“That’s really not a lot,’’ said Cuadra, who was born in Nicaragua and came to the US six months later when his family moved to San Francisco. “We really feel that we’ve nailed it down.’’
Ideally, said Cuadra, the USFL will evolve in three or four years to a 16-team league, playing almost exclusively in cities absent NFL or Major League Baseball clubs. Cuadra wouldn’t be specific, but cities such as Birmingham, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Austin, Omaha, and others are the league’s primary targets, offering population density and less competition for the sporting dollar.
“The home run for us would be a 16-team league that had NFL teams that utilized those teams as a place to allocate players to and that the NFL would be partnered with us in doing that,’’ said Cuadra. “And that we also would be a training ground for rules and different technologies that the NFL might later adopt. That would be our home run.’’
Coming next spring, to a city near you (maybe), the all-new, redesigned, humble-in-spirit but big-in-ambition USFL. Led by a guy who maintains giant pools of bluefin tuna in Mexico and Croatia, ostensibly to stock Japanese supermarkets and sushi bars.
“You put 130 tons of bluefin tuna in the pens,’’ said Cuadra, describing his day job. “And they basically become NASCAR fish, doing left turns all day long. You feed them sardines and anchovies and they get nice and fat, and the time comes — October through March — you harvest them and send them to Japan.’’
The lead predators in the bluefin business, he said, are seals. A rolling sea can lift a pen, allowing seals to enter, months of work and capital wiped out in the seals’ serendipitous buffet.
“A fascinating business,’’ said the man who hopes to swim safely alongside the NFL. “It really is.’’