Reuters: TSL finds 'secret sauce' to survival

Discussion on TSL: The Spring League
4th&long
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Re: Reuters: TSL finds 'secret sauce' to survival

Post by 4th&long »

nick1091 wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 2:03 pm
4th&long wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 12:55 pm As far as the structure... Yes - agreed. And to me B Woods is making it clear what the difference is between an Alt/Minor league (XFL/AAF) vs a true Dev league. And I'll be the first to say as a fan I prefer the Alt league, then minor, then Dev league in that order. But they all have appeal. If The TSL can get NFL backing or endorsement they will get more appeal. And a Dev league is least threatening to the NFL.
Not sure how a dev league is threatening to the NFL, they already have the world's biggest dev league in the NCAA.

At worst, I'd think the NFL would be ambivalent to TSL. At best, they'll happily look at the games and the potential TSL's uncovered a gem that could get some camp invites. From the sounds of it I think they were ok conceptually with AAF, they just weren't going to fund it or lend them players from the practice squad like Dunedin wanted when he took over.

XFL/CFL hybrid/merger, probably not as friendly a view. There could very well be some schedule overlap, and hopefully there'd be a path to actually retain players who are successful (I think one of the Luck vs. McMahon news articles specifically mentioned they were reaching out to PJ Walker's reps to retain him.)
so we agree. Dev league not threatening
a well funded alt league much more so
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Re: Reuters: TSL finds 'secret sauce' to survival

Post by GregParks »

4th&long wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 12:55 pm As far as the structure... Yes - agreed. And to me B Woods is making it clear what the difference is between an Alt/Minor league (XFL/AAF) vs a true Dev league. And I'll be the first to say as a fan I prefer the Alt league, then minor, then Dev league in that order. But they all have appeal. If The TSL can get NFL backing or endorsement they will get more appeal. And a Dev league is least threatening to the NFL.
Can I ask your definition for those three types of leagues? Alternative, minor, and developmental?

Because I kinda feel like we're splitting hairs in terms of how we're referring to these leagues. Maybe it's in the eye of the beholder? To me, if they're not the NFL, they're minor leagues. A major league has all of the best players of that sport; everything else is by definition a minor league. "Alternative league" is the same thing; alternative to what? The NFL? Then all of the other leagues (FCF, TSL, XFL, AAF) are also alternative leagues. Unless your definition is some kind of "alternative football" that must have "alternative rules" or something like that. Even then, most leagues have their own "spin" on the NFL's rulebook.

"Developmental" is a little trickier. The XFL didn't consider itself "developmental" but let's be honest: It was. These players were DEVELOPING their skills so that they could latch on with an NFL team. I don't think the coaching is any different in terms of teaching and developing, whether it's the TSL or XFL; maybe TSL players need to be developed more because they have less pro experience, or come from smaller colleges.

I understand the XFL not wanting to brand itself as "developmental" (this is where the "eye of the beholder" comes in), but 99% of the players had NFL aspirations. And NO league is going to threaten the NFL: Not the XFL as it existed, nor TSL, nor any others, no matter what of the three they choose to consider themselves. The XFL could try to compete for players, but it would be NFL backup types like PJ Walker and even then there's no guarantee he would've stayed. It seems like much of this is just an exercise in semantics to me, which, don't get me wrong, I'm more than willing to take part in :)
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Re: Reuters: TSL finds 'secret sauce' to survival

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For the purposes of these boards:
GregParks wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 2:58 pm
Can I ask your definition for those three types of leagues? Alternative, minor, and developmental?
Dev - Almost like an academy or camp. Looking to affiliate and likely be subsidized by NFL or thru affiliation / endorsement increase chances of revenue generation thru media/gate. Players primary role is to be developed. To League winning is secondary though still how the game is played. Leagues role is to provide players to NFL. Hubs more likely to reduce cost as a shorter season. NFL has good access to teams and player This is TSL's goal.

MInor league - In between the other two, structured more like a reg league. Players primary role is to be developed to move up to NFL but make some cash, teams goal is entertainment/winning gate and media is primary rev source - not subsidized. Leagues role is to maintain affiliation to benefit team owners, league looks to get players from NFL for development. League profits/goals have a lower ceiling than an Alt league. NFL has good access to teams and player. Cost are higher, season is longer than a pure dev league. AAF was aiming for this.

Alt League - Structured like a reg league. Players primary role is to make cash and catch eye of NFL. Teams/League goal is to maximize financial gain. Will try to compete for players from other leagues (ie CFL even PS type NFL). NFL has less access to players as not affiliated at all. Needs big media. Cost are highest as league is not getting any subsidies and has to attract players that provide best entertainment, more likely to compete in NFL sized markets for max 'eyeballs/gate". This was the XFL and even more so USFL.

Clearly they are all similar but there are differences - IMO this is the most logic definition of all 3.
Last edited by 4th&long on Fri May 07, 2021 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reuters: TSL finds 'secret sauce' to survival

Post by johnnyangryfuzzball »

Here's how I would classify it:

MINOR: Officially affiliated with the NFL (or any other professional league) and recognized as a lower level of play. There has not been a minor football league in this country since 1973.

DEVELOPMENTAL: Similar to minor, but without the official affiliation, specifically designed to bring not-ready-for-prime-time players into the professional system and give them the skills and experience they need to become pros. TSL fits this definition. AAF was developmental but marketed itself as alternative.

ALTERNATIVE: A generally higher-level professional league with recognizable players and a unique presentation designed to provide a product to fans and television networks. The XFL and FCF both fit this description.

SMALL BALL: Semi-pro and regional indoor leagues. Similar to alternative but on a much smaller scale.

The CFL is something sui generis.
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Re: Reuters: TSL finds 'secret sauce' to survival

Post by Tank55 »

For me, the distinction isn't whether the players aspire to play at a higher level -- that's true of most players in the CFP Championship. It's whether the organization's primary on-field goal is to win or develop. AAA baseball teams and the Jousters are trying to place players in MLB and the NFL, and winning a championship would be a bonus. LSU and the Blue Bombers are trying to win their respective championships, and if they place players in the NFL, that's a byproduct. That's the breakpoint between developmental and alternative.

I agree that alternative isn't a great term.

It definitely can be fuzzy -- in soccer and baseball before it, you can even have development-first teams sharing a field with win-first teams. But that's how I sort them in my mind.
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Re: Reuters: TSL finds 'secret sauce' to survival

Post by 4th&long »

4th&long wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 6:19 pm For the purposes of these boards:
GregParks wrote: Fri May 07, 2021 2:58 pm
Can I ask your definition for those three types of leagues? Alternative, minor, and developmental?
Dev - Almost like an academy or camp. Looking to affiliate and likely be subsidized by NFL or thru affiliation / endorsement increase chances of revenue generation thru media/gate. Players primary role is to be developed. To League winning is secondary though still how the game is played. Leagues role is to provide players to NFL. Hubs more likely to reduce cost as a shorter season. NFL has good access to teams and player This is TSL's goal.

MInor league - In between the other two, structured more like a reg league. Players primary role is to be developed to move up to NFL but make some cash, teams goal is entertainment/winning gate and media is primary rev source - not subsidized. Leagues role is to maintain affiliation to benefit team owners, league looks to get players from NFL for development. League profits/goals have a lower ceiling than an Alt league. NFL has good access to teams and player. Cost are higher, season is longer than a pure dev league. AAF was aiming for this.

Alt League - Structured like a reg league. Players primary role is to make cash and catch eye of NFL. Teams/League goal is to maximize financial gain. Will try to compete for players from other leagues (ie CFL even PS type NFL). NFL has less access to players as not affiliated at all. Needs big media. Cost are highest as league is not getting any subsidies and has to attract players that provide best entertainment, more likely to compete in NFL sized markets for max 'eyeballs/gate". This was the XFL and even more so USFL.

Clearly they are all similar but there are differences - IMO this is the most logic definition of all 3.
Also Dev leagues by focusing on players need for play time will/should have smaller rosters. No one wants to dedicate 8 weeks and not play in a game. The other types need to maintain enough players to fill in and substitute to max entertainment value, but its costly. Gate and/or media need is dependent on league affiliations and subsidy level.
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