The ‘new world’ of Fan Controlled Football where Lynch, Sherman are team owners
One year ago, the XFL, an alternative football league, was starting up under a big relaunch. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic hit shortly after the first few games and the rest of the season was canceled. While there are no plans for XFL to return in 2021, there is another alternative league starting Sunday: Fan Controlled Football.
“This is going to be a little bit different, and this is going to be something where it’s going to be where fans get to kind of take ownership, if you will,” KIRO Radio’s Gee Scott explained on Seattle’s Morning News. “And it is something that some of the young guys put together — Marshawn Lynch is a part of it, Richard Sherman’s a part of it, Quavo, a rapper, is a part of it.”
Former Seattle Seahawks Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman are team co-owners for the Beasts and Glacier Boyz, respectively. The other two teams in the league are the Zappers and the Wild Aces.
According to the league’s own description, FCF gives fans a chance to “call the shots,” from setting rules, to drafting players, to calling plays. It will be real players, real games in a single, high-tech studio arena, live streamed on Twitch.
“This is where we’re heading, right? We’re heading to a new world,” Gee said.
In the National Football League, Gee says, the average age of the average football fan is 52 years old. That’s not a knock on anyone’s age, he added, and it also doesn’t mean young kids don’t love football.
“But there’s a lot of things that happen in football, either pro or college, that sometimes these youngsters are like, ‘yo, I don’t really like that,'” he said. “One example is college football. College football is still a model in which the NCAA makes billions of dollars. Universities, they build these facilities. The University of Auburn just built a $91 million facility. Let me repeat that: $91 million. And the product that’s on the field? They’re still getting the same compensation quote, ‘a free education.'”
“So I’m bringing this up because I’m just trying to show that there is a new day, … in which there’s gonna be power in numbers and folks are realizing, wait a minute, let’s have a little bit more fun, let’s do things a little bit different,” he continued. “And that is the future of this thing.”
So will it work, or fail like the XFL?
First of all, Gee clarified that the XFL failed because of the pandemic.
“I’m gonna tell you right now, take away the pandemic, that thing was rocking,” he said.
“This year was more of, wow, the pandemic came through and really stopped it, and it was a good product,” he added. “The bottom line is this: Football is football, and it’s played at different levels, and people like it. In the future, there is going to be a time where some people will go to college, and sometimes they might not go to college.”
“Sometimes they might go on to go and play in some of these leagues and maybe bypass college. You are starting to see that now with college basketball. You’re seeing kids, because they have this rule — they have a rule in the NCAA that you have to be one year removed out of high school in order to play pro basketball.”
Gee thinks a similar situation could happen with football where student-athletes may have more options in the coming years than just the NFL or college. If his son had made the decision to skip college for an alternative league like the FCF, he says he would have supported that.
“I support whatever it is that my son wants to do. I’ve said this to both of my sons and I’ll say it to you guys. I have two sons. One is pursuing an NFL dream. Great. One is not pursuing an NFL dream. In my honest opinion, my youngest son is on the easier path,” he said. “When you’re chasing an NFL dream, … what I have learned in 18 years, and being around the Seattle Seahawks, and being around some of the greatest players to ever do it, you’re always chasing. You don’t just get to the NFL and you’re satisfied. You’re chasing being all pro, you’re chasing being this all star, you’re chasing more money, you’re always chasing. You’re never satisfied. And then when the door shuts on you, all of a sudden depression hits.”
“It’s a rough road heading to the NFL. And I know people are saying, ‘oh, but you make a lot of money.’ Money ain’t everything,” Gee said.
Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here. Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.