XFL

Extra Points: XFL, 2019 draft, Beal, Seahawks, Carroll

For draftniks and hardcore fans of the NFL, it’s never too early to start looking at next year’s draft. That’s why Matt Miller of Bleacher Report recently broke down who NFL scouts see as the best prospects in 2019. Miller noted scouts are busy “building profiles, researching backgrounds and character and talking to college coaches about top players” before he gave an “early look” at the consensus top 10.

Defensive end Nick Bosa, younger brother of Chargers pass-rusher Joey Bosa, unsurprisingly checks in at number one. Bosa has dominated for Ohio State the past two seasons and is almost a lock to turn pro after his upcoming junior season. A scout told Miller, “I love Nick Bosa. I wasn’t 100 percent sure on Joey coming out (stupid me), but I won’t make that mistake twice. He’s the real deal. Excellent instincts and feel for the quarterback as a young rusher.”

It wouldn’t be at all surprising to hear Roger Goodell call Bosa’s name as the number one overall pick in 2019. After you’ve finished checking out the rest of the list, here’s more from around the football world:

  • Many wondered why Oliver Luck would leave his cushy job as an executive with the NCAA for a seemingly risky position as CEO and Commissioner of the upstart XFL. That question has apparently been answered now that it’s been reported Luck was offered a guaranteed $20MM from the XFL over a period of a few years that has a chance to grow to $30MM depending on the success of the league (Twitter link via the Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Bachman).
  • Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal, who recently announced his intention to enter the NFL’s 2018 Supplemental Draft, will have his Pro Day on June 28th (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network). Rapoport notes that the event “should be well-attended” by scouts. Adam Schefter of ESPN recently tweeted that Beal could be the highest player selected in the Supplemental Draft since the Browns used a second round pick on Josh Gordon in 2012.
  • In a recent column, Albert Breer of SI.com writes that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is taking a positive view on the departure of a slew of veteran players from his roster saying Carroll views it as “a chance, at age 66, to sell the bedrock of his program—competition—all over again. It got a little hard, as the above core came to prominence, to keep selling the idea that every spot was up for grabs. It’s not so difficult to sell anymore.” 

Extra Points: XFL, Luck, Kaepernick

This week, Vince McMahon’s XFL appointed Oliver Luck as its new commissioner and CEO.

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

Luck, the father of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, will relocate to Connecticut as he gears up for the league’s launch in 2020. That also means leaving behind his previous job with the NCAA, in which he oversaw eligibility requirements and academic affairs.

I always felt there was an opportunity for another pro league as long as it had the key ingredients, and I found all those ingredients present in the new XFL,” Luck said. “There was the leadership and vision from Vince [McMahon] who is a tremendous entrepreneur with a solid track record and there is a potential to have good quality football if it is well capitalized, which of course it is.”

Here’s more from around the world of football:

Alliance Of American Football To Launch In 2019

WWE boss Vince McMahon is planning to re-launch the XFL in 2020, but he’ll have some serious competition in his bid to become the nation’s top competitor to the NFL. Charlie Ebersol, who directed a documentary on the XFL last year, has founded the Alliance of American Football, a league that will debut on Feb. 9, 2019. 

Unlike the XFL, Ebersol’s league already has a television deal in place. The league’s first game and championship games will air on CBS, while the CBS Sports Network will carry one game per week. Other games will be available via the AAF’s app.

The league, which will host its first game one week after Super Bowl LIII, will have a 10-week season and 50-man rosters. The players will be cast from the NFL’s scraps, meaning that it can be a way for those on the fringes of the league to showcase themselves for 90-man roster spots in the NFL.

Former NFL GM Bill Polian and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu are involved in the operations side while former NFL players Hines Ward and Justin Tuck will serve as advisors. Charlie’s father, famed television producer and former XFL partner Dick Ebersol will also serve on the advisory board.

Many football leagues have come and gone over the years, but the younger Ebersol says that he is taking a long-term approach.

I think where businesses like this fail is that they expect to have ludicrous and unrealistic ticket and media deal projections in Year 1,” Ebersol said. “Our investors here understand that it’s a seven- to 10-year plan.”

Vince McMahon Announces XFL Reboot

The XFL is back. Roughly 17 years after its closure, WWE boss Vince McMahon announced that he is making a new foray into professional football.

In a press conference, McMahon declared that the XFL will return in 2020. Much like the first incarnation of the XFL, the introductory presser was sparse on details. However, as McMahon noted, the league is giving itself significantly more time to plan for the launch.

The league, McMahon says, will have fewer commercial breaks and move faster than the NFL’s version. The XFL will “start conservatively” with eight teams and 40-man rosters, but host cities for the teams have not yet been identified.

Surprisingly, McMahon’s “re-imagined” brand of football will not feature him as a brand ambassador. The WWE CEO vowed to bring in experienced football executives to run the show and said that the press conference might be the last we see of him with regards to the league. He added that there will be no crossover of talent from the wrestling organization to the football league, a stark difference from 2001 when Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler served as a commentary team.

There was some speculation that McMahon could position the league as a more patriotic alternative to the NFL, but he says the league “will have nothing to do with politics and nothing to do with social issues.” Instead, McMahon says the league will focus on its on-field product, though he was non-committal when asked if standing for the anthem will be mandatory.

Already, former University of Kentucky star Jared Lorenzen has volunteered his services for the XFL. “Well well well, how are you doing over there [Vince McMahon] and [Alpha Entertainment]?,” the Hefty Lefty wrote (on Twitter). “I see you may be looking for some athletes. I got ya. May be I do have 1 more comeback left me. #HeAteMe

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vince McMahon Planning XFL Reboot?

In 2001, the WWF and NBC attempted to go toe-to-toe with the NFL. Despite a debut broadcast with tremendous ratings, the XFL quickly fizzled and folded after just one season. It now appears that wrestling magnate Vince McMahon could be ready to take another shot at professional football. Rod Smart (vertical)

Vince McMahon has established and is personally funding a separate entity from WWE, Alpha Entertainment, to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football,” the wrestling organization said in a statement issued to David Bixenspan of Deadspin (Twitter link). “Mr. McMahon has nothing further to announce at this time.”

McMahon’s first try at football wound up costing his company tens of millions of dollars. If there is a second act for McMahon in football, he is making it known that it will not affect the WWE’s bottom line or impact its shareholders.

It’s not immediately clear how serious McMahon is about restarting the XFL or when the league might re-emerge. The WWE filed for two new XFL trademarks this year, according to Bixenspan, though it is common practice for companies to renew their trademarks when they come due.

The first time around, viewers found the on-field quality of the product to be poor and the off-field branding overtly crass. McMahon could try a different spin on marketing his league, but there’s no realistic way to increase the talent level without some type of partnership with the NFL. In the recent ESPN documentary on the failed league, McMahon hinted that a potential reboot “would tie in either with the NFL itself or the owners,” but it’s hard to imagine Roger Goodell & Co. going down that path.