Ex-NFL Players Form New Football League

A third spring football league is on the way. On Thursday, a group of ex-NFL players announced the formation of the Freedom Football League, a new association that plans to build capital via private shareholders and public offerings, meaning that fans will have an opportunity to join in as business partners. 

The league’s founding owners include ex-NFL players Ricky Williams, Terrell Owens, Simeon Rice, Mike Alstott, Byron Chamberlain, Jeff Garcia, and Dexter Jackson. There are 50 former players in the ownership group, according to Williams, who says there are approximately 100 partners at this time.

The league did not disclose its launch date, but did reveal that its first ten teams will be the San Diego Warriors, Oklahoma City Power, Portland Progress, Texas Revolution, Ohio Players, Florida Strong, Birmingham Kings, St. Louis Independence, Connecticut Underground, and Oakland Panthers.

The FFL intends to “attract football players at their highest level of athletic ability, including those defecting from the NFL, graduating college or high school or playing in international or alternative professional football leagues.” Of course, they’ll face an uphill battle – many spring leagues have launched and collapsed over the last 20 years, and the Alliance of American Football and XFL are already gearing up to battle for dominance in what may or may not be a promising space. The AAF will launch after the Super Bowl in 2019 and Vince McMahon’s XFL reboot will kick off in 2020.

The FFL vows to provide players with “permanent and reliable holistic health and wellness support on and off the field” as well as encouragement to address “hot-button” societal issues. That’s one way in which they can potentially differentiate themselves from the other forthcoming spring leagues.

We’re trying to develop young men,” Williams said on ESPN. “You can’t take away their voice and expect them to develop. … When I grew up watching football, I really wanted to be like Jim Brown, not because of what he did on a field, but because he could take that platform and have a voice. And so, when I got to the NFL, expecting that to be the case, anytime a big social issue came up, we were told, ‘Be quiet. … It’s a distraction.’ And so, really, [we’re] changing the conversation.”

However, the FFL does not currently have a television partner, whereas the AAF will be telecast on CBS and its subsidiaries. It’s also unlikely that the FFL has the financial backing to match either competitor. McMahon is said to have sold a considerable share of his stock in the WWE to back the XFL 2.0, and its plan to place teams in big markets like New York/New Jersey, Dallas, Houston, and Los Angeles indicates that the league has a considerable war chest at its disposal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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16 comments on “Ex-NFL Players Form New Football League

  1. Steezy

    In other news, the only 50 retired nfl players with money start a new football league

  2. Thronson5

    I like this idea. There are some older players who can still play but teams like to go younger and cheaper

    • ThePriceWasRight

      where in what Ricky Williams said or the league press release said makes you think that the league is for older guys? plus if you actually think that’s who will play, this league is more doomed than most think it already is.

  3. Sponge

    I wish them the best, but this is definitely not the right time to do this. It’s tough enough to get any spring league going and here the FFL is trying to go up against 2 others. And being a fan and a partner makes as much sense as buying Packer stock.

  4. Ohio players and Portland progress are the worst team names I’ve ever heard.

    • WubbaLubbaDubDub

      Ohio Players is an outstanding name. You’re not much of a music buff, are you?

      • caliraider

        same thing I was thinking . I would rock that hat and I’m not even in Ohio

  5. Al_Vengenace

    This sounds like a great idea.

    “Players who defect from the NFL…”
    You mean those that get indefinite bans for drug use.

    “Wanted to be like Jim Brown…”
    There are lots of players like Jim Brown, those who like to beat up women.

    “We will take on hot button issues…”
    Instead of playing football which is what people who want to watch football care about.

    • If the players are smoking pot, really who cares in this day and age. Anyone would be tempted to smoke pot if every week there were 11 large strong men trying to bash or pile on you for fifty plays/game.

  6. callingoutdummies247

    I give it half a season and it’s done, then the former football players will sue the NFL for the head injuries that made them think this was a smart idea

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