The GAA's latest attempt at altering their championship formula follows in the grand tradition.

It is essentially standard procedure in the association as far as championship formulas are concerned - a daringly radical format, championed by the progressives and the bulk of the media, is shot down at Congress, whereupon a well-connected gathering of wise old heads are tasked with cobbling together a more politically acceptable alternative.

It's just over 20 years ago that the Football Review Committee, then chaired by the late Eugene McGee, saw their startling proposals leaked to the press.

Little remembered now, it involved an 11-game North-South NFL style conference running from March to June, eventually feeding into provincial semi-finals/finals and onto the All-Ireland from there. There was no room for the League. Coming in the context of 100+ years of straight knockout championship, the proposals were a bit rich for the delegates' blood.

While the players, as per usual, indicated their favourability, the reaction of county officials bordered on outrage. The proposals were thought so head-spinning, they didn't even make it as far as a vote.

Subsequently, Paraic Duffy - future Director General - was asked to head up a working group for the purposes of brainstorming an alternative. The qualifier system (2001 - ?) was the result.

Frank Murphy, Sean McCague, Paraic Duffy and Liam Mulvihill in discussion during Congress 2000

Now, the same thing appears set to happen again.

Central Council meets today to discuss the merits of two separate formats for 2023 - The Red Proposal and The Green Proposal. The winner will proceed to Congress in February.

Whoever applied the colours to each proposal may have been giving a clue to their own feelings on the matter. While both are on the table at the time of writing, it is thought virtually certain that Central Council will shout stop on the Red proposal on Saturday.

The Red Proposal is a modestly re-jigged version of the famed Proposal B, which fell so far short of the 60% threshold at Special Congress last October.

As with Proposal B, the Red Proposal flips the league and provincial championships. The latter is run off on a round-robin basis in spring, the former is moved to summer and feeds into the All-Ireland series.

The format has been tweaked to cater for those counties - Mayo, Galway et al - who couldn't countenance the idea of a lower Division outfit taking their place in the All-Ireland quarter-final at the expense of the sixth-place Division 1 team.

The new summer league will return to the pre-2008 Division 1A/1B format with the top four in each league taking quarter-final spots. The Division 2A /2B winners will get a shot at the All-Ireland, earning a play-off against the fourth placed teams in 1A/1B. The remainder of the Division 2 teams will participate in the Tailteann Cup.

The arguments in favour are as they were three months ago - that the current model built on the provincial championships provides for a hail of dispiriting mismatches and that the embrace of a league model merely accepts the new reality of where players and management are at.

Only this week, Longford's new manager Billy O'Loughlin baldly insisted his own team's priority was the Allianz League and after that, "we don't mind what happens".

Longford manager Billy O'Loughlin

The downside is exactly as it was with Proposal B, in that the provincial championships are shunted into the spring, detached from the All-Ireland series, and thus destined, in the long-term, to wither into FBD/O'Byrne Cup style irrelevance.

This isn't exactly a major downside from everybody's perspective - namely, a big cohort of the players and a large swathe of the watching public - but it is a considerable downside for many of those in possession of ballot papers.

Even those usually aligned with the radical/progressive side haven't the stomach to back the Red Proposal this time around.

The GPA, extremely loud backers of Proposal B in October, appear to have accepted that its almost-replica has no chance whatsoever and have resoundingly backed the green proposal.

Their ultimate imperative is that the status quo is consigned to oblivion. Therefore, the more winnable plan is better.

"There is consensus among players that both proposals are a significant improvement to the status quo and this is to be welcomed," the players' body said in a statement during the week.

What's behind the Green door?

The Green Proposal is essentially the baby of former GAA President Sean Kelly, who has been promoting a model along these lines for some time.

The league and provincial championships remain as is, occupying their traditional place in the calendar. After the latter are played off, we progress to a 16-team All-Ireland round-robin series.

This would comprise of four groups of four, eight spots allocated to the provincial champions and finalists, the remaining eight held over for the highest-ranked counties in the league not already qualified via the provincial route.

The remaining 16 teams would enter a Tailteann Cup, likewise played on a round-robin basis.

Former GAA President Sean Kelly

One potential gripe here is the groups are somewhat lacking in jeopardy. Three of the four teams would survive the cull.

The group winners would progress directly to the quarter-finals, the second and third place teams into a round called 'the preliminary quarter-finals'. Only the bottom team in each group would be asked to leave the stage. This detail, its worth pointing out, could be tweaked, and the preliminary quarter-finals could be abolished without undermining the basic structure.

Sceptics might claim the All-Ireland round-robin phase is just a baggier version of the banished and unlamented Super 8s.

Its proponents would argue it serves as an acceptable halfway house between providing more competitive games in summertime, incorporating the Allianz League within the championship structure, while still preserving the centrality of the provinces.

Crucially, the proposal placates those who buried Proposal B three months ago, even if Mayo v Leitrim in the Connacht championship will remain part of the summer football landscape.

The green pill looks the one to take.