NFL Draft Scout was on location at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey for the XFL press conference to announce the new league. Here are some of the basic parameters that were outlined at the event, along with some initial thoughts and impressions.
The XFL will kickoff on Feb. 8-9th of 2020, one week after the Super Bowl. New rules will include a 25-second play clock and tweaks to the kickoff/special teams to help ensure better player safety. There will also be fewer commercials and they expect games to last under three hours.
The following cities (and venues) will play home to the inaugural eight XFL teams: New York (MetLife Stadium); Dallas (Globe Life Park); Houston (TDECU Stadium); Los Angeles (StubHub Center); St. Louis (The Dome at America’s Center); Seattle (CenturyLink Field); Tampa Bay (Raymond James Stadium); Washington D.C. (Audi Field) Commissioner Oliver Luck said that the biggest fan response thus far has come from St. Louis, the only city in the league without a NFL team.
Locations have yet to be determined for the opening weekend matchups or the championship game. Ticket prices are expected to be affordable, so that a family of four could attend a game for around $100, including drink and food.
The XFL Football Re-imagined Committee includes the likes of Doug Flutie, John Fox and Jim Caldwell. They will stay in advisor roles. Doug Whaley will serve as Senior Vice President of Operations. Berkley Insurance and the Fairly Group are also involved as business partners.
All teams will operate under the same budget. Each team will have 45-man active rosters and a 10-week regular season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game.
Players will be categorized into four tiers, which essentially dictates their pay scale. Luck stated that top players would earn upwards to $300k per season and that salaries would trickle down from there. Every player will be on a one-year contract and several player drafts will be held leading up to the launch of the XFL.
If a player does well, there'll be incentive for that player to remain with the same team but they're expecting a high turnover and want to provide players with an opportunity to pursue the NFL. Players will receive health benefits and the league will setup a “Health & Wellness” program.
One of the new rules the XFL is currently testing, is eliminating the extra point altogether. Teams could elect to go for one point from the two-yard line, two points from the five-yard line or three points from the fifteen-yard line.
Another rule change mentioned is that once the two-minute drill kicks in, there’ll be a ten-second stoppage of the play clock after every play, to improve the competitiveness.
The XFL has been negotiating with several television networks to broadcast games and Luck said he thought it’ll raise some eyebrows when they announce their TV partnership.
Thoughts & Impressions
The production of the press conference was top-notch, from each host city’s video intro, to the music choreography- everything was tight, with just enough flash and very professional. The league is steering away from the XFL 1.o 'anything goes' image with Luck serving as CEO and the face of the league.
Vince McMahon made a brief appearance at the beginning of the event. The jubilation was much more reserved than the first XFL go-around. Surprisingly, McMahon is expected to be very reserved and somewhat in the background of it all.
Luck was great. He stayed an hour after the press conference to answer every single question asked. NJ governor Phil Murphy also spoke and representatives from all eight cities were in attendance to announce the venues, which are a mix of football, baseball and soccer stadiums.
Starting the XFL a year later than the AAF can be an advantage, as they can learn from their mistakes. The first big flaw in the AAF blueprint may have been making all player contracts uniform (3year/$250k). If the XFL is paying up to $300k/year, the best available players will want to go there.
(Full) XFL Cities and Stadiums: Official Announcement:
Coming Soon:*Ric Serritella’s 2019 NFL Draft Bible publication, available exclusively at NFLDraftScout.com.