If you care at all about the CFL, it is time to start worrying.
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Regular York Report readers already know about summer plans to launch the All-American Football League, which intends to raid the CFL’s talent for its franchises in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee and Texas.
Well, get set now for the United Football League, scheduled to kick off in August. It has megabucks, courtesy of Mark Cuban and other prominent investors who are at least as affluent as the Dallas Mavericks’ owner. It has a respectable commissioner, former NFL executive Michael Huyghue. And it has begun to wave big money in front of potential recruits.
“It’ll get a good TV contract, too,” revealed a football agent who has several CFL clients. “The CFL is already thin on talent and coaching. This league, combined with the AAFL and, of course, the NFL, could really obliterate the CFL.”
Another agent, Gil Scott, was at the NFL’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last week. He saw no CFL representatives but did notice UFL types scouting players in drills.
“There’s money in this league,” said Scott, who represents more CFLers than any agent. “You’re talking about guys like Cuban and the guy who runs Google (Tim Armstrong). You have to take them seriously.”
The UFL will have franchises in Austin, Texas, Birmingham, Ala., Columbus, Ohio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Tenn., New York, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., Sacramento, Calif., and San Antonio. The league also is considering Mexico City and England.
“Our mission is … to bring real, professional outdoor fall football to fans,” is the message at www.ufl2008.com “We are assembling the best talent on the field, on the sidelines and in the league and team offices to ensure we deliver a credible, high-quality product that is accessible and affordable for fans.”
The CFL has been awfully quiet about both these new leagues. I’m beginning to wonder if it is even aware of them.
• Among the first CFLers who may jump to the UFL is Ryan Dinwiddie, Winnipeg’s starting quarterback in the 2007 Grey Cup game … With the Blue Bombers short on QBs, they’re talking trade with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (Marcus Crandell) and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Timmy Chang) … The CFL was tampering with its greatest asset the other day — its rules — and considered a proposal for mandatory two-point converts in overtime. Won’t happen.
•And there are rumblings within the NFL that Brett Favre, who will be 39 in October, is thinking about retiring as the Green Bay Packers’ QB this week.