Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo
We all have heard of D-Leagues, farm teams, and the minors. From the NBA to the MLB the majority of professional franchises all have a league for their players to develop. Whether its a rookie needing a stage to get some more experience or a vet trying to have that one last comeback. The minors have been a pivotal stepping stone in player development for every major sports franchise and necessary to a degree for the growth of major sports pool of talent.
So it would only seem logical that the NFL would have something similar for their players. Unfortunately, the NFL has not really had a reliable league that has been able to withstand beyond their gimmicks and 15 minutes of fame.to forge a partnership that would be built to last.
As they say, the times they are a changing and thanks to the emergence of The Alliance of American Football the NFL might have finally found their minor league counterpart. In just a months time they have definitely attracted legitimate attention from the movers and shakers in the not just NFL but the sports arena in general. Carolina Hurricanes Owner, Tom Dundon seems to believe that AAF has a longer shelf life than most hit wonders of the past putting in 250 million into the AAF honey pot. When you see someone like Jerry Jones sporting an Alliance ball cap at the 2019 NFL Combine it makes a statement. The AAF still has many mountains to climb to before they become the official minor league franchise of the NFL but they are starting to make a damn good case for why this needs to more than just a thought.
AAF Co-Founder and Pro Hall of Famer, Bill Polian expressed on Wednesday that there, in fact, have been some informal discussion between officials from both the AAF and the NFL about. the possibility of the NFL “loaning” players to the AAF in the future. He acknowledged that there are still many “procedural hurdles: that would need to be overcome before it could become a reality.
Two of the key components that have caused the NFL to unofficially embrace a partnership with the AAF is first off it’s not trying to be the NFL or a rival but rather complementary to it. Secondly, fills a void that NFL officials and players have been needing for a long time a place to continue to develop and get reps in the offseason. Now don’t expect to see high profile players on their way to one of the 8 franchises in the future. The AAF most likely would be a place for the lesser known names currently on NFL rosters needing a place to be developed to compete on Sundays full time or players who are already in limbo for one last look by their respective franchises.
This won’t be done overnight and may not even be something we see in the 2020 season of the AAF. As Polian said there are many hurdles to overcome one of the obvious would be getting the NFL Players Association to agree to terms with the AAF and that’s a whole other set of things to consider. The important thing is that there seems to be a legitimate conversation going and unofficially you can already visibly see the “understood: alliance of the NFL and AAF from programming to the presentation over the last few weeks. It just seems to make sense that the NFL have a developmental league for players it could alleviate a great deal of the woes that have been plaguing the league for some time. You be surprised what taking the sport of football back to the roots and the basics can do for not just the NFL but for its players.
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Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a Senior Editor and writer for Main Event Sports. She is a veteran SEC sports journalist, NFL Network content writer, and Brown University, graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ Misskyus2011