Full disclaimer: I am one of the most loyal Pittsburgh Steelers fans I know. Of the 475 articles I have written, over 375 of them are on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many times Steelers fans agree with me, while other times, MANY do not.
I have been a Featured Columnist here at Bleacher for over a year. The longest I have gone without writing an article about the Steelers is roughly two weeks.
Today, no matter how hard I try, I can not bring myself to write about this team.
When I say this team, really, I mean BOTH the players and the owners. I have sided mostly, to this point, with the owners. Now, I am having a hard time siding with either.
They are BOTH liars. Neither is interested in giving, and would rather take this to trial and allow us fans to dangle in the wind, worrying that the sport we love, is not going to be played in 2011.
This is an idea I had while trying to figure out which side was actually worse, because BOTH of them, to me, are horrible at this point.
And another thing, this is being labeled as humor, based on the fact that this will never happen. But, it would be fun to watch how it changes the way we watch football.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, has had an interest in owning a football team for a long time.
A few years ago, Cuban attempted to purchase part of the Pittsburgh Steelers, when the Rooney family had to sell part of the team to comply with NFL regulations.
He has also tried numerous times to buy the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates. The WORST team in the history of American sports. Because he KNOWS that he can make it a winner.
Instead of trying to join a club, I think Mark Cuban should try to challenge the NFL.
The Birth of the WFL.
Insane you say? Sure is. However, Mark Cuban is a business man. With the simple plan that I am about to lay out, Mark Cuban could be the biggest thing for football since the invention of the forward pass.
The first thing that Cuban needs to do, is meet with some potential big money people. Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, even Bill Gates.
What they need to do is, each invest something like $750 million dollars. Chump change to all of them.
The four parties would then start a new business, the World Football League.
With the $3 BILLION in pocket, the four men need to call NFLPA Trade / Players Association (what ever it is) president DeMaurice Smith. Schedule a meeting, and have a long sit down.
Tell Smith that they would be MORE than happy than to have the NFL T/P Association join them in their new venture.
The WFL would agree to give the players the exact 50% they were getting from the NFL. The structure of the WFL would be the EXACT same as the structure of the NFL. And agree to this for the next 20 years.
The WFL would then sell three percent of the company to investors. Each investor would then control three percent of the company, that they would manage. Each would manage their own team.
How would teams be formed?
First, all of the players of the NFL would have to retire. Can you imagine the look on Roger Goodells face, if every player in the NFL retired on the same day? The fax machine at the NFL office would be working over time.
Each player would then be placed in a fantasy draft. Ever play Madden? Ever try the Franchise Mode? Ever create a team that you KNOW would be better than the rest? That is EXACTLY what the WFL would have to do to build their teams.
All players that are drafted would be drafted with their current contract. If a player is a free agent, they would have to play this year at either the tender they were offered, or what they made in their last year they played.
There would then be a rookie draft, where every team would have their name put in a hat, and picked out to determine the order of the draft. It would be a snaking draft, so the team that picks last in the first round, would pick first in the second round.
All incoming players are awarded a contract based on where they are drafted. Both the NFL and NFLPA were anxious to get rid of the current format of contracts for players being drafted, and the contracts they sign. This could easily be worked out.
Each of the 32 teams, would have a specific budget that they must stay within. This is the salary cap. All of the other expenses are paid with the other 50 percent the owners get.
Where would the teams play?
Well, currently, there are 32 NFL cities that are looking at the grim reality that there may not be football in 2011 anywhere else.
The WFL could place one team in each of the current NFL cities. Most stadiums are at least part owned by the city that they were built in. If the NFL does not have a game going on, then the City (who is also going to lose a TON of revenue if there is no NFL), can rent the stadiums to the WFL.
Stadiums that are owned by the NFL team, would either have to rent it out, or have it sit empty. Even Jerry Jones is too good of a business man to lose that kind of money.
Then, there are stadiums in California, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania that can more than hold the fans for these games. They are called College Stadiums.
In those cities, the teams, with different names, could wear the same colors, or ones close enough that the fans would not have to go out and buy all new fan merchandise. (that is for NEXT year.)
How would we see them on TV?
This is a headache, at least it would be for 2011. Yes, the NFL currently has contracts with FOX, CBS, NFL and ESPN to air their games. What the NFL DOES NOT have, is players to play those games.
If the NFL can not play, then they will be in breach of their contract, and the networks would be free to spend those BILLIONS of dollars with the WFL.
For the year of litigation, the WFL could play their games on ESPN, ABC, and NBC for the early games, because they are not contractually obligated not to play other sports in those time slots.
Then, every Sunday Night, both CBS and FOX would be able to play a night game. Maybe one on Saturday Night, and one on Sunday Night.
What about the history?
Lets be honest, the history of the NFL is not like the game that you and I watch today. Not even close. The days of the Joe Green, Dick Butkus and Night Train Lane are over. And have been, for a long time.
For that matter, the days of the Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and Reggie White are also things of the past.
The NFL is a new sport, it may have just outgrown itself.
Again, I am not interested in who is right and who is wrong. The only thing I care about at this point, is being able to watch football on Sundays. And I don't care what the name of the league is, as long as the football is like the NFL of last year.
Is this possible? Sure is.
Is it probable? Not much of a chance.
Would it be interesting? No Doubt!
But, the most important question is, would you watch?