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Developmental league has support, no launch plan

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by -X-, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. -X-

    -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    Mike Tomlin » AP

    [​IMG]
    Former NFL football player Troy Vincent speaks during a news conference in New Orleans.
    When Vincent, recently made the NFL's head of football operations, mentioned in April the NFL's
    nterest in establishing a developmental league, he couldn't have imagined the response it would get.
    (AP Photo/Doug Benc, File)




    NEW YORK (AP) — When Troy Vincent mentioned in April the NFL's interest in establishing a developmental league, he couldn't have imagined the response it would get.

    "I got more than 100 proposals," he said with a laugh. "I think that shows it is worth a look."

    And that is what it will get, although the NFL has no timetable for establishing such a league.

    Why is it likely to get off the ground? Vincent, who recently became the NFL's head of football operations, cites a bunch of reasons, from training coaches and officials to finding players to testing rules.

    "It would be an opportunity to enhance our game on many levels, to develop the future, preserve and innovate the game," he said.

    Steelers coach Mike Tomlin would like to see it happen.

    "I'm in favor of anything that increases opportunities for guys to grow and develop," Tomlin said, "and ultimately improve the product of our game for our fans, particularly at some positions."

    Notably, quarterback. Tomlin is well aware of how former Super Bowl QBs Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme were helped by their time in the minors.

    "Quarterbacks often don't come to you ready-made, particularly with the way college football is played now with so many spread offenses and half-field reads and so forth," Tomlin said.

    Tomlin is right that the NFL relies on the college game for developing the skills of potential pro players. That won't change but, as the number of undrafted free agents who populate NFL rosters shows — 31.4 percent in 2014 — there are hundreds of players who would benefit from having a place to showcase themselves if the NFL doesn't come calling.

    Not since NFL Europe disappeared in 2007 has there been an NFL-affiliated place where players could go to prove themselves worthy of a look by one of the league's 32 teams. Same thing for officials and coaches.

    "That's what NFL Europe was intended to be, a developmental league," said Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, a former head coach in the NFL. "I thought it was great for coaches, I thought it was great for players, I thought it was great for officials. It wasn't my money they were spending on it, but I always thought the time was worth it. "

    There are dozens of questions accompanying any project: When and where would the league play games? How many teams would be in a developmental league? Who would play and coach? Would television be interested?

    Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp, a Chicago-based consulting firm, has a strong relationship with many team owners. He envisions a league being established for spring play, with all of the teams supplying players they want to see more from.

    "After the NFL season and before the training camps, say March to July," Ganis said. "It's an open time in the sports schedule. The colleges are done and the NBA and NHL playoffs wind down.

    "A league in the fall is really tough. It is not like baseball, where teams can be calling up players every day from the minors. There would be lots of restrictions on player movement then."

    This won't be an international venture, either. In fact, it probably would be done regionally, cutting down on travel costs.

    "I do envision some sort of developmental league, based maybe in Florida or Texas or Arizona," said former NFL general manager Phil Savage, who now is the executive director of the Senior Bowl. "Anywhere from four to six teams; I don't think more than eight.

    "I see it as tightly managed, with not a ton of travel. And I don't think it would matter the size of the stadiums and crowds, because it's a minor league, a place to look at players from the lower end of the roster or players trying to make it into the NFL."

    Ganis says not to worry about TV interest.

    "The networks have open time in the spring, and it's an NFL product. There would be room on the networks for games on the weekend, and on the cable outlets for weeknights," he said. "There's really a dearth of major sports on the weekends then.

    "I think you would see all the networks with cable channels — CBS, Fox, NBC, and of course NFL Network — to be interested. And ESPN would likely want in on the mix, although they need it the least."

    Savage was most intrigued by Vincent's suggestion that an academy for training players, coaches and officials could accompany a D-league. But he foresees such an academy being held during the NFL season.

    "It would be in one centralized location and these players go there and they keep their football life afloat for another few months or another season," Savage said. "And maybe they show enough to play in the developmental league the next spring. Or maybe they get discovered for the NFL."

    One major caveat would be the status of the players. Would they be NFL Players Association members? What sort of medical coverage would they have? What would their salaries be?

    Savage believes the league, the union and the American Football Coaches Association — the organization for college coaches — could work out a strategy that would lead to a developmental league by the end of the decade, perhaps much sooner.

    "I think it could be a really neat thing and can help a lot of players," he said.

    Rams coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the NFL's influential competition committee, agrees.

    "There's been discussions over the last couple years. I don't know what direction it's going, but I think we have a need for it," Fisher said. "I think it would be beneficial from a young players' standpoint. ... if you have to make an outside roster move to get somebody that's in shape that you can evaluate on film."

    Vincent, naturally, is in a position to help bring a league, and an academy, into existence.

    "If it is something sustainable and it is good for the sport, and we can make it work," Vincent said, "it's worth pursuing."
  2. -X-

    -X- I'm the dude, man.

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    Personally, I think this would be a great idea. Like a minor leagues for Pro Football.
    NFLE was a great place for these guys to keep in football shape and it allowed them to continue to be scouted.
  3. LesBaker

    LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    This is a great idea and will provide a ton of excellent story lines when players come out of nowhere and become a big star in the NFL.

    I'd even consider picking a team to support/follow........make this happen NFL!!!
  4. Tron

    Tron Fights for the User

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    This would be awesome. Hope it will happen and soon.
  5. Ramrasta

    Ramrasta The Knight Owl

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    It's going to happen, it's just a matter of when.
  6. Memento

    Memento Ser Memento (alias, The Winged Knight).

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    Completely agree. I see a whole lot to gain and nothing to lose. And it would definitely satiate my football fix in the spring.
  7. moklerman

    moklerman Warner-phile

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    Used to love following Rams players in NFLE. I even watched that guy trying to capitalize on Curt Warner's name. The Rhein Fire had my favorite uniforms though.

    As far as a developmental league, I think it's a good idea in principal but I don't know if injuries would be an issue and I also don't know if it would lead to over-saturation of the NFL. Which sounds kind of silly considering how saturated it is right now but there has to be a tipping point.
    rhinobean likes this.
  8. LesBaker

    LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    And Dane Looker.......I wish things had turned out better for him but read what he did acomplish and he wouldn't have had any of it really if it wasn't for NFLE.

    First stint with Rams[edit]
    Looker was signed as an undrafted free agent by the St. Louis Rams on April 17, 2000. Looker spent 2000 training camp with the Rams before being traded to the New England Patriots on August 7.[2]

    New England Patriots[edit]
    Looker made the final opening day roster with the Patriots but was listed as inactive. On November 16, 2000, the Patriots placed Looker on injured reserve due to a leg injury.[2] On July 31, 2001, the Patriots waived Looker.[3]

    Second stint with Rams[edit]
    The Rams signed Looker on August 8, 2001 and waived Looker on August 27, 2001.[1][4] The Rams re-signed Looker on February 12, 2002 and assigned Looker to the NFL Europe team Berlin Thunder.[1][5]

    Looker led Berlin to a World Bowl title and was named World Bowl Most Valuable Player after catching 11 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns, as Berlin defeated the Rhein Fire 26-20.[6]He was named to All-NFL Europe team and led all NFL Europe receivers in receptions (54) and receiving yards (661) during the regular season, he also scored five touchdowns.[1]

    After playing in three preseason games in 2002,[7] Looker signed with the Rams practice squad on September 9, 2002 and to the active roster on December 12.[1] Looker played his first regular season NFL game on December 15 in the Rams' game against the Arizona Cardinals, on both offense and special teams.[1] Looker played in the Rams' two final games of 2002 as well.[7] In 2003 he received significant offensive action, emerging as the Rams’ third receiver with 47 receptions. His first touchdown reception came on September 14, 2003, on a 19-yard reception from quarterback Marc Bulger.[1]

    Looker played in 14 games of the 2004 season. On the October 10 away game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Seattle-area native Looker made a critical, out-of-bounds 16-yard catch to bring the Rams to the 18-yard line and set up a game-tying field goal late in the fourth quarter. The Rams would win 33-27.[8] In 2005 he caught 23 passes for 237 yards. In 2006 Looker handled holder duties all 16 games and also returned punts. In 2007 he played in 13 games serving as holder in each of the contests and made six receptions for 38 yards and Rams’ 2007 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.[1] In 2008 Looker played 13 games with 6 starts and made 23 receptions for 271 yards, and 11.8-yard average and 2 touchdowns.[9]

    The head coach of the Rams during 2006, 2007, and 2008 seasons was Scott Linehan, for whom Looker had previously played at the University of Washington.

    Looker's contract with the Rams expired at the end of the 2008 season making him a free agent.
  9. LesBaker

    LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    This just came to mind.

    How would this effect the college game if players wanted to go to the D League rather than college?
  10. Ken

    Ken New Member

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    I don't know why folks are assuming that a D league would make HS players eligible. Did NFLE players get signed right out of HS? You'd think they have a minimum age requirement of 20 or 21 to discourage HS grads from not going the college route.
    RhodyRams likes this.
  11. LesBaker

    LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    I should have said "what if".......the NBA has changed the age to get in and it's making things difficult for some colleges sometimes.

    It was just a thought, if a 19 year old can play college ball why not the D League right? It might make it easier for some kids who won't get the attention their first two years in college.

    Anyway like I said just a thought.
  12. dieterbrock

    dieterbrock Well-Known Member

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    I still miss the USFL, so count me in with the "Yes" crowd
  13. Boffo97

    Boffo97 Well-Known Member

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    I still miss the XFL...
  14. dieterbrock

    dieterbrock Well-Known Member

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    I try to forget about the XFL, the USFL I loved.
    New Jeresy woulda had one heck of a team if the league didnt fold
  15. FRO

    FRO Well-Known Member

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    I think they should make a spring league and have it here in the states. Give cities without NFL teams a D-League team. San Antonio for example could have a team. There is such a market for spring football. It would be so beneficial.
    Mojo Ram likes this.
  16. LesBaker

    LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    I'd consider putting it in cities that already have teams too.....there is a venue to play in and built in fans.
  17. dieterbrock

    dieterbrock Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree with same cities that have teams, I'd prefer to see them play in smaller venues though, keep the consumer costs down. Be better for the league to have 30-40k stadiums filled vs third to half filled 70k stadiums. Just my .02
  18. FRO

    FRO Well-Known Member

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    I would like to see cities without teams get to see live pro ball.
    Mojo Ram likes this.
  19. LesBaker

    LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    You mean like Buffalo and Cleveland? :ROFLMAO:
    Mojo Ram likes this.
  20. LesBaker

    LesBaker Mr. Savant

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    How funny would it be if this happened and they put a team in........LOS ANGELES!!!!!!!!!

    Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!
    RhodyRams and Mojo Ram like this.