to having a developmental team for the Texans, this offseason. It would have given Case Keenum or T.J. Yates time to show coaches more. It could have given Dennis Johnson a chance at winning the backup RB job potentially saving the Texans money by not having to sign veteran backups like Andre Brown. It could also provide an avenue for coaches to show new players their new schemes. Above all that though, maybe it would have given me something to root for that didn’t make me want to throw things at my TV.
I can tell you one thing though; more football would be a welcome addition to my life, and I am sure to the lives of anyone reading this. If you have an idea for how my design or any other designs for a developmental league for football would work be my guest and leave me a comment or two. I promise not to ridicule you too much.