Fan-controlled soccer tournament QB lit up a joint after overtaking TD
The NFL has a limitation on us as viewers, which has made it nearly impossible for another professional football league to make a lasting impression over the past three decades. The fan-controlled soccer league is one of the latest to be held to compete on the big stage. Former Zappers quarterback Jason Stewart was dropped from the team after throwing a TD pass, then burned up a joint to celebrate.
The Arena Football League is perhaps the most successful alternative professional league, yes 30 years running. The AFL has certainly had its ups and downs over the years. But any new league has to be different from the NFL. Arena football was built around passing the ball when the NFL was still a first-class league. In the 1990s, that set the AFL apart from the NFL. In addition, the AFL plays on a smaller field, allowing for more scoring.
Really no longer competing with the NFL. Any tournament that has popped up and tried its hand since the turn of the century has failed miserably. The XFL has tried and failed, the USFL is back and will likely suffer the same fate.
Even a tournament like FCFL, which sounds creative, letting fans play one-handed in actual game scenarios, hasn’t moved much. That’s when you get the kind of antics we’ve seen from former Zappers QB Stewart. Sure enough, his clip received some mentions, retweets, and rewrites. But for the next few days, no one was going to talk about it, and Stewart lost his job because of the stunt.
If this is something a tournament is reduced to for attention, it won’t be long. It did feel gimmicky to have fans involved in calling plays. You now have a smoking player to celebrate a passing TD. I don’t have a problem with marijuana, but that’s just a little over the top.
Another reason these new pro leagues don’t last is because all of the best talent is in the NFL. Or they’re still in college on their way to the NFL. Whether they’re in the main lineup or just a practice team. Every player wants to be in the NFL. Every guy playing in the new FCFL or USFL is hoping to play well enough to get the attention of the NFL team.
So even if these leagues have a certain amount of success, the NFL will eventually find players good enough to fill the small roles on the NFL roster. That will force a lot of roster changes for these emerging leagues. It would be difficult to really establish anything specific to their team.
In the 1980s, the original USFL came closest to matching talent levels in the NFL. USFL had players like Reggie White, Steve Young, Jim Kelly and Hershel Walker before he dementia. Three of those four players eventually made it to NFL Hall of Fame careers, and the fourth is considered one of the best running defenders of the decade. In 1985, Walker was highest paid domestic soccer player while playing for the New Jersey Generals, earning $1.5 million.
It was a long time before the NFL controlled the market as it does today. The NFL is worth billions of dollars by 2022, and no other league has the resources to pay players anywhere near what the National Football League can.
However, we still don’t see the end of these nightly tournaments. They would continue to emerge, create a small fan base, then quickly cease to exist. Even if you’re not competing directly with the NFL, you’re still competing with the NFL. Their business now runs year-round, and it’s hard to beat NFL coverage. News agencies know the NFL by ratings, page views, and revenue.
Yes, the alternatives are good to have and talk about sometimes. Americans love football. But I think we’ve seen enough evidence to prove that it’s not just football. We love the NFL. Other leagues don’t have the talent to attract the attention of the masses. So it will be the same cycle every time a new replacement comes in.