A Look into Fan Controlled Football League

Over the last fifty years, there have been multiple attempts to take on the NFL and the

NCAA and profit of the United States' obsession with football. The newest attempt has been the

Fan Controlled Football League (FCFL). The FCFL just finished its inaugural season which took

place from February to March of 2021. What makes the FCFL different from the XFL, USFL and

AAF is the way they have embraced technology. The FCFL was announced in 2017 and has

been rebranded multiple times before playing a game which makes its history confusing and

hard to follow.

    The FCFL games are played in an indoor arena with a 50-yard long field. The rules were

similar to the now-defunct Arena Football League but not the same. The games are stream on

Twitch exclusively and have a unique aspect that the plays the teams run are chosen by the

fans. I watched a game early in the season and signed up for an account to vote on the plays.

The interface to vote on a play is through Twitch’s API and it sucks. Voting on pay is glitchy and

doesn’t always work. The fans calling the plays also has a weird effect on the timing of the

game because the players kind of stand around waiting for the timer on the vote to end so they

can run the play. For the most part in the game, I watched the fans actually chose logical plays

and didn’t just make a joke of it.

    The league also boasts that its infrastructure is all based on blockchain technology, which is a

pretty big buzzword right now. Some of the founders of the FCFL have experience finding

cryptocurrencies. When you vote for stuff you get points that are run through blockchain but it

seems unnecessary and pointless.

    One of the biggest news getting stories that the league had was signing Johnny Manziel.

Johnny Manziel has had a wild career with time in both the CFL and another upstart league the

AAF. Manziel said about the league he joined because it will be a good time and not be serious

which is a weird thing to say about a professional league surrounded by peers trying to make it

to a higher level. He also has started a new podcast with rapper Mike Stud where like his failed

podcast project with Barstool Sports he talks about how he learned his lesson and will turn his

life around.

    I don’t know if the FCFL will succeed. The United States seems to be satisfied with the NFL

and NCAA football and doesn’t want to learn a new league with new players and new rules. It’s

nice to see a league embrace technology but it could be said with the Next Gen Stats that the

NFL is very technologically advanced itself. Additionally, after you sign up for an account on the

FCFL’s website constantly asks you to give them money to become part-owner of a team

which is annoying. The FCFL is just kind of a novelty and I don’t know if it’s a novelty that sports

fans will care about for more than just one season.


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