Starting this February, Fan Controlled Football will begin its inaugural six-week season with four teams designed by fans and a play call submitted by viewers on Twitch.
The startup league, which was co-founded by former Chicago Bears and New York Jets defensive back Ray Austin, will give fans the opportunity to create the teams from scratch – including names, logos and uniforms – and make roster and other front-office decisions. Then, on game day, vote for which plays they want their coach to call in real-time.
“When I was playing for the Bears, fans around Chicago would always come up and tell me about what we should have done the week before or what we should be doing that week. And when I retired I became a fan just like them and would sit in bars watching everyone yell at the screen on Sundays,” Austin, the league’s commissioner, said in an email. “Sure there’s a lot of crazy fans out there, but most of the time, what they were telling me or yelling at the screen was actually exactly what the coach should have been doing. And that’s what we’re doing with the FCF – giving you, a fan who knows your stuff, a real voice to call the shots for your favorite team.”
Those who wish to participate in the action must register on the FCF’s website and select which of the league’s teams they want to help control based on ownership, which includes current and former NFL players like Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman, boxing legend Mike Tyson and multi-platinum recording artist Quavo, among others.
The four-week regular season, playoff round and championship game will all be played at the FCF’s facility in Atlanta and live-streamed exclusively on Twitch. Viewers will use an interactive video overlay for desktop and mobile to call the plays.
The league will feature a 7-on-7 style of play on a field that is 50 yards long, 35 yards wide and includes 10-yard end zones. Rosters will be chock full of former college football stars, as well as those from the Canadian Football League, XFL and Indoor Football League.
The FCF actually got its start in 2017 when Project FANchise purchased an IFL expansion franchise and immediately let fans make the decisions. They chose the market where the team would play, as well as the nickname, uniforms and who made the final roster. Thus, the Salt Lake (City) Screaming Eagles were born.
Though the Screaming Eagles lost their first game to the Nebraska Danger, 78-47, fans called the play that led to the first touchdown in franchise history – and subsequently celebrated their decision-making by rushing the field. Salt Lake finished the season at 5-11 overall, but also produced the league’s offensive rookie of the year in quarterback Verlon Reed, who played collegiately at Ohio State and the University of Findlay.
Shortly thereafter, Project FANchise announced it would launch its own interactive league and Fan Controlled Football was born.
“We were the only team in the league doing that,” Austin said. “We basically experimented going into a traditional football league that already existed for about 15 years. It was a tremendous proof of concept for us and now we’re taking that and putting it on steroids, so to speak.”
Photos courtesy of Fan Controlled Football.