Friday, October 9, 2009

How Do I View the UFL?

The UFL debuted last night to a modest crowd (not sure about the ratings, yet). I didn't know the opener was last night because I really didn't care.

Look, I want the UFL to last. I hope it does. But it is hard to believe in something that may not be around for very long. It's like all those shows my wife seems to latch on to -- they get cancelled after the first season and she get frustrated.

Because of that, I won't invest too much in this league. If it's on while I'm flipping channels, my curiosity will cause me to check it out. It looks more like regular football than the Arena League or the Canadian Football League so it has some chance. It isn't silly like the XFL or as ambitious as the USFL was.

The UFL must listen to one of their head coaches, Dennis Green. "They are what we think they are." A little league with just four teams, a six game schedule and some horrendous jerseys. But there are some healthy differences than our beloved NFL.

For one, all reviews are handled by a replay official. No challenges or lost timeouts. Also, that tuck rule isn't there. Neither is intentional grounding (which I'm not a fan of but should keep the game moving and have more scoring). Speaking of moving the game along, the play clock is just 25 seconds long -- 15 seconds less than the NFL's. Also, fumbling out of the endzone doesn't result in a touchback. Also, touchdown celebrations are encouraged and they use the college game's overtime rules.

The UFL should hope to find itself latched on to the NFL in some fashion. Whether it is a developmental league (like the former NFL-Europe) or just a level of play between the League and college football. It also gives fans a chance to see how pro football would look with some of those changes mentioned above. Like the intentional grounding rule: it sounds dumb when I heard about it but I may like it once I see it in action.

One thing I don't like is the uniforms. The California Redwoods and Las Vegas Locomotives had nearly identical gear on last night. When the Florida Tuskers and New York Sentinels play, you'll see similar style unis. I'm not liking that much.

With NFL-Europe and the Arena League folding, there is a spot for the UFL. Again, I never cared that much about either league, but I'd follow it from time to time just to see what's going on. The fact that the league is starting small should benefit it much more than the XFL's boisterous claims that they'd scare the NFL (the league folded after just one season).

Hopefully the UFL will do enough to have sticking power.

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