The Instigator
Pro (for)
14 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Does the NFL need a minor league (developmental league)?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/10/2016 Category: Sports
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 310 times Debate No: 86405
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




The debate about whether or not the NFL should have a minor league system - a developmental league if you will, separate from the college football feeder system.

1st round - acceptance
Arguments to follow


i accept your debate, go ahead and make your first statement
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for taking the debate and good luck.

The NFL needs a developmental league. Since the demise of NFL Europa in 20071 , there is no official NFL-sanctioned place for would-be NFL players to receive meaningful playing time with NFL-style rules and coached by NFL-level coaches. Young players who fail to make a 53 man roster currently have only a couple of options to continue their playing careers. They can

A. Hope they get signed to a Practice Squad. Every NFL team is allowed to sign up to 10 players for the practice squad. Players on the practice squad practice with the team (obviously as the name implies) but do not suit up for games and are paid a reduced salary2 – typically around $6600 a week. These players can be signed by any other team at any time.

Players on the practice squad as I said don’t play in the actual games. They get no meaningful game action, only simulated/controlled reps and are generally just bodies on the practice field (running in scout team drills, etc)

Also, to be eligible to be signed to a practice squad, a player cannot have been on an active roster more than 6 games, or were on the 45-man game day roster more than 9 games. So no veteran players are eligible to land on a practice squad.

B. Try and keep playing in the Canadian football League, or one of the Arena Football Leagues.

The problem with these leagues is of course the difference in rules (Canadian football has 12 men on a side, only 3 downs – wider and longer fields, etc. Arena Football has a short field, 8 on 8 man teams, a bunch of other little idiosyncrasies) In short, neither of these two leagues offer NFL-style football for a fringe player to further hone skills that are needed in order for him to make a 53-man roster. Also the CFL season starts well ahead of the NFL season, meaning a player cut from the NFL in September must try to latch onto a CFL team who are already at the mid-point of their seasons.

Even if a player makes the regular 53 man roster, chances are he will be getting very limited game day experience. These are the last guy on the bench, substituted in only when a team no longer has any choice and just needs a healthy body to fill a hole. In 2011, for instance, teams reported over 4,500 different injuries – enough for two injuries per each player.4 Practice squad players and older veterans generally bounce around from team to team, signing minimum contracts for a game or two, then back to the waiver wire and unemployment once the injured player has recovered. The NFL is a rough business, and it eats up and spits out these guys at will.

NFL Europa – while a failed concept – did foster many future NFL players during its 15 year run. Not every player develops to their full potential while playing college football. (a style of football generally different than NFL style in play calling and talent level). Players like Kurt Warner, James Harrison and Adam Vinatieri all gained valuable real game experience in the league, and used that to their advantage in finding gainful employment in the NFL.

The NBA has the D-League. Baseball and hockey both have minor leagues. These leagues allow players to grow and also allow veteran players a place to showcase whether their skills are still worthy of playing in the big leagues. The NFL? The NFL has nothing. A player who is cut cannot return to college and continue his playing career. He’s done.

The NFL is bigger than ever. Many mid-level USA cities would be capable of supporting a NFL D League team. What’s more, the NFL has tons of money to subsidize and make this league a reality. While NBA D League teams struggle to find an audience, everyone loves to watch football. We can’t get enough of it. We would happily watch a Portland vs. San Antonio minor league NFL game. It’s football for gosh sakes.



3 Scout team -players on your team who pretend to be the upcoming opponent during the week of practice before playing that team; so-called because they align in the formations of the upcoming opponent and run the opponent’s offensive, defensive, and special teams plays the details of which they derive from your scout report




I do see differently in this first on the young player side. Many of the young stars who don't get drafted or put on a practice squad can still come back next year and tryout seeing players from that current team would be retiring the following year, it will make them work harder and will help them improve on things they needed to work on being they weren't ready the first time. A second reason I find this would not work out is that the cities of which the minor league players would go to couldn't afford to host or even have a team with them. Look at the city of Pittsburgh for example. Heinz Field hosts two teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Panthers. I'll use the Steelers as the main team seeing we're talking about the NFL. The Steelers only have a budget of 1,900 M which they use on their star players like Ben, Brown and Bell to name a few. Many of these cities like Pittsburgh could not afford to host any of these teams because they don't have space or the money for them to live and play there and smaller cities who make very little wouldn't be able to build a practice facility or stadium to have these teams which everyone knows that the NFL will not help build a stadium or anything for a failing process. To add to this, those players who don't make the 53 man roster and don't make the practice squad have a great chance of getting onto the AFL or CFL teams which is basically just like a minor league team seeing that the NFL does look at those teams to bring people up to their professional level.
Debate Round No. 2


Let me address Con’s reasoning

To Con’s first objection: states that many players undrafted or not on practice squads can come back next year and tryout, due to other players retiring.

That may be true theoretically, but players who don’t make a roster or practice squad are actually at a HUGE disadvantage the following year. You don’t get better at football in a gym. You don’t get better at football by running drills by yourself. You get better at football by playing football. Only in a developmental league will this be possible for these players. Con states that players can fill holes made by retirees. Yet every year teams get 7 rounds of draft choices to select new college players, players who haven’t been sitting on their couches the year before. Plus each team signs a new crop of undrafted free agents from the graduating college classes.

Con’s second objection: This one’s is a little confusing and difficult to decipher what Con is trying to say. I think Con is saying there is a lack of cities who would be able to support a minor league team. Con unfortunately uses Pittsburgh as his example. Cities who already have NFL teams would not have also a minor league NFL team. These franchises would go to more mid-level US cities. Pro strongly disagrees that there wouldn’t be enough cities who could support teams. We are talking about a minor league team, not a full-fledged NFL competitor/alternative. This would be a farm system for the NFL. Many of these cities have smaller stadiums or could utilize the stadiums of nearby universities for games. These teams would not be operating on the budgets of NFL teams. Players would be making practice squad-like salaries, which would be very affordable for most organizations. Add in to dollars from a TV contract (the Networks would fall over themselves for a NFL endorsed minor league. The NFL already has the networks at their beck and call, and getting them to pony up for more games on TV would be easy.)

Lastly, Con’s 3rd point is that players cut from the NFL have a great chance of getting onto AFL or CFL teams. Aside from my point in my first argument that the basic rules of these leagues differ greatly than NFL rules, the truth is the available roster positions are just not there. CFL teams carry 46 man rosters, but only 22 of those can be filled by import (USA) players. The CFL has 9 teams. That’s 198 roster spots.

The AFL has 8 teams, with 20 man rosters. That’s 160 roster spots.

Every NFL team carries 90 players into training camp. Only 53 will be on the final roster, and 10 practice squad slots. That means that 27 of those players, every September, are unemployed. That’s 864 players. So 864 players have a great chance at 198 roster spots in the CFL, and 160 spots in the AFL, most (if not all) of which are already filled by veteran players who are already in the playing those leagues? No, Con has just stated a falsehood. Plus, success at the CFL or AFL levels, considering the wild difference in rules and basic game play, hardly translates to future success in the NFL. With a few notable exceptions, players exiled to these leagues never set foot on NFL fields in any significant role in their careers.

With these numbers, it would seem to me a 12-16 team D League could be very viable and profitable for the NFL’s money making machine. This will only help the future of the game as more players are able to gain valuable real game experience and enhance their skills, thereby increasing the level of play in the actual NFL, as when these players find themselves on NFL rosters in the future, they have this added level of confidence that comes from having succeeded on a professional level.


I'm forfeiting for lack of a computer at the moment. I'm texting this from phone and was looking forward to this debate. Congrats on your win and sorry I couldn't finish. Hard drive just kinda blew
Debate Round No. 3


Welp. Guess this one's over. I extend my previous arguments to this argument and all that good DDo jargon.


Cake. Boobies. Done.



AustinS_99 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by U.n 8 months ago
NFL Europe was a flop but I believe the game had a relatively decent following in Germany.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 8 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Technically I don't have to provide an RFD boi. However, Con conceded defeated and Pro brought the pain with the cake and boobies. #Voted
Vote Placed by diarrhea_of_a_wimpy_kid 8 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD: Concession by Con.