ITOLDYOUSOVILLE, Illinois – On Friday, we somewhat gleefully noted the passing of NFL Europa, but as it turns out, we did so for mostly the wrong reasons. I dismissed the possibility of the AFL assuming the role of NFL Developmental League with two sentences, and moved on to my pet theory, which is that a larger pool of decent players means more decent teams, the conferences can even out, and the AFL can institute promotion and relegation with af2. Which I mostly argue for because of the comedic possibilites.
John Elway may disagree. According to Pro Football Talk.com, the Colorado Crush owner (and, of course, NFL Hall of Famer) is in favor of the former idea. The rumor, picked up by AOL’s Fanhouse, and posted on the first page of ArenaFan.com has been denied furiously by Chris McCloskey in all venues. If he comes across us, I just want it to be known that I think Mr. McCloskey seems to be a charming, intelligent fellow, and I’m sure is extremely virile. Please don’t yell at me, Mr. McCloskey – we just make fun of things.
That said, it’s quite the interesting proposition, and one that I’m not sure I’m entirely fond of. While it’d be nice to have further legitimacy granted to the league by an official association with the NFL, the implicit reason I dismissed the idea out of hand in the previous post still applies: what would be the point? The compromises that the AFL would have to make in terms of play would likely be ill-recieved by the fans, and would certainly eliminate most – if not all – of what makes the game unique. Certainly some sort of alliance with the NFL and NFLPA would bring in some additional revenue, but would likely marginalize the league further. The viability of the AFL teams in cities like Dallas and Chicago, where the NFL teams are sacrosanct is due to the fact that the Desperados and Rush play in the offseason, where Chicagoans and Dallas…ians… are in need of a football fix. If the season moves to a position in the fall concurrent with the NFL in order to reduce the conflicts with offseason training regimens, as Pro Football Talk suggests, that slaps a death sentence on the AFL teams playing in major metropolitan areas. And, if Elway is concerned about the profitibility of teams like his Crush – again, as Pro Football Talk suggests – it doesn’t seem that turning the AFL into just another league playing middling football is the most logical course of action.
The even more curious portion of the rumours involves the unseating of current half-giant Arena League Commissioner David Baker. They suggest it’s a power play on Elway’s part, but I don’t see the sense in it. I’m open to having it explained to me, but unless there’s more backroom acrimony that meets the eye, it seems that Elway would be better served by working with Baker rather than unseating him. The successful implementation of free substitution doesn’t seem to have brought the walls of the Wachovia Center crumbling down, and Baker was on board with that. It doesn’t appear that much would be gained by staging a coup, other than just showing that he could.
See? Baker’s HUMONGOUS.