It’s easy to mock Vince McMahon’s proposed new football league, because it is so monumentally counter-intuitive to everything the universe knows about the supply v. demand issues confronting the business.
In short, we have more football than ever, we seem to want less football than ever, so why not give us even more than too much? I imagine economics professors across the globe cramming their faces into their office shredders just contemplating it.
But we’re not anti-innovation, even if it is from a guy whose single contribution to mankind was to advance the monetization of professional wrestling. We are willing to consider this new venture from McMahon – the X Times 2 FL, if you must – if he starts small and shows us he has something to contribute.
In short, we let him start his league with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and see if he can fix them.
The Browns are obvious, because their 88-216 (.289) record since being constituted as an expansion team in 1999 is the worst in all sports, and the Bucs are second worst at 255-404-1 (.389). The Browns have missed the playoffs all but once and have won more than five games only five times in 19 years, and the Bucs have played in two playoff games since winning the 2003 Super Bowl, lost them both, and haven’t played an extra game in a decade.
In other words, they both consistently stink, and even their most rabid fans have no argument to offer. They are safe choices to use as guinea pigs for McMahon’s apparently megadaft idea.
I mean, we could have asked for a position paper on how he would deal with the brain injury problem, though his history suggests his solution is to not care. We could have asked him to get young people more involved in watching the sport (let alone playing it, which is a parent issue), but he’s at the stage of his life where playing for the short money is all the playing he can do. We could suggest he define what a catch is, which seems to be beyond the skills of the NFL’s finest minds.
But no, let’s make him start slow. Give him the Browns and Bucs and say, “Here’s the ground floor, Skippy. Start stacking bricks.” And if he does that, he can have a few more fixer-uppers, like Detroit, Cincinnati, Houston and the New York Jets. This way, he can demonstrate his business and showmanship acumen while not giving America more teams it doesn’t care about in a sport that more and more people find less and less appealing.
And you're welcome. We do this stuff all the time, and it costs you nothing. You can't ask for a fairer deal than that.