Former Heisman Winner Headlines New Football League
Like seasons of time, new football leagues spring up and then fall away almost every year now. 2021 is no exception to this trend. Last Saturday, a brand-new football league, the Fan Controlled Football League (FCF) played its first slate of games.
And boy, did the FCF hit hard with star power. As the quarterback for the Zappers, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel led the offense to 44 points. Manziel went 1-for-5 for 11 yards. He also rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Ultimately, the Zappers fell to the Beasts 48-44. The other game, featuring the Wild Aces and Glacier Boyz ended in a 30-22 Wild Aces’ victory.
Yeah- you heard that right. The Glacier Boyz.
While the FCF is full of enough personality to fill the NFL and the NCAA combined, the FCF only has four teams, all of which are not locked down by a geographical region.
That’s not even where the differences to the NFL, or any of the recent start-up leagues, stop for the FCF. The Fan Controlled Football League plays on a 50-yard indoor field, similar to the Arena Football League, and all of their games are streamed on Twitch, where fans of the teams can vote to choose what plays their favorite teams run, whether an offense will score and much more.
In addition, there are no kickoffs or kicked extra points, the game features a “7 v. 7” format, and a fast-paced hour time limit for games. This simplified format introduces “squads” of offensive and defensive linemen. They operate as a unit, and in the weekly draft, they are chosen as one singular draft pick.
Plays aren’t the only thing fans control, though. They voted to choose the team names, colors, uniforms, and even what outfits coaches wear on the sidelines. To increase interest with the league, fans have been given the opportunity to but stock in their favorite team and become partial owners.
This means that you could be business partners with some notable athletes and celebrities that also own the teams. From Quavo of the rap group “Migos” and legendary boxer Mike Tyson to NFL stars like Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman, the FCF is drawing attention from some big names.
Being an owner in a team brings some big responsibility, as well.
As stated on the FCF’s website,
“Every Wednesday on Twitch you will be able to vote in a live player draft to build your team's roster. Teams get two franchise players (selected by Team Owners) and fans get one keeper after the first game. The rest of the guys are back in the player pool for the draft each week.”
When gameday gets started though, the FCF has taken inspiration from the original XFL for some of their pregame rituals.
The pregame ceremonies will feature “player entrances like WWE.” The FCF also noted that it will have “an end zone specifically designed for TD celebrations. Lights, LEDs, lasers, and cryo like a rock concert.”
On the field, the FCF will bring new camera angles, much like the original XFL, owned by Vince McMahon, did.
“‘Madden view’ from a drone. Live stream helmet cams and mics on the players. 180 degree VR cams all over the field,” the website lists.
While the former “pop-up” leagues in recent years, such as the AAF, which featured a team in Birmingham before the league folded, and the second life of the XFL, which folded when the COVID-19 pandemic but recently announced a return, may not have been as successful as they imagined, the FCF seems to have hit the ground running. While it is uncertain whether this new, creative league will succeed, or even finish a full season, it still seems to serve its purpose- a smaller league for less notable players to make a name for themselves.
All games stream on Saturdays and tend to have a starting time of around 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.