Having just wrapped up its thirteenth season, it's safe to say the NBA D-League continues to progress into a beneficial and unique minor league system for the NBA to utilize almost on a daily basis.
Not quite exactly similar to the minor leagues in place in either the NHL or MLB, the D-League has managed to put its own spin on a "farm system" of sorts. It's not much of a traditional league, but it helps, nonetheless.
And now, the NFL appears to be the last of the four major sports set to follow suit, as the league prepare to establish its own "developmental" league.
New director of football operations Troy Vincent can see in the NFL's future a developmental league, an eighth official on the field for games, and coaches using tablets on the sidelines to call plays.
"Each of us shares the responsibility for preserving and growing the game," Vincent said before mentioning some specific projects that could be on the NFL's horizon.
One is establishing a developmental league.
"We need to keep the pipeline of talent flowing, and that means for all areas of our game: players, coaches, scouts, game officials. I am responsible to look at whatever the competition committee looks at, and that includes a developmental league.
Vincent went on to recognize it as a potential "academy," with a premise that appears similar to that of Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban's philosophy for how the NBA should utilize the D-League.
With a goal in mind to also further develop coaches, front office members, game officials, as well as experiment with certain potential rule changes, Vincent and the NFL can look towards the example the NBADL has set in recent seasons to ensure they also get it right moving forward.