Those of you who read the first few posts on my original blog MaconDawg's Blawg may remember a post from about this time last year on the All-American Football League, a pro football outfit bankrolled by UGA Alum Marcus Katz.
Well, the AAFL isn't dead yet, according to Dennis Dodd at CBS Sportsline. It's not really alive, either. Still no TV deal. Still no confirmed franchise lineup. But it's still out there.
The AAFL strikes me as the oil sands mine of the football universe, attempting to wring every last drop of gridiron lust out of college football fans (primarily in the southeast). However, much like the oil sands industry, there are still some technical hurdles to be overcome.
"They are the members of the All-American League . . ."
One is the lack of a TV contract. While it is entirely possible that the AAFL may be able to fill Legion Field with 30,000 Bama fans to watch former Tide players sack Casey Clausen (again), the league really isn't going to sustain itself without TV dollars. And the TV dollars will not come until the league puts a lot of butts in seats, not just in Birmingham, but in Atlanta, Dallas, and a variety of other markets. That's going to take time, and hopefully not so much time that Marcus Katz runs out of money and patience in the interim.
Another problem is the product itself. Are there really that many people who want to see Akili Smith and Tim Couch play professional football again? Didn't we see more of that than we wanted the first time around? The players involved in the league are going to be guys freshly laid off from NFL Europa, or guys who never really caught on in the Arena League. Let's face it folks, when Travis McGriff is the marquis player in your league, the competition just may not be that compelling.
There's also the built-in stigma of being a professional football league that is not the NFL. That's not fair, but then again the sports Gods are often unfair. Just ask Ryan Leaf (who I'm sure is in contract negotiations with the AAFL as we speak).
But I do have some modest proposals to make this little venture entertaining, even if it's not profitable:
1) Quincy Carter and Ricky Williams absolutely must be on the same team, no matter where the site of that franchise is. "Because I Got High" (warning: you just might want to turn the sound down before clicking on the link) must be played over the public address system after player introductions.
2) On second thought, Quincy should quarterback the Columbia Game Hens, at least if this league is truly about helping players return to the site of their most glorious moments. Quincy's still huge in Columbia.
3) As a special promotion, Knoxville Coonhound signal caller Casey Clausen must play the first half of the Hounds' season opener against Georgia Bulldog alums with one arm actually tied behind his back.
4) The Norman Land Thieves should draft Brian Bosworth. Bosworth was AAFL material before the AAFL was cool. Ditto for the Seattle Slew and Steve Emtman.
5) The special July 4th promo for the Lexington Mildcats? Jared Lorenzen versus Kobayashi at halftime. A hotwing eating contest fit for pay-per-view.
6) Jackie Sherrill ought to coach the unfortunate bastards who end up playing for the Starkville Attack Dogs. They still blame Sherrill for everything in Starkville anyway, so he might as well actually be responsible.
7) Chris Rix. For the love of God, somebody please draft Chris Rix.
8) Reggie Ball. Ditto.
"They miss receivers, near and far . . ."
9) The league must relax it's requirement that players actually have earned a college degree to be eligible. Otherwise no Georgia Tech players will ever get in (see #8), and no Auburn player will ever be kept out (see the Irons brothers). And finally,
10) Brodie Croyle should have to play for the team stationed in Auburn. Oh wait, you mean Brodie Croyle is unavailable because he's actually playing in the NFL? What kind of puds are they going to put in this league?
Feel free to place your helpful suggestions in the comments. I'll forward them along to the AAFL for consideration.