The XFL – Past, Present…Future?

By Shaun Blundell – @Shaun_F10Y

The full 10 yards continues to get you ready for the next batch of football on the menu as XFL is set for a 2020 return. Our focus now shifts towards the new incarnation of the league following on from its initially concept that we covered previously in this mini series.

Welcome Back XFL

The clues were there when Vince McMahon created a new company, Alpha Entertainment in December 2017, he was planning on reviving the XFL. After liquidating some WWE stocks this expected news was confirmed in January 2018 with the league due to begin operating in 2020. At the initial press conference McMahon was very quick to put the emphasis onto the football product and dismissed any notion it would rely on sports entertainment gimmicks this time around.

IMAGE CREDIT – en.wikipedia.org

Learning from mistakes – Taking time to get things right this time around is already a massive plus. Allowing 2 years of planning and preparation allowed for an important hire to be announced in June 2018. Oliver Luck was named the league’s commissioner and chief executive officer.leaving his role with the NCAA to take over the operations of the XFL. Other hires of people with backgrounds within the game have been made and others such as ex coaches Jim Caldwell] and John Fox are acting as advisors to the league.

The Importance of TV – Knowing that success will be determined by the amount of people tuning in the league deliberately chose to place its teams in large media markets. The TV coverage will be split between ABC/ESPN and FOX initially on a 3 year deal, with ESPN broadcasting the championship game. McMahon has also expressed his desire for streaming services of games to be able to offer fans more access to games. There are also plans for a fantasy football element to be introduced, likely through the draftkings platform that McMahon owns a stake in.

Season Structure and Rules – The proposal is still to play a 10 week regular season with a 2 week playoff format to replicate the original XFL. The season is slated to kick off on February 8th, 2020 a week after the NFL Super Bowl and will conclude with the championship game on April 26th, 2020. There is once again an emphasis on the XFL to provide quick gameplay and the desire is to complete games in 2 and a half hours. The rues will again be a variance on the NFL to allow for this to happen and a number of confirmed rules have leaked out, many carrying over from the original XFL.


Rules

No PAT Kicks – The 1st rule to carry over is that touchdowns will be followed by a scrimmage play for bonus points. Teams will be able to choose between a play from the 2 yard line for 1 extra point, a play from the 5 yard line for 2 extra points or a try from the 10 yard line for 3 extra points.

Game and Play Clocks – With the exception of the final 2 minutes of each half the game clock will run continuously with a 25 second play clock. Inside of the 2 minute warning the clock will stop after every play.

Overtime – Overtime will be played like a penalty shootout with each team taking it in turns to run 5 plays from the 5 yard line with a successful conversation earning a point. Should the defence force a turnover they can receive a point for their team.

One Foot In Bounds – A completed catch will only require a player to get 1 foot in bounds as opposed to both feet that we see regularly in the NFL.

Multiple other rules are being tested and will be confirmed in due course.


So Who Is Playing?

IMAGE CREDIT – www.xfl.com

The teams for XFL 2020 were announced in August 2019 with the draft scheduled to take place in October 2019. Confirmed players who will be draft eligible so far include ex Steelers quarterback Landry Jones and ex Vikings receiver Percy Harvin. As per the previous incarnation of XFL there will be an Eastern and Western Division. The teams are as follows: –

Eastern Division – DC Defenders, New York Guardians, St Louis Battlehawks, Tampa Bay Vipers

Western Division – Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, LA Wildcats, Seattle Dragons

It definitely feels as though that Vince McMahon has learned from the mistakes of the initial failed attempt at the XFL. Focussing on the football product is absolutely the right thing to do and in a day and age of social media and easier access to content there is possibly a gap in the market that wasn’t there before, the initial success of the AAF when it launched this year proves that. Nobody is going to compete with the NFL, certainly not a new start up but the desire to watch more quality football will surely be strong. The opportunity is there for the XFL to grasp it and hopefully it can be a success the second time around.

So there you have it, we hope that we have whet your appetite for XFL 2020. All you need to do is pick your team and get ready for draft day! Keep those eyes peeled to the full 10 yards for continued XFL coverage throughout the season.

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