When the NFL pulled the plug on whatever the World League was known as in its final existence, the NFL likewise removed the ability of young players to get much-needed live reps.
But it’s more than players who benefit from a league that helps develop talent. The coaching pipeline remains less than full without opportunities to teach and scheme and call plays and make decisions in real games in real time.
With only four minority head coaches and a dearth of minority assistants in key positions on offense, a developmental league would go a long way toward filling the pipeline with coaches of all backgrounds and ethnicity. From time to time, reports and musings surface of such an effort, but the thinking is that the NFL has decided not to do it because it wouldn’t be profitable.
Even if it’s not, it’s part of the cost of ensuring that the game is grooming those with potential to become the best they can be, perhaps even better than some of the folks who currently rise to the top of the profession.
It also would help develop and improve game officials, who based on what we’ve seen this year (and in most years) could always use some development and improvement.
So here’s hoping the NFL’s list of New Year’s resolutions includes finally bringing back a developmental league.