The NFL has done its best to remain a huge part of our lives all throughout the year, but there are still little lulls here and there where other sports and other hobbies can intrude. If the league has its way, that simply won’t be the case much longer.
Goodell says that the NFL has discussed a developmental league at length, and is being actively considered— Gur Samuel (@GurSamuel) February 1, 2017
On one hand, this is welcome news. It would be an opportunity for young players who probably won’t get a lot of snaps during the regular season to develop their skills. A player like Josh Perkins, who spent most of the season as the fourth tight end and a gameday inactive, would likely have benefited from some time in a developmental league and may have been a little more ready for game action when he actually got it. That’s assuming, of course, you could both play in a developmental league and then in the regular NFL season, which is not a given.
Still, the possibility that players who would otherwise hang around on the fringe of a roster could get the development time they clearly need is one worth celebrating, and it is perhaps overdue. The NBA, NHL, and MLB all have minor leagues, and many players coming out of college football simply have no experience in an NFL-type system. The time is here.
On the other hand, if the league is counting on people watching these games in droves, they’re likely to be disappointed. Spring is baseball season, the heart of the NBA season, and still hockey season, and people are like, going outside and enjoying the spring weather and all that. They’re not going to want to watch Tyler Starr and his glorious hair chasing down Bryce Petty.
So basically, it depends on how noble the NFL’s motives are here. If they’re not anticipating that a spring league will make them a ton of money, but do think it will have benefits for teams and the product on the field, a spring league has the chance to be a genuine success. Given what a cash-laden behemoth the NFL is, this is certainly something they can afford to do, and I anticipate it will ultimately happen. I’m less certain it will be a success, but then that’s why you try.
Expect a lot more talk about this at the upcoming March league meetings.