All this CFL/XFL talk got me thinking. Am I dreaming or was not there a proposal for the Grey Cup champion to play the WLAF champion in the mid-90s?
I don't remember any proposal for a inter league championship.
But if we can bring this league back from the dead in a 'act of fiction', I'd want to see the Als take on the Machine.
I do not remember this at all
WLAF was to replace CFL and Montreal crowed about how they were accepted into the big boys league (rem at launch it was backed by NFL)
But once fans there realized it was minor league the Machine attendance plummeted from the 50,000 avg down to 20,000 avg
It would've been in 1996 or 1997 when it first came up. There were no more U.S. (or Montreal) teams in the WLAF, just European teams. I thought it was tied into the NFL loan that was given to the CFL. Clearly, it didn't go anywhere.
The loan came after the failed US expansion .
WLAF (also called W-Laugh) including the North American teams was the 1991 and 1992 seasons. It was Europe only afterwards.
The closing of the North American operations was the gave way to the US expansion. WLAF Sacramento was the same ownership of the Gold Miners. WLAF San Antonio was supposed to join them in 1993 but backed out.
CFL ended up in 4 former WLAF markets; Sacramento, San Antonio, Birmingham.....and Montreal
Birmingham in particular was beyond stupid
I dunno why we ever went there
Just got greedy when a rich owner stepped up
From Day 1 the WLAF was an NFL property which is why the foreign cities (Euro + Montreal) expected NFL level competition
What they got was far from it though
According to NY Times only 2 franchises refused to contribute (Bears and Cardinals)
At over $11 million dollars per team that is a start up of $110,000,000
NFL paid EVERYTHING, even player salaries
ABC kicked in $24 million, USA network $26 million for broadcast rights.
All team names, uniforms, logos, etc were designed by NFL head office to be "marketable" and were given to the individual franchises
In many ways the WLAF really was a precursor to the XFL with its central bureaucracy
I don't know who else was around (or planning to be around) in that time frame but NFL clearly said it was doing this to head off any attempt at a rival spring league (like USFL, who folded in mid 80s)
I'm based in Europe. I remember reading something about it in the magazines specialised in football & north american sports at the time, when they wrote stuff about the WLAF. Dunno however how much substance there was behind that.
Some coaches & players went to work for both leagues (ex: Don Matthews), so there was obviously some links between the two entities.
Sad thing 20,000 is better than what the Als average during bad years- and WLAF was definitely minor league.