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The UFL: Just Another XFL?

Published: May 1, 2009

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Over the past couple months the UFL has been making headlines and gaining the attention of the media and fans alike. For those of you who aren’t completely dialed in with the pro football scene, the UFL is the United Football League.Yes, another NFL imitator doomed to fail like the XFL, USFL, and the World Football League before them.

The XFL was a complete joke, an utter embarrassment to all sports. From names like “He Hate Me,” to the Million Dollar Game at the end of the season, it was painful to watch and even worse to inevitably see it fall into obscurity and eventually collapse.

The NFL is the largest cash cow in the United States other than NASCAR, and they did so with doing very little and pride themselves on this fact. The regular seasons of the MLB, NBA and NHL dwarf the NFLs short but sweet 17 week regular season. The lack of regular season games leaves something to be desired, creating a huge untapped market ripe for the picking.

The only problem is that nobody has done it right…until now.

The UFL will feature an 11-man squad just like the NFL, opening day will be in October culminating with their version of the super bowl on thanksgiving day.  This isn’t the watered down version of football seen in the Arena League, and it certainly wont be the half football, half wrestling garbage the XFL spewed at us.  This will be football. Real football.

Games will be played on Thursdays and Fridays so they do not conflict with the college and NFL scheduling. This is very exciting, lots of fans including myself can’t get enough football.

One year a buddy of mine was so desperate for more fantasy football after the spring season had ended, he tried to start up an Arena Fantasy league. Of course this idea failed miserably and we proceeded to make fun of him until he developed a complex, but the point is: we all want more football.

The UFL appears to be the best minor professional football league to come out since the United States Football League. They have the personnel including former Jacksonville G.M. Michael Huyghue as well as several high profile investors pumping money into this possible gold mine.

From right to left, Former Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Denny Green, and Former Saints Head Coach Jim Haslett

From left to right, Former Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Denny Green, and Former New Orleans Saints Head Coach Jim Haslett

They also managed to attract three ex-NFL head coaches in the likes of Denny Green (above left), Jim Haslett (above right) and Jim Fassell who all enjoyed minor success as head coaches in the NFL for their respective teams. This will not only gain support from fans, but will also gain interest from young up and coming players looking to be developed into NFL-caliber athletes.

The UFL recently announced that they are attempting to recruit embattled ex-Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to play for one of the six teams of the UFL.

This may be controversial as not many GMs are willing to risk housing such a strong magnet for negative media, but it might just be the exposure they need to get a solid jump start. Vick has been out of professional football for two long years, missing out on the elite level of training most players get over the course of a year. Vick’s ability at quarterback will come under question and he is going to have to prove himself once again.

Although he has never proved himself as a solid passing quarterback in any respect, he has proved to be a winning quarterback and one of the greatest rushing quarterbacks of all time. Regardless, this is the best way for Vick to slowly make his way back into the NFLs good graces after a much publicised arrest and trial for the dog fights held at his estate.

This is a smart move for the UFL. Bring in a high profile player like Vick, forget the controversy and dog fighting, he paid his dues, he did his time…lets get over it. That being said, there will still be protests and outrage, but for the most part this will be a very lucrative move.

The bottom line: Michael Vick is entertaining. Love him or hate him, he will put butts in seats and entertain those butts. That’s exactly what the UFL needs right out of the gate, and they should do everything they can to ink him immediately.  Positive media, negative media, either way its still media coverage for a brand new league looking to get its feet wet in a very tough market.

Where the others have failed, the UFL will succeed. They are walking on extremely thin ice and the smallest mistakes will send the UFL packing. If it’s done right however, this could be a nice addition to the greatest time of the year—football season.

-Jon Devoe