The people behind a new professional football league that hopes to launch in 2018 say they don’t intend to compete with the NCAA. They have a long way to go financially and otherwise just to get their venture off the ground. But if they can play even one season, paying the bills and cutting 18- to 22-year-olds in on the action, it’s easy to see where the impact could be significant, Tom Pelissero of USA Today
“It’ll make sense for a lot of young men and a lot of families,” longtime NFL receiver Ed McCaffrey, one of the nascent Pacific Pro Football League’s co-founders, said recently. “We’re hoping to provide them with that choice.”
The plan: Four teams based in Southern California, each playing an eight-game schedule on Sundays during the sports dead zone of July and August. Roughly 50 players per team making an average salary and benefits package of $50,000 a year, which they’d be free to supplement with endorsements. Rules tweaked to enhance safety and give NFL scouts matchups they want to see. Coaches with NFL experience, who would teach pro-style schemes in an immersive environment unbound by rules regarding classroom time. Any player four years or fewer removed from high school would be eligible, including college underclassmen who’d entered the NFL draft.
Numerous minor leagues have tried and failed in recent years to expand the American pro football landscape by relying on players who’d missed the NFL cut, which inevitably limited the potential for creating a compelling consumer product. Money has been a common problem, too, and remains a central question here. Don Yee, a veteran NFL agent who is CEO and principal founder of “Pac Pro”, says the league has received angel financing from family and friends and he has met with a potential investor, as well as media distributors. But there is a lot of work to be done. There’s no endorsement or backing from the NFL or its players’ union.