Just the other day, we broke the news of the eight cities that the rebooted XFL will have teams in, but there’s yet another pro football league, called the Freedom Football League, that’s trying to become the biggest threat to the NFL — and it has even bigger star power behind it then Vince McMahon’s XFL.
In a football-starved country like the U.S., when we all want the big hits and wild gridiron action nonstop, a group of about 50 former NFL players are said to be starting their own league, with former stars like Terrell Owens, Ricky Williams, Simeon Rice and Mike Alstott among the founders, per Bleacher Report. The B/R article also reports that there are about 100 stakeholders on board as well, so this whole Freedom Football League thing might actually have some legs.
Reports suggest that the league would play its games during the springtime so not to compete with the NFL and college football schedules, and that there are already 10 teams who will take part, with an opportunity to expand should the idea take off. The teams announced, per ESPN, even have names attached to them, with these being the Freedom Football League franchises.
- San Diego Warriors
- Oklahoma City Power
- Portland Progress
- Texas Revolution
- Ohio Players
- Florida Strong
- Birmingham Kings
- St. Louis Independence
- Connecticut Underground
- Oakland Panthers
Considering cities like San Diego, St. Louis and Oakland recently had (or, in Oakland’s case, will have) its NFL team snatched from them, it’s a solid job from founders and stakeholders in the Freedom Football League to drop a team in those spots. As for the other locations — like Ohio, Texas and Florida — those are hotbeds for prime collegiate prospects, so there should be a bevy of talent available.
With the NFL constantly getting hit from all angles on issues like kneeling for the national anthem and poor officials who seem to be confused on the rules, the Freedom Football League is hoping to steal some of the luster away from the, arguably, most powerful in pro sports. Here’s what Ricky Williams had to add, per B/R.
“The purpose of this league … is about community and the development of players,” Williams said on Outside the Lines. “… In thinking about creating this league, I wanted to create a league that I could have stayed in and been comfortable and really thrived.”
He also said the league will look to encourage its players to take stands on social and “hot-button” issues, which is notable considering Colin Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the NFL in October 2017.
There have been other notable leagues that have tried to challenge the NFL and have failed in the past, but with some of the prominent names attached to the Freedom Football League, like Williams and Terrell Owens, could this one be different? While history suggests it’s probably not, who knows, there are plenty of people turned off by the NFL right now, so this new league could become a niche developmental league that, at some point, partners with the NFL as a minor league system, so to speak. Should be cool to see what happens.