This past week over 864 players were released. Some of them have been brought back for practice squads and some others were picked up from another NFL team. For players who are in the late 20s or early 30s, many of them are retiring from the sport they loved since they first started playing Pop Warner Football. But for some who are in their mid to early 20s their Professional Football Careers are just beginning. The reality is the game of Football is growing and is becoming a global, despite obstacles when it comes to the long-term health and safety for current and former football players. We’ve seen the past; players career gets cut short from gruesome leg injuries or get paralyzed from playing the game. We’ve heard tragic stories of players who suffer from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which is a brain condition that is caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion. But regardless of those concerns the NFL has become the biggest and most watched sport in America and while the sport itself has become a global game Example: On the final Preseason game between the Detroit Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers which was on CBS Averaged 5.821 Million Viewers, which is up 65% vs. Last Year. That’s more than the NBA games on Christmas Day performed in 2021. Some people believe that College Football is basically the minor league of Football but consider this there are 774 Colleges in the country that have a College Football Program, that’s the highest its ever been with six more programs adding to the sport in 2023. There are more college football players in any other time ever and many of them want to keep the dreams alive in playing Professional Football.
Historically, Alternative or Spring Pro Football Leagues hasn’t last long and, in some cases, didn’t quiet finished the season like World Football League from the mid 1970’s, The first addition of both USFL, XFL, Arena Football, NFL Europe, United Football League and most recently the Alliance of American Football. On the other hand, some of these leagues produce Hall of Famer players, the USFL produce 7 while the Arena Football and NFL Europe produce 1 which was Kurt Warner. This Spring saw the return of USFL which was televised on both FOX Sports and NBC/Peacock. In February 2023 the XFL will be returning under the ownership of WWE wrestling and movie star Dwayne “Rock “Johnson which will be televised on ABC/ESPN/Disney and what will be interesting is see will both the USFL and XFL can coexist the next few years or will the two leagues merge and form Spring Football League. Last year two new football leagues started with Fan Controlled Football an Indoor Football League, that started playing in the Spring of 2021 while in European, using some of the old NFL Europe teams, European League of Football started its inaugural season in the summer of 2021 and they plan to expand to 24 teams by 2025. Then of course you have the Canadian Football League which is the second oldest Professional Football League in North America that officially started in 1958 and have produce some legendary Football players like Joe Thiesmann, Jake Scott, Doug Flutie, Damon Allen, Camron Wake and Hall of Famer Warren Moon.
While the latest Alliance of American Football League folded 7 games during the 2019 season 19 players were active on an NFL roster in 2020 while 15 players who played in the XFL were active on an NFL roster. During the NFL preseason training camp, 51 players that played in the USFL were invited by various NFL teams but only 1 player made the team and that was Kavontae Turpin who played for the New Jersey Generals and who played in the European League of Football 2021 for the Wroclaw Panthers in Poland, will be playing for the Dallas Cowboys this season. Meanwhile the NFL which over 100 years old, is the only sports league that doesn’t have a minor like Major League Baseball, NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer, but with the addition for these new alternative football league that could change. Privately, I believe that the NFL owners, general managers, coaches and scouts want a Spring Football League ever since they were forced to pull the plug on NFL Europe, and since the league schedule grew to 17 games an expanded to 14 playoff games and more players are needed to step in and make an impact for their team. The toughest most harsh day for most of these football players is getting cut and not making it to a roster but the journey does not really have to end. For some, they will cycle back all year long during the NFL season, however, many of them will find a home in the CFL, XFL, USFL, Fan Controlled Football and the European League of Football that will keep their dreams alive, in any in case, this will create a pathway back to the NFL.