Snapped this at last Saturday's Division II college game at the Cotton Bowl. Never fear, it appears larger crowds and better football are on the way.

BREAKING SOON-TO-BE NEWS: Minor League Professional Football Coming to Dallas

When the Cowboys move to Arlington, Dallas will move much closer to professional football.

How’s that? Because, according to a couple sources I spoke with this week, Cotton Bowl officials are in “final negotiations” of a deal that would bring a new United National Gridiron League franchise to town starting in January.

“It’s all but done,” a lil’ birdie whispered to me. “Looks like the team could play as many as 5-7 home dates at the Cotton Bowl next year.”

In this week’s dead tree version of Sportatorium I wonder how the post-Cotton Bowl Classic Cotton Bowl will stay relevant, or at least busy. I guess the UNGL is one of the answers.

With NFL Europe disbanned, this year there was no spring outdoor pro football for the first time since ’94. The NFL is also the only major professional league without a significant farm system or developmental league. There is an obvious void.

We initially thought Mark Cuban and his United Football League would fill in the gap. But while the UFL is hiring execs, start-up has now been pushed to August ’09.

UPDATE: Cuban emails that "I'm not involved at all any longer."

The UNGL, if the I’s get dotted and T’s crossed, could stage a game at the Cotton Bowl in three months.

Unlike the UFL, the UNGL aims at being an NFL partner rather than rival. The NFL isn’t endorsing the UNGL, but neither is it condemning it. Former Buffalo Bills’ 1,000-yard rusher Joe Cribbs is the commish of the league, which hopes to debut on Janurary 25th with eight teams playing a season into early April.

My call this morning to the UNGL has so far gone unreturned.

But unless something wacky happens, looks like the departure of the Cowboys could coincide with the return of pro football to Dallas. – Richie Whitt

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