Written by Matthew Cannata
You see developmental leagues in almost every other major sport – baseball, hockey and basketball but it’s missing in football so there isn’t a chance for players who don’t make the final cut get better and work their way into the NFL.
Over the years, we have seen start-up leagues come and go, some aiming to compete directly with the NFL (which is insane) and some looking to be that developmental league for the NFL. All of them have failed.
The NFL tried to have its own developmental league in NFL Europe but ultimately that ended up falling apart after several years. It is worth noting though that cornerback Brent Grimes was a product of NFL Europe and without it at the time, he may not be in the NFL right now.
That’s why it’s so important to get a developmental league off the ground and running. Brian Woods, the executive director of the Medal of Honor Bowl, will launch the Fall Experimental Football League, or FXFL, this year as a place for young players to develop their skills playing professional football in the states as opposed to working out at home or going to Canada.
"Pro football has nothing," Woods told the the Associated Press. "The NFL has the practice squad, but it does not develop players because they don't get into games. You don't develop if you aren't getting on the field."
The NFL has said that it has not specific plans to partner with the FXFL or any other developmental league. However, they are always looking at ways at how player development can be improved.
The FXFL will launch this fall and will have six franchises in its inaugural season. Let’s hope that they find success because the NFL truly does need a developmental league as it will bring in more talent year after year.