Recently, former CFL QB – and spokesman, as it seems, for the USFL – Doug Flutie went on Calgary Stampeders QB Bo Levi Mitchell’s podcast with Benny Hebert and expressed some worry about the CFL’s potential merger with the XFL.
“My fear is the loss of the CFL game, the uniqueness of it. I love three-down football, the wider field and all of that. I don’t want Canadian teams to end up turning into playing American football. I’d love to see it stay the way it is.”Doug Flutie
He’s not the first to express their worries, long-time CFL sportscaster Chris Cuthbert had this to say in March:
“My concern level is extremely high, but I guess if you’re asking me 48 hours later, I am open to hearing what the benefits might be.”Chris Cuthbert
While their worries aren’t unfounded, there hasn’t been anything from the talks relating to football. What we do know are the people involved. Obviously the highest-ranking employees from both sides, and the presence of RedBird Capital, who have been very busy recently. The hiring of former NFL exec Kevin LaForce is huge. He is the main figure responsible for getting the NFL their $110 billion broadcasting deal.
RedBird is also unloading its stake in the NFLPA and MLBPA, worth up to $800 million, and they’ve just bought into an IPL team, the Rajasthan Royals – which is in a league that is up for a new broadcasting rights agreement. Both could be viewed as a way to open up capital for the XFL and CFL merger and to flex the muscles of their newest hire.
All that said, no one knows anything about what is going on with the talks at this point. And while speculation is rampant, some fear is healthy, but I wouldn’t get too riled up about the possibility of rules changes if and when a merger happens.
Part of the draw to the XFL was the differences it had from the NFL. Innovation with on-field communication between coaches and players, the way the league did their kickoffs, and the transparency with the officials. So the league would not be against taking it further. Part owner Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson also was part of a practice squad in the CFL, so he at least understands what the fans of the league love about 3 down football.
At this point, according to our own Mike Mitchell, they’re not even to the football side of the discussions. They’re still working out the business side of everything. This could be anything from Alpha Acquico (Dany, Dwayne, and RedBird combined) being a parent company while both leagues play their own games and own rules, but share the business model, to a full-blown merger, where they play a hybrid of the rules in both countries.
This is all still up in the air. Flutie also had this to say:
“The other aspect of a successful league, the fan base, the attachment to your team. The CFL has been around so long, teams in Saskatchewan, teams in Winnipeg, Calgary. When you start up new leagues and they just have teams in newer cities, there is no attachment yet.”Doug Flutie
Fans of the XFL’s 8 on-field teams would beg to differ. Especially in cities like St Louis, and Seattle. No offense to the rest of the fan bases, they’re just the loudest. But he’s right to a point, there has been no statement as to whether any of those teams will return to those cities as of yet.
We simply don’t know enough yet to assign emotions to what may come. It is true that the American style of football is played internationally, but that wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – stop Alpha Acquico from adopting at least some of the CFL’s rules, and playing the here in the states.
If anyone has their finger on the pulse of the fans, it’s the dynamic duo of Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson. We’ll see what will come soon enough, for now, let’s temper our emotions.
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