On January 25th, 2018 Vince McMahon announced the XFL would be returning February 8th, 2020. We’re a year out from the relaunch of the XFL, so let’s go over what we know so far.
Nearly six months after the it was made public that the XFL would be returning, Oliver Luck was named the Commissioner and CEO. “The XFL will be a labor of love as I get to combine my experiences as a player and executive,” Luck told ESPN in an email. “I’m thrilled to have this unique opportunity to reimagine the game that has been a constant in my life for 40 years.”
Luck left his leadership role at the NCAA, where he oversaw the organization’s regulatory functions, including eligibility requirements and academic affairs, and the eligibility center.
He previously served as the president of NFL Europe and as the chief executive officer of the Houston Sports Authority, which helped bring the Texans to Houston as an NFL expansion team in 2002.
Luck also played quarterback for the Houston Oilers and at West Virginia University, where he was inducted into the Mountaineers’ Hall of Fame and later spent four years as athletic director. He also served on the College Football Playoff selection committee in 2014.
November 8th the XFL announced Former Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley would be joining the league as the senior vice president of football operations. At the time, Whaley was the director of college recruiting for the NFL Players Associations’ Collegiate Bowl. He remained in that role for the remainder of 2018.
With more than 20 years of professional football experience, Whaley spent the majority of his career with the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. He was with the Bills from 2010 to 2017, first as Assistant General Manager and Director of Pro Personnel, then Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel before his elevation to General Manager, a position he held from 2013 to 2017.
Last month Jeffrey Pollack was named the President and CEO. Pollack comes to the XFL from the Los Angeles Chargers, where he was Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer and Special Adviser.
With a 25-year track record, Pollack began his career in sports in 1994 when, as the founding President and Publisher, he created and launched The Sports Business Daily. He then joined the National Basketball Association in 1998 as a Strategic Communications Consultant and also served as the league’s Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications. In 2001, he was named Managing Director of Broadcasting and New Media for NASCAR Digital Entertainment.
From 2005 to 2009, Pollack served as Commissioner of the World Series of Poker and Vice President of Sports and Entertainment Marketing for Caesars Entertainment. He has also served as Executive Chairman of the Professional Bull Riders and Executive Chairman of Federated Sports and Gaming.
Bob Stoops – XFL Dallas
Just yesterday former Oklahoma Head Coach was the first Head Coach/GM announced for the upcoming XFL. Stoops was introduced in a news conference Thursday by Oliver Luck, commissioner of the XFL.
“At first I thought it probably wouldn’t be for me,” Stoops said. “But through our discussions as a family, started to think this would fit us correctly.”
“I was also excited about starting something from the ground floor,” Stoops said. “To hiring coaches, and then you gotta accumulate your players, get your organization set up, it reminds me of when I first arrived at Oklahoma. I thought one of the best things I ever did in my career was getting my first staff together at OU. … That’s exciting to me. The opportunity to put it together and help it grow.”
Pep Hamilton – XFL DC
Former Michigan assistant coach Pep Hamilton is expected to be taking a job in the XFL, according to a report from Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.
On Thursday, Feldman reported that Hamilton, who left Michigan earlier this week to pursue other opportunities, is expected to become the head coach and general manager of Washington’s XFL team. No details about a potential contract were mentioned. It’s reported that Hamilton has been preparing for this position for at least a week, assembling a staff for his new role.
Although the locations leaked on the internet early, December 5th, 2018 they were made official. The XFL hosted a press conference at MetLife Stadium where they officially announced the eight cities and venues that would host the upcoming XFL. Both Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck spoke at the event, with representative from each location speaking after the reveal. A list of the inaugural cities can be seen below.
- Dallas – Globe Life Park
- Houston – TDECU Stadium
- Los Angeles – Dignity Health Park (Formerly StubHub Center)
- New York – MetLife Stadium
- St. Louis – The Dome
- Seattle – Centurylink Field
- Tampa Bay – Raymond James
- Washington DC – Audi Field
The same day season ticket reservations became available on the official XFL website, as well as a variety of different merchandise. The locations seemed to catch a lot of people by surprise, mainly for the fact that all but one of the locations also hosts an NFL franchise.
We don’t have all the details on broadcast partners just yet, but on January 22nd it was reported that the XFL is in talks with both ESPN and Fox for broadcasting rights.
Sources say the league expects to have at least two-thirds of its games appear on broadcast television, underscoring the league’s strategy to get its games in front of the biggest potential audiences.
If a deal is made it would see games on both ABC and Fox, as well as ESPN and FS1. So far, talks do not involve ESPN’s streaming service, ESPN+.
The league is considering keeping the game clock moving after incomplete passes and when a player runs out of bounds. The clock would only stop during the last two minutes of the half. The possibility of shortening the over-all play clock has been brought up as well.
“Fans want to minimize idle time and speed up the game,” said Sam Schwartzstein, the XFL’s director of operations.
The league plans on having designated ball spotters to spot the ball immediately after the play ends. This would take the responsibility out of the referee’s hands.
The league is also looking at revamping the kickoff. The idea is that the kicking team would have to wait until the receiving team catches the ball before running downfield.
They are also looking at a tiered extra point system that would eliminate the kicking extra point. Teams would have to score from the 2-yard line to get the extra point. They would line up at the 5-yard line for 2 points and if they want 3 points then they would have to line up at the 15-yard line.
No players have been announced yet, but let’s discuss what we do know. The league will have a 40 man roster 45 man roster with a 7 player practice squad, which is slightly fewer than the NFL’s 53 man roster. The season will comprised of 10 games for each team, a 4 team semi-finals and 1 championship game. Players will be required to stand for the National Anthem, and the league is not interested with players that have a storied criminal past.
Each team will be directly owned by the XFL. Vince McMahon will, at least in name, have unilateral control over every team in the league. Since it’s not a franchise model, the league will sport a uniform salary cap and punishment system, among other factors.
Another focus of the upcoming XFL season is to have faster games. McMahon said that “sitting and watching a three, three and a half hour game is laborious sometimes”, and he promised that the XFL would not be so trying. It’s unknown how he’s going to cut games to two hours, but he did say that halftime may be eliminated. Other items that have been discussed is a shorter play clock and making the rules simple enough to control the referees.
During Thursday’s press conference in Dallas, Luck brought up a few notable items that haven’t been discussed yet. The XFL plans to finalize and publish rule book in late summer. He envisions the vast majority of players in the new XFL will have both College and NFL experience. Luck expects the first supplemental draft to occur late summer early fall. At the moment his top priority is to hire Coaches/GM’s for each franchise to start builing the teams out.
Coaches for the XFL teams are currently being interviewed, with $500,000/year being the expected pay. Quarterbacks are reportedly being offered $300,000. The current idea is to have eight star quarterbacks signed by March so that they can start marketing the coaches and the quarterbacks to the local markets.
It’s officially one year away and we’re starting to get a good amount of details from the new league, and I expect that the stream of information will be pretty steady until Feb 8, 2020. As always, we’ll keep you up to date on the latest news and rumors surrounding the league. Give us a follow on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for the latest from XFL2k. Here’s to next year!!!