Before the keys are handed over to Garcia & The Rock on August 21st, the hype for the XFL is already building. In the wake of the NCAA’s COVID crisis, calls are coming out for the league to restart and play games in the fall. This isn’t just twitter hype either. We’re seeing calls from Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Nation, and even Pro Football Talk, who have changed their tune about the XFL of late.
While some are saying that the league should expand to 12-16 teams and play, there is a negligible chance that happens by fall. I’m all for expansion, but the time necessary to scout that many new markets, players and coaches is a long process, and you can’t just throw players together on the field and expect a good product without a training camp.
The XFL’s scouting process took nearly a year. After a spring/summer of minicamps and talent showcases, there was a draft in the fall, training camp in December, and teams were ready by February.
I believe that expansion teams are going to be key to the future of this league, but I don’t think we’ll see those until 2022 or even later, given the timeframe.
Let me pretense this by saying it is the longest of long shots, and a wild hope at best but I do think it would be technically possible for the new ownership to finish out the 2020 season with the original 8 teams, if they were so inclined.
It would mean a month or two of absolutely frenzied action by Garcia & The Rock, but for the sake of this conversation, lets walk through the steps that would need to happen.
- They would need to hire back all available XFL staff immediately, then fill out vacant positions as quickly as possible.
- Coaches would have to be wooed back to the league, especially those like Marc Trestman and Bob Stoops who are owed money as creditors. (Stoops previously stated interest in returning, but that was before the bankruptcy process.) Other coaches like Winston Moss, June Jones, and Jim Zorn are very interested in returning, but we haven’t heard much from Jonathan Hayes and Kevin Gilbride. Pep Hamilton caught on as a QB coach with the Chargers.
- Coaches would have to resign all available players and replace those who have moved on. I’m sure many are motivated to finish the season, but there will be absences.
- A hub city will have to be chosen to play out in a bubble. Houston and St. Louis would be natural fits, and BattleHawks president Kurt Hunzeker has already pitched his city as the destination. Deals will have to be worked out with the stadium as well, and hotels in the area.
- TV deals would need to be reworked, and this is the trickiest part. Though stations will be desperate for Friday/Saturday content due to NCAA cancellations, there is a lot that would have to get done on this front. Fox Sports is very interested, and ESPN is open to a future with the league but we haven’t heard a word from ABC. However, nobody knows the media landscape better than Dany Garcia & The Rock.
If they can get through these 5 steps in a couple months, I’d be amazed. Frankly I’m gonna say we shouldn’t get our hopes up, but nothing is impossible.
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