It won’t surprise you to learn that some pretty savvy football business veterans are behind the league — Tom Brady’s agent Don Yee is the CEO, former Fox Sports exec Jeff Huswar and former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey are co-founders, and reported advisors include Adam Schefter, Mike Pereira, former NFL exec Jim Steeg, and political strategist Steve Schmidt.
The league will launch in Southern California in 2018 with four teams, all owned by the league, and hope to expand from there.
This league will be more a competitor with the NCAA than the NFL. College-age seniors are the oldest players permitted to compete, and they’ll be paid an average of $50k per year. At first glance, this doesn’t sound like it should be enough to attract top talent — the value of a college education, plus the stipends players receive surely outweighs that compensation — but it would be good for players who are affected by transfer or eligibility restrictions.
The key selling point the league wants to get out there is that this is going to be specifically a training ground for the NFL. For example, Dan Wetzel details:
• Play will be pro-style, and based on development and evaluation. For instance, there will be no spread offenses. Quarterbacks will take snaps under center, need to call plays in the huddle and identify defenses at the line of scrimmage. There will be a premium put on one-on-one plays to get viable tape. For example, perhaps rules that prohibit crossing routes for receivers.
• Every player will play. While games will be competitive, with small rosters and brief seasons there will be snaps and opportunities for everyone, particularly in practice. No one is getting buried on a depth chart or losing a season of teaching while residing in a coach’s doghouse.
Essentially, what this league needs is four quarterbacks who can throw the damn ball. We keep hearing time and again that college quarterbacks are ill-prepared for the NFL (even as some in recent years like Dak Prescott and Andrew Luck have had zero issue making the transition), and if this league can lure formidable quarterbacks under the promise that they will be more pro ready, then the quality of gameplay has the potential to be very high.
If this league can lure formidable quarterbacks, people will watch these games in droves.