New A11 pro football league will have Bay Area team 

click to enlarge Scott McKibben
  • juan pardo/special to the s.f. examiner
  • Scott McKibben, commissioner of the A11 Football League, announces the teams for the new pro league and the agreement with ESPN to broadcast upcoming games.
The craving for professional football is at an all-time high as witnessed with the Super Bowl on Sunday as it was the most watched TV event in U.S. history.

Now, fans won’t have to wait until August for professional football. They’ll be introduced to a unique brand of football, a style that will be wide open and fast.

Thursday morning at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, the A11 Professional Football League was officially introduced to the public. The eight-team league, which includes a team based in the Bay Area — the Bay Area Sea Lions — will have two showcase games this spring: May 17 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., and June 5 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. ESPN will broadcast the showcase games, as well as games in the 2015 season.

Founders Steven Humphries and Kurt Bryan created the A-11 offense in 2007 at Piedmont High School in the East Bay. The offense is based on lining players all over the field, with any given player being eligible to receive a pass. Jersey numbers on the offensive players don’t matter, and every player on offense is interchangeable.

“As a football coach for 25 years, I’ve seen a lot of things come and go, which I refer to as fads,” said Bryan, who will serve as the Executive Vice President of League Development with the hope of possibly coaching in the A11FL. “We started having success in the A-11 offense, and the phones never stopped ringing. Coaches from all over wanted to know about this offense.”

The league is hoping one of the most recognizable and popular athletes in America could be headlining the first showcase game in Tampa Bay, and become the poster boy for the A11FL.

Officials mentioned that they have had three or four discussions with Tim Tebow’s representatives about him playing for A11FL. Tebow, who spent time with the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and New England Patriots in the NFL, is currently working with ESPN as an analyst.

“[Tebow] is perfectly built for this football league,” Humphries said. “He’s my favorite football player and always has been.”

With a focus on having teams in major markets, joining the Sea Lions will be the Los Angeles Express, Chicago Staggs, Dallas Wranglers, New Jersey Generals, and Tampa Bay Bandits. The A11FL acquired the team names and trademarks of the now defunct USFL.

The venue the Sea Lions will play in has yet to be determined, but Stanford and Cal’s stadiums and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara have been explored.

League officials still have to a decision on where the other two teams are placed, which will either be Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia or Phoenix.

The regular season will start in 2015 with a 14-week regular season, with five teams eligible to make the playoffs, which will last three weeks.

The first draft will be held toward the end of 2014, which will be a territorial draft in which teams will have first dibs on players from their region that don’t get drafted to the NFL. Training camps will last seven-to-eight weeks.

“This country thirsts for more football and the live action sports content value has never, ever been higher,” said A11FL Commissioner Scott McKibben, who expects attendance to be in the mid-30,000’s with ticket prices being in the $30 dollar range. “We believe football played in the spring, at the highest level, in the greatest markets, with the greatest players, will be successful.”

A11FL teams

Bay Area Sea Lions

Los Angeles Express

Chicago Staggs

Dallas Wranglers

New Jersey Generals

Tampa Bay Bandits

Two yet to be determined teams

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