Where Can Players Go?

Where can players go when their NFL Careers are over, or if they are told they are no longer viably able to play in the NFL? They can either retire gracefully or do nothing. Or they can look for a minor league of sorts of football and continue their careers. Many go to semi-pro leagues like the North American Football League (NAFL), either as players or as coaches.

There are semi-pro leagues everywhere. But I want to talk about one organization in particular. This is the first of several articles that I am going to write on this league because I feel it is fascinating that fans everywhere need to know there is an outlet for their Football Blues and that is the NAFL.

There are many current and Ex-NFL players that are involved in this league. Sam Adams currently of the Buffalo Bills and formerly of the Oakland Raiders is the Leagues Commissioner (watch out Paul Taglibue), Raleigh McKenzie formerly of both the Chargers and the Redskins is an offensive line consultant for the Virginia rage, along with other former and current Redskins such as Gary Clarke, Zeron Flemister, Clarence Vaughn, Bryan Johnson and Tyrone Drakeford who has played with both the Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers.

Even the Cheerleaders of the Rage have a connection with the NFL, Tiffani Mattingly and GeNeinne Samuels (Former Washington Redskin Cheerleaders) and Courtney Davis (former Baltimore Raven Cheerleader) are advisors to the team.

What is it about his league that makes it different in my then any other semi pro team that is out there? Organization.

Robert Licopoli started this league on a dream in 1996, wrote up the business plan and put it into effect in 1999. They started with 18 teams and have grown to 102 in that short time span.

"I originally created it so people have a place to play football as adults. There is a stereotype that once you finish High School or College that if you don't go to the NFL that you are done," said Licopoli.

You would look at this league and say 102 teams, How can they have a playoff let alone a Final game, a Super Bowl per say. But they do, and it is a grand event along with a Golf tournament that joins Pro Football players and fans together. The breakdown is fantastic.

"The top 32 teams make the playoffs, each division winner, then the wildcards within each region, so that is like 8 teams per region. They make the Playoffs, we play in a 4 week playoff format and the 5th week is the championship game," Licopoli said. "Each playoff game is held at the home stadium of the team with the best record. That starts September 27th with 4 weeks of playoffs and the Championship game is Nov 1st."

Kimble Anders, Formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs, and his marketing company teamed up with another NAFL team on May 31st for a promotional Fan Fest weekend for the Springfield Rifles. Most of the teams promote themselves, sell their own advertising and find ways to break even or even make a profit.

This league could be a diamond mind for a corporate sponsorship right now. What is the difference between the NAFL, NFL Europe, or Arena Football? Probably in most people's eyes not a whole lot except the fact these guys play football, not for the Money, not for the Glory but for the reason football was meant to be played. It is Fun, and they love to play.

Bob Bryan the Vice President of sales and marketing says, "They are currently trying to work out a deal with TFN (The Football Network) to put the NAFL game of the week on that network."

Bob originally contacted me on another story that I had written and stirred me to the direction of the NAFL. If you are looking at a good investment and you are corporate advertiser this could be a good investment for you by all means. This league is growing and if there are any minor leagues in the NFL, the NAFL could be it.

In my next article, I am going to talk about some of the former NFL'ers and Current NFL'ers in the league and if there will be a Team coming to the Lovely City of San Diego. Till then if you get a chance to go catch a game near you, I suggest you do it, you won't regret it and you will have a great time.

Tom Criswell can be reached at: tcrisswell@cox.net or via the following link: Tom Criswell

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