When anyone ever talks about a professional spring football league, eyes begin to roll and old stories of the World Football League (1970′s), the USFL (1980′s) and the XFL (1990′s) begin to surface. But those leagues did not exist in an era when football was so immensely popular and that’s where the A-11 Football League hopes to cash in.
Could Tim Tebow be coming back to the Bay as a player? (Robin Marchant/Getty Images For ESPN)
The eight-team league will include a Bay Area team, the Sea Lions, and is likely to feature a player well known to all — Tim Tebow. The former University of Florida, Broncos and Jets quarterback is currently working for A-11 FL’s broadcast partner, ESPN.
Tebow will likely play for the Tampa Bay Bandits and be the face of the league.
“We would love to have Tim Tebow join our league,” said CEO and Commissioner Scott McKibben. “Tim Tebow stands for everything we think the game ought to represent – character, values and role-modeling for young players.”
Tebow could even headline the league’s first showcase game on May 17 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. A second showcase game is planned on June 5 in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. A 14-game season is then scheduled to start in spring of 2015.
Teams include the Bay Area Sea Lions, Los Angeles Express, New Jersey Generals, Dallas Wranglers, Chicago Staggs and Tampa Bay Bandits. The A-11FL bought all the old USFL team names like the Express, Generals and Bandits.
Two more teams will be added later and one of them will likely be in Denver.
The allure of the league is its affordability – many tickets will be available for $30 – its national television contract, and its level of play. Mike Keller, a former Dallas Cowboy linebacker Mike Keller, is steeped in start up leagues, including the World League of American Football, the XFL, and the USFL.
“There are a lot of talented players that don’t make the NFL,” Keller maintained, noting that a third of NFL rosters are made up of non-drafted players.
Keller also said the league will hire recognizable names as head coaches and general managers.
The Sea Lions only have their name and their logo will be released Friday. The team is looking at Cal, Stanford and Levi Stadium as possible venues. More on the formation of the Sea Lions will emerge in the coming weeks.