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The NFL has grand designs for a spring league

The over-exposure of the product may eventually backfire for the NFL.

Lars Baron/Getty Images

SB Nation has highly suggested reading this morning on the possibility of a new NFL spring league, a development that sounds exciting initially and then becomes more and more depressing the longer you think about it.

This is a league that has set its sights on dominating the news cycle in every season, a frankly insane proposition that Roger Goodell no doubt considers well within reach. A spring league would allow NFL teams to get an extended look at college free agents and veterans who have bounced out of the league, and it would put a product on the field during the otherwise slow spring and summer months.

The problem is that there isn't a demand for football so much as NFL football, or we'd all just watch the damn Canadian Football League. Putting a creative spin on the product would help, and you should never bet against this league's ability to effectively market whatever it cooks up, but the fact is that without stars and the traditional trappings of fall football games, your ratings are going to be tiny compared to the fall league. The relevant question is whether the NFL is more concerned with raking in cash and exposure or giving NFL teams another chance to look at players who might otherwise not be on their radars, and I always suspect the former.

The best argument for the league, of course, is that it fills that void for the NFL and gives players who otherwise wouldn't have a shot a chance to showcase their skills, earn some money and play in front of a national audience, because I doubt the NFLPA is going to volunteer regular NFL players for a second season. If you get a couple of Kurt Warners who come out of relative obscurity in the spring league to compete for an NFL team, maybe this thing would have staying power. Of course, I once thought the same thing about NFL Europe.

Because this is the NFL and they don't give up easily, I imagine a spring league would have initially huge numbers and fade into a niche thing by its second season. That may be enough for a league that wants to be in the news cycle in all seasons, but I can't honestly say I think it's a good idea.

How about you?