Why would CBS televise this new football league with Steve Spurrier?

Steve Spurrier on December 5, 2017, as the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class was announced at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York. (Howard Simmons/New York Daily News/TNS)

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Steve Spurrier on December 5, 2017, as the 2017 College Football Hall of Fame Class was announced at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York. (Howard Simmons/New York Daily News/TNS)

The recent news of another new football league launching wasn't particularly surprising. What was eye-opening, however, was this: CBS has agreed to televise the games of the Alliance of American Football, an eight-team operation that will play games over 10 weeks beginning next February.

And former Florida Gators coach Steve Spurrier, 72, will coach the Orlando team — the only city that so far has been publicly awarded a franchise.

The CBS deal gives the new league a shot to succeed. While most of CBS' telecasts will air on CBS Sports Net, CBS will air two games, both in prime time — the league opener on Feb. 9 (the Saturday night six days after next year's Super Bowl) and the championship game.

So why would CBS go into business with a new league when it already has the NFL and when it doesn't exactly need the programming in the spring, when the network airs considerable college basketball and golf?

"I think the fact they are so well funded," CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told me at the recent NFL owners meetings in Orlando.

"And the fact they have a really good plan for utilizing the hundreds of good athletes coming out of college who don't have necessarily an immediate NFL career but are still really, really good football players."

McManus also liked "the fact they don't have a two- or three- or five-year plan. They have a plan for the next 20 years."

And McManus holds two men associated with the league in high regard: movie producer Charlie Ebersol (son of former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol) and former NFL general manager Bill Polian.

"The fact that Charlie Ebersol is involved and the fact Bill Polian is involved we think is important," McManus said. "We don't look at it as competitive in any way with the NFL. We look at it as good, solid programming. Of all the spring leagues that have been tried over the years, this one has a really good shot of making it. So we're excited about it."

Other U.S. football league ventures have been short-lived, including the XFL, the United Football League and United States Football League.

The AAF will try to limit games to 2{ hours by eliminating kickoffs and extra points and implementing a 30-second play clock, 15 seconds less than the NFL's. There will be no TV timeouts.

Ultimately, the league's success will be determined by the quality of play. Rosters will be filled by undrafted college players and others who fail to make NFL teams. The league hopes to appeal to people who miss playing fantasy football after the NFL season ends.

"This is not a development league," Ebersol told The New York Times. "There are tens of thousands of players who don't have a job, which translates into hundreds of Kurt Warners."

Spurrier said the league offers him "a unique opportunity to get back into coaching and work closely with hungry, talented athletes looking to begin, revive or extend their professional careers. The fact I can do this in Orlando makes it that much sweeter. I'm fired up."

CBS college football analyst and former UCLA/Colorado/Washington coach Rick Neuheisel will coach another of the teams, according to The Sporting News.

The AAF is one of three new leagues potentially on the way. A developmental league is being launched by Don Yee, the football agent who represents Tom Brady, which will focus on players who want to skip college. Vince McMahon announced in January that he will relaunch the XFL in 2020.

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