XFL Announces Teams For 2020 Kickoff

Presentation1It appears that the resurrection of the XFL is coming in February 2020 as XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck announced the cities planned for the new league.  Only two cities (New York and Los Angeles) will return from the previous edition of the XFL which played in 2001.

The new cities and stadiums will be:

  • Dallas (Globe Life Park)
  • Houston (TDECU Stadium)
  • Los Angeles (StubHub Center)
  • New York (MetLife Stadium)
  • St. Louis (The Dome at America’s Center)
  • Seattle (CenturyLink Field)
  • Tampa Bay (Raymond James Stadium)
  • Washington, DC (Audi Field)

The new XFL plans to be more fan-friendly with fast-paced games, family-friendly environment as well as several ways to view games.

The league will play a 10-game schedule with two semifinal playoff games and a championship game.

Another league, the Alliance of American Football (AAF) kicks off in February 2019 so it will be interesting to see which league will survive.  At this time, neither league has teams in both leagues.

The previous version of the league consisted of Orlando Rage, New York-New Jersey Hitmen, Chicago Enforcers, Los Angeles Extreme, Las Vegas Outlaws, Memphis Maniax, Birmingham Thunderbolts and San Francisco Demons.  As with the original league, Vin McMahon will also be involved in the XFL reboot but is promoting a “kinder and gentler” league when it takes the field in 2020.

Suggested nicknames for the new teams include:

  • Dallas – Wranglers, Outlaws, Desperados
  • Houston – Outlaws, Roughriders, Stallions
  • Los Angeles – Extreme, Stars, Condors
  • New York – Hitmen, Heroes
  • St. Louis – Steamers, Stallions
  • Seattle – Enforcers, Kraken
  • Tampa Bay – Krewe, Thunderbolts, Tritons, Bandits
  • Washington – Warriors, Stars

Philadelphia has registered a domain for an XFL team and may be a future location if the league succeeds and looks to expand.

Johnny Maziel who failed with the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) and recently played with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League (CFL) tops the list of players who might be interested in playing for the Dallas XFL franchise.

So will the XFL work?  I think it CAN work but only if it can survive the competition with the AAF which will already have a head start on them.  I think both leagues can co-exist as long as they establish themselves and don’t put franchises in cities with other leagues.  I still think that outdoor football in the winter/spring is a hard sell but still should appeal to football fans more than arena football.

Friday Flashback:  CFL in the United States

There has been discussion lately about St. Louis getting a franchise in the Canadian Football League (CFL) after losing two National Football League (NFL) teams (Cardinals and Rams).  A CFL franchise in a United States city?  Crazy right?   Oddly enough, it has been tried before when the CFL migrated south in 1993 by adding the Sacramento Gold Miners.  The following season, the CFL expanded to Baltimore, Las Vegas and Shreveport.  In 1995 the league added Birmingham, Memphis and San Antonio (relocated from Sacramento).  Although they expanded into cities without NFL teams (Baltimore had lost the Colts and before the Ravens), American fans were not as receptive to the Canadian version.   Most American football stadiums had problems adjusting to the larger Canadian football field dimensions.  

Personally, I thought the U.S. expansion would work, especially in cities that didn’t have NFL franchises.  The new teams had initial success but the different version and without a major television contract, the teams were not able to survive.  Another factor most think was that the CFL season runs from July to November which forced American teams to play the first half of the season in the heat – especially with most franchises located in the South – and the second half of the season competing with high school, college and the NFL.

Baltimore was the most successful US franchise and became the only American team to win the Grey Cup when they defeated the Calgary Stampeders 37-20 in the 1995 Grey Cup.  

Baltimore was an interesting story as they were initially known as the “CFL Colts” but the NFL went to court and successfully obtained a legal injunction against the team’s use of “Colts” in their name.  Their name was temporarily changed to “Baltimore Football Club” until they changed it to the “Stallions” before the 1995 season.

The “U.S. Experiment” ended when it was announced that the Cleveland Browns were moving to Baltimore to become the Ravens in 1996.  That effectively terminated the most successful franchise along with Memphis and Birmingham folding.  

Many experts think that the CFL could have made it had they expanded closer to the border instead of the locations such as Shreveport, Birmingham and Memphis.  Shreveport?  Really?

It is doubtful that a CFL franchise in St. Louis could work but perhaps in cities like Portland, Milwuakee, Anchorage and Rochester.  

CFL in America

1993 – Sacramento Gold Miners (6-12)

1994 – Baltimore CFLers (12-6), Sacramento Gold Miners (9-8-1), Las Vegas Posse (5-13), Shreveport Pirates (3-15)

Playoffs:  Baltimore 34, Toronto 15 (Division Semifinals); Baltimore 14, Winnipeg 12 (Division Finals); British Columbia Lions 26, Baltimore 23 (Grey Cup Final)

1995 – Baltimore Stallions (15-3), San Antonio Texans (12-6), Birmingham Barracudas (10-8), Memphis Mad Dogs (9-9), Shreveport Pirates (5-13)

Playoffs:  San Antonio 52, Birmingham 9; Baltimore 36, Winnipeg 21 (Division Semifinals); Baltimore 21, San Antonio 11 (Division Finals); Baltimore 37, Calgary 20 (Grey Cup Final)