Johnny Manziel has always been game to try out new ways to play pro football, so it was only logical that he would be an initial target for Fan Controlled Football, a new league that will launch in February and combines elements of fantasy football, competitive Madden, sports betting, and more to give fans unparalleled involvement in their teams’ decisions.
The league will launch with four teams, and team owners such as Quavo, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, and Austin Ekeler have already signed on. Manziel marks the first marquee player to join the league after the dissolution of the Alliance of American Football last year.
“The more I heard about what this was going to be, the more I felt it was going to be something that was just very fun,” Manziel told ESPN. “It’s going to be very fan-oriented and something I could get behind without being extremely, extremely, extremely serious, the way that my football career has been in the past.”
New teams will be drafted at the beginning of each of the six weeks on the league’s inaugural calendar with the input of the most passionate and engaged fans, and the games themselves will begin in February in a facility in Atlanta. It’s not football as you see on college fields or in the NFL, but rather a more casual 7-on-7 game on a 50-yard field, with fans calling plays and interacting with owners and coaches through Twitch.
This is clearly a major experiment, but after the success of the similarly structured women’s softball league through Athletes Unlimited this summer and the rising popularity of gaming and gambling, FCF presents an intriguing setup, and Manziel will only bring attention to the game as it begins its first season in the coming months.