ON MONDAY, High & Inside reported the arrival of the United Football League, slated to kick off this fall - the same time as that uber-popular league with the initials NFL.

The four-team UFL - all with the same general manager, as it was announced yesterday that former NFL executive Rick Mueller will oversee pretty much everything - is confident it can compete in a Thursday night time slot, even though the NFL plays many of its games on the same night.

Dennis Green, former coach of the NFL's Cardinals and Vikings and now head coach of the UFL's San Francisco franchise, told the San Jose Mercury News that "The American public can never have too much football . . . if you play in the fall even [during the week], people will watch."

This isn't the first time this notion has crashed and burned, so the hampster wheel began turning as we recall other football leagues gone bust.

Not that we're sayin' . . . we're just sayin' . . .

* American Football League (AFL): The AFL had stints in 1926, 1936-37, 1940-41 and from 1960-69 before merging to become the NFL's American Football Conference. Philadelphia won the AFC's first championship game as the Quakers downed the Rock Island Independents, 24-0.

* United States Football League (USFL): Lasting just three seasons (1983-85), the USFL lost $163 million, but did manage to compete with the NFL quite vigorously during its time. Led by Jim Mora, the Philadelphia Stars won the USFL title in 1984 and 1985.

* Xtreme Football League (XFL): The XFL, drummed up by World Wrestling Entertainment head Vince McMahon, lasted just one season (2001). The XFL competed during the NFL's offseason, but out of all the other leagues mentioned this was arguably the one that no self-respecting football fan ever cared about.

* Arena Football League (AFL): While still in limbo on its return, the AFL, which began in 1987, never rivaled the NFL, but it never really tried to. In its latest installment, the Philadelphia Soul celebrated an AFL title. Six months later, the league announced its decision to fold. *

- Kerith Gabriel

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