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Could the NFL be starting a spring football league?

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL and UFL coach Jim Fassel seems to believe there will potentially be a spring football league opening next year.

I haven't heard of this but it's probably a good idea for the league -- whether it's something that the NFL will be heading up or someone else, it should be done. It really is incredible when you think about it that the multi-billion dollar NFL doesn't have some sort of minor league system that they control. NFL Europe ended in 2007. The UFL ended in 2012. Other competitors haven't turned into anything worth mentioning. There is college football but the NFL doesn't control that. Often times the interests of college football and the NFL overlap which is good for the NFL because it doesn't really cost them anything at the college level.

However, at some point the league is going to need to create a viable minor league system. A few thoughts on doing that:

  • It needs to happen in the spring so that those players could then catch on with an NFL team by training camp in August.
  • Offseason rosters are currently at 90 which means there should be enough players to make a viable league. Just in case, teams should be able to send their draft picks and other rookies into the spring league if they want.
  • The biggest question is the cost to the NFL teams (such as stadium availability) and whether this league and the extra scouting options that comes from it would be worth that cost. What if teams split the cost where four NFL teams have one team that they're responsible for?
  • Where the fans are (US cities without a team): Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Virginia Beach-Norfolk, San Antonio. Those all have more estimated NFL fans than Kansas City, by the way.

I think something along the lines of a minor league system will be developed sometime in the next few years. The NFL has the resources to do something and given the relative success of NFL Europe at a time when football wasn't as popular as it is today it seems like that would be the next logical step so that the league doesn't have to rely solely on college football.