Had things gone as planned, I would currently be pontificating about the future of the Pacific Pro Football League, which was set to play its inaugural summer season with an eight game schedule contested from early July through late August.
I might’ve made room to look back at the Major League Football campaign, too, which in 2016 announced a two-year television deal with American Sports Network.
Alas, there’s nothing to report – at least not from the playing field.
Pac Pro pushed its start date back to the summer of 2019, and last month started looking for a new CEO – which perhaps means there is no definitive timeline for when it plans to get started.
I subscribe to the Pac Pro email updates, and the last one I received came in February when the league announced a “founding partner” relationship with Adidas.
You can also ask questions via the website although, to date, none of mine have been answered.
Then again, they never promised to answer, so …
MLFB, on the other hand, has become something of a joke, defined by a series of missteps. It seems less like a sports league and more like a wrecked car in a locked garage; it’s never going anywhere.
It was supposed to be up and running in the spring of 2016, and then 2017, and then this past spring.
Go to its website today, and you see five players dressed in colorful uniforms under the announcement: Coming Soon, New MLFB Website.
Visit its Facebook page, and you’ll see a lot of people making fun of it.
Of course those of us who grasp at any shiny object (and by “shiny object” we mean upstart pro football leagues) don’t have to wallow in disappointment.
The Alliance of American Football – now with all its cities, coaches, nicknames and colors lined up – begins play in February.
A year later, the XFL is supposed to rise from the gridiron grave, giving fans of spring football another option.
Personally, I’m putting all my chips in the AAF basket since my hometown of Birmingham has a team and the city closest in driving distance to me – Atlanta – has one as well.
Still, before I ever heard of the AAF or XFL: The Sequel, I was enamored with Pac Pro.
Of all the leagues that have come along – spring, summer, whatever – this one appeared to have a business plan that could actually turn the league onto a viable entity.
I wrote about the league back in 2017, and am still intrigued by the concept.
“Pacific Pro is the first professional football league ever created to provide developing football players with a choice to play professionally directly from high school – a league where emerging players can hone their craft, play football, and be compensated for it,” reads the release on the league website. “Pacific Pro will be the first league to professionalize players who are less than four years removed from their high school graduation. Players will receive a salary, benefits, and even paid tuition and books for one year at community college. Players also will be able to market themselves for compensation, and begin creating a financial retirement plan if they so choose.”
Salaries are approximately $50,000 per player, which is pretty sweet money coming right out of high school.
It makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Certainly, there are many “student-athletes” who are interested in getting a quality education while playing college football, but there are some who aren’t.
Whether they can’t make the grade or simply don’t want to go to college, Pac Pro would work like a trade school in the football trade.
The original plan was to start with four teams, all in Southern California, and then then expand from there.
Now, who knows if it’ll ever get off the ground?
When fledgling sports leagues delay their start, that delay often becomes permanent.
I’d still like to see Pac Pro become a reality, if for no other reason than to find out how many hot shot prep players are willing to go straight to the professional ranks.
If it doesn’t, though, that’s OK, too.
The AAF will garner my attention in the spring and come June, the Canadian Football League will be my primary football concern.
Everything else is just gravy.