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Saturday October 20 2018
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Are You Ready For Some Football, India?

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With the September issue of PSR featuring our annual Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL Preview, the timing could not be more perfect for this column. I just hope to be living in India by the time you read it. Actually, when I first read about professional football coming to India, I had to gather myself.

Then, after I read the details, I had to gather myself all over again.

Now it’s your turn.

None of this is fiction; it just seems that way. First, I saw headlines that familiar and successful men associated with the National Football League were going to become involved in this caper. I believe the first such headline read “Jaworski Helps Launch New Football League”. That would be former Youngstown State pork-tosser Ron.

Then, I put the headlines—and the Internet—away, thinking I just hadn’t been getting enough sleep.

But after being suitably awake, I checked back in on those headlines and there were more. And more stories. And confirmation that former Penguin Jaworski and Hall of Famers Michael Irvin and Mike Ditka were to become investors in a professional football league in India.

India.

Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes yet again, I turned, as you might expect from me, to the Times of India. There it was – the official announcement of the Elite Football League of India, with the aforementioned serving as investors. The league is off and running, with pigskin action beginning in November 2012.

Consider me just one parochial cat, but I figured you can’t go wrong with the Associated Press, so a visit there couldn’t be a bad idea. Well, an AP story tells me about an eight team pro league, with the first season extending to February 2013. It goes on to report that officials believe this is a grand opportunity—of course it is—considering the country sports one billion people.

I mean, think about it. If you had a billion people to pick from, you could likely start a successful business in anything. Right, Jaws?

Anyways, the plan is to add eight more teams the second year, then four every subsequent year until 2022 (I’ll be approaching retirement by then and have long had my eye on New Delhi as a place to wrap things up), with the idea the league will have over 50 teams representing all Indian cities with a population in excess of one million people.

There is much, more to this and the editor has this crazy idea of breaking down the AFC North somewhere in these pages, so I have to get going. But I will leave you with this gem – the name of the league’s first teams: Warhawks, Gladiators, Swarm, Blacktigers, Vipers, Defenders, Warriors and Skykings.

Skykings!

That’s it, my plan is set. I’m going to gather myself, go back to sleep and then move to India.

It’s been real.

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