The United Football League has not been known to get out in front of a lot of issues. that why it was kind of surprising that they announced their sixth franchise to be placed in Norfolk, Virginia more than a year ahead of time a little puzzling. However when we look at other upstart football leagues having some time to get the ball moving on the administration side. What I mean is a team that gets a chance to build a strong front office team, tends to make it long term.
So let us start with the most successful upstart football team of them all, the American Football League of the 1960’s. Few people remember that the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins were the two expansion teams of that league. While the Bengals don’t really apply since that team was started after a AFL-NFL merger was already very likely to happen. However the Dolphins took to the field in September of 1966, but they have been working towards that goal since August of 1965. Considering that the Dolphins are still in operation today we have to think that head start made a big difference.
Now let us take a look at the USFL. That upstart league added six teams in year two, mostly to help the league generate a profit. They may have added six more teams in year three if the decision to move to the fall had not already been made. Those six expansion teams came together very fast most of them came around in a little under seven months. The results were pretty mixed, but three of teams struggled, and three did ok both on the field and at the gate.
The lesson here is it takes around a year to get a football organization up and running. A solid front office team must be put in place, and they must make wise personnel decisions. That is why the Norfolk team is already up and running, to take advantage of the mostly favorable press the UFL is getting right now, and to properly build the foundation of their team.