In a stream of Tuesday night tweets, music and entertainment mogul Sean Diddy Combs expressed a desire to buy the NFL. As in all of the NFL. At a likely cost in excess of $100 billion (assuming he could convince 31 different owners to sell and buy up at least 50.1 percent of non-transferable Packers stock), that’s not realistic.
But here’s what is realistic: Starting his own football league. And he seems to be considering that, too.
“I did have a dream to own a NFL team but now my dream is to own our own league!” Combs tweeted at one point. “A league where you can be yourself. Have a retirement plan. . . . Have freedom to be a great human and protest for your people without being demonized for your beliefs as a KING!! NEW DREAM ALERT!!!!”
The NFL (which already has a retirement plan) has enjoyed a monopoly over pro football for decades. With enough funding, could Combs and any partners he’d recruit set up a league that would be less buttoned up and stifling to player freedoms than the NFL? They’d have the money to get it started; the question becomes whether it would resonate with the audience enough to generate a return on the investment.
In recent years, I’ve wondered whether the time has come for an old-school football league, where the kind of hits for which people like the President wax nostalgic are legal, and where all players assume the risks of playing rough-and-tumble tackle football. Given recent developments, maybe it’s time for a new-school football league. One that attracts younger fans and those who have had enough of the rules and policies and edicts and mandates.
Regardless of philosophy, it won’t be easy to compete with the NFL. Many have tried; all have failed. Still, maybe the window has opened for an alternative. And maybe someone with significant resources will decide to give it a whirl.