A new indoor football league was born in Columbus in a Thursday afternoon news conference.
The Arena Developmental League was announced in a media luncheon held in the conference room of A-1 Postage Meters, owned by Columbus Lions managing owner Skip Seda and father Keke. The Sedas are the owners of the ADL as well.
Football coaching veteran John Gregory was tabbed as the league commissioner. Gregory brings an impressive resume to the position. He won two Grey Cups in the Canadian Football League as a coach and also has coaching experience in the Arena Football League and arenafootball2.
First and foremost, Gregory said, is making the ADL a professional indoor football league in a landscape where some leagues and teams have been quite dubious.
“I think our goal with the ADL, along with the owners and other people who are involved, is to have an affordable league that gets away from all the crap that has been going on with all these other teams,” Gregory said. “With teams not showing up for games and folding in the middle of the season, we’re not going to have that.
“We want it to be a class league. We want to be at least NFL or CFL style. We don’t want people out there who are shabby or don’t have themselves cleaned up for the game.”
Gregory also wants the league to have a professional image on the field as well as off.
“We want players to dress properly,” he said. “We want them to look good, because if they play a great game but look like a slug out there, the NFL or CFL will not be interested in them. We are going to be classy.”
Working alongside teams to help them is something the ADL will strive to achieve as well, not only developing players, but coaches as well.
“The other thing I see with the young coaches coming in, selected by owners, are really not prepared to be coaches,” Gregory said. “When we see that situation, we have to step in there. We have to tell them how to coach.
“Football is only complicated if you make it complicated. We want to keep it simple so they know what to do and the players know what to do, and they’ll win.”
Chris Siegfried, also a former indoor football coach with a decorated resume, will be the league’s director of football operations.
“I’m honored to be involved in this league,” Siegfried said. “When I first started hearing about this league, I was intrigued, being a football guy. Some mutual friends introduced me to the league, and one of the first things I asked was who was involved. When I heard John Gregory was the commissioner, I was definitely interested. He’s one of the primary reasons I’m involved.
“Certain people in this business want to do it the right way, and when I heard John’s name, I knew he wanted to do it the right way.”
“I’m really excited about working with (this guy),” Gregory said. “He’s been a phenomenal football coach; he’s too young to be out of the business. But I know him, he’s a first class guy. His players have always been first class.”
No franchises or potential locations were announced at the conference, although Gregory noted announcements may be coming later this month.
Above all, though, both Gregory and Siegfried want the ADL to be a success.
“We want everyone to be successful on and off the field,” Siegfried said. “We want this league to be around 15, 20, 30 years from now when we’ve moved on to other things.”
“Chris and I are going to see to that,” Gregory said.