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3/29/2020 9:39 am  #1


2021: The Futures Football League

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“Mark Cuban to Head Up New Football League”
 

August 15, 2018

Dallas, Tx-- NBA Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is going maverick again, announcing the founding of a new football league to begin play in the spring of 2021, and he is not alone.  Cuban announced the new league, one designed to highlight players within 5 years of their final college game, a developmental league, but a league that will be totally independent of what Cuban referred to as the “bloated and out-of-touch” NFL.  Standing beside him were an impressive array of investors, including the founder of the last failed Spring League, WWE’s Vince McMahon, along with Charlie Ebersol, son of longtime NBA Sports mogul, Dick Ebersol. Joining them via online video were two other deep pocketed investors, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. 

Cuban announced that league ownership, which will include all of these partners, have already committed 1.2 billion dollars to the new league, enough to finance the league, according to Cuban, for its first 8 seasons.  
 The idea of spring football is, of course, not new.  Dating back to the mid-1980’s with the 3 year run of the USFL, there have been any number of attempts at creating a viable spring league, including McMahon’s failed XFL and the recent UFL. 

Cuban agreed that the road for spring ball has been a rough one, but that at this time, with greater options for social media outlets to enhance traditional television contracts, and in an age where online sports gambling has been legalized, there are factors which will help to make this new league, revealed as the Futures Football League, a success.  Cuban spent considerable time outlining the major tenets of the new league, among them we highlight the following:
 

-- A 12 team league to play a 14 game season from late March into June, with a July 4 championship game. 

 -- Rosters will be limited to players who have 5 years or less of professional football, or who completed their NCAA eligibility within a 5 year window.  Once signed, players will have a 5 year playing period, limited much like college limits eligibility.  

-- Each team will also have a Professional Mentor, a position on the coaching staff to be occupied by a former NFL player who demonstrates excellence both on the field and in their private lives, to mentor, guide and advise the young rosters of FFL teams on how to be a pro and how to be a positive impact in their communities. 

-- Player salaries are expected to average between $100,000 and $1,000,000, depending on position, with QB’s expected to garner the greatest salaries. 

-- The league will not sign college juniors for their first season, but is open to allowing underclassmen to sign at a future date. 

-- Teams, along with their coaching staffs and identities will be announced over the next year, with all teams expected to have full operations ready to go for ticket sales and a player draft in March of 2020.   

-- All teams are expected to be in major markets (top 50 MSA) but to play in stadiums which range from 20,000 to 50,000 seats.   

-- The league has already hired several members of its football operations team, including Director of League Scouting Bill Polian, Director of Officiating Mike Pereira, and Director of Football Operations, Oliver Luck.  Several former players, including Steve Young, Mike Singletary, Bernie Kosar and Peyton Manning are rumored to have joined the Football Operations team. 


This is an ambitious attempt at a new league, perhaps the most ambitious (and the best-funded) since the USFL first brought spring football to the American consciousness.  Cuban, who has been a vocal critic of the NFL for some time, aligned with some high quality football people and some serious financial backers, may be saying that this league will not be direct competition with the NFL, but it has all the hallmarks of a rival league that intends to go toe-to-toe with the big boys.   

Last edited by Wideright90 (4/06/2020 4:14 pm)

 

3/30/2020 11:43 am  #2


Re: 2021: The Futures Football League

March 20, 2019 FFL ANNOUNCES FIRST FOUR FRANCHISES The Futures Football League, the brainchild of billionaire Mark Cuban has announced their first four franchises, located in Orlando, New Jersey/New York, Birmingham and San Diego. The San Diego Surf will play their home games at SDCCU stadium in 2021 before relocating to San Diego State University’s new Aztec Stadium in 2022.  The Surf, revealed today at a press conference at SDCCU Stadium, will wear familiar colors for the city, Sky (don’t call it “powder”) blue, Navy and athletic gold.  The logo of a crashing wave is expected to be replicated on the helmet as a full-helmet decal.  

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 The Orlando Explorers have gone with a NASA theme, prominently featuring the Explorer space shuttle cruising over a curved horizon as its logo. The team seems to have aligned its identity with the newly-named Exploria Stadium, home to Orlando City FC.  The team’s colors will be orange, black and “ozone” blue.  

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 The Birmingham franchise is aiming for a real blue collar vibe with its nickname, the Bulldozers.  The team will wear navy and athletic gold uniforms (trying hard not to look like Auburn or Bama) and will feature as its main logo a metalwork (rivets and all) B in front of a dozer blade.  The team will also have plans to relocate, as will San Diego, with the first year played at Legion Field, but then future seasons to relocate to UAB’s new stadium. 

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 In the NY-NJ metro area, the FFL has opted to go the route of the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, and recognize that despite their proximity to the Big Apple, the team actually will be playing in New Jersey.  With their home at NY Red Bulls home, Red Bull Arena, the team will try to capture fans from both states. The big question is whether or not the NY Giants will issue a “cease and desist”: letter once they hear the name.  The New Jersey G-Men plays off the popularity of the Giants’ unofficial moniker, while brandishing a retro logo that incorporates a faceless federal agent dressed in black, boldly displaying a silver and blue badge. The team will sport these three colors as its look.  

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 None of the teams were ready to announce coaching staffs yet, something we expect to see put in place in 2020, but for now the league hopes to build up an early fanbase through online merchandise sales and early advertising of season tickets.   Four teams announced, and we expect 4 more of the 12 founding franchises to be named later this spring. 

  

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4/03/2020 3:42 pm  #3


Re: 2021: The Futures Football League

April 20, 2019

FFL ANNOUNCES 4 MORE FRANCHISES


The fledgling Future’s Football League, led by maverick billionaire Mark Cuban, WWE Founder Vince McMahon and investors such as Jeff Bezos and Jack Dorsey, is moving ahead with their plans to build a developmental football league to begin play in Spring 2020.  After announcing 4 founding franchises last month (New Jersey, Orlando, San Diego and Orlando), the league updated fans on their webpage FFL.COM by announcing the next 4 franchises of their anticipated 12 initial teams. 

Joining New Jersey and Orlando in the Eastern Division will be the Washington Sentinels.  The Sentinels will wear Green, Navy and Gold and, as their name suggests, the franchise takes a very pro-military and pro-patriotism tack with its identity.  They will play there home games at the newly christened Audi Stadium, also home to DC United in MLS.

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Use of soccer stadiums as spring football venues seems to be a pattern with the FFL, as their sixth franchise, the second in the Central Division to be announced, the Chicago Machine, will play in the former home of the MLS’s Chicago Fire.  The team will be the sole tenant at SeatGeek Stadium as the Fire recently announced a 2020 relocation downtown to Soldier Field.  The machine will sport uniforms and colors based on the flag of the city of Chicago, including incorporation of the flag’s 6-pointed star into the logo of the team. 

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The two remaining teams will play in the west alongside the San Diego Surf.  First among the new western franchises is another California squad, the Sacramento-based California Condors.  Playing at Sacramento State’s open air Hornet Stadium, the Condors will wear black as their primary color, highlighted by trace amounts of neon pink and orange. 

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The final team announced in their online reveal, the Austin Drillers, will play their home games at the city’s new, and as yet unnamed, 20,000 seat soccer stadium.  The Drillers sport a familiar look for local fans, with nods to both the Houston Oilers (oil derrick logo) and the UT Longhorns (orange and black colors).  

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The league is expected to announce the final four initial franchises next month, as stadium leases, ticket sales teams and PR offices are put into place.  Coaching staffs are expected to be announced in the early Spring of 2020, and player drafts will be in the summer of 2020,  including a 2020 rookie draft, a veteran draft of players who were NFL eligible in 2016-2019, and a Mentor draft, in which each team can select 2 older players who will act as on-field mentors.  For now, the news remains primarily about team locations and investment opportunities, though an announcement of rules changes and distinctions is expected from the leadership team within the next couple of months. 

Last edited by Wideright90 (4/04/2020 8:42 am)

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4/03/2020 4:55 pm  #4


Re: 2021: The Futures Football League

Looks like in the description, the California Comets was considered. I like that moniker a little more, even if it is more generic.


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4/04/2020 8:46 am  #5


Re: 2021: The Futures Football League

May 17, 2019 
FFL FRANCHISES READY TO ROLL

 Today the upstart, but well-funded, Futures Football League announced the final 4 franchises for its inaugural 12 team lineup.  St. Louis, New Orleans, Atlanta and Denver round out the 12 team league, which also features franchises in several NFL cities (NY, DC, and Chicago) as well as some rising metro areas such as Sacramento, Austin, Birmingham and Orlando.  The 12 team league is scheduled to begin play in March of 2021 and will play a 14 game schedule, primarily in stadiums that seat between 20,000 and 40,000 fans, including several MLS soccer stadiums. The league promises to be an affordable, family friendly, spring football alternative with a focus on developing talented players within their first 5 years out of college.  

The announcement of the new franchises today was paired with some enticing rule changes.  The FFL will redesign kickoffs to retain excitement while reducing injuries by having all players lined up within 10 yards of each other and all movement other than the kicker and receiver limited to after the ball is caught by the receiver.  The league will retain the NFL’s 2 feet inbounds catch rule, but promises to have clearer designations for what constitutes a catch. They will not have 1 point PAT’s, but instead will have options for a 1 or 2 point PAT from the 2 or the 5 yard line.  They have also announced that they will use the NCAA’s 15 yard defensive pass interference rule, and that they will eliminate Intentional Grounding as a penalty, allowing quarterbacks to protect themselves by throwing the ball into the ground, but will also elminate the in-the-grasp rule, allowing for mobile QB’s to find ways to escape tackles.   

Back on the franchise side, the league revealed the four final franchises on social media and via their YouTube channels.  With the final four named, we now know the breakdown of the 12 team season. New York, Washington, Atlanta and Orlando will play in the Eastern Division; New Orleans, Chicago, St. Louis and Birmingham in the Central; and Sacramento (California Condors), San Diego, Austin and Denver in the West.  Division teams will play each other twice (6 games) and each out of division team once (8 games) to create the 14 game regular season. Playoffs will consist of the top 6 teams, with 4 playing in the first round, and 2 byes for the teams with the best records.   

The first of the four final squads to be revealed were the St. Louis Skippers.  A playful name to be sure, but one based on the long history of river travel, steamboats and riverboat captains.  Their logo consists of the iconic riverboat captain, with handlebar moustache and a pipe, in front of a paddlewheel.  The teams colors emphasize the cardinal red so iconic with the city’s baseball club, black and yellow, in what some messageboard comments pointed out was more a nod to the NFL Chiefs than to any past St. Louis franchise.  

https://i.imgur.com/xQXrdeU.png


The second of the four clubs revealed today was Atlanta.  The Atlanta Flight takes their inspiration from Atlanta’s Hartsfeld Airport, the world’s busiest flight hub.  Wearing an orange and purple uniform that reminds many of Clemson university, Atlanta will adorn their helmets with a forward-leaning A crossed by multiple contrails. 

https://i.imgur.com/uL2BoAd.png


  Third up was Denver, who opted to mimic the colors and motif of the crosstown Colorado Rockies baseball team.  The purple and silver-clad Denver Peaks feature a stylized D which contains a compass and a vista of two snow covered peaks.  

https://i.imgur.com/O9um6P7.png
 Finally, the New Orleans Krewe are named after the parade-hosting clubs which dominate Mardi Gras each February. With the FFL season beginning during Lent, just a few weeks after the traditional Mardi Gras festivities, the team seems perfectly placed to feed off the city’s most famous festival.  With a jester as their primary logo, and uniforms in traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, purple and gold, the Krewe hope to capture the energy of the Big Easy’s famous bacchanal while also sating the thirst of local football fans between the end of the NFL season and the beginning of the next year. 

https://i.imgur.com/wVjW4fV.png
 The league website has now opened an online shop, complete with jerseys, t-shirts, hoodies, and car decals and magnets for eager FFL fans, well over a year ahead of the league’s first games.  Marketing has also begun on season ticket packages, which start as low as $150 for a 7 game slate. With coaching announcements not due until next Spring, there seems to be a lot of time ahead of the FFL to get the word out, to scout players and to get all the pieces in place for a March 2021 kickoff.  

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4/04/2020 5:48 pm  #6


Re: 2021: The Futures Football League

Such a great and fun league. Joined this community just to better follow this league. Can’t wait to see how this unfolds.

Your work on these leagues are so impressive to me that you have inspired me to start one of my own.
 

Last edited by BengalErnst28 (4/05/2020 7:20 am)

 

4/05/2020 10:55 am  #7


Re: 2021: The Futures Football League

February 20, 2020 
FFL COACHES NAMED 

At a virtual press conference held simultaneously on multiple social media platforms, Future’s Football League CEO Mark Cuban, and Director of Football Operations, Oliver Luck, presented the first staff hires, the 12 Head Coaches for the FFL franchises.  With more than 12 months until the league kicks off in March 2021, this may seem premature, however, as Mr. Luck explained “We are going to have an unprecedented startup, as we scout players over 5 graduating years, along with current NFL, CFL indoor league and international players.  We need our coaches and GM’s in place now.”.    

The league, which plans to hold both a 2020 rookie draft and a 2016-2019 veteran draft in July, is working from the model of a developmental league, focusing on players who have fewer than 5 years of professional experience.  Much the same could be said for their chosen coaching hires. Though most have significant NFL or NCAA experience, most also are coaches who have been able to serve as head coaches only for short stints or have bounced from team to team.  It is noteworthy that the preponderance of coaches are people of color, however, as Mark Cuban stated “We went out there to hire coaches who we felt embodied the spirit of teaching, of developing young players, and who could relate to today’s players.”     Many of the coaches have connections to the city’s or regions where they will coach, and many will be names that fans in those cities will recognize, even if they are not as well known nationwide.  The roster of FFL Head Coaches for the 2021 season is: 

Atlanta: Raheem Morris--One time Head Coach of the Buccaneers, and more recently the assistant HC for the Falcons.  

Austin: Romeo Crennel-- One of the more senior coaches in the league.  The former DC under Bill Bellicek and one time KC Chiefs Head Coach stays in Texas, after several years with the Houston Texans. 

Birmingham: Leslie Frazier-- A well-respected Defensive Coach, most recently with the Buffalo Bills.  Frazier has never coached in the Deep South, but as a native Mississippian and graduate of Alcorn State, certainly knows the region well.  

California: Hue Jackson-- A native Californian, and former assistant at USC, Jackson has served as Head Coach for two NFL teams, in Cleveland and in Oakland.   

Chicago: Jim Caldwell-- Another veteran, having served as a Head Coach at Wake Forest and then twice in the NFL in Indianapolis and Detroit.  Many thought the Chicago franchise would pursue former Bear and Illinois head man, Lovie Smith, but with Smith signing elsewhere, Caldwell is a solid choice for the Windy City. 

Denver: Vance Joseph-- The Peaks did not go far to find their coach.  Only 1 year removed as head man for the Broncos, Joseph, a U. of Colorado grad, returns to Denver with his new team.  

New Jersey: Duce Staley-- Perhaps the least experienced of the FFL coaches, Staley, a former player with the Eagles and Steelers, has been a fast riser in the coaching world, working mostly with running backs before being named Assistant Head Coach in Philly for the past year. 

New Orleans: Dave Aranda-- The only FFL coach without an NFL pedigree, but a former DC and Asst. Head Coach at LSU, Aranda brings a wealth of college experience with him to the job with the Krewe.  The FFL jumped in and snagged him before he could join another college program for his first HC position.  

Orlando: Lovie Smith-- As mentioned above, he had been in consideration for the Chicago job, but with two different coaching stints in Tampa, it seems natural that the defensive-minded Smith returned to Florida with the Explorers.  

St. Louis: Stump Mitchell-- Who doesn’t remember Mitchel as a former Cardinal RB.  Though another coach with a resume mostly working with position players, Mitchell did serve as the Head Coach at Southern University, though we expect it is all about name recognition with St. Louis fans that got Mitchell this, his first pro Head Coach position.  

San Diego: Eric Bieniemy-- What is it about former NFL running backs and FFL coaching positions?  Along with Duce Staley and Stump Mitchell, the hire of Bieniemy in San Diego makes three. Bienemy, who has served as OC for both the Colorado Buffaloes and the KC Chiefs, will be in his first position as a head coach in the FFL.  

Washington: Greg Roman-- After spending the last 3 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Roman moves down the road to DC.  Known as an offensive innovator, Roman brings to the Sentinels a penchant for the running game.  

There you have it, 12 FFL coaches who now must go about the business of putting together a roster.  With most player personnel decisions coming from league headquarters, and with a budget designed to allow the FFL to snap up both top college prospects and NFL second stringers, the coaches will focus on scouting and draft strategy for this June’s dispersement drafts.  It is expected that each team will have territorial rights to some players, much like the old USFL did in its short existence, but that a veteran and a 2020 rookie draft will also help to fill the rosters.  

Last edited by Wideright90 (4/05/2020 10:56 am)

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4/05/2020 11:46 am  #8


Re: 2021: The Futures Football League

Will the drafts be territorial?


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4/05/2020 12:46 pm  #9


Re: 2021: The Futures Football League

No Pep Hamilton? Sounds like he would be a perfect fit for this FFL.

 

4/05/2020 12:57 pm  #10


Re: 2021: The Futures Football League

There will be both territorial and national drafts.  I will post the final results of both as one post.  Trying to actually get to the season in a reasonable number of posts.  Schedules will also come out soon.    As for Pep Hamilton, you never know.  Both the XFL and AAF had coaches leave town before the season ever started. 

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