Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now




Replacing the No Football League

Posted on February 28, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

I don’t get it. How could there not be a NFL season this year? Last time there was a strike the league used replacement players and a handful of scabs. Why can’t they do that again?

There is something appealing about the use of replacement players every so many years. For once, no one knows how to handicap any of the teams. The whole standings are pretty much up for grabs. Any team can beat any other team. Worst to first is a definite possibility.

Oh, wait! Any team can beat any other team when the regular players play. Worst to first is a definite possibility then, and has happened frequently in recent years. But even more so, I suppose, with a whole roster of no-names.

On the other hand, none of the players would be under contract so what’s to stop them from organizing their own new league? Wouldn’t that be interesting? The NFL with its replacements would suddenly be the minors, while the new PFL (Players Football League) would be the real thing.

Or what’s to stop the UFL or CFL from signing a bunch of the NFL’s best and suddenly become the gold standard, again relegating the NFL to minor league status.

But here’s my proposal. Let every city field a team in a new league to be formed. Call it the Cities Football League or the Peoples Football League. Teams would be owned by the cities they represent in a stock arrangement like Green Bay, so no franchise would ever be bought out and moved, and all the profits would go back into team and league operations, including player salaries.

If it’s a new league the NFLPA would also not exist, however league officials and players would have to reach a consensus on terms of employment and compensation. Players would be employed by the league, not the individual teams, and would be allocated by lottery for the first season. Parity and revenue sharing would be pillars of the new league, just like the old one.

If the NFL is determined to ruin itself despite being the most popular and successful professional sports league of all time, then it’s a golden opportunity for fans and cities to take control of their fate and not let the spoiled millionaires and billionaires rob them of a season, or be in a position to ever rob them of anything again.


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