Blitzalytics’ Guide to the XFL


Graphic by Pat Pryor


Written By: Roy Countryman @PreacherBoyRoy


After seeing the original version of the XFL close up shop in 2001, Vince McMahon sat back and bid his time while behind the scenes filing away ideas in reimaging his vision of the XFL. In late March 2019, McMahon sold 3.2 million shares of his stock in WWE for just under $272 million dollars, which he then turned and invested into a company he established in 2017 named Alpha Entertainment LLC with the idea of restarting the defunct football league. He has earmarked all those funds to help with the initial launch of the league and has stated he is prepared to invest up to $500 million to fund the league. This is comforting news to those fans that were scorned by the now-defunct Alliance of American Football because with McMahon being the only investor and a vast pot of funds available, there should be no reason this reimagined league should have to worry about folding up shop.


The first incarnation of the XFL back in 2001 was built firmly upon gimmicks and little worry about the quality of the product on the field. This time around, McMahon has stated he will take a backseat to all the gimmicks and the process of running the football side of things, which is an overall wise decision. With that in mind, he appointed former NFL QB Oliver Luck to be the league’s first commissioner. Luck was a tremendous addition to this reimagined XFL idea because of his vast experience on all levels of football; his experience includes President of NFL Europe, Executive Vice President of NCAA Regulations and the Athletic Director for West Virginia University. Luck is a stoic figure whose voice and reason will instill a calming presence for anyone that is involved in the day to day operations. Two more experienced and vital hires for McMahon to his football hierarchy were former Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley as Senior Vice President of Football Operations and Jeffrey Pollack as President/Chief Operating Officer, pulling him from his position with the Los Angeles Chargers as Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer and Special Advisor. The league also tabbed President of Optimum Scouting Eric Galko with the title of Director of Player Personnel because of his eye for undervalued talent and scouting ability. It is his responsibility to seek out and get players to come to the league as well as set up showcases to allow evaluating opportunities.


So now that we know who is the Commissioner of the XFL, key front office executives, the head of scouting, and the man who owns the league let's break down everything you need to know for this upcoming inaugural season. With a renewed view towards the football and less of the shenanigans, some of the ideas that the XFL brain trust has proposed have merit.


Key Information

  • Players will be discouraged from protesting a personal view on varying issues during the game. There will even be conditions in player contracts that ban players from protesting during the national anthem.

  • A key focus point for the XFL is to speed up the pace of play to the point where an entire game will last two and a half hours for 4 quarters, and 3 hours maximum for a game that needs overtime to determine a winner.

  • Players will be allowed to use marijuana and will not be subject to testing for its use.

  • Players’ Health Insurance will be covered by the league.

  • The XFL does not expect the players who sign a contract to be subject to being in a union, thus keeping them from having to collectively bargain a contract for them.

  • The XFL has also stated that it is not bound by the underclassmen rule of the NCAA and the NFL, and it may pursue players who have played less than three years removed from high school on a special case-by-case basis.

  • Commissioner Luck has vehemently denied that the XFL will become a minor league of sorts for the NFL because it would limit their power to disperse players equally.

  • Football design will be very similar to an NFL style, with the exception of some highlights on the ends of football.


Original Football

Photo Courtesy of Todd Warshaw /Allsport











New XFL 2020 Football Designs

Photo Courtesy of XFL












Rule Changes

The XFL has some very innovative concepts that they have come up with, and in anticipation of testing those concepts, they partnered with a summer football league called the Spring League to experiment with them and see which ones will be implemented come February 2020. Rules such as:


  • Forward Lateral Rule: Would consider all passes behind the line of scrimmage as if they were a lateral pass.

  • No fair catches: This comes with the disclaimer that the kicking team must give return man a five-yard buffer so they can have a chance to complete the catch.

  • Kickoffs being moved to the kicking team’s 15-yard line to limit touchbacks and if a kick is a touchback, the ball will be placed at the 40-yard line.

  • No extra point attempts rather the offense must run a play.

  • The value of the scrimmage play will depend upon how far of an attempt they try. A two-yard attempt would score a single point, a five-yard attempt two points, and a ten-yard attempt three points.

  • With the exception of play during the two-minute warning, the play clock will run continuously.

  • The play clock will be 30 seconds to speed up the pace of play.

  • Each team will be allotted four timeouts.

  • Instant replay will be limited to 30 seconds.

  • Overtime will consist of five rounds of one-point conversions like after a touchdown, but the attempts will move back to the 5-yard line rather than the 2-yard line.

  • The offense can score a point by succeeding to get into the end zone on the play, and the defense can score a point by causing a turnover.

  • Both team’s offense and defense will be on the field at the same time, with each playing at differing ends of the field.

  • Penalties will be more pointed towards player safety than fouls of procedure or structure of plays.


Player Contract Information and Roster Structure

The XFL has stated that each team will consist of 45 players for each of the eight teams along with a 9th team that will serve as the practice squad.


The XFL has also taken a radically different structure style to that of the recently defunct AAF in that, rather than signing all players to the same kind of standardized contract, they will use a tiered style system that places value on more highly skilled players. The length of each contract can vary from one to three seasons. Signing a long-term deal will be incentivized by allowing the player to be eligible for a loyalty bonus that could raise the amount of their deal above their tiered salary. In exchange for this opportunity, the XFL will hold exclusivity on their rights, and they will not be allowed to play in any other league during the spring, summer, or fall season. The contracts that any player signs will include no guarantees, but the league has said that players may have the opportunity to earn more per game based off if their team wins, which would help keep cellar-dwelling teams competitive.


Each team will have an estimated $4 million in salary cap space.

Here is the structure of the Tiered System for the 45 Rostered Players

* All amounts are on a per game basis.

Tier 1: $25,000-$60,000 (1 Player can be assigned the Franchise Player Designation)

Tier 2: $15,000-$17,500 (3 Slots per team)

Tier 3: $6,000-$10,000 (23 Slots per team)

Tier 4: $5,000-$6,000 (18 Slots per team)


*Also the rosters will be put together based off an XFL Draft that is to tentatively take place after the final round of cuts in the NFL which should put in the timeframe in late September to October.


Team Locations

The XFL sent feelers out to 30 different cities before finally shrinking the field down to eight for this reimagined season in 2020. The cities selected are as follows, as well as where they will be playing their home games.


Dallas (Globe Life Park in Arlington)

Houston (TDECU Stadium)

Los Angeles (Dignity Health Sports Park)

New York (MetLife Stadium)

Seattle (CenturyLink Field)

St. Louis (The Dome at America’s Center)

Tampa Bay (Raymond James Stadium)

Washington D.C. (Audi Field)


* The XFL has yet to establish identities or names for these teams, but announcements should be coming as soon as late June/early July.

*The teams will be separated divisionally by an East/West type structure.

*In addition to the eight cities and teams announced, there will be a ninth XFL team that will consist of an unconfirmed amount of players for the purpose of being a practice squad of sorts for the other eight teams. That team will be based out of the Dallas facility, with a fully filled coaching staff, but it will not play any official games. They will be practicing with the understanding that they have an opportunity to see action in the event of an injury.


Team Staffing

Each team will have a head coach, who will have dual roles as a coach and being tasked with the responsibilities of being the general manager. The Head Coach/GM will be able to make up to $500,000 if they hit all bonuses in their contract. In addition, each team will have a team President along with 25 front office personnel to assist in day-to-day activities. Each team’s coaching staff will be filled in a very similar manner to an NFL coaching staff. Here are some of the key decision makers we currently know:


Dallas

HC/GM: Bob Stoops

OC: Hal Mumme

DC: Chris Woods

Director of Player Personnel: Darryl Johnston


Houston

HC/GM: June Jones

OC: Chris Miller

DC: Ted Cottrell

Team President: Brian Michael Cooper


Los Angeles

HC/GM: Winston Moss

OC: Norm Chow

DC: Pepper Johnson

Team President: Heather Brooks Kataz


New York

HC/GM: Kevin Gilbride

OC: TBA

DC: Jim Herrman

Team President: Janet Duch


Seattle

HC/GM: Jim Zorn

OC: Mike Riley

DC: Clayton Lopez

Team President: Ryan Gustafson

Director of Player Personnel: Tony Softli


St. Louis

HC/GM: Jonathan Hayes

OC: TBA

DC: Jay Hayes

Team President: TBA


Tampa Bay

HC/GM: Marc Trestman

OC: Jamie Elizondo

DC: Jerry Glanville

Team President: Josh Bullock


Washington D.C.

HC/GM: Pep Hamilton

OC: Tanner Engstrand

DC: Jeff Fitzgerald

Team President: Erik Moses


Regular Season and Playoff Structure

The season will start the weekend following Super Bowl LIV

10 weeks of regular season games

Each Team will have 5 home games

There will be no bye weeks

Each team will play divisional opponents twice (one home/one away)

The TV Deal the XFL signed is a multi-year deal, and not just an exclusive one-year deal.




Fantasy Football and Gambling

Mr. McMahon has a vested interest in this aspect of the business, and you will not see a lack of exposure like the other now defunct league. McMahon is a minority owner of the daily fantasy giant DraftKings, and he plans on utilizing that relationship for the applications of fantasy football as well as betting as long as the legalization of betting is allowed in the states applicable.


Conclusion

This is all the information that can be obtained for the newly reimagined XFL in 2020, I want to throw out a big thanks for all the resources that helped me put this together: XFL.com, the XFL Wiki page, as well as the XFLnewshub. Make sure you follow them as well as keep tabs with us here at Blitzalytics as we are going to be providing all the coverage you can handle for this league!

#XFL2020 #BlitztheXFL