I hate the day after the Super Bowl. Football season just ended, Spring Training is still a month away, and the hot-stove league is concerned with minor deals. I used to be a big basketball fan, but I just don’t find it interesting anymore. I’ll watch a little March Madness, and maybe some of the ACC Tournament, but I’m just counting the days (56) until Opening Day.
Now, I prefer baseball to football, but I do enjoy watching football on the weekends when baseball isn’t on. And though I often find my preferences to be different than the average American, I think this is one of the cases where many people feel the same way. The NFL is raking in money, but I think there is plenty more on the table. Why doesn’t the NFL expand its regular season by a few games? Why hasn’t another league started up to compete?
I think one of these two things has to happen very soon. I haven’t done an in depth study of the issue, but the revenue and salary numbers lead me to believe that NFL players are not paid nearly what they generate in terms of revenue. I think it would be very easy for a rogue league to get many good players to jump ship. Additionally, many college players participating in the student-athlete farce of “college” football ought to be willing to jump to pro football.
The USFL tried and failed over 20 years ago (1983-1985). The XFL didn’t last more than one season (2001). Both of these leagues had problems. The USFL was poorly organized, but still almost survived. The XFL was a joke, and forgot the fundamental reason why people watch football—it’s a fun game to watch and doesn’t need any fake drama. Plus, the XFL did not pretend to hire major-league talent.
The sports world is booming along with the economy. More and more fans—in particular, wealthy fans—are watching football. And we have plenty of eccentric billionaires who would love some public adoration. Now is the time for new league or an expanded slate of NFL games. There’s just too big of an opportunity here for this not to happen.