Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Terrelle Pryor and the UFL

If the UFL actually thinks that bringing in Terrelle Pryor alone will juice interest in the largely hapless fledgling football minor league -- or if fans actually would have an interest (even passing interest) in the UFL if it did sign a known college star like Pryor -- then it makes it all the more obvious what the UFL's optimal strategy should be:

Undercut the NFL's draft age-restriction by two years, then recruit star college players after their freshmen and sophomore years directly into the UFL, to spend one or two years getting paid to hone their NFL skills until they are draft-eligible in the NFL.

We've been over this before: If the UFL could promise some money and, perhaps more importantly, a full-time focus on maximizing the players' draft prospects (and, ultimately, their long-term NFL prospects), they could not only bring in the "name" players that would increase interest in the league, but ultimately position itself as a viable development pipeline for NFL talent.

Again, this is all based on the assumption that single "name" stars from college, like Pryor, would materially move the needle for the UFL. If those individual players wouldn't, then the plan wouldn't work -- then again, why would people be talking about Pryor now if there wasn't some intrigue? You wouldn't need to recruit every talented rising college sophomore or junior -- just some of the bigger names, names you could market around ("See them now before you see them on the stage on the first night of the NFL Draft.")

What makes it so frustrating is both how obvious it is and the UFL's boneheaded insistence on trying to be a crappy version of the NFL, rather than taking advantage of the most glaring inefficiency in the NFL's development system -- its arbitrary age limit -- and arbitraging the 1-2 years between the emergence of college stars and their drafting into the NFL.

-- D.S.

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