Development and Discovery

April 15, 2016

 

http://www.sportscarolinamonthly.com/nfl-pulling-plug-european-league-made-harder-find-quality-backup-qb/

 

The above link is a story containing the opinion the NFL made a huge mistake in shutting down NFL Europe. Having spent 8 seasons in NFL Europe, 2 as an assistant in Barcelona, 4 as the Head Coach in Berlin and 2 as the Head Coach in Cologne, I couldn't agree more. 

 

I know it was an expense the owners had to incur every year, as it was not a profitable league, from a dollars and sense point of view.  It was tremendously profitable in many other ways. The article articulates there is now no place to develop Quarterbacks thus the QB play in the NFL, as a whole, is not as good as it once may have been.

 

There are other anecdotal statements that can be made also.  Where do the officials now get tried and developed?  I know there are not many veterans of the NFL officials group that did not cut their teeth in Europe.  Has officiating suffered because the young prospects are no longer being trained and developed in Europe?

 

How about when Fox TV was a partner.  I will bet good money Troy Aikman is not the broadcaster he is today, and possibly not even a broadcaster, if he had not started in Frankfurt Germany by calling the Berlin Thunder at Frankfurt Galaxy game.  Jacob Ullman was most likely the producer of that game as he developed his edge in Europe also. Today he is a high executive within Fox Sports.  Curt Menefee sure gained  a lot of experience there, prior to his anchoring the Fox NFL Sunday pre-game show. 

 

Those are stories of success.  How about what the NFL, or Fox TV, learned and saved when they discovered a player, or announcer, could not function up to an acceptable level..  There are a lot of plusses that are always pointed out about players being discovered and developed in NFL Europe, but how about those the NFL had invested good money in that were sent to Europe and their home team discovered they could not play at a level faster than their college one.  How much was saved by NFL teams there?

 

There are always positives and negatives to any business but it sure is sad the NFL has not corrected a mistake and found another way to develop players, support personnel and officials.  It is time all the adventurous spring leagues took a back seat and the NFL itself did something to improve the game in a developmental way.  For each team to "lose" a million dollars a spring seems like pocket change for the good it stands to gain in ways others than dollars.

 

I hope it happens soon.  There is a need much greater than just supplying football in the spring or a game for a QB to gain experience.  Other would benefit tremendously, most of all the NFL itself.

 

 

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