It seems like these small leagues which have a far larger league playing in the same country always tend to fail, don’t they? I’m not a big time expert on these minor organizations, I mean, when we’re talking football, NFL Europe failed and it was run by the parent superpower. Then, there’s the Arena Football League which was definitely exciting, but it failed too. Oh, and we won’t mention the XFL. So, will this newly evolved United Football League succeed? I’ll tell you one thing they’re doing correctly: They’re only starting with four teams. Filling out four rosters with the only competition being the Canadian Football League shouldn’t be difficult. The quality of play will stay high and grab people’s attention to start. Head Coach of the Las Vegas franchise, Jim Fassel, goes in to great detail about it below. Speaking of coaches, this league has some marquee names – likely carrying more name power than the players which will sign on – Fassel, Jim Haslett, Ted Cottrell, and Dennis Green. One other positive which we don’t often think of as fans is that the league will own half of each team to control the overspending which crippled the other leagues. Oh, and the games will be televised on Versus. Fassel joined KLAC to discuss the thinking behind the UFL, if he would allow Michael Vick on his team, and what excites him about this start-up.
On the UFL:
“It’s a perfect time. We talk about the economy being bad, the average price is $20 when a lot of people can’t afford to go to an NFL game… There is no more NFL Europe, there is no more Arena League. There’s a whole bunch of quality players on the street right now, we’re finding out right now. It’s going to be a quality league from a talent standpoint.”
What excites him about the development of the league:
“I think one of the things that’s really, really going to be good is that we’re just starting out with four teams. They’re going to call this the Kickoff Season, just an inaugural kick it off, get the ground floor laid and let people see it. I think what will happen is, it’s much easier to stock four teams with quality players and four quality head coaches and an assistant coaching staff. Then you play six games with a championship game, I think the fans are gonna go, ‘Hey I’m really getting into this. This is awesome, this is really good,’ and then the season is over and they go, ‘Ohhh I can’t wait until that comes back next year.’ You try and go start up a league with 12 teams and play a 16 game schedule, people might go, ‘Oh my team’s not doing good,’ and then lose interest and it’s hard to get them back. I think every move they’re making right now is outstanding.”
Why John Elway finally retired after doing a Brett Favre:
“He said, ‘If I won’t work hard in the offseason, I won’t play good in the fall and I don’t want to not play good in the fall. I’ve got to commit myself to be there, lift, be with the team, work out, learn the offense, do those things, other ways I won’t play good in the fall. I’m tired of working in the offseason.’ It sounds like Brett’s a little bit tired of working hard in the offseason. Then I would agree with what John Elway said, you cannot go in and play well no matter how great you’ve been if you don’t commit yourself to the offseason. If he doesn’t want to do that, I would say ‘Brett, you’re a great quarterback. Call it a career, walk away and enjoy your life.”
Would he sign Michael Vick in the UFL?
“We live in America. I don’t want to see people who have never made a mistake in their life. We all make mistakes. The mistake he made was horrific, it turned my stomach, but he paid his debt to society by the laws of this country. He should be given the opportunity to come back and say, ‘You know what, I’ve changed,’ and then it’s up to him. If he really has, then… most people will accept him back. He’s a professional football player by trade, that means he should be able to get a job like that back. I would take him back after I sat down and talked to him.”