By Craig Edwards
Do you have all sorts of disposable income... say millions of dollars... handy? Then how about jumping on the latest trend: launching your own professional football league.
Last week, organizers announced plans to launch the United National Football League in January of 2009. The league wants to serve as a minor league for the NFL.
The UNFL joins two other leagues, the All-American Football Conference and the United Football League, in planning to launch within the next calendar year.
But don't go looking for a favorite team to latch onto just yet.
History tells us that the chances of these leagues surviving long term stand somewhere "between slim and none".... with "slim" taking a vacation, and "between" calling in sick.
Since 1920, only 3 nationwide high-level leagues have played 10 or more seasons in the U.S; the National Football League, the 4th American Football League (which became the modern AFC after the merger in 1970), and the Arena Football League. Yes... that's it.
To make those numbers seem even worse, nine leagues have played a combined total of 20 seasons in the U.S.
--All-American Football Conference (4 seasons 1946-1949)
--3 American Football Leagues (5 total seasons 1926, 36-37, 40-41)
--USFL (3 1983-85)
--World Football League (2 1974-75)
--The one season of the XFL (do your Vince McMahon impression here)
--The NFL's own minor league, the WLAF (2 seasons in the U.S. before becoming NFL Europe)
--Canadian Football League (had teams in U.S. for 3 Seasons)
That list doesn't include a dozen or so indoor leagues born since the late '80s, only to fold after a season or two.
History has been unkind to startup football leagues. That trend will continue with these 3 new upstarts.
Just think of what those millions of wasted dollars could have been spent on.