In January of 2018, the sports world was abuzz with the possibility of the XFL returning. Vince McMahon promised an innovative and challenging league that emphasized rule-changes, fantasy and gambling integration, and pro football for the 6 months out of the year there was none. The league is set to arrive in 2020. Well, Vince, I have some bad news. It looks like the XFL is going to have some direct competition from the newly-formed Alliance of American Football.
The league is the brainchild of Charlie Ebersole, whose father Dick was a partner of Vince’s in the original XFL. The AAF seems like it is a direct and quicker product of what Vince wanted the XFL to become. Here are more details via espn.com.
…called the Alliance of American Football, plans to debut on Feb. 9, 2019, the week after Super Bowl LIII. The season will run 10 weeks and will have 50-man teams.
To help him steer the league, Ebersol brought on former NFL general manager Bill Polian, currently an analyst for ESPN. The player side will be overseen by former Pro Bowl Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, while the team side will be guided by former USC standout and executive J.K. McKay.
Unlike Vince, the Alliance has a TV deal set-up.
Charlie Ebersol said that his league, made up of players who didn’t make the cut for the NFL, will have the initial contest and the championship game on CBS and one game a week on CBS Sports Network. Other games will be available on the league’s app, which Ebersol said promises to integrate live fantasy play into the broadcasts.
The league also announced some pretty significant rule changes that will speed-up games and potentially lead to fewer injuries and concussions.
Ebersol says a hallmark of the league will be no TV time outs and 60 percent fewer commercial, as well as an innovative approach to broadcasting the games.
There also will be no kickoffs (ball will be placed automatically at the 25-yard line) and no on-side kicks. The losing team will just start on their own 35-yard-line with fourth-and-10. Play clocks are 30 seconds and every touchdown has to be followed by a two-point conversion attempt.
It also appears that the league looks to directly capitalize off of the craze of fantasy football.
“Fifty nine million people play fantasy and 20 million people play only fantasy football,” Ebersol. “We have to be able to take advantage of the people who just stop playing fantasy when the NFL season ends.”
Sorry Vince, but it seems like your dream of another XFL may have died.
Below is our original story on the launch of the XFL 2.0
Recently, McMahon invested $100 million into “Alpha Entertainment” which the company bills as a “new enterprise founded by Vince McMahon, has been formed to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment arena.”
— WWE (@WWE) January 25, 2018
When people first heard about this, they immediately thought Vince was starting up the XFL again. For those too young or too smart to remember, the XFL was Vince’s attempt at professional football. The league was known for rule changes, custom names on the back of jerseys, wrestling-style angles, and for being a disaster. It was the worst idea of Vince’s long list of bad ideas.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell confirmed McMahon is starting another football league.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 25, 2018
and then there is this.
So @AlphaEntLLC just trialled a live-stream ahead of their press conference at 3PM E.T.
This was the final shot.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s happening. pic.twitter.com/n5c4UMkpOf
— The Tag Rope (@tagropemag) January 25, 2018
It is official, the XFL is back!
— WWE (@WWE) January 25, 2018
It is back! There will be “changes” and they will be taking ideas from the fans. Vince pitched out ideas like getting rid of halftime and new ways of getting the game in front of people. He also made clear that there would be no “cross-over” between WWE talent and XFL talent. He also mentioned that he won’t be the “face” of the league. It will be a single-entity, meaning Vince will own all the times. He also makes a conscious point of saying that XFL will avoid politics and social issues and focus on football.
— XFL (@xfl2020) January 25, 2018
History is littered with the corpses of the USFL, the UFL, and others who tried to compete with the NFL and ultimately failed.
What I hoped Vince is doing with Alpha Entertainment
Vince McMahon was born in raised in North Carolina. In fact, his mother still lives there! There are some rumors that McMahon started Alpha Entertainment to purchase the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers, based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, are for sale by out-going owner Jerry Richardson.
Other options include McMahon announcing the intent to purchase an Enligsh Premiere League Football team. Or perhaps an NHL team. The McMahon’s once owned the Cape Cod Buccaneers of the ACHL. Maybe they’re bringing back the Whalers to Hartford?
The most popular opinion and the one most likely to be true is the XFL. But let’s hope Vince learned his lesson and is deciding to do something else with his money.
What do you think “Alpha Entertainment” will be? Share your thoughts in the comments below.