There is no question - people in Texas love football. With the conclusion of our NFL season this past weekend, and college and high school games having ended almost a month ago, the rabid football fanatic will now begin to suffer through the dreaded off-season.
Meanwhile, the rest of us casual sports fans are looking forward to NCAA basketballs March Madness, Major League Baseballs spring training, and many other great sporting events that occur in this country.
So it never seems to fail that some group will again try to create a second outdoor football league that plays opposite the NFL schedule, thinking that there are an abundance of skilled enough, former college players looking for jobs, and that there are plenty of fans all over America willing to pay good money to watch those guys play.
The newest supposed sensation is the All American Football League, slated to open with a schedule of ten games beginning in April. Team Texas will be based right here in Houston, and play their home games at Rice Stadium.
The initial draft for the league occurred last week, with five other teams besides Texas selecting upwards of 50-55 players: Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, and Tennessee.
So as I flipped through the rosters to see what kind of talent might be on display in the AAFL, at first glance I recognized the names of exactly nine players IN THE ENTIRE LEAGUE. Now, I consider myself to be the typical, average sports fan that Team Texas will be trying to sell tickets to, and Ive only heard of three of their players: quarterbacks Eric Crouch (former Heisman Trophy winner at Nebraska), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), and BJ Symons (Texas Tech and Cy Creek HS). They did not draft one other player that I am even familiar with.
And there lies the biggest reason why the AAFL will eventually fail, just like every other faction that has tried to capitalize on this type of scheme. The market of football fans willing to spend their hard-earned dollars to watch unknown players, is just way too small. It basically consists of friends and family members of the players and coaches on each team, and the smallest percentile of crazy fanatics that are willing to watch any football being played at any time, in any place.
It has simply been proven time and again, that nothing will ever be created that rivals our passion for the NFL or our favorite NCAA football teams. What drives the NFL is its star power of big name players that we all love to watch, and the millions of us that have spent many devoted years cheering for our favorite franchise.
You simply cannot re-create that type of atmosphere overnight. The failures that have tried include the USFL, the XFL, and recently NFL Europe, which folded it operations just last year. There are hundreds of indoor arena football teams that try to pick at our football enthusiasm all over the country, with little success.
The problem is, once we as fans have cycled through the NFL season, most of us have spent our money and time on enough football tickets for the year. The majority of us cannot invest ourselves in another team, especially one full of non-stars and players we cant identify with.
The AAFL is the newest playground for recently finished NCAA football players who are no longer desired or were not drafted by NFL teams. It is a way for them to try and grab a small, weekly paycheck for four months, while wondering what else they are going to do with their lives. Players are sold on the fact that if they perform well, they may be able to reach the dream again of someday wearing an NFL uniform. But the reality is, for 99 percent of them, that wont happen.
So and after a couple of seasons playing games in front of empty crowds, and team owners not being able to turn a profit, the AAFL will join the list of secondary football leagues that crash and burn.
©Houston Community Newspapers Online 2008
So and after a couple of seasons playing games in front of empty crowds, and team owners not being able to turn a profit, the AAFL will join the list of secondary football leagues that crash and burn.[/quote]
Or not. It's simply way too soon to know. Let's see how many fans actually turn up and tune in before we start digging the grave.
With the AFL already being in existance for 23 years now, you would have thought someone would have realized the competition for football is very narrow outside of the NFL and College. This was going to be an uphill climb from the start, and using such huge venues, high salaries, and the extreme travel costs were going to kill it sooner than later.
I guess they should have consulted some of us first.