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  • Alliance of American Football coming 2019

    XFL documentary maker plans new football league

    While Vince McMahon promises to bring back a revamped XFL in 2020, a son of McMahon's partner in the original short-lived XFL venture said his football league will come first. And some big NFL names will be involved.

    Charlie Ebersol, who directed a documentary on the XFL that aired last year as part of ESPN's 30 for 30 series, announced Tuesday that his league, the Alliance of American Football, plans to debut Feb. 9, 2019, the week after Super Bowl LIII. The season will run 10 weeks and will have 50-man teams.

    Ebersol's father, Dick Ebersol, was McMahon's partner in the original XFL and is a longtime television executive.

    To help him steer the league, Charlie Ebersol brought on former NFL general manager Bill Polian, currently an analyst for ESPN. The player side will be overseen by former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, and the team side will be guided by former USC standout and executive J.K. McKay.

    Advisers to the league also will include former NFL players Hines Ward and Justin Tuck, as well as Dick Ebersol.

    While McMahon's league is backed by McMahon's money, Charlie Ebersol's league is backed by others, including former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, Peter Thiel's Founders Fund and The Chernin Group, which, among other investments, owns a significant share of Barstool Sports.

    "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."

    Unlike McMahon, whose announcement came without a media plan, Ebersol said that his league, made up of players who didn't make the cut for the NFL, will have the initial game and the championship game on CBS and one matchup per 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.

    "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."

    Like McMahon, Ebersol said the success of the league will live and die with good football, something that he thinks is achievable.

    "There are 28,000 Division I football players. Only 1,700 have NFL jobs," Ebersol said. "We're looking for those Kurt Warners working in grocery stores, and we think we will find them."

    The eight teams in cities that will be announced in the next three months will start by having regional drafts, protecting eligible players who played in the local community for their college days.

    Along with good football and names the local market knows, Ebersol said a hallmark of the league will be no TV timeouts and 60 percent fewer commercials, as well as an innovative approach to broadcasting.

    There also will be no kickoffs (the ball will be placed automatically at the 25-yard line) and no onside kicks. The losing team will just start on its own 35-yard line with fourth-and-10. Play clocks will be 30 seconds and every touchdown will be followed by a two-point conversion attempt.

  • #2
    Meh. I'm less interested in watching these leagues and more interested in how they forecast the future of football.

    no onside kicks. The losing team will just start on its own 35-yard line with fourth-and-10. Play clocks will be 30 seconds and every touchdown will be followed by a two-point conversion attempt.
    That's an interesting idea that I hadn't read before.

    It will be interesting to see how the larger football institutions react to having kickoffs being nixed for player health reasons by the smaller fish. I'm come around full circle on kickoffs and would like to see them gone. There's a nostalgia aspect to a kickoff that I'll miss. But there are so many facts against it: obviously the health of the players, the fact that 95% of the time the ball is ends up being within 5 yards of the 20, the stoppage of play for their respective units to get off the field, the fact that even a successful return is generally not an exciting play.

    Funnier than you in 2012.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by greyhammer90 View Post
      It will be interesting to see how the larger football institutions react to having kickoffs being nixed for player health reasons by the smaller fish. I'm come around full circle on kickoffs and would like to see them gone. There's a nostalgia aspect to a kickoff that I'll miss. But there are so many facts against it: obviously the health of the players, the fact that 95% of the time the ball is ends up being within 5 yards of the 20, the stoppage of play for their respective units to get off the field, the fact that even a successful return is generally not an exciting play.
      You may already have, but if you haven't watch this.

      <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/t_SsIKgwvz4" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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      • #4
        I might finally get to see Hackenberg throw a pass as a professional!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KPENN View Post
          You may already have, but if you haven't watch this.

          <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/t_SsIKgwvz4" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
          I show people this video any time the topic of kickoffs is brought up. I am fully in on what the AAF is doing instead. It might need some tweaking in terms of what yardline it starts at and how many yards are needed to get the first, but you can't make adjustments until you implement it first, so this is the first step in the right direction.

          I'm also much more interested in this league than the XFL. That just seemed so gimmicky that I'm pretty sure the on field product won't be good. The AAF sounds better and sounds like its open to having players give their input which would be a step up from the NFL.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by greyhammer90 View Post
            I'm come around full circle on kickoffs and would like to see them gone. There's a nostalgia aspect to a kickoff that I'll miss. But there are so many facts against it: obviously the health of the players, the fact that 100% OF THE TIME ND ENDS UP BEING 5 YARDS BEHIND THE 20, the stoppage of play for their respective units to get off the field, the fact that even a successful return is generally not an exciting play.

            FIFY

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            • #7
              I just don't see either of these leagues surviving. I'm be more interested in the salary structure and anticipated revenue streams than the rule changes at this point. Have the mentioned the type of stadium they will play in?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Irish#1 View Post
                I just don't see either of these leagues surviving. I'm be more interested in the salary structure and anticipated revenue streams than the rule changes at this point. Have the mentioned the type of stadium they will play in?
                Cities and venues to be announced next month I believe.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by greyhammer90 View Post
                  That's an interesting idea that I hadn't read before.

                  It will be interesting to see how the larger football institutions react to having kickoffs being nixed for player health reasons by the smaller fish. I'm come around full circle on kickoffs and would like to see them gone. There's a nostalgia aspect to a kickoff that I'll miss. But there are so many facts against it: obviously the health of the players, the fact that 95% of the time the ball is ends up being within 5 yards of the 20, the stoppage of play for their respective units to get off the field, the fact that even a successful return is generally not an exciting play.
                  I'd like to see Greg Schiano's idea put into practice for the preseason games at some point to see how it plays out: Schiano’s idea for replacing kickoffs traces to LeGrand injury – ProFootballTalk

                  Basically, the team that would usually be kicking off instead starts with a 4th-and-15 at their own 30. They can punt, to simulate the kickoff and flip the field position as you would normally, they can fake the punt to simulate a surprise onside kick, like some teams do early in games or to start a half, or they can go for the conversion to retain possession.

                  The idea needs tweaking, as stated by Schiano, because you want to limit the 4th-down conversion attempts to make sure they would be about as successful percentage-wise as onside kicks have been historically, that way teams are only faking punts or lining up to go for the conversion if they absolutely need to in order to overcome a deficit.

                  The other interesting thing is that it opens up the potential for blocked punts at the change of possession. The return team can go all-out for a block if they are short on time and want to try for a huge field-position swing, but they risk their own field position disadvantage if they don't get the block and have no blockers for their returner.

                  I think the percentage of an onside kick is about 15 percent. So you want to make sure that whatever that fourth-and-blank is, it is about 15 percent over a bunch of years. And that would be the ideal amount of yardage needed. So at least you have an onside kind of equivalent percentage wise. - Greg Schiano

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                  • #10
                    Listened to Charlie Ebersol on the DP Show, yesterday. I have to say, I am intrigued to see how this turns out. It's never going to get as big as the NFL, but that's not their business plan. It was surprisingly interesting to listen to.

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                    • #11
                      I remember one of the big tenets of XFL was supposed to be punts were live balls, and fair catches were not allowed. It never left the cutting room floor after they saw what happened at team practices. Had to be insane...

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                      • #12
                        No TV timeouts and 60% less commercials? Great for the fan but seems absolutely crazy. Throw in a very very limited tv coverage and i believe it's gong to be incredibly difficult to get off the ground. Those investors must have fronted the 7-10 year money expected to run the league.

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