The UFL has been in the news a little bit lately. For those not in the know, the UFL is the United Football League created by William Hambrecht, a Wall Street investor, who was once a minority owner in the USFL’s Oakland Invaders football team, and Tim Armstrong a former executive at Google, and now the Chairman and CEO of AOL.
These men have hired Michael Huyghue as the Commissioner of their League. Huyghue previously worked for the NFLPA, the NFL management council, served as Vice President of the Detroit Lions, and was the General Manager of the Birmingham Fire of the old World League of American Football. Huyghue was also a sports agent who's clients included one Adam “Pac man” Jones.
The biggest piece of news out of this league is that William Mayer, founder of Park Avenue Equity, is the league's latest investor and owner of the league’s New York franchise. Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks is also a rumored investor but his role for 2009 seems to be as of yet undefined. United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi is also reported to be an investor in the league.
The league will field only four teams for its 2009 inaugural season, one each in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Orlando, and New York. The league has gone all out to hire big name head coaches and football fans will surely recognize these next three names Dennis Green will coach in San Francisco, Jim Fassell will coach the Las Vegas Franchise, while Jim Haslett will coach the Orlando team. Ted Cotrell, previously the Defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, and San Diego Chargers will be the Head Coach of the New York team.
These four teams will play a six game season starting in October and finishing up around Thanksgiving. They will play games in their home stadiums and in other football markets such as Hartford, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. The Home stadiums are reported to be as follows:
· Las Vegas- Sam Boyd Stadium
· New York- Citi Filed
· Orlando- Citrus Bowl
• San Francisco- AT&T Park
Further details on the exact place of the games and scheduled are rumored to be forth coming from the league.
This league also seems to be targeting several suspended NFL players to help jump start the league with a few big names. There are rumors that both Plaxico Burress and Michael Vick have been targeted by the league.
After the 2009 season the UFL plans to expand into places like Salt Lake City, and Monterrey, Mexico.
All in all it seems to be a very good plan, by starting small the league can withstand its first season at minimal cost, but the plan to play in the fall with their games likely coming on Thursday and Saturday nights may not be a good one.
While they will not face strong NFL competition on those nights, they will have to battle against College Football, and not let themselves be drawn into a fight with the NFL in the fashion of the old USFL. If they can accomplish this they just may survive year one.
If they do survive the question then become what will this league be? Will it be another Major Football League or will it become a feeder series for guys who go undrafted and Arena Football players to hone their skills on their way to the dominant NFL? In the end only time will tell.
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