A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Where the future stars come to play!
PHILADELPHIA (BASN) — Even in the wake of these uncertain economic times and past National Football League defeated rivals the World Football League, the United States Football League and the XFL going by the wayside of the older more established league that has become an American Institution over almost 90 years of play.
The United Football League (UFL) led by Commissioner Michael Huyghue, a former NFL team executive, will try to provide a professional football alternative this fall.
The upstart league composed of four initial teams (New York/Hartford, Connecticut; Las Vegas/Los Angeles; San Francisco/Sacramento; and Orlando, Florida) will play a 16-game schedule on Thursday and Friday evenings starting in October 2009 with a championship game on Thanksgiving weekend at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
The league billing itself with the motto, “Where the future stars come to play!” wants to provide some competition for NFL — I believe a more realistic goal is to serve as the NFL’s minor league.
The UFL has already secured a television contract with Versus network — the most important thing I believe in their survival — and signed former NFL head coaches Jim Haslett (Orlando), Dennis Green (San Francisco), and Jim Fassel (Las Vegas) along with veteran NFL coordinator Ted Cotrell (New York) to lead their teams for the 2009 season.
Plus investors including former investment banker Bill Hambrecht, Google Inc executive Tim Armstrong and Paul Pelosi, the husband of Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives have put up a combined $30 million into the league.
The UFL’s aggressive business plan calls for the league to turn a profit after three years and even though I believe it is much too premature, there has even been talk of the league expanding by at least two to four teams in 2010 with possibly Dallas Mavericks’ (NBA) owner Mark Cuban joining as an expansion owner.
Before moving ahead with all of its grandiose plans, the first order of business for the UFL was to find players to stock their four teams. With that thought in mind, the UFL held its first player draft on June 19th as each team selected 24 players.
Of course everyone was hoping to hear the name “Michael Vick” called as recently league founder Bill Hambrecht had intimated that the suspended NFL quarterback was more than welcome to comeback in the UFL.
Hambrecht in trying to lure the former three-time Pro Bowl quarterback definitely went a little overboard by calling Vick, “probably the best football player in America” and then adding “(Vick) deserves a spot back in football”.
Unfortunately for the league trying to make a big media splash, no team called Vick’s name last Friday – perhaps maybe after we learn his NFL fate some time in late July after he meets with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Overall there were 96 players selected many of whom made even this hardcore NFL writer reach for an old media guide. However in a hodgepodge of faceless players drafted there were a few former NFL players who I wouldn’t necessarily call “Future Stars” selected.
This fall players like former Bengals RB Chris Perry (selected by Orlando), former Redskins “big ticket” free agent Safety Adam Archuleta (Las Vegas), former Patriots Super Bowl winning TE Jermaine Wiggins (Las Vegas), former Colts Safety Mike Doss (Orlando), former Jaguars RB LaBrandon Toefield (New York), and former Steelers QB Shane Boyd (San Francisco) – I guess Curtis Enis, Freddie Mitchell and Tim Couch were unavailable — could quite possibly be trying to resurrect their playing careers in the UFL.
Last Friday’s draft also yielded the names of players with famous relatives like RB John David Washington (Denzel’s son was selected by San Francisco), RB Quincy Wilson (son of former Chicago Bears LB Otis Wilson was selected by Orlando), DB David Lofton (son of Hall of Fame WR James Lofton was selected by New York) and WR Marcus Fitzgerald (brother of Pro Bowl WR Larry Fitzgerald was taken by San Francisco).
It will be interesting to see if the UFL can sign any of the players whose right they now hold or if the selected players will holdout hope for another shot in the NFL or play in the Canadian Football League (CFL) or the soon to be re-launched Arena Football League (AFL).
The remaining UFL roster spots on each of the four teams will be filled If were a UFL official, I would make sure to try to scoop up former NFL players in mid-August that had just been visited by the “Turk”.
The complete list of players drafted by the UFL is below:
DB ARCHULETA, ADAM (ARIZONA STATE)
DE AWASOM, ADRIAN (NORTH TEXAS)
P BAUGHER, DANNY (ARIZONA)
OG BOONE, JASON (UTAH)
NT BRYANT, WENDELL (WISCONSIN-MADISON)
LB BUTLER, EZRA (NEVADA)
DB DADA, WALE (WASHINGTON STATE)
T GAUSE, GEORGE (SOUTH CAROLINA)
DB GAUSE, PAUL (SETON HALL)
K JACAS, ANDREW (FORT VALLEY STATE)
TE JACKSON, NATE (MENLO COLLEGE)
T JOYCE, BRANDON (ILLINOIS STATE)
WR KIRCUS, DAVID (GRAND VALLEY STATE)
TE KUHN, SCOTT (LOUISVILLE)
NT LONG, GABE (UTAH)
LB MOORE, BRANDON (OKLAHOMA)
RB PALMER, RONNIE (ARIZONA)
LB STILLS, GARY (WEST VIRGINIA)
RB THOMPSON, TYSON (SAN JOSE STATE)
WR THURMAN, ANDRAE (SOUTHERN OREGON)
LB TOAL, BRIAN (BOSTON COLLEGE)
DB TURNBULL, NICK (FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL)
DB WILLIAMS, CHAZ (OREGON)
RB WHITEHEAD, TERRENCE (OREGON)
QB BACHER, CJ (NORTHWESTERN)
DB BROWN, TREY (UCLA)
DB CELESTIN, OLIVER (TEXAS SOUTHERN)
NT CLEBERT, RICHARD (SOUTH FLORIDA)
DE FOUNTAIN, MAURICE (CLEMSON)
TE GHENT, RONNIE (LOUISVILLE)
RB GROSS, TYRONNE (EASTERN OREGON)
T GUTEKUNST, SAM (GERMANY)
C HARVEY, JASPER (SAN DIEGO STATE)
QB JOHNSON, BRIAN (UTAH)
WR KINOSHITA, NORIAKI (JAPAN)
DB LOFTON, DAVID (STANFORD)
LB MAGRO, MARC (WEST VIRGINIA)
DB MAZE, TERELL (SAN DIEGO STATE)
T NORELL, RAY (BUFFALO)
T PRUNEDA, RAMIRO (MONTEREY TECH)
RB RUBIN, JOE (PORTLAND STATE)
WR SANDERS, STEVE (BOWLING GREEN)
RB SAPP, CECIL (COLORADO STATE)
NT SAVE, BRYAN (COLORADO STATE)
DE SPICER, MICHALE (WESTERN CAROLINA)
RB TOEFIELD, LABRANDON (LSU)
LB WILLIAMS, NATHAN (MURRAY STATE)
RB WOODS, SHANNON (TEXAS TECH)
NT BLEDSOE, FRED (ARKANSAS)
QB BOLLINGER, BROOKS (WISCONSIN)
FB CRUZ, RONNIE (NORTHERN STATE-SD)
DB DOSS, MIKE (OHIO STATE)
DB FASSITT, GREG (GRAMBLING)
WR GESSNER, CHAS (BROWN)
TE HEINRICH, KEITH (SAM HOUSTON STATE)
NT LONG, RIEN (WASHINGTON STATE)
DB MASON, GRANT (MICHIGAN)
LB MCGARIGLE, TIM (NORTHWESTERN)
RB PERRY, CHRIS (MICHIGAN)
T PETITTI, ROB (PITTSBURGH)
OG PILLAR, ZACK (FLORIDA)
DE POWELL, ERIC (FLORIDA STATE)
LB SCHLEGEL, ANTHONY (OHIO STATE)
DE SCHOBEL, BO (TCU)
WR THOMPSON, DOMINIQUE (WILLIAM & MARY)
CB TRIBBLE, DEJUAN (BOSTON COLLEGE)
NT TRIPPLETT, LARRY (WASHINGTON)
DB VINNETT, DARIUS (ARKANSAS)
T WAND, SETH (NORTHWEST MISSOURI ST)
TE WIGGINS, JERMAINE (GEORGIA)
RB WILSON, QUINCY (WEST VIRGINIA)
DB WRIGHT, TJ (OHIO UNIVERSITY)
FB ARMSTRONG, ODIE (NW OKLAHOMA ST)
RB AYANBADEJO, FEMI (SAN DIEGO STATE)
QB BOYD, SHANE (KENTUCKY)
WR BRACKINS, LARRY (PEARL RIVER CC)
LS BROWN, KAI (BROWN)
QB DIETZ, BRETT (HANOVER)
WR FITZGERALD, MARCUS (MARSHALL)
DE GUNN, MARQUIES (AUBURN)
RB HUTSONA, DARRELL (WASHINGTON STATE)
LB KWATENG, PRINCE (NORTHWESTERN)
TE LEDBETTER, BRANDEN (WESTERN MICHIGAN)
T LEKKERKERKER, CORY (CALIFORNIA-DAVIS)
LB MARTIN, JOE (SAN DIEGO STATE)
QB O’HAGAN, LIAM (HARVARD)
T RIMPF, BRIAN (EAST CAROLINA)
WR SAMS, BJ (MCNEESE STATE)
T STAMPER, BRIAN (VANDERBILT)
NT STEWART, JASON (FRESNO STATE)
DE SUGGS, DAMON (GEORGIA SOUTHERN)
DB TREAUDO, AHMAD (SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY)
DB UNDERWOOD, MARVIEL (SAN DIEGO STATE)
DB UNERTL, JEREMY (WISCONSIN-LA CROSSE)
RB WASHINGTON, JOHN DAVID (MOREHOUSE)
WR WEST, JOE (TEXAS EL-PASO)