Sports What Ifs.

There’s likely no way a team gets that kind of ownership the same way, sure. And the fact that the Packers managed to stay afloat like this and no one else did indicates that the Packers were, and are, a special team. My point was this - a lot of teams in other countries have a very different ownership model, one that allows players or fans to own part of the team.

I also don’t see most of the teams from the 1920s who didn’t survive doing so anyway; that’s life. But if even one more team adopted a similar ownership structure - or some other unique structure - and managed to stay afloat, maybe there would be a precedent for doing so and other teams would consider it (still as something of an oddity but more present than one team in 123 in the four major pro sports.)

The team I had in mind that would work both for history’s sake and for practicality was the Canton Bulldogs. The fact that they would be a natural rival for the Steelers and Browns adds some intrigue, and the historical value of Canton, Ohio is unique as well. Plus it could work - Canton itself has a lower population than Green Bay but the metro area has four times as many. Not sure what would make the Bulldogs more stable, but in theory, this one works as well as the Packers - a number of possible nearby rivals, a lot of history, and nearby industry for support.

The biggest question is - what if “sell it to the fans and/or players” becomes a viable and widely used option for saving struggling teams?
Canton is an interesting choice to try and make the Packers model work. The Bulldogs were sold and moved to Cleveland in 1924, but the popularity wasn't there and the team folded a couple years later, and while Canton got another team, it failed to escape the league culling teams in 1927. I think if they stay in Canton, they would probably survive until at least the Great Depression and possibly could devolve into a collective ownership if the funds weren't there despite the large amount of fan involvement

Again, I'm not sure if selling to the fans is a viable strategy, at least for American sports. When a team does bad, it's because fans aren't interested enough in their team to support them and pay money to see them. A team fails because of a lack of fan interest. That isn't something that a stock drive can fix. You need a base of devoted fans to actually pay for a part of the team, and if you don't have that then it won't work. The long background on reason behind the Packers ownership demonstrates how you need the fans to be involved for it to work, and for every single team that fails that's not there, because in order for a team to fail, the fans aren't there to support them. The Bulldogs might be the best chance in getting this to work elsewhere because it was a lot of external factors that caused it's demise, rather than because of lack of interest. For other teams it's not going to work because the fan support won't be there when they fail to support the team. There's no way to sell collective ownership to the fans because they already aren't buying tickets or merchandise from the team. That's why the teams are failing

If we're looking for teams to start with collective ownership rather than being forced to turn to it, that also would be a stretch. There's a much different dynamic between things like European soccer teams and American football teams, a lot of soccer teams formed very organically through local clubs that already relied heavily on community support to exist. The teams themselves became extensions of the clubs, hence why the teams are colloquially called "clubs". Football teams in America were usually formed by singular people wanting to make a team and finding other football players to join them. It's a lot less local and teams were free to move around, something which is near impossible for European teams. You'd have to fundamentally change how football developed in the United States to have more collective ownership.

If we're looking at American sports in general, I think it could work for baseball. A lot of early baseball formed through local clubs, very similarly to early European soccer. The teams were built locally and very tied with the city they formed in, but as time went on a lot of these clubs were pushed out by more successful, more professionally run programs that sought to attract talent from around the country (for example, the Braves started in Boston after someone convinced a guy from Cincinnati to come to the city). If you can somehow have baseball grow more organically and keep players from moving from club to club, then maybe you could see more collective ownership.
 
Canton is an interesting choice to try and make the Packers model work. The Bulldogs were sold and moved to Cleveland in 1924, but the popularity wasn't there and the team folded a couple years later, and while Canton got another team, it failed to escape the league culling teams in 1927. I think if they stay in Canton, they would probably survive until at least the Great Depression and possibly could devolve into a collective ownership if the funds weren't there despite the large amount of fan involvement

Again, I'm not sure if selling to the fans is a viable strategy, at least for American sports. When a team does bad, it's because fans aren't interested enough in their team to support them and pay money to see them. A team fails because of a lack of fan interest. That isn't something that a stock drive can fix. You need a base of devoted fans to actually pay for a part of the team, and if you don't have that then it won't work. The long background on reason behind the Packers ownership demonstrates how you need the fans to be involved for it to work, and for every single team that fails that's not there, because in order for a team to fail, the fans aren't there to support them. The Bulldogs might be the best chance in getting this to work elsewhere because it was a lot of external factors that caused it's demise, rather than because of lack of interest. For other teams it's not going to work because the fan support won't be there when they fail to support the team. There's no way to sell collective ownership to the fans because they already aren't buying tickets or merchandise from the team. That's why the teams are failing

If we're looking for teams to start with collective ownership rather than being forced to turn to it, that also would be a stretch. There's a much different dynamic between things like European soccer teams and American football teams, a lot of soccer teams formed very organically through local clubs that already relied heavily on community support to exist. The teams themselves became extensions of the clubs, hence why the teams are colloquially called "clubs". Football teams in America were usually formed by singular people wanting to make a team and finding other football players to join them. It's a lot less local and teams were free to move around, something which is near impossible for European teams. You'd have to fundamentally change how football developed in the United States to have more collective ownership.

If we're looking at American sports in general, I think it could work for baseball. A lot of early baseball formed through local clubs, very similarly to early European soccer. The teams were built locally and very tied with the city they formed in, but as time went on a lot of these clubs were pushed out by more successful, more professionally run programs that sought to attract talent from around the country (for example, the Braves started in Boston after someone convinced a guy from Cincinnati to come to the city). If you can somehow have baseball grow more organically and keep players from moving from club to club, then maybe you could see more collective ownership.
Baseball is an interesting way to start things off, especially if either 1) ALL big league teams are based in communities like European soccer or 2) it’s kind of 50-50 with some teams started by single owners and others by communities.

So if the Cincinnati Reds start off that way - either as a fan-owned team, a player-owned team, or both - then do others follow? You can bet that big cities and even some medium-sized cities will have more than one team, and you can bet a lot of smaller cities will want in on it as well (most won’t survive but a few will) and teams may be clustered together. You may also see either promotion-relegation or a more wide-open minor league system (if baseball has more teams, an inevitability, then a different minor league structure will be necessary.) It probably means at least four teams in NYC and a huge fight to keep them all going, maybe three in Chicago, and a higher likelihood of cities such as Philadelphia keeping two teams. It also means Baltimore gets a team earlier. It ALSO means eccentric rich people like Bill Veeck go into another line of work besides owning pro baseball teams, but it also averts dipshits like the Robison brothers buying two teams in 1899 and leaving the Cleveland Spiders - a winner from 1892-98 - to become the worst team ever.

It may also mean that multiple leagues form organically rather than a rival league like the American League popping up. It also likely means the PCL survives and integrates into MLB. That probably makes for an interesting World Series - more than two leagues. Picture if the NL (a bunch of yahoos,) the AL (corporate shills,) the Southern League (minor-league rednecks,) and the PCL (coffee-sipping hipsters) all fought for the World Series and all saw each other as I described.
 
Baseball is an interesting way to start things off, especially if either 1) ALL big league teams are based in communities like European soccer or 2) it’s kind of 50-50 with some teams started by single owners and others by communities.

So if the Cincinnati Reds start off that way - either as a fan-owned team, a player-owned team, or both - then do others follow? You can bet that big cities and even some medium-sized cities will have more than one team, and you can bet a lot of smaller cities will want in on it as well (most won’t survive but a few will) and teams may be clustered together. You may also see either promotion-relegation or a more wide-open minor league system (if baseball has more teams, an inevitability, then a different minor league structure will be necessary.) It probably means at least four teams in NYC and a huge fight to keep them all going, maybe three in Chicago, and a higher likelihood of cities such as Philadelphia keeping two teams. It also means Baltimore gets a team earlier. It ALSO means eccentric rich people like Bill Veeck go into another line of work besides owning pro baseball teams, but it also averts dipshits like the Robison brothers buying two teams in 1899 and leaving the Cleveland Spiders - a winner from 1892-98 - to become the worst team ever.

It may also mean that multiple leagues form organically rather than a rival league like the American League popping up. It also likely means the PCL survives and integrates into MLB. That probably makes for an interesting World Series - more than two leagues. Picture if the NL (a bunch of yahoos,) the AL (corporate shills,) the Southern League (minor-league rednecks,) and the PCL (coffee-sipping hipsters) all fought for the World Series and all saw each other as I described.
Well, as being part of the "minor-league redneck" area, the idea of New Orleans going major via pro/rel would be a godsend (so long as we avoid the Baby Cakes decision).

Saints got their name because the franchise was awarded on All Saints Day, and Archbishop Hannan signed off on the name not being offensive to Catholics. Raiders would have worked just fine in NOLA (Jean Lafitte).

Algiers wouldn't work for the A's or Pirates. Algiers Point has a lot of historic architecture similar to the French Quarter. Further down DeGaulle wouldn't be able to handle game day traffic. Upriver near the old Mardi Gras World site would have the same issue, plus parking.

Have to share the Dome or build just upriver from the Convention Center, or on the site of the Iberville project (which would be highly controversial and might not go through).
The Raiders/Texans being called the Saints seems to me as a forgone conclusion. As for the A's, there was a site I found referencing the Dome's 2011 renovations and included a plan for a baseball remodeling that could go multipurpose (http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/Superdome.html#diag ; see hyp. combined). I could see it happening, but I wonder if that would call for a new roof altogether for the Dome. Other than that, the only other viable option seems to be the upriver from the Convention Center. Had a conversation once with family and we came to the conclusion that somewhere in Laplace would be a fit (a la Zephyrs, being a NOLA team in the metro area rather than within Orleans Parish).

In all this, I have no idea if this was included earlier, but I wanted to add some about the USFL (in light of the AAF starting their season soon):

  • WI Dixon remained in the league and led a counter against Trump on the direct NFL competition (split USFL between pro-Trump and pro-Dixon)?
  • WI Trump let his ego deflate an inch and had the lawsuit in Baltimore?
  • Long term effects of a successful Trump USFL-NFL lawsuit?
  • WI No Jim Kelly for the Houston Gamblers? (Either gets drafted for Miami with Marino to Pittsburgh, or taken in by the Saints)
  • Long term effects of a surviving USFL and potential butterflies in future talent/expansion/etc.?
  • WI Dixon was successful in the USFL starting earlier than the 1980s?
 
In all this, I have no idea if this was included earlier, but I wanted to add some about the USFL (in light of the AAF starting their season soon):
  • WI Dixon remained in the league and led a counter against Trump on the direct NFL competition (split USFL between pro-Trump and pro-Dixon)?
  • WI Trump let his ego deflate an inch and had the lawsuit in Baltimore?
  • Long term effects of a successful Trump USFL-NFL lawsuit?
  • WI No Jim Kelly for the Houston Gamblers? (Either gets drafted for Miami with Marino to Pittsburgh, or taken in by the Saints)
  • Long term effects of a surviving USFL and potential butterflies in future talent/expansion/etc.?
  • WI Dixon was successful in the USFL starting earlier than the 1980s?
Split USFL would be interesting. The Trump faction would try to play in the fall and pursue the lawsuit. If the lawsuit is filed in Baltimore the fans will hammer the NFL out of spite - and the verdict might be reduced on appeal, but during the appeals process the USFL will be able to obtain a line of credit and have leverage to force a merger, or a Spirits style buyout.

The spring faction might continue as a niche sport. The Maulers don't fold, the Breakers stay in New Orleans, etc.

Obviously less expansion. The incoming teams cut off relocation options for the Cardinals (Outlaws already in Arizona) and Browns (Baltimore). No Jaguars since the Bulls are already there. Rams don't go to St Louis because the Cardinals can't move. What would really be awesome is if the Irsays were forced to give the Colts back to Baltimore and take the Stars for Indy. The Bandits force the Bucs out, maybe to Oakland. Orlando might end up moving to Charlotte or Nashville.

With 32 (and more likely 36) teams expansion is likely off the table.
 
Hopefully the AAF lasts long enough to have multiple What Ifs of it's own, say 5 years down the line. Speaking of leagues that are upcoming within the next year or two, I know the big question of the XFL surviving for a second season has been asked here before, but what would the impact be on some of the players from the first season, especially if it improbably survived all the way into present day?
 
would really be awesome is if the Irsays were forced to give the Colts back to Baltimore and take the Stars for Indy.
Or to reduce the ammount on the appeal, they offered the Colts name and brand/story in exchange of nothing for the starts, let the irsay get stuck in indy.

St Louis because the Cardinals can't move
For the best, maybe wait till get the Dome and later Bill to get old thus Mike can keep the ship straight.
 
WI Dixon was successful in the USFL starting earlier than the 1980s?
I am looking at Jeff Pearlman's book Football For a Buck on Google Books. In the beginning, Jeff wrote about the origins of David Dixon's idea.

In 1963, David Dixon met with Paul Brown. After a nine-hour meeting, Brown told him to never let anyone talk him out of his spring football idea. So, three years later, after he got commitments from several Fortune 500 heads that wanted a team (Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inn, was one of them), his new league was about ready.

It was announced on June 25, 1966, and it would be called the United States Football League. Everything looked to be all systems go.

And then, the merger happened, and New Orleans was awarded the Saints. After that, none of the TV networks were interested, and the investors all pulled out.
 
WI the 1982 NFL strike leads to the cancellation of the 1982 season?

Effects on the 1983 draft, the USFL, et. al., anyone?
 
WI the 1982 NFL strike leads to the cancellation of the 1982 season?

Effects on the 1983 draft, the USFL, et. al., anyone?
There could have been some big butterflies:

1. Coaches: Since there is no 1982 season, guys like Leeman Bennett in Atlanta and Marv Levy in KC aren't unfairly canned, and they get another shot in 1983. Also, Chuck Knox probably stays in Buffalo for one more year (at least), Ray Malavasi isn't fired for John Robinson with the Rams, Jack Patera stays with Seattle for another season, & Walt Michaels stays with the Jets.

As for Ray Perkins and Dick Vermeil, I still think they end up leaving even if there is no season. Vermeil enjoyed the time off from football with his family, and he was approaching burnout. And, Perkins wanted the Alabama job, so the Giants still end up promoting Parcells to HC.

2. Steelers: With no 1982 season, Terry Bradshaw doesn't hurt his elbow, and he comes back rejuvenated and ready to go. It's also possible that Lynn Swann and Jack Ham come back for one more year instead of retiring. I can really see them giving the Raiders a run for their money.

3. NFL Draft: With no 1982 season, they probably go back to the 1982 draft order. In 1982, the Pats had the #1 pick, and they had their 1983 first-rounder. They benefit greatly from the lack of a 1982 season because they are able to draft Elway.

As for picks 2-10, here's the order and the picks:

2. Colts: Dan Marino, QB, Pitt
* 3. Seahawks: (from Packers through Saints in Bruce Clark trade on 6-10-1982): Curt Warner, RB, Penn St.
4. Bills (from Browns in Tom Cousineau trade on 4-24-1982): Jim Kelly, QB, Miami
5. Rams (originally had the fifth pick in 82 before trading it to Baltimore for Bert Jones): Eric Dickerson, RB, SMU
6. Bears: Jimbo Covert, OT, Pitt
7. Packers (from Seahawks): Tim Lewis, CB, Pitt
8. Vikings: Bruce Matthews, OL, USC
9. Oilers: Chris Hinton, OL, Northwestern
10. Falcons: Billy Ray Smith, OLB, Arkansas

* The Saints originally had the third pick in the 1982 draft, but they used it on Dave Wilson in the 1981 Supp draft. I have the Packers trading down with Seattle because they wanted defense, and the Seahawks wanted Curt Warner.
 
What happens to the USFL in the event of the 1982 NFL season being cancelled due to the strike? It probably does better, IMO, especially since many football fans are going to be missing football...
 
I am looking at Jeff Pearlman's book Football For a Buck on Google Books. In the beginning, Jeff wrote about the origins of David Dixon's idea.

In 1963, David Dixon met with Paul Brown. After a nine-hour meeting, Brown told him to never let anyone talk him out of his spring football idea. So, three years later, after he got commitments from several Fortune 500 heads that wanted a team (Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inn, was one of them), his new league was about ready.

It was announced on June 25, 1966, and it would be called the United States Football League. Everything looked to be all systems go.

And then, the merger happened, and New Orleans was awarded the Saints. After that, none of the TV networks were interested, and the investors all pulled out.
So, if you can delay (at best) or completely avoid the NFL-AFL merger (at worst), could you get a more successful USFL at 1966 instead of seventeen years later?

* The Saints originally had the third pick in the 1982 draft, but they used it on Dave Wilson in the 1981 Supp draft. I have the Packers trading down with Seattle because they wanted defense, and the Seahawks wanted Curt Warner.
So, take away the decision of Dave Wilson in exchange for building a defense, and the Saints get Jim Kelly? I'll take it
 
So, if you can delay (at best) or completely avoid the NFL-AFL merger (at worst), could you get a more successful USFL at 1966 instead of seventeen years later?
It's possible. It seemed like Dixon got some good investors for his league. Sounds like it would have been way better than the WFL as well.

So, take away the decision of Dave Wilson in exchange for building a defense, and the Saints get Jim Kelly? I'll take it
The Saints still probably trade their 83 #1 pick, so they don't get Kelly. The Bills still do.
 
The Saints still probably trade their 83 #1 pick, so they don't get Kelly. The Bills still do.
Why would they? There is as easy of a switch for Philips to be convinced to not take George Allen or Dave Wilson and focus on defense with the ability to pick up Marcus Allen in the 1st or 2nd. Hell, with a cancelled season, they could take up Marino over Kelly, Kelly over Marino, or secure a first overall pick and go for Elway.
 
Why would they? There is as easy of a switch for Philips to be convinced to not take George Allen or Dave Wilson and focus on defense with the ability to pick up Marcus Allen in the 1st or 2nd. Hell, with a cancelled season, they could take up Marino over Kelly, Kelly over Marino, or secure a first overall pick and go for Elway.
They traded their 1983 #1 pick before the 1982 season (in June).
 
Here is a good one.

ITV wins the rights to the inaugural Premier League season in 1992, the live rights- it was ITV v Sky, I believe the deal ran for 3-4 years.

Butterflies there maybe big- would it be the global phenomenon it is today? I have my doubts...also Sky would have stalled majorly if not imploded.
 
And to my earlier point - if the Canton Bulldogs survived. Assuming most everything goes as it does, this means two things:

1. The idea of saving a team with shitty management or financial problems by doing a stock drive may make things different. One possibility - OTL after the Browns moved, Ohio passed a law that requires owners to try to sell locally before moving a team (this is why the Columbus Crew of MLS isn’t chilling in Austin, TX now.) Assuming the law is constitutional, and I don’t see a reason it wouldn’t be, might at least one state try something like that sooner (with the caveat of “local owner and/or stock drive” being part of the law. Incidentally, one of the first states to pass such a law may be Illinois since they were instrumental in how the Packers got their ownership structure.)

2. Assuming the teams that survived OTL survive TTL - plus the Bulldogs - it means that, when the Dallas Texans take a Texas-sizes shit in 1952, the NFLvis at an even dozen and doesn’t need to replace a team. That replacement team? The Baltimore Colts. This means one of two things - either the NFL expands sooner or Rosenbloom is out in the cold, meaning maybe he joins the Foolish Club.

And if it’s the latter, the likeliest City squeezes out is Oakland, since they weren’t as ready in 1960 as the other seven teams. It also means Al Davis may be waitin in the Wings to rescue the NY Titans if he’s deemed a better option, and if Davis wants to move them, New Orleans is a likely spot. Think about that - no Jets, no one in Oakland, we have a New Orleans Raiders, and the overwhelming rule seems to be: one city, one team (that is, unless Chicago saves the Cardinals via stock drive, which isn’t ASB but seems like a long shot.)

So where does the NFL go in 1967 if New Orleans isn’t an option? Seattle seems like the next city up. And if the NFL needs three teams to jump to the AFC, the Steelers and Browns can jump and take the Bulldogs with them. Easy peasy and they can be their own division with the Bengals. The Oilers would go to the West and the Raiders make more sense in the East as a natural rival to the Dolphins.

This likely also averts the franchise swap between Rosenbloom and Irsay, so Rosenbloom stays in Baltimore and Irsay, with no team sharing the Bay Area, gets LA to himself - and as much of a head case as Bob Irsay was, it’s hard to see him leaving LA in the 80s when the Coliseum is a way better option than anything Baltimore had. (Also, if California passes a Modell Rule, he’s probably SOL anyway since a shit-ton of celebrities will no doubt buy shares in the Rams if he tries anything. And if that’s the case, I’m probably a Rams fan since I could see my father buying a share or two of the Rams, as my father was a fan before the move to St. Louis and then proceeded to tell the NFL to piss off afterward.)

If Tampa Bay gets a team, the NFC East, with the Giants, Eagles, Redskins and probably Falcons, fits best. Then the AFC gets a team in, I dunno, Phoenix. One wrinkle - if the Cardinals move, Indy would then make more sense, and if the Browns then move, it would be to St. Louis, not Baltimore. So the replacement Browns come back in 1999, the Texans in 2002, and the NFL looks like this:

AFC East
Baltimore Colts
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots

AFC North
Canton Bulldogs
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh Steelers

AFC South
Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Raiders
Tennessee Titans

AFC West
Arizona Firebirds
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego Chargers

NFC East
Indianapolis Cardinals
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

NFC North
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings

NFC South
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
St. Louis Stallions
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West
Dallas Cowboys
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
 
True but how interesting is that? Would they merge with another league? Maybe a USFL merger if the USFL has its collective shit together? Maybe a 1966 USFL tries to make it?
we discussed that USFL could be the equivalent or the WFL(a team in hawaii would be interesting), that would come later, besides the cards being stuck in the cotton bowl till a AT&T/State farm equivalent is build would be funny, or would the cardinals get a fully done Texas stadium?
 
Top