Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com
If labor woes force the NFL to cancel its next season, another professional North Texas football team is waiting to fill the void.
As NFL owners and players bicker over multimillion-dollar contracts, the IFL is playing football.
"They're definitely doing it for the fun of it, which is unlike the NFL players,” said Wranglers’ fan Jeff May, who attended the game with his wife and 5-year-old grandson.
The players actually sound grateful to be here.
"It's an incredible opportunity, absolutely,” said Wranglers’ kicker Garrett Courtney.
Like his teammates, he earns a flat $225 per game and a $25 bonus if they win.
Courtney has little sympathy for the NFL's labor dispute that could lead owners to lock out players at midnight Thursday.
"I think it's ridiculous, personally,” Courtney said. “Millions of dollars? I mean, come on, it needs to go back to the fans.”
He said he believes players and owners are both “a little greedy.”
Former Dallas Cowboys star Drew Pearson is the Wrangler’s general manager and a minority owner.
Peason said he doubted the NFL dispute would lead to any lost games.
"There might be a lockout for a week or two, but I don't think the season will be in jeopardy,” he said.
As a Cowboy, Pearson participated in a strike in 1982.
"I know how the NFL plays their games and the players’ association plays their game,” he said. “Sooner or later, they make a deal. Who's going to be the villain? You know, who's going to give in first? And I think that's what's going to happen in this situation."
Still, he acknowledged that an NFL lockout could only help the Wranglers, which struggled to fill the 4,000 seats at the Allen Event Center for its inaugural game.
Pearson also joked about NFL players needing work if the labor dispute escalates.
"Some of those players in the NFL might want to play for us to stay in shape,” Pearson said. “Of course, they'd have to take a cut in salary, but we would welcome them."