If another NFL developmental league ever comes to fruition, it will have the blessing of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
“I’m in favor of anything that increases opportunities for guys to grow and develop, and ultimately improve the product of our game for our fans, particularly at some positions,” said Tomlin, according to a recent story dedicated to the topic by the Associated Press.
While the now-defunct NFL Europe failed to produce a lot of household names during its existence, it did produce two Super Bowl quarterbacks in Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme, and that did not go unnoticed by Tomlin.
“Quarterbacks often don’t come to you ready-made, particularly with the way college football is played now with so many spread offenses and half-field reads and so forth,” Tomlin said.
According to the AP report, the NFL’s new head of football operations, Troy Vincent, said he’s received more than 100 proposals since stating this past April that the league has interests in establishing another developmental league.
“It would be an opportunity to enhance our game on many levels, to develop the future, preserve and innovate the game,” Vincent was quoted as saying.
According to the report, a centrally located spring league with no more than eight teams might be the best option as not to interfere with college games or NFL training camps. In order to keep the cost down in such a league, travel expenses would also need to be monitored.
“I do envision some sort of developmental league, based maybe in Florida or Texas or Arizona,” said former NFL general manager Phil Savage, who now is the executive director of the Senior Bowl. “Anywhere from four to six teams; I don’t think more than eight.”
A new developmental league still appears to have several obstacles that it will need to overcome, but it sounds like one could very will wind up being in place by the end of the decade and maybe sooner.
“I think it could be a really neat thing and can help a lot of players,” Savage said.