I’ve always felt competing pro football leagues were doomed to die with the NFL in place, but if the USFL has real kickoffs and allows real hits (even on the QB!), then this might be the time launch it.
Just make sure you get a lawyer to draw up an iron-tight hold-harmless contract for anyone who signs and print “Warning: Playing football can lead to physical injury, concussions, brain damage, and even death” on the side of the helmet.
You know, just in case the players didn’t know that already.
USFL relaunching, Biletnikoff involved
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The USFL is back in business.
A reincarnation of the league, with an entirely different business model, plans to kick off in March. On Thursday, it included Hall of Fame receiver Fred Biletnikoff among its advisers.
Biletnikoff will consult on football operations for the league, which originally went out of business in 1987 after losing millions of dollars and, despite winning a lawsuit against the NFL, being awarded just $3 in indemnities. That version unwisely chose to challenge the NFL, while this one will be more of a developmental league.
"We will not try to compete with the NFL at all," said CEO Jaime Cuadra after adding Biletnikoff and James Bailey, an executive for the Cleveland Browns and then the Baltimore Ravens for 21 years, to the USFL's board of advisers. The board will be responsible for guiding USFL management on various areas of operations, eventually focusing on a search for the league's commissioner.
"We will play in markets where there are no NFL teams or major league baseball teams. It's a league for guys who are on the bubble for making NFL teams, and we will have complete open access for the NFL. We want to build a model that is sustainable."
The USFL is looking at a 14-game season from March until June in eight cities. Its players would then be free to join NFL clubs at their training camps.
All player and coach contracts will be owned by the league, with salaries not approaching anything the NFL offers.
Cities currently being considered are Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; San Antonio or Austin, Texas; Columbus or Akron, Ohio; Oklahoma City; Omaha, Neb.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Memphis, Tenn.
"These are cities with underutilized facilities at that time of year," Cuadra said.