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  1. #1
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
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    Rams Minor League Franchise?

    There are rumors floating around with the demise of NFLE stating that the owners of the 32 NFL clubs are considering the idea of forming a minor league for the NFL.

    MLB currently has such a system. In fact, the Springfield Cardinals have sent many players on to the majors. The system works.

    The current thought on this plan is for the players allocated to the practice squad would be automatically placed into this league. Instead of waiting for a player to be injured, they would gain valuable experience on the field. Developmental players would have a chance to learn before moving up to the big time. 'Unknowns' could play alongside future stars, and get a chance to show their talent, perhaps earning a chance to hit the big time.

    Springfield, MO., has had ties to the St. Louis Cardinals since 1931. Although minor league baseball left the area in the 40's and did not return until recently, Cardinal Fever still ran rampant throughout the area.

    Shouldn't Springfield solidify the ties to St. Louis professional sports by bringing the Rams to our town?

    There are many of us here who would like to see such an association. I'm sure HUBison, SFC, AlphaRam, as well as many others would love to be able to see the future stars of the Rams play....and Springfield is a great spot for that. (Jack- think of the Tulsa Drillers!)

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to encourage such an idea?


  2. #2
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    It's an interesting concept, but what you have to consider is that Rams ownership would have to pay contracts to at least 53 players that wouldn't be on the professional roster. Since it's rare that practice squad talent actually develops, I don't think it'd be worth the investment to the owners.

    Also, the game is much different than the other sports which feature the minor leagues. Unlike hockey and baseball, these players are drafted as men and are usually over 21 years old. The transition to the NFL game is easier than the transition from metal bats in baseball, and European style hockey to the NHL.
    Last edited by ZigZagRam; -06-30-2007 at 01:13 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    It'd be nice to have more opportunities to see these guys play, but you would run into problems with the longevity of football careers. Runningbacks, for example, rarely play more than a couple years after their 30th birthday. Now if you put them through the minors first, that's even more wear and tear on their bodies. Like ZigZag pointed out, these guys can't get drafted until they've been out of high school for at least three years. Baseball can afford to give them a few years in the minors because they could still play for another ten or fifteen years after they move up. If there was a football minor league, it probably would be just practice squad guys, and there'd likely only be six or eight teams like there were in NFLE.

  4. #4
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    ZZR, nice to see ya back here!

    I'm not well-versed in the economics of pro sports, so please bear with me. Since I am not sure how this is done, let me ask some questions.

    The practice squad - don't they already get paid by the organization? It seems odd to me that these guys would wait in the background for a spot on the roster to open without some kind of compensation.

    How do the players on a MLB minor league team get paid? For instance, since the Springfield Cardinals are a St. Louis Cards 'AA' farm team, does their pay come from the St. Louis Cards, or from the local level?

    ZZR, you make the point that practice squad talent rarely develops. I can't argue this point, but with the demise of NFL Europe, there is no professional level entity for the players formerly allocated there to go. No XFL. Arena is fun, but not on the same level.
    And what about the injured players who are close to returning to field, but need a little more time?

    In the past few years, we've had Kurt Warner come to us from what could be called 'The Minors'. Fitz, our practice squad QB, was called up for a few games. We've got some players who are good, but not good enough to make the final cut, who need more time to develop. And then there are those guys who really desire to play, the ones from small colleges (Like the Evangel Crusaders) who can play football, but aren't on anyone's draft charts, and aren't even listed as UFA's. One never knows...there may be another Marshall Faulk or Bob Waterfield out there who never attracted enough attention from the NFL to get a chance.

    The word so far is that the 32 teams would allocate ALL practice squad players to such a league. As Jason said, there would be 8 teams to start it all out, according to what's being said so far. And a player wouldn't have to start out in the minors. Nothing has been said about doing this, but say a 21 or 22 year old player was almost good enough, but not quite. Getting a season or two of minor league experience may allow him to learn to play at a level good enough to fill in should a player on the 53-man roster of a pro team go down. To me, it seems that it would be a lot easier for someone like Fitz or John David Washington to make the transition from a minor league team to the NFL than to go from practice squad guy to overwhelmed NFL player.
    Last edited by RamsFanSam; -06-30-2007 at 01:54 PM. Reason: added to respond to post

  5. #5
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    I like the idea of there being a "minor league NFL." They could put it on in the off season between the pro bowl and college football. Who knows it might even replace baseball some day!

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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    It makes no sense from a coaching stand point. You have your guy, we'll use the practice squad for now, what 8 guys? You have X number of guys on your practice/minor team. They're not good enough to make the real team, but now they have to learn another play book and system. There's no way there's going to be a brand new 32 team league and the coaches devote every minute to the NFL team. So it'd be like trading for a brand new player and giving up nothing. Well not really but you see what I'm getting at.

    This new league would have to have a way to bring new players in. Do they have a draft with everyone who didn't get drafted by the NFL? The NFL Free Agents? Do they invite people to their own draft?

    The salary cap would have to be raised to bring these players up from the minors. If the NFL wants to play with the big boys he's gonna want some more money. There's gotta be more problems that I don't see right now, injury is a big thing, lack of interest...if you want to keep bad players playing, just open a big football camp or even better let them get real jobs. I wouldn't watch these games to see some former grocery bagger play football. I watched one play of the XFL, 2 plays of Canadian football, and 2 plays of arena football. While the rules would be the same in the minor league, my point was the NFL is the NFL is the NFL. Nothing else is and history has shown that it can't be.

    Sam, to answer you're salary question-it depends on the player and their skill. Sometimes they'll have contracts with both teams and the major will pay less and the minor will keep paying as long as they play for them. Maybe that doesn't answer your question...

  7. #7
    RamsFanSam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    Actually, you did help out with the salary answer. I found the story I read yesterday that mentioned this, but not in the same place I read it...if that makes sense.

    Pro Football Talk reports that a growing number of NFL management types are in favor of launching a minor league system. The value is that the players would be able to fully participate in the offseason program, and then get live game reps during football season, at a time when they otherwise would be hanging around and waiting for guys on the 53-man roster to get hurt. The teams would be based in cities that don't currently have NFL teams, and every team would allocate its practice squad to the minor league. With 32 NFL franchises having eight guys on their practice squads, that's 256 players right out of the gates. The rest of the minor league could be made up of guys who have yet to make the cut in the pros, and who otherwise might be fodder for the soon-to-be-former NFL Europa. Eight teams would be an ideal starting point, and the games could be played in the middle of the week. Since Tuesday and Wednesday evenings typically feature no college or pro football broadcasts, a middle-of-the-week television schedule would be ideal.
    Here's the PFT story:

    POSTED 9:03 p.m. EDT; UPDATED 9:34 p.m. EDT, June 28, 2007

    MOMENTUM FOR NFL MINOR LEAGUE BUILDS

    Once upon a time, pro football agent Ron Del Duca wrote an item for this site advocating the replacement of NFL Europe with a true minor league system.

    More than three years after the fact, reality could be catching up with Del Duca's idea.

    Under the plan first proposed by Del Duca back in 2004, NFL Europe would be scuttled. In its place, a true NFL minor league would be created, and it would play games in the fall. The system would allow NFL teams to allocate players to the minor league, and call them up as needed.

    We're now told that a growing number of NFL management types are in favor of launching such a venture. The value is that the players would be able to fully participate in the offseason program, and then get live game reps during football season, at a time when they otherwise would be hanging around and waiting for guys on the 53-man roster to get hurt.

    The teams would be based in cities that don't currently have NFL teams, and every team would allocate its practice squad to the minor league. With 32 NFL franchises having eight guys on their practice squads, that's 256 players right out of the gates. The rest of the minor league could be made up of guys who have yet to make the cut in the pros, and who otherwise might be fodder for the soon-to-be-former NFL Europa.

    Eight teams would be an ideal starting point, and the games could be played in the middle of the week. Since Tuesday and Wednesday evenings typically feature no college or pro football broadcasts, a middle-of-the-week television schedule would be ideal.

    One of the potential barriers to the creation of a true NFL minor league is the reported plan of a new league, the UFL, to drop teams in several non-NFL cities and lure some of the same guys who would otherwise be courted by the NFL's junior circuit. The mere establishment of an NFL minor league could be interpreted as a sign that the NFL is worried about the UFL, and the NFL won't want to create that impression.

    So while we believe that it's a great idea to develop a true NFL minor league, we think that it won't happen unless and until the coming UFL experiment crashes and burns.

    In other words, the NFL minor league will launch in 2010.
    Last edited by RamsFanSam; -07-01-2007 at 12:16 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    I only read the first couple of posts but so this might have already been mentioned, but minor leagues for all sports are conitnuously losing money and decreasing. Most pro-sports leaagues don't even bother with them anymore as technology increases, so does the experience the fans get when they watch the game on TV/Internet/etc. Minor league teams are a thing of the past when travel to big cities to see games was costly and hard to manage. Now adays leagues just expand if they see opportunity for growth.

    Hockey and Baseball (as some of you have mentioned) have been losing amny of their minor league teams in the last decade. They usually move cities/locations first before folding completely. I really think the next step for the NFL would be to join with the CFL to make a bigger league, showcasing the absolute "BEST" talent available. Kind of the same as when the AFL, and NFL merged. But this would increase the market ten fold as all of Canada would then be included in the immediate market.

  9. #9
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    I like the idea. As far as the pay they could cap what someone makes in the minors. I think it would allow more veterans an opertunity to stay in the league. By allowing the young guys like a Fitzpatick to go down and start on a regular basis. By doing this it also may make some teams more comforatble bringing up a young and upcomer and give him a shot if he is performing at a high level. We could allow all the L. A. Ram fans to have the minor league team and we will keep the Rams. Sounds fair to me;>)

  10. #10
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    We have "minor" leagues or "feeder clubs" with our football code here in Aus. Since we don't have a college programme, clubs find new players at a young age by filtering through a series of minor feeder clubs. The idea is that these minor clubs are their own entites with links to one particular franchise. Franchises then recruit from (generally) their own feeder club, but if they wish to sign the rights to a player from another team's designated feeder club, the team who has ties to said club has the right to match the offer and sign the player themselves, kind of like Restricted Free Agency.

  11. #11
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    I to think it's a great idea. Minor League football would definitely draw attention from myself and alot of my friends.

    I used to go to games in my old neighborhood. It was probably single "A" ball but it was awesome. A ticket sold for $5 and we were guaranteed a great seat. The games usually drew around 200 people. The football was so good because the players had alot to prove and played their hearts out. No million dollar babies.

  12. #12
    Milan's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Minor League Franchise?

    The NFL already has a Minor League...the CFL.

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