You may have heard of the USFL. The USFL, or United States Football League, was a league from 1983-1985. While it was short lived it did have some good success. The USFL was a league played in the spring. While it was in the spring, it had very good success, bringing in some of the best talent of the time. it was when Donald Trump convinced them to challenge the NFL in the fall they saw their downfall.
ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary on the USFL, “Small Potatoes,” is a must-watch. It shows the rise, the fall, and everything in between of the USFL’s life.
Jim Bailey, a former executive vice president with the Browns and the Ravens, has come up with the idea to bring the USFL back. But this time around, he doesn’t want to be NFL’s competitor. Jim Bailey wants to work with the NFL. The idea is that the USFL would become a NFL developmental league. Just like how the MLB has the minor leagues and NBA has the D-League.
“We are strictly a developmental league,” Bailey told Fortune magazine. “We’re going to work with guys who have been in NFL camps that didn’t make it, that need more time to mature or to learn the pro system. The pros don’t have time to nurture guys. So that’s our focus.”
The “league” right now is struggling to start. Bailey is struggling to come up with the $5 million of startup costs. The “league” is just starting their first baby steps with only 2,000 Twitter followers and less than 5,000 Facebook fans, but Bailey has hope that the league will come to fruition with or without the NFL’s help.
“The NFL is aware of us, and we haven’t asked them for anything and don’t intend to,” Bailey said. “As we develop, something may or may not develop, but we plan to operate independently indefinitely.”
The new league would play in the spring and conclude in July, finishing up in time to send players to camps. It would mainly consist of players who have been cut from a team, undrafted free agents, anybody trying to earn their way back up to the NFL.
This league is far from becoming a real thing. But keep a good eye on it. This would be one of the biggest things to happen in football in ages. NFL needs something positive with all the negative things floating around in fan’s recent memories. The USFL could be what the NFL needs to get their rep back.