Yet another professional football alternative has cropped up for St. Louis.
It's not the Canadian Football League. It's not the "A" League.
It's the North American Football League. Potential owners from about a dozen cities will be meeting Friday in St. Louis.
"This is preliminary," said Dale Turvey, a local businessman representing St. Louis' interests in the league. "The exact direction we're taking is still being debated."
Turvey is chairman of the board of the Vipers roller hockey team. He and Vipers coach Bernie Federko, the Blues' career scoring leader, are part of a group that also has explored the possibility of bringing a CFL expansion team to St. Louis. They haven't given up that quest, just broadened it to include the NAFL.
"This is another avenue, and we thought we should look into this too," Turvey said. "We've been trying to take a really low-key approach until we find out what happens with the Rams or some other NFL team. My group is not going to do anything until we feel that the city is ready and the politicians or whomever say, `Hey, the NFL is not going to happen.' "
The North American Football League may attempt to merge with the CFL. Or it may try to fashion itself more closely to the "A" League, which originally planned to feature corporate ownership or teams and go head-to-head with the NFL on Sundays.
Turvey said NAFL-ball isn't far enough along to chart a specific course.
It has formed a five-member committee, which includes Turvey, to help chart a course. And it has incorporated under the name "North American Football League."
"We've talked to CBS once," Turvey said. "We might talk to them again. I don't know what's going to happen. We do have some corporations - I can't say their names - who have told us that they would be corporate sponsors if we put it together."
Turvey said one of the key players in the NAFL is Fred Smith, chairman of Federal Express. Smith was active in the failed pursuit of a National Football League expansion team for Memphis, Tenn. …