Arena Football

Looking Like A Moratorium On The AFL

Maybe we don’t have to wait until Friday, December 19, after all.  All signs point to the 2009 AFL season being cancelled with the hope that it is back up and running in 2010.  This comes after the players’ union agreed to cut the salary cap from $2 million to $1.4 million with the hope that it would persuade owners to take a shot at going through with this coming season.  While a report from last night says that the AFL Board of Directors voted yesterday to not yet suspend play in 2009, the writing is basically on the wall.  Some sort of stimulus is needed for revival, or the league will take a year off.

If the 2009 season is scrapped, many football players will be left without a job.  NFL Europe no longer exists, the AAFL was a waste of my excitement, and there are a couple of new leagues in development (see: United National Gridiron League and United Football League).  Let’s also not forget about the Canadian Football League.  Our brothers to the north are secretly excited that the AFL is having financial troubles.  Three-to-five players per AFL team may strike a CFL GM’s interest.  The transition would be seemless.  Salaries are very similar in value and Canada is close enough to home (it’s not like playing in Germany).

“There are agents who refuse to send their players to Canada. They may not have a choice any more.” – Jim Popp, GM of Montreal.

There is one positive AFL note to report, though.  The arenafootball2 league, the official development league of the AFL (which is largely considered a development league for the NFL since NFL Europe collapsed), will have a 2009 season as planned.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

6 replies on “Looking Like A Moratorium On The AFL”


In the article, you mentioned the AFL is considered the developmental league for the NFL. I think most GM’s and player development guys would disagree. Kurt Warner and maybe a few others have ever made an NFL roster in 19 years of operating. Most of these guys had their shot at the NFL and now do for several months a year then sell real estate or teach. While they may hope an NFL team spots them, most people in the NFL do not look at it as a developmental league like the minors or NBDL.

bobby r

If you go back and read what I wrote, I said that the AFL is LARGELY considered a developmental league for the NFL. Arena League players are not hoping to play in the AFL forever. They all have the goal of eventually making it to the top and playing with an NFL organization. Obviously there are plenty of players who got a shot at the NFL without ever playing in the AFL. Many players make the NBA without ever playing in the NBDL. Would you tell me that the NBDL (National Basketball DEVELOPMENTAL League) is not considered a developmental league?

I stated the NBDL was a developmental league. I think if you ask most AFL players they know they have no shot at the NFL. They are playing the game (or as close as you can now) for the love of it. Most have other jobs in the off-season that allow them to play from Janurary into the spring. The practice squad is the closest thing the NFL has to a developmental league or minor league system. It is very rare that an AFL’er even gets a shot in an NFL training camp. I am not bashing the league or the players but the facts bear out that the NFL does look at the AFL as a proving ground for the NFL.


Who the hell is this Bobby guy? Why does he feel compelled to act as a spell and grammar check? “Don’t you mean canceled?” Guy get off of it.

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