Yet another professional football league has taken shape in the United States, but this one looks a little different than past failures.
Whereas the Arena Football League, and the XFL before it, were designed as more exciting alternatives to traditional NFL football, the Fall Experimental Football League knows where it stands. The NFL is the main show, and no upstart league is going to steal away viewership.
Instead, the FXFL has a different proposition: it wants to function as the NFL's minor leagues.
Speaking to For The Win, FXFL commissioner Brian Woods said there's a need for a competitive league where young players can continue their development and increase their shot at the NFL.
“A developmental league is absolutely needed right now and we feel like we’ve designed a model that makes sense,” Woods told For The Win. “Playing games on week nights, having an abbreviated schedule, giving these young players a chance to develop their skills.”
To be eligible for the league, players must be competing within three years of their eligible draft date -- basically, within three years of the NFL draft they initially declared for.
Some of those players include recognizable names from college, such as Clemson's Taj Boyd, who failed to secure a roster spot this preseason with the New York Jets.
Players will earn about $1,000 a week playing for the league, which will feature a shortened season that plays on weeknights to avoid conflict with the NFL.
Most of the players in the four-team league had experience this preseason competing for spots on NFL rosters, so Woods said many of them came into the season sharp. The league will also encourage players to leave for NFL tryouts -- since player development and NFL placement is the primary function of the league -- and Woods hopes that 25 to 30 percent of the league's players ultimately return to the NFL this season.
In the inaugural season, the league will feature four teams, three of which will be based in Boston, Brooklyn and Omaha, Nebraska. A fourth team, originally intended to be based in Miami, will instead be a roving team that plays all of its games on the road.
To its credit, the FXFL does have a strong broadcasting network that will air its games on ESPN3 as well as on several local stations. The first game is Wednesday. Here's a commercial promoting the new league: