The news that the United Football League will push back the start of its season by a month comes as a result of a misreading of how the NFL lockout would affect the football world.
At least, that’s the interpretation of the UFL’s most successful coach, Jim Fassel.
Fassel, the former Giants head coach whose Las Vegas Locomotives have won the UFL championship in both years of the UFL’s existence, told Todd Wright on Sporting News Radio that the UFL expected to be able to start in August and capitalize on a vacuum created by the NFL lockout. However, the reality is that players have been even less willing to sign with the UFL because they want to see how things shake out in the NFL before they make any commitments to another league.
“Our season has always started middle of September, to the end of November,” Fassel said. “We decided to move it up a month because of the NFL lockout. . . . We all thought that the NFL, with their issues, this would be an advantage for us. And it’s not. It’s confused a lot of issues, with players and everything else. We talk to players and it’s, ‘Well, I think I’ll sign with the NFL, and if I don’t I’ll sign with your league.’”
Fassel also said that the UFL hoped it could work out a TV deal with networks concerned that they wouldn’t have NFL football to televise. In reality, Fassel said, NFL uncertainty just made TV networks more reluctant to make any decisions until the lockout ends.
Now, Fassel says, the folks in the UFL are like the rest of us: They want the lockout to be over soon.