An interesting move coming out of the Indoor Football League. They are allowing fans to use an app that helps the team pick plays.
The Salt Lake Screaming Eagles of the Indoor Football League hand picked their coach William McCarthy, who will basically just be a mouth that tells the players the plays that the fans want.
The founders of a company called FANchise want to revitalize a struggling arena game by letting the fans make the decisions, believing the popularity of fantasy football can translate to real life and perhaps be the basis for an entire league of at least partially fan-run franchises.
A lot of people weren’t supportive of the idea.
“We were unanimously approved as an ownership group for the new franchise,” co-founder Sohrob Farudi said. “But I think all the owners looking around, ‘Hey, this is kind of cool but go do it with your team. There’s no way we’re doing this with our team. We’re not going to let fans run our team.’”
Fans pay for certain levels of engagement. 38,000 people used the app and can gain increased engagement by watching film and scouting.
“What’s interesting is these fans are paying us to do work for the team,” Farudi said. “If you just give them the opportunity to participate, they’re going to provide you incredible value. I really think there’s something there, especially looking at semi-pro, minor league type of organizations. They never have enough resources.”
When the Screaming Eagles offense takes the field on Feb. 16 against the Nebraska Danger, fans will use an app to pick plays. They will see a field marking down and distance, with roughly six choices for plays.
Not all plays will be put to a vote. For example, fans won’t have time to call plays during a hurry-up offense. And while some plays will be open to everybody — non-paying fans included — others will be restricted to smaller groups.
“What we’re doing isn’t for everybody,” said McCarthy, whose coaching background includes mostly indoor football. “It is unique and it is different. And it took me a lot of time to get comfortable with it.”
This is an interesting move. I like that teams are giving fans a chance to show their smarts but they are going to be disappointed. The first game is going to feature at least 10 flea flickers and 20 hail marys. Fans aren’t as good as coaches. I am not as smart as Bill Belichick.
Fans are paying a team to do work for them. That is the impressive thing. You couldn’t pay me to coach an indoor football team. I like my football like I like my Hockey… outdoors.
The Screaming Eagles will soon find out that it pays to have an actual head coach.