If the NFL’s goal is too become global and they ultimately desire to maintain a viable talent pool too feed teams able bodied players, experienced coaches and referees then the answer is for the NFL too buy -out all the CFL teams and start a developmental league. How much could it cost to buy -out a struggling league, that currently has a member which owns 2 franchises and a league total of 9 teams last year for the first time since 2005 ?
In reality this is a much better solution then NFL Europe for a whole host of reasons.
*Proximity to current franchises with matching time zones.
* The CFL stadiums/fields can be quickly modified to match NFL style play, with marginal cost.
* There is an existing demographic for American Football in Canada and with the NFL shield, management and coaching staffs – the interest level rises and it connects all the dots to Football in North America under one brand, played the same way.
Simply put the NFL needs a place to develop the talent coming out of College that is not ready for prime time, but could be with the right coaching and working environment. As is stands now, so many players get lost in a system that does not provide any bridges between College and the Pro’s. These players after brief stints on 90 man camp rosters are forced to work out on their own or play in lower independent leagues which are under financed and ill – equipped to pay players properly or to provide professional training and development platforms.
The NFL network is so vast and comprehensive in terms of assets, it would serve themselves well to have a coordinated developmental system that could be used too develop players, coaches, referees, on – air talent, management and staff. Too many Retired NFL Players who want to be a part of the game whether it be for coaching or front office positions have nowhere to learn and hone the craft.
If building the NFL Brand and protecting the shield is the mission, than what better way to do it then controlling a development system that improves your product on the field and creates an able bodied player pool, close to home. Right now the best source for new players is the draft, which is tantamount to going to Las Vegas and gambling. In reality a career in college football is not an accurate measuring tool for how players will fare at the next level, nor is the draft combine. Yes, it’s the best system they have at the moment, but how many millions are thrown down the hole on 1st through 3rd round draft busts while, better players emerge from the ranks of the undrafted and unsigned.
The NFL has been dumping money across the pond since the 90’s with little success and varied interest. Build your assets close to home and strengthen your business model before making the same mistakes again.