I don't know how you guys feel about football, but I like it. In fact, you know what I don't like... not football. As in, the off-season. You know what would spice the off-season up a bit?... Football.
Three years ago the NFL's little experiment in American football in Europe ended. Probably because the had futball. Which they like, like I like our football, which is quite a bit. They ceased operations after an off and on exsistence began in 1991. And that was it. It was over. No more bonus football.
But, this experiment. It needs to be retried. And, with all due apologies to our friends around the world, needs to be brought back home. We see more and more extremely skilled athletes coming out of college into the draft, and we see more and more talented players playing the college game every season.
There are close to 350 FBS (former Division 1) colleges. That's a lot. Now, we all know not every college player is NFL calibre. But there has to be some coachable talent on most of them, right? Guys with the measurables but haven't fine tuned their abilities. Guys with athleticism, but but need more knowledge of the game.
Several leagues have started up and all have either folded, or been absorbed by the NFL (Al Davis is still soooo mad about that!). The NFL is the show, nothing comes close and seems to put up a fight. No disrespect to the Arena League, which I watch now that it is back, but that's a different game as far as I'm concerned. My game is played on 120x50 yard fields (think about it). It's played from August to early February. And it has four downs, although I enjoy the air show that is the Canadian league).
Between the months of March and August, with the exception of mini camps and work outs, there is a window of six months where some sort of developmental league could be played. Baseball has a farm system, the NBA has the D-League, the NFL has... college. I love college football too, but you can only play for so long.
The NFL has a six month window to give the people more of what they want. Games of football.
There are 53 active players on and NFL roster (follow me now through some math, double check it, I'm not very good). Base offense and defense (my definition 5 OL, 1 QB, 1 HB, 1 FB, 2 WR, 1 TE/ 3 DL, 4 LB, 2 S, 2 CB), spell players who get real minutes (2 OL, 1 HB, 2 WR, 1 TE/ 3 DL, 2 LB, 2 S 3 CB) plus specialists (3). By my rough calculations, that's 41 who play. I'll give you 44 if you add another WR, CB, HB. That's 12 who see little to no real game action. Increase the practice squad from 8 to 18. The draft extends to 12 rounds, maybe more. It was not too awful long ago anyway. The added roster cost can be covered in part by an inevitable TV deal of some sort, the ticket sales, and of course add revenue for games. With the increasing popularity of a sure fire hit, the money gets bigger. Win.
Fans could see roookies play and young players develop. We could watch Ziggy Hood get better. Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett wouldn't be absolute question marks. Kraig Urbick could get some field time at the very least. Oh my... we could actually view the awesomeness that is the Isaac Redman! Where I come from, that's a win.
The front offices would get an even better look at the roster. They'd be able to more accurately gauge the talents on their rosters now. They could then draft more precisely to their needs. Coaches can see what players are made of. Win.
This is a win-win-win situation. What do you think?