Gary McDaniels didn’t know a great deal about the A11 Professional Football League prior to a simple Google search many months ago.
“I typed in professional spring football leagues on Google, and up popped this A11 thing,” said McDaniels, who lives in Atwater, California, and is a fourth-grade teacher in nearby Winton. “The thing that captured my attention was the (offensive jersey number) rule change. You have to go to a smaller, quicker player. That opens up a whole new potential for a lot of people. I started reading and read the history of it and where it came from.”
McDaniels’ love of football and drawing cartoons turned into a regular feature on the A11FL Facebook page – “The Sideline.”
“I sent something off to the league, and a few days later, I get a friend request from Steve (A11FL Co-Founder Steve Humphries), and I didn’t know who he was,” McDaniels admitted. “I wrote to him and made the comment that I do this all the time and I do it just for fun. I got a response back and he said he wanted to talk and maybe do some things for us.
“I was hoping people would like it. When we started getting some responses, there were some comments about the wagon I did, the one that looks like the wheels were going to fall off. It seems like everybody is enjoying it.”
When McDaniels had season tickets to San Jose Sharks (National Hockey League) games, he would draw cartoons during those games, and give them to fans so they, in turn, could have them autographed.
McDaniels said the thing that has caught his eye with the A11FL is the few former United States Football League team names which are being resurrected.
“I thought that was a stroke of genius,” he said. “I followed the Oakland Invaders when they were around. That will really help out.”
McDaniels said he has passed some more cartoons along with Humphries, also the league’s Vice President of Advanced Media.
“There’s more coming,” he said. “Stuff pops in my head and I can’t get it out, so I just sit down with a pad and start doodling.”
And as for a possible regular feature in A11FL game programs using McDaniels’ cartoons, he said, “I leave that up to Steve. I told him the bottom line to this is the promotion of the league. If it fits, I have fun doing it.”