Slated to begin play this fall is a new professional football league. The United Football League has been called both a competitor to and a minor league of the National Football League. There is no current working relationship between the two leagues though. The United Football League, or UFL, will start their initial season with just four teams, but has plans for expansion teams to be added in 2010 and 2011. Competing against the NFL can be very difficult, with most recent attempts having ended with leagues folding. There are some deep pockets behind the UFL though, and if the play is competitive it could be good to watch. The talent should be good to as there will be several players on each team making in excess of $1 million dollars a year.
The teams of the United Football League:
The California Redwoods
The California Redwoods who are based in San Francisco are owned by Paul Pelosi, husband of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. They have a lot of experience at head coach with Dennis Green, the former head coach of both the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals, running the show. Other personnel who may be familiar to football fans include general manager Rick Mueller, and defensive coaches Ricky Hunley and Martin Bayless.
Notable names on the California Redwoods Roster:
Obafemi Ayanbadejo – Running Back – Formerly with the Vikings, Ravens, Dolphins, Cardinals, and Bears of the NFL.
Sonny Shackelford – Offensive Line
The Florida Tuskers
Based in Orlando, the Florida Tuskers are owned by many investors who are involved in the same ownership group that owns the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball. The head coach of the Tuskers is another NFL coaching veteran, Jim Haslett, who had previously coached the New Orleans Saints and the St. Louis Rams. The general manager of the team is Rick Mueller who has spent years involved in the personnel departments of a number of NFL clubs. The offensive coordinator is Jay Gruden, younger brother of the NFL’s Jon Gruden and a veteran of the Arena Football League as both a player and a head coach.
Notable names on the Florida Tuskers roster:
Craig Nall – Quarterback
Brooks Bollinger – Quarterback
Doug Gabriel – Wide Receiver
P.J. Alexander – Offensive Lineman
Rien Long – Nose Tackle
Larry Tripplett – Nose Tackle
Mike Doss – Defensive Back
Las Vegas Locomotives
The Las Vegas Locomotives will play their home games in the city of Las Vegas, in Sam Boyd Stadium (though the stadium is technically in the community of Whitney). William Hambrecht, a successful investment banker, is the owner of the team. He had been a minority investor in the Oakland Invaders of the USFL during the 1980s. The head coach of the Las Vegas Locomotives will be Jim Fassel, who won the NFL Coach of the Year Award in 1997 and guided the 2000 New York Giants to the Super Bowl.
Notable names on the Las Vegas Locomotives roster:
J.P. Losman – Quarterback
Tim Rattay – Quarterback
Tyson Thompson – Running Back
Brandon Moore – Linebacker
Teddy Lehman – Linebacker
Nick Turnbull – Safety
Adam Archuleta – Defensive Back
New York Sentinels
The New York Sentinels with be the Northeast’s representative in the inaugural season of the UFL. The team plans on playing home games in Queens as well as Hartford, Connecticut. William E. Mayer is the owner of the team, and the head coach should be familiar to New York football fans as Ted Cottrell was once the defensive coordinator of the New York Jets. Other recognizable members of the coaching staff are the offensive line coach John Tice, defensive coordinator Don Blackmon, and offensive coordinator Wes Chandler.
Notable names on the New York Sentinels roster:
Brian Johnson – Quarterback
Ryan Hoag – Tight End
T.J. Cottrell – Tight End
Brian Bonner – Safety
The United Football League does have a television contract, and games will be aired on Thursday nights on the Versus network. HDNet, a network owned by the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban will also broadcast some games. The league has also stated that they will make some games available via a webcast for fans who are unable to catch them on TV.