The NFL desperately needs a developmental league but continues to fail at producing a viable solution to this problem. This trend continued when Major League Football canceled its inaugural season before it ever got off the ground, per Katy Bergen of the Herald-Tribune.
“Major League Football has canceled its inaugural 2016 season, citing a major investor’s failure to follow through on a $20 million financing deal as a setback that would put players’ ‘safety and quality of play’ in danger,” Bergen writes.
Instead of launching the inaugural season, MLFB is implementing what it calls a “Developmental Season.” In a statement released by the league, MLFP will still “further develop players, plan for staffing in cities and provide ample time for ticketing agencies and the League’s broadcasting partner to advertise and market the League’s formal kick-off in 2017.”
This league was supposed to get training camps kicked off in February but postponed them until April because a Texas financing firm reneged on a $20 million commitment. Since then, players and coaches have been told to continue holding off on travel plans, and Bergen notes none of the eight proposed teams were set up with cities in which to call their homes.
While MLFB continues to assert it will have its inaugural season in 2017 instead of 2016, one has to wonder if this will ever get off the ground. As much as America loves football, it seems to have an aversion to watching a lesser product — aka a developmental league. The UFL didn’t get much traction in its four years of activity, and neither did the NFL’s European adventure.
In an age when it’s harder and harder to develop players on NFL teams, due to the limited practice schedules implemented in the current CBA, a developmental league would be a perfect solution to the problem. Unfortunately money has held up the process, because nobody wants to invest in a product that doesn’t bring in the green.