Football Visionary Kurt Bryan Looks to Launch New Pro League
During his first 21 years as a head football coach and offensive coordinator, Kurt Bryan ran exactly one play out of the shotgun formation. Then in 2006, on the heels of a playoff loss to a school twice the size of his, Bryan, then the head coach at Piedmont (Calif.) High School, in collaboration with his offensive coordinator Steve Humphries, created the A-11 offense based on the concept that any of their 11 players on the field — including two quarterbacks — could be eligible to catch a pass on any given down. Once The New York Times, ESPN The Magazine and National Public Radio profiled the offense, and Bryan and Humphries launched an A-11 website to answer frequently asked questions, hundreds of high schools nationwide adopted the system. Following the 2008 season, however, the National Federation of State High School Associations changed its rules to effectively ban the A-11, but its architects have since shifted focus to the pro ranks and the prospect of a 10-team spring-summer league launching as soon as 2013. Paul Steinbach asked Bryan, who now sells insurance while trying to sell investors on his $100 million venture, to draw up the vision.
Q: You're used to playing the role of David against Goliath, but what makes you think you can survive in a market ruled by the NFL after so many pro leagues have tried and failed?
Q: In 2008, Scientific American magazine calculated that the A-11 offense allowed for 16,632 possibilities in terms of who might receive the snap and who might end up with the ball on any given play, compared to 36 in a conventional offense. Had you done the math?
Q: Entertainment value aside, is it a safer way to play football?
Q: Will the A-11 live, even if your venture dies?
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