The NFL is facing its murkiest outlook in quite some time.
Public sentiment for the league is at an all-time low. The beleaguered organization has become an occasional punching bag for President Donald Trump due to the players who kneel during the national anthem. The league has also come under intense scrutiny for the ongoing unemployment of Colin Kaepernick, who many feel is being “blackballed” because of his anthem protest.
The low sentiment has cratered TV ratings. While the NFL is still the biggest show on television, its lofty position isn’t as impervious as it was once thought to be. Ratings have declined for several years in a row now, with a precipitous 9.7 percent drop in viewership last season.
The ratings have been bad enough that the NFL actually had to offer up refunds to many of its advertisers at the end of the year.
On top of all of those issues, the NFL is now staring at a rapidly approaching future where there will be not one, but two rival professional football organizations.
The XFL is not slated to launch until 2020, but if its marketing is any indication, the upstart league will be going directly after a number of issues plaguing the NFL.
But the XFL is a problem that can be tackled, no pun intended, during the next presidential election.
The Alliance for American Football will launch its maiden season shortly after Super Bowl LIII concludes at the end of the next NFL season, in early 2019. The AAF presents a much more pressing sword of Damocles.
Not only will the AAF be here sooner than the NFL would like, it’s backed by some legitimate football people. Former NFL general manager Bill Polian, former Pittsburgh Steelers greats Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu, and former New York Giants star Justin Tuck will all be involved in some capacity.
On Saturday, the AAF announced its first team location. Moreover, longtime football coach Steve Spurrier has been inked as the fist official coach of the AAF, and he’ll oversee the team in Orlando.
And while this is all great, sports leagues thrive first and foremost off their marketable athletes. Fortunately, Spurrier already has an idea of who would make an excellent face of the franchise.
“(Having Tim Tebow on our team) would be wonderful,” Spurrier said on Monday’s “Open Mike” radio show, via the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I think Tim knows about our league. He knows he’s welcome to come down (to Orlando) and play.”
Spurrier did acknowledge that Tebow is currently focused on baseball. That being said, Spurrier also made a passing mention to Tebow’s ongoing baseball struggles, which could portend a return to football.
“Obviously, if his baseball career is going well, he may decide to stick with it, which I would certainly understand. But if it doesn’t go to well and he has the urge to play football, we would certainly welcome him in Orlando,” Spurrier said.
Tebow is currently playing for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, a minor league team associated with the New York Mets. He has given no indication of his plans for next season, although it’s safe to assume that Tebow still wants to pursue his baseball career.
If Tebow ends up on a Florida professional football team, it’s going to steal all sorts of national attention. And national attention is one thing the NFL cannot afford to lose right now.
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