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The New United States Football League (or "New USFL") is a professional American football league that is planning to begin in the spring of 2011. The league's goal is to have 10-12 teams throughout the United States in the first year of play. Michael Dwyer, founder/president of the New USFL, has stated that former USFL locations would receive strong consideration when selecting where franchises will be placed.[1]

Contents

History

On August 23, 2008, a press conference revealed plans for the New USFL, a successor to the original United States Football League, planning to start play in spring of 2010.[2]

The league had listed a number of specifics on their Web site, but most of the content was taken down during 2009 as the league stopped releasing new information. League founder Michael Dwyer advised in a YouTube interview that league investors have insisted on media silence as they work on building their league.[3]

As of November 12, 2009, the Web site displayed a press release indicating that the league is "aiming to launch" in the spring of 2011. The release made no reference to the previous plans. The press release indicated a goal of 10-12 teams for the opening season.

Season Structure

The New USFL season is planned to begin in February, with a championship game early in July. (The original USFL played an 18 game schedule.) Currently, the league plans not to have any preseason games.[2] However, more recently on August 30, 2009, Michael Dwyer indicated that the league could decide to change its season from March to late July.[4]

New rules

Like the XFL, which adopted a number of quirky rules with the dream of driving fan curiosity, the USFL has announced the possibility of a number of new rules[2] (many of which were adopted from previous leagues):

  • No pre-season, just a regular season (adopted from the World Football League, although the WFL played a 20-week regular season)
  • No touch backs on kickoffs; if the ball goes out of the end zone, it will be placed at the 15-yard line (adopted from Arena Football League)
  • Field goals of 51 yards or more will be four points (adopted from NFL Europe); the exact yardage of the four-point line will be somewhere between 50 and 55 yards and has not yet been determined
  • A three-point conversion will be placed at the 10 yard line (adopted from the XFL)
  • One foot inbounds for a catch (a rule in virtually every league except the NFL)
  • No kneel-downs (adopted from Arena Football League)
  • Safeties are worth four points
  • Overtime will be played like in college and the CFL

No word has been announced on whether the league will continue to follow the path of the XFL and adopt other rules like the forward motion rule used by the WFL, XFL and arena leagues, as well as in Canadian football or "the Scramble" to determine initial possession instead of a coin toss.

Teams

On June 21, 2008, league founder Michael Dwyer posted on the league website that the league planned to "begin" with 12–16 teams.[5] In the league's August 23, 2008 press release, an apparently refined league plan announced it would "start with 12 teams and grow to a maximum of 16 teams"[2] Later on, per the league website, the league was still "looking to start with 12 teams" for the inaugural season.[6] On August 30, 2009, Michael Dwyer indicated that the number of teams for the inaugural season had been revised to ten.[4] On October 31, 2009 Dwyer indicated that the USFL could start in either 2010 or 2011.[3] If it started in 2010, it would have 8 teams. If it started in 2011, it would have 10 teams.[7] On November 12, 2009, the website was updated to indicate that the USFL would start in 2011 with 10 to 12 teams.

Previous content on the website appeared somewhat unclear and occasionally contradictory due to its timeline format. Additionally, the content retroactively changed on a somewhat frequent basis. Both factors may have played a role in the removal of content from the site.

It had appeared that 12 franchises were going to be awarded to ownership groups in two proposed divisions, the "Western Division" and the "Eastern Division" for the proposed 2010 launch. Although previous versions of the league site had named the proposed site cities, the site later listed the sites by state. Each state awarded a team will have their home games played at different stadiums across their state.

By the end of summer 2009, there were only 8 teams investors were willing to launch in 2010.[8]

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Team ownership

The New USFL and the 10 initial teams will be owned by the league. The league plans to award team interest to owners after a few seasons as a future structure.

Site volatility and the 2011 startup date

In the interview on YouTube, Dwyer said that if the first investor group could not get the 8 team league running in time for a 2010 launch, the league would launch in 2011 with 2 new teams that are affiliated with a second investor group that was "deadset against" starting on 2010, bringing the total teams on opening day to 10.[3]

On August 30, 2009, Michael Dwyer indicated that teams would be awarded to Georgia (Atlanta), New Jersey, Texas, California (2 teams), Michigan, Nevada and Florida in a facebook chat.[4] Based on previous releases from the league website and other news releases quote in this wiki article, the cities are probably Atlanta, San Antonio, San Francisco or San Jose, San Diego, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Orlando. The NYC area franchise was originally announced as playing at West Point, but considering the league is naming states, it seems likely East Rutherford is like likely host site.

It should be noted that franchises in a start up league often change cities before they open play. That occurred in the XFL, USFL, and many other start up leagues. Per the August 23, 2008 press release, "Teams [were] slotted for California, Oregon, Nevada, Texas, Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, Utah and New York."[2] The list of sites was later changed[6] with Arizona, Mississippi, and Utah falling out of the opening 12 teams. The team sites indicated above could still change before play starts---a fact underscored by the league website which referred to the franchises only as being in certain states, not by cities, and the statement below that site list on the league site that read, "Keep in mind fans, this could change depending upon the owners."[9]

Currently, former Los Angeles Express quarterback Tom Ramsey is reportedly part of an ownership group trying to bring a team to San Diego. If he succeeds, they will likely be known as the San Diego Invaders.[2] It would be the southern California USFL team, as according to the source article there will not be a team in Los Angeles. (Previously Dwyer had indicated on the league site that unless the league could negitiate a lease at the Home Depot Center there would not likely be a team in Los Angeles.)

According to Dwyer, five other sites are competing for the last two definite slots.[4] Dwyer also advised that 36 stadium sites had been negotiating with the league to land teams, among them stadiums in Denver, Arkansas, and Virginia.

Dwyer also confirmed one of the new USFL teams will be named the Wranglers, but it's unlikely that they'll play in Phoenix as the original USFL Arizona Wranglers did, as Arizona is not listed host state for an announced site.

The league is reportedly actively speaking with possible host cities across the country. Some of the cities that have been considered are: Atlanta, Birmingham, Columbus, Jackson, Mississippi, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Louisville, Memphis, Milwaukee, Green Bay, New York/New Jersey, Buffalo, Omaha, Orlando, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City,San Antonio, Austin, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Shreveport, Tampa, Jacksonville, Washington, DC, Annapolis, Maryland and even Rockford, Illinois, and Anchorage, Alaska.

So far, of the proposed new football leagues (The USFL, United Football League, and All-American Football League), the USFL has been the most ambitious in respect of the number of franchises that will play in the inaugural season of the league (ten teams are currently planned). In comparison, the United Football League opened with only four teams, apparently due to difficulties finding owners. (Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban was reported to be the Las Vegas or Los Angeles UFL owner originally. He later backed out, citing a busy schedule, and due to national financial concerns, the UFL will operate as a single-entity league for its inaugural season.) The AAFL has postponed its season three times and has scrapped the original six teams it had planned to field for its inaugural season.

Return of original USFL team names

On the League site, fan R. Hoff of Columbus, Ohio asked "...does your league have any plans on bringing back some of the original USFL's team names and logos or are you going to go with a completely new set of logos and team names for this USFL?" To which CEO Dwyer responded on 09/14/08, "...We will be bringing back as many of the original team names as we can based upon the cities/stadiums we have lined up. A few of the team names will be new and we will introduce them all in the near future..."[10]

In later entries, Dwyer stated that eleven of the twelve original New USFL teams would reuse USFL team names.[11] Only one of the reused names will be in its original city. He also announced "that all team names will be released after March 09."[12] According to a hidden source in the league's website, the one new team name yet to be officially introduced will be the "FIRE!" The team's location is yet to be determined.[13]

There is strong logic behind both reusing names familiar to fans of the original USFL teams and to moving some names to new markets. Seven of the proposed twelve teams will be in cities that had teams in the original league, but not all of those teams were successful. While New Orleans, Orlando, Detroit, and Birmingham were at minimum modestly successful USFL cities (the Michigan Panthers in particular drew over 60,000 fans to their home playoff game in their initial season) and there would probably be a noticeable marketing gain to bring back the New Orleans Breakers, Orlando Renegades, Michigan Panthers, and Birmingham Stallions names, not all teams were that successful.

The original USFL teams in Los Angeles and San Antonio had attendance and/or public relations problems in their local markets. Although the San Antonio Gunslingers had a readily identifiable name and icon, they were a public relations train wreck that drew poorly.[14] The Los Angeles Express drew poorly for all three seasons and the spending of their owners was a considerable financial burden that ultimately had to be paid by the other league owners.[15]

Additionally, the Portland Breakers drew less than 20,000 per game — far less than they drew in New Orleans.[16] It is unclear whether ownership of the proposed Portland or New Orleans franchises will claim the "Breakers" name, but it does seem unlikely the USFL would have two teams named "The Breakers". However, this would not be unheard of in pro football — the Canadian Football League, a nine-team league for years, had the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders as two of their nine teams (the similarity of the two teams' names was once parodied in a South Park episode).

It is unclear from his statement if the original logos would also return or if they would be replaced with new ones.

USFL investors and sponsors

One of the USFL sponsors is said to be Chuck E. Cheese.[3]

Salaries and a salary cap

Although there is not an abundance of information regarding league salary structure and whether the league will have some kind of hard salary cap to protect itself from the unregulated spending that played such a huge role in sinking the original USFL, the league does at least appear to be more aware of the issue than the original USFL brain trust. On August 23, 2008 League CEO Dwyer posted in a response to a fan blog submission "...The USFL as we know, wanted to play the same time of year as the NFL. That, plus over expansion and over paying rookies with personal service contracts helped kill off the old USFL..."[17]

See also

References

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e "The New United States Football League To Kick Off in February 2010". New USFL Press Release (PDF). 2008-08-13. http://www.mediasyndicate.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=10118. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  3. ^ a b c d http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDjdDgUDM_g
  4. ^ a b c d http://usflzone.tk/
  5. ^ "CEO Dwyer on plans for the initial number of teams, circa 06/08". http://www.newusfl.com/USFLBlog/files/be9c0962812a4f7f86a1808b96fb2998-1.html. Retrieved February 14, 2000. 
  6. ^ a b "Current Team Site List". http://www.newusfl.com/USFLTeams/teams.html. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  7. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5wa2TcLbKo
  8. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5wa2TcLbKo&feature=related
  9. ^ "Current Team Site List with caveat". http://www.newusfl.com/USFLNews/files/archive-sep-2008.html. Retrieved February 14. 
  10. ^ "Will the USFL use old USFL team names?". http://www.newusfl.com/USFLBlog/files/1d0bd0ba968d2a00c6eb2d2235f16323-9.html. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  11. ^ "11 original team names to return". http://www.newusfl.com/USFLBlog/files/4cf6e96237ce220834c8282c4fbc9cf7-18.html. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Team Names to be announced in March". http://www.newusfl.com/USFLfaqs/FAQs.html. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  13. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SARbWkpt-Xk
  14. ^ "The San Antonio Gunslingers". http://www.usfl.info/gunslingers/. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  15. ^ "The Los Angeles Express". http://www.usfl.info/express/. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  16. ^ "The Portland/New Orleans Breakers". http://www.usfl.info/breakers/. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  17. ^ "CEO Dwyer on USFL Salaries". http://www.newusfl.com/USFLBlog/files/3920e2bc7e71e2e06744ddfba6b18752-6.html. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 

http://www.musclesportmag.com/2009/01/10/new-usfl-spring-football-returns-in-2010/

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