If you follow the football world closely, you know the NFL isn’t the only league playing games right now. There’s the CFL, of course, but very soon, there will also be the FXFL. It’s a startup league that kicks off Oct. 8, and it’s led by Brian Woods, who’s coached at several FBS schools and also worked in the cap department for the Jets.

At Inside the League, we’ve spent a lot of time detailing the new league as it has slowly put the pieces in place for a short, six-game season with its first four teams (Boston, Brooklyn, Omaha and Florida). We even announced the teams’ head coaches today in advance of an official announcement expected on Monday. We see it as a real chance for post-college players to develop their skills and improve the odds they get a second look in the NFL without having to go to Canada and sign a two-year deal, as is mandated by all CFL rookies.

However, the opportunities don’t end on the field. One thing I harp on with people seeking to climb the football business ladder is that, one time or another, you’ll have to work for free. In fact, in most cases, you’ll have to work not only for free, but probably at some cost. The FXFL, given its skeleton staffs and general low-cost business model, gives you an excellent chance to get real-world experience if you’re a student or young professional in any of the four markets where the league will play.

How many times have I worked for free? My gosh, it’s countless. I’ve driven all over Texas to cover a football clinic or work a combine, all on my own dime; spent $300-plus (a lot for me at the time) on a phone bill generated by my (volunteer) work on my first-ever all-star game (plus burned a week of vacation to help run the game); gotten stiffed on speaking engagements; and flown to New Orleans to interview for a job that provided only a stipend, had I gotten it (I didn’t). These are but a few instances, and I’m sure if I had more time I could fill this blog post with them.

But here’s the point: all of these experiences gave me currency with people. They helped me speak with some level on expertise on some pretty nuanced football-related subjects. They gave me the mentors I’ve used to help me advance in the business and build my service. There’s no way I could ever have done it if not for these sometimes-awkward times in my professional life.

If you’re serious about working in football, the opportunities are there with the FXFL. Reach out to the teams on Twitter or email the FXFL (it’s easy to find an email address if you’re aggressive searching on Google). The opportunity presented by this new league is one you won’t often find. I encourage you to go for it.

 

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