Less than two weeks until kickoff, the Fan Controlled Football League creates a buzz on social media, “We need leagues like this”

SXSW Startups: FC Football League | by Hugh Forrest | Austin Startups

The NFL is and always will be the number one league for football. Its without a question. There are leagues with similar talent like the CFL and XFL who are able to have a number of loyal fans who support the leagues but the business side of things will always have the NFL on top. In the past the CFL was much larger than it is now; having teams in the states and in Canada and the NFL wasn’t as big as it is now, though times have changed and they will never change back to what it was but that doesn’t mean that other league can’t have success. Outside of what you could call ‘The Big 3’ which would be the NFL, CFL and XFL there have been a number of smaller leagues that have tried to start up to provide more opportunities to football players and exposure to the three bigger leagues. The majority of the leagues haven’t had a lot of success like they may have imagined when they all start up, most of them end up folding because of financial difficulties, though there is a league starting up in just under two weeks which may just be different than the other leagues that have attempted exactly what they are trying to do.

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Kicking off on February 13th, a week following the 2021 Super Bowl is the Fan Controlled Football league, 7 on 7 football league controlled by the fans. You may hear that and give it the eye roll just because it doesn’t necessarily sound too realistic nor does it sound appealing for football fans, though this is something that could really pop off and become something big. A league with just 4 teams, going to become something big? How? Well the Fan Controlled Football League has been creating quite the buzz for itself on social media recently because of the people involved with the league. Each team has big name personalities which is a main reason why the league has been out there a lot on social media. Each team is owned by social media influencers and professional athletes, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Austin Ekeler, Trevor May, Bob Menry, Quavo and Donald “Deestroying” De La Haye just to name a few. The people involved is one thing, but the football is another. Of course come February 13th, the NFL season will be over. The Super Bowl is over and done with by the end of the night February 7th, and for football fans usually the off-season would begin but this year the off-season will have to wait until March. An extra month of football, something everyone loves to hear about and now with the Fan Controlled Football League it has been spoken into existence, but this isn’t your typical football league. Of course you would know that by the name, though the Fan Controlled Football League is in other words, Real Life Fantasy Football. Every football fan out there has criticized the general manager of their favourite football team because of the moves they make in charge so now in the FCF, the fans are the general managers.

Every week the fans of the FCF will have the opportunity to re-draft for each of the four teams, picking who goes where and with who, fans also have a say on the rules. Looking at it from a far, the FCF is nothing like the NFL, its 7 on 7 football and the fact that it is different is a main reason for the buzz that the league has created on social media. Many call the NFL the “No Fun League” because of the rules that hurt teams and all of the regulations the players have to follow on and off of the field but unlike the NFL the Fan Controlled Football League is “The All Fun League” where the fans are in charge. Players will have entrances like the WWE wrestlers do, you will have the chance to watch the games from drone cameras, go pro cameras and even virtual reality cameras and as if you are playing Madden with your best friend, you call the plays. One thing that a lot of people are excited about is the play calling. Fans of their respective teams will have the choice whether their team will pass or run the ball. It will go into a total vote and after about one or two minutes the vote will close and the game will go on. This is just one of many reasons why fans are excited but so are the players, Fan Controlled Football League receiver Andrew Jamiel had told me in an interview, “Its going to be really fun. The league is all about the fans and that’s something that you don’t see a lot with the NFL and other professional leagues and its really been cool. I’ve already seen how much the fans of the league are interested in it and the league really has the chance to be something big because of the fans.”

Meet 2020 NFL Draft Prospect: Lamarcus Caradine, WR, Belhaven
Marcus Caradine at Belhaven University

As fun as the league may be and with the league mostly controlled by its fans, it may seem like a joke to some though the Fan Controlled Football League is still football and despite all of the fun rules and the involvement of the fans the players in the league are on a business trip. The players that are in the league, although you may be deciding which teams they play on and what rules they play by, they are there for a professional football opportunity. Each one of them have worked extremely hard to be in the position which they are in today and are continuing to work to one day play in the NFL. Talking about the opportunity to be in the Fan Controlled Football League and building on that point is wide receiver of the league Marcus Caradine, “Its a blessing to be able to play professional football.” he said, “This has been a game which I’ve played since I was young and to be able to play a game of football or practice for a week and come back with a cheque, that’s a blessing in itself. We are being payed to play a Childs game and that’s something that I want to do for a very long time and I hope to do it at the highest level.” The highest level being the NFL is somewhere that a lot of athletes strive to play at and as for both Andrew Jamiel and Marcus Caradine they are in a perfect position to get to that point. Small leagues like the FCF or the Arena Football Leagues are typically used as leagues for players to create opportunities in either the CFL or XFL. Some do get lucky and get the opportunity to play in the NFL from the smaller leagues, though it isn’t very common, but now with the Fan Controlled Football League, because of the personnel within the league there may be some players with the opportunity to play at the NFL after this 2021 FCF season. Talking about the possibility of going to the next level from this league and the people involved and able to make that happen receiver Andrew Jamiel pointed out, “The league has the people to make it happen.” and continued to say, “We have the stage and the opportunity to be in the NFL we just have to showcase our skills to make it happen.”

Andrew Jamiel at Stonehill College

In all, with the opportunities that can come out of leagues like the Fan Controlled Football League and the amount of buzz surrounding the league right now there is a lot of potential for the future of it and a lot of people are excited about how the league does, some CFL and NFL players included. Ottawa Redblacks receiver Jalen Saunders in the CFL talked about the league in an interview I did with him last week, “It will be cool to see what happens with the league. A lot of people are a part of it and it could be something big.” The experienced CFL and NFL receiver also said, “A lot of guys need another opportunity outside of the NFL or CFL. If you are a small school guy or even someone who have had troubles being on a team like I’ve had in the past an opportunity like this with a new league is big and with the people involved in the league I can see a lot of success coming out of it.”

On a final note, Jalen Saunders who has spent time in the NFL, CFL and the XFL said, “We need leagues like this. You need more than just the NFL.” The Fan Controlled Football League is exactly what the Football community needs, and as it kicks off on February 13th we will see the growth of it from start to finish.

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