For those of you that don’t remember, the USFL once tried to compete with the NFL. They had their own draft, and players drafted into both leagues had to choose one or the other. Few top players chose spring football over the NFL (though Steve Young did) the league did find a way to syphon away quite a few late round picks journeymen backups who wanted a chance to play regularly.
The USFL was flourishing in some markets, until Donald Trump got involved. Trump wanted a piece of the NFL’s money pushed the league to try and move it’s season to the fall, and thus to compete directly with the NFL. A Huge court case later, and the USFL was dead.
But that was back in the early 80′s. The NFL has used that last 30 years to grow into a multi billion dollar business. A startup league like the USFL can’t possibly having any dreams of competing with the NFL directly. Instead, I expect the USFL to emerge as a developmental league, where players go to get real playing experience instead of being buried on NFL practice squads.
I am really interested to see if the USFL and NFL can form some sort of partnership. I think that both leagues could greatly benefit from an arrangement where each NFL team make 2-3 players to the USFL, but still retain those players’ rights at the NFL level. That way, young development prospects, like QB Josh Portis or recently converted G JR Sweezy, could be able to get playing time in game situations while they develop for for the Seahawks.