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
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.