Archive for the ‘XFL’ Category

XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said Tuesday the league will make players stand for the Star Spangled Banner, reinforcing the message founder Vince McMahon conveyed in January.

“We respect individual freedoms, but we will require our players to stand for the national anthem,” Luck told Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report shortly after he was announced as the league’s new commissioner and chief operating officer.

The XFL, which existed for one season in 2001, is set to relaunch in 2020. Upon announcing the league’s revival on Jan. 25, McMahon said its employees wouldn’t be permitted to make political statements while on the job.

“People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained,” he said. “We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time.”

At the time, McMahon refrained from guaranteeing players would be forced to stand for the anthem. He did, however, note that standing for the anthem “would be appropriate.”

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Oliver Luck, the father of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, will be the first commissioner and CEO of the rebooted XFL.

Luck, who currently works for the NCAA in its eligibility department, will vacate his post and relocate from Indianapolis to Connecticut for the new job.

“The XFL will be a labor of love as I get to combine my experiences as a player and executive,” Luck wrote in an email to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “I’m thrilled to have this unique opportunity to reimagine the game that has been a constant in my life for 40 years.”

The XFL is set for relaunch in 2020. Its founder, WWE chairman Vince McMahon, tried to get the league off the ground in 2001 but it folded after one season.

Luck has a wealth of executive experience in the sports industry and previously served as president of the now-defunct NFL Europe.

“Oliver and I share the same vision and passion for reimagining the game of football,” McMahon said in a statement. “His experience as both an athlete and executive will ensure the long-term success of the XFL.”

The 58-year-old Luck had a short playing career in the NFL, suiting up for the Houston Oilers from 1982-86.

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Could WWE Chairman Vince McMahon be ready to throw down the gauntlet against Florida Gators legend Steve Spurrier? That could be the case.

According to The Orlando Sentinel, McMahon has proposed putting an XFL team inside Orlando’s Camping World Stadium, which comes on the heels of the announcement that an Alliance of American Football team, coached by Spurrier, will be put in UCF’s Spectrum Stadium.

While there will be a roughly one-year gap in between the launch of the Alliance and the XFL, John Saboor, WWE’s senior vice president of special events and former CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission, is aware of The Alliance and is confident that the Orlando area could support two teams, despite critics’ claims to the contrary.

WWE’s chairman and chief executive Vince McMahon already has an opponent in drawing away NFL’s football fans, and it comes from a surprising name: Charlie Ebersol. Not only did Charlie’s father, and longtime NBC executive, Dick help Vince launch the original XFL 17 years ago, but the younger Ebersol directed the recent ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the original failed launch of the XFL. Today, Ebersol announced the formation of the Alliance of American Football.

After political protests by NFL players and concussion injuries gained recent attention, ratings for the league fell by 17 percent. Perhaps seizing on this environment, McMahon announced this past January that he’d revive the XFL (backed by $100 million in stock he sold). He emphasized a more family-friendly stance than the previous XFL, downplaying the sexy cheerleaders and violence of the original league and adhering more to the current PG-era of the WWE. He also stressed nonpolitical actions during games and employing players without criminal backgrounds.

Ebersol’s announcement of his Alliance for American Football league also might mean McMahon’s plan will come too late. Whereas Vince wants to revamp the XFL in in early 2020, his rival scheduled his launch for February 9, 2019 on CBS, soon after the next Super Bowl.

Ebersol’s father and Vince’s former partner Dick will serve on a board of directors that will also feature former NFL stars Hines Ward, Justin Tuck, and Jared Allen. The stated goals are similar to McMahon’s reboot of the XFL, such as shorter games and utilizing top-level talent from college football who don’t make it into the NFL. In addition, Ebersol wants games to be affordable, with good seats available at $35.

“I wanted to build a team of people who were significantly more accomplished and smarter than I was and let them build what they thought the future of the sport was going to be,” Ebersol said in press announcement.

Ebersol emphasized the AAF is in it for the long haul.

“We’re not looking for out-of-box, rocket-ship success,” he said. “The XFL, USFL as a live event were successful businesses, but expectations were so high. We want to manage expectations, because we’re built for a long-term model.”

Vince McMahon’s assertion that the XFL’s relaunch would have no impact on his day-to-day WWE role was one of the biggest talking points to emerge from January 25th’s press conference, but the Chairman is already going back on his word.

According to this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Vince is currently undergoing the process of transferring certain WWE powers to others, with Triple H the main benefactor.

‘The Game’ has already taken over 205 Live’s operations, with McMahon stepping aside. On top of this, Vince is currently assembling a team to assist Triple H in running NXT, which is why Impact Wrestling’s Jeremy Borash was recently brought into the company. Dave Meltzer notes that Vince has also spoken to other individuals with a view to taking a bigger role, but doesn’t mention any specifics.

This doesn’t mean that McMahon is stepping away entirely, but he is looking to ensure key positions are covered when the XFL’s rebirth finally comes to fruition.

The only surprise here is the timescale, as while Triple H was pinpointed as Vince’s preferred heir a long time ago, the Chairman had shown no signs of ceding power. McMahon will still hold authority going forward, but it sounds like big changes are on the way.

Vince McMahon’s pitch to Tim Tebow did not appear to get the former Heisman Trophy winner’s attention.

Despite McMahon mentioning Tebow by name during his introductory press conference for the XFL, the quarterback-turned-baseball player has not considered joining the upstart league that aims to begin by 2020.

“To be honest, I really haven’t given it any thought,” Tebow told Andrew Astleford of SEC Country on Wednesday. “I’ve got too many important things going on, and I’m getting ready for spring training in slightly over a week.”

“Honestly, it’s the beginning of 2018. And they’re talking about that in 2020. I’ve got a lot of life in front of me before that even happens. So I’m not even going to worry about it.”

Tebow was one of nine minor leaguers in the New York Mets system to be invited to train with the major-league players. He has not played football since a stint in the Philadelphia Eagles‘ training camp in 2015.

A day almost everyone thought would never come is upon us, as WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon announced Thursday he will be bringing back the XFL.

The league, which folded after one season in 2001, will return for the 2020 season with the schedule kicking off in late January or early February.

As was the case with the previous incarnation of the XFL, there will be eight teams in the league with 40-man rosters playing a 10-game schedule. The playoff structure will be the top four teams in the league facing off in the semifinals with the winners meeting for the championship.

During his press conference, McMahon failed to delve too deeply into details about the new league. There have been no discussions as to what cities will hold franchises, but McMahon admitted he wants to play the games in existing football stadiums.

The original XFL was a joint venture between the WWE and NBC, with many of the broadcasters for the games doubling as WWE personalities. This version will feature no such thing, as McMahon was clear there would be no talent crossover between the two promotions, and he is not currently seeking to partner with any major broadcast networks.

McMahon stressed there will be numerous differences between the XFL and the NFL but didn’t specify as to what those would be. The 72-year-old did admit he wants game times much closer to two hours in length compared to the average NFL contest which is at the three-hour mark.

In terms of players to fill the rosters, McMahon did say the “quality of human being is as important as (the quality of) player” and that players without a criminal past would be the ones targeted. He specifically mentioned former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow when discussing the type of player that would be welcomed in the league.

McMahon will continue in his role as WWE CEO and Chairman and will not hold an outwardly public position in the new XFL. That is a stark contrast from the previous incarnation, which saw the famous executive front and center at many contests.