A-11 Football League
|Inaugural season||2014 (planned)|
|No. of teams||8|
The A-11 Football League (A11FL) was a proposed spring outdoor American football league that was announced in 2013 and scheduled its first season for 2014. The league planned to use modified NFL rules that allowed any of the eleven offensive players to be eligible receivers depending on how they line up at scrimmage (known as the A-11 offense).
The A11FL had announced plans to play two "showcase games" in the spring of 2014, but cancelled these events in April 2014. On July 9, 2014, the league announced on their Facebook page that read: "For the last few months our investment team has been actively working on financing for a new Professional Spring Football League that will feature NFL rules. Details about the new league name will be released when we are able, but as of today the new league will no longer be branded as the A11FL." Finally, on February 25, 2015, the league made this statement on Facebook: "(T)he folks who were involved with the A11FL investment team have been actively working on financing for a new Professional Spring Football League that will no longer be branded as as the A11FL...More news as it comes available." As of 2017, nothing more has been heard from the (presumably former) A11FL.
Previous spring football leagues
There have been numerous attempts to establish a spring football league in the last thirty years, the best-known being the United States Football League (1983–85), the NFL-sponsored WLAF/NFL Europe (1991–92 and 1995-2007); and the XFL (2001). Others include the Professional Spring Football League (PSFL), which folded before playing any games in 1992; the Regional Football League (RFL), which lasted a single season in 1999; the Spring Football League (SFL), which played just four games in 2000; and the Stars Football League, which intended to be a national league but spent most of its three-year existence (2011–13) as a regional semi-pro league based in Florida. (Several other proposed spring leagues never got past the planning stage; for instance, the International Football Federation was set to begin play in 2000, but never made it past their initial press conference.)
California high school football coaches Kurt Bryan and Steve Humphries developed the A-11 offense in the mid-2000s by using a loophole in rules concerning allowable punting formations to design an offensive scheme in which "All 11" players were potentially eligible receivers. While some high school coaches began to adopt the offense, many more felt that it was "unsportsmanlike" and "against the spirit of the rules". In 2009, the loophole which allowed the A-11 to be used was closed by the National Federation of State High School Associations by a 46-2 vote. In 2011, Bryan and Humphries began planning a professional football league that allowed the A-11 offense, which they felt made for a safer and more wide-open game.
Introduction and TV deal
The creation of the A11FL was announced on April 16, 2013 with a call for investments and business partners. The league was designed to start as single-owner entity in which all franchises were to be owned and operated by the league office.
At press conference on February 6, 2014, A11FL commissioner Scott McKibben announced six of its eight inaugural teams, leaving the final two teams and home stadiums to be announced at a later date. At the same press conference, McKibben announced that the league had reached an agreement with ESPN to broadcast two "showcase games" and the 2015 regular season. The showcase games were scheduled to be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in May 2014 and at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in June 2014.
Time out / folding
The league announced via Twitter on March 28, 2014 that it would be redirecting efforts towards a "new opportunity" that would "secure the formation of the league for many years". On April 11, 2014, the league announced via Facebook that "things are coming together just as we said in our announcement. No need to read between the lines. Big news ahead." Later that same April, the A11FL canceled its two showcase games and announced that previously introduced franchises in San Francisco and Los Angeles would not be included in the league due to the cost of workers' compensation insurance in California. However, commissioner McKibben stated at the time that the A11FL still planned on fielding eight teams for its inaugural season, which was still planned for the spring of 2015.
On July 9, 2014, the league announced via Facebook that it was dropping the A11FL name and the A-11 offense would attempt to "rebrand" as a "new league", effectively folding the A11FL. The league released what would have been the logos for the eight originally proposed teams on December 28, 2014, in an effort to promote the graphic design company that had designed the logos.
- Fred Walker – Chairman
- Scott McKibben – CEO/Commissioner
- Mike Keller – President & COO
- Kurt Bryan – Founder & Executive VP of League Development
- Steve Humphries – Founder
- Chris Schuring – CTO
The league had announced seven of its eight planned teams before pulling franchises in Los Angeles and Oakland due to California's workers compensation laws. The name and location of the eighth planned franchise had yet to be announced when the league folded. Five of the proposed clubs borrowed names and design elements from franchises in the 1980s United States Football League, the Sea Lions and Staggs being the two exceptions.
|Team||City||Proposed stadium (capacity)||Proposed debut|
|Bay Area Sea Lions||San Francisco, California||To be determined||2015 (dropped in 2014)|
|Chicago Staggs||Chicago, Illinois||Soldier Field (63,500)||2015|
|Dallas Wranglers||Dallas, Texas||Cotton Bowl (92,100)||2015|
|Denver Gold||Denver, Colorado||To be determined||2015|
|Los Angeles Express||Los Angeles, California||To be determined||2015 (dropped in 2014)|
|Michigan Panthers||Detroit, Michigan||To be determined||2015|
|New Jersey Generals||East Rutherford, New Jersey||MetLife Stadium (82,566)||2015|
|Philadelphia Stars||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||To be determined||2015|
|Tampa Bay Bandits||Tampa, Florida||Raymond James Stadium (65,890)||2015|
- "A11FL Fan Guide V1" (PDF). A11FL. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 15, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Eric Young. "New pro football league forms. When is kickoff? In two years.". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Spring pro league scraps showcase game at Ray-Jay | Tampa Bay Times
- A11FL Facebook page
- Weinreb, Michael (March 5, 2009). "Banning the A-11 offense is a bad idea". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- Piedmont's innovative A-11 offense loses appeal
- The case for a future pro football league based on the A-11 Offense. A11Offense.com. Retrieved from the Internet Archive March 23, 2014.
- "Media Alert:Business Leaders, Sports Executives and Entrepreneurs form A11FL". MarketWired.com. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Bay Area lands new professional football team". San Jose Mercury News. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "ESPN2 to Televise A11FL Games". ESPN.com. 6 February 2014. Archived from the original on 6 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "New A11 pro football league will have Bay Area". San Francisco Examiner. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "About A11FL". A11FL. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved December 15, 2013.