Why the NFL must embrace the AAF/XFL

John Lopez’ 10 reasons developmental leagues will make the NFL better:

In The Loop
February 11, 2019 - 2:42 pm

The NFL must embrace the AAF/XFL. Here is John Lopez’ 10 reasons developmental leagues will make the NFL better:

  1. Offensive linemen

The NFL has a big-time blocking problem. Offensive line play gradually has deteriorated to pitiful levels. This, of course, Texans fans know all too well. That is largely because of college football programs’ affinity for zone-blocking schemes, where run-blocking and complex NFL-type schemes are virtually extinct. Developmental leagues with pro-style approaches would fix almost every issue.

  1. Pass routes

While college football can be high-flying and entertaining, it’s decimated precise route-running. Most collegiate receivers run to areas and probably believe the “route tree” only has a couple limbs.

  1. Quarterbacking

See above. Much like receivers mostly run to areas rather than precise routes, most college football quarterbacks rely on signals and signs from the sideline to determine where they’re going with the football. Reading and adjusting to defenses largely comes from sideline coaches, leaving QBs to simply play toss-and-catch with lollipop throws. While arm-talent is there, hitting small windows and darting a ball through a seam is a dying art in college football.

  1. Minority coaches

For all the above-mentioned issues the NFL has, nothing is as embarrassing as the dearth of minority head coaches – in fact, minority coaches in general. Even within the recent trend in the league to find, “the next Sean McVay,” how many of the out-on-a-limb hires have been minorities? In a developmental league, minority coaches unable to catch a break, could make their own breaks.

  1. Expanded practice and training opportunities

With the latest collective-bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA, as well as a more stringent focus on player safety, NFL teams currently have just 14 full-contact practices over the course of a regular season. Frankly, while techniques can be taught without full contact, the level of play has deteriorated. And opportunities for unproven and undrafted players to make a roster in-season have virtually vanished.

  1. Officiating

Where has the NFL flopped more than anywhere else in recent years? The quality of officiating. It flat-out helped determine a Super Bowl team. With a deeper pool of potential officials and more reps, it stands to reason the pool of NFL-quality officials figures to improve.

  1. Rules

If the NFL wants the perfect forum to put in to practice ideas before they make it to an NFL field, they’ve found it. Already, the AAF has eliminated kickoffs and has implemented various other rules tweaks. What about floating other much-talked-about ideas? A microchip in the football to determine first-downs ad touchdowns?

  1. General player development

Every year when rosters are trimmed to 53, close to 1,000 NFL-quality players or near-quality players are cut from NFL rosters. Most of those players either never get another look or have to wait until the following spring to sign with a team and make another run at their football dream. With the AAF/XFL platform, rest-assured not only would hidden gems be found, but future stars will be found, too.

  1. A place for One-And-Done players

The NCAA’s control of NFL-ready players could be over. Every year, at least a handful of collegians look ready to jump to the NFL even as freshmen. But with the NCAA having control of players for three seasons, players are forced to continue their college despite risking injury and losing potential millions. Signing an Ed Oliver after his freshman season, for example, would give One-And-Done players an option, while bolstering the star power in developmental leagues.

  1. Development of other football personnel

It’s not just coaching and officiating that could use an infusion of new talent and perspective. From executives, to scouting, marketing, even broadcasting, developmental leagues have had an impact on today’s NFL. There’s no experience like game experience – even for non-football personnel.

John P. Lopez
*Host --     In The Loop,  Sports Radio 610, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. M-F.
*Host --     Sports Zone Unfiltered  KUBE 57 TV, Fridays, 10 p.m.
*Author --