Once the XFL makes it past year 2, expansion needs to be considered for year 4. The order of priorities, I think, ought to be based on 2 things: the ability to attract fans/profit(of course), and, in some instances, ability to attract the NFL world’s eye in order to land better talent through impressing agents of potential players, available players themselves, NFL coaches and execs, and media.
With that said, here are my top 3, as I think the first round of XFL expansion will involve 2 teams.
1) San Antonio, Alamodome
The Alamodome was a fortress in the AAF, so why not bring it back for an XFL team?
At the end of the day, AAF fans showed out for this market, and when the XFL proves themselves, they will return in perhaps even larger numbers once the XFL comes to town. More importantly, it would give Texans, some of the most hardcore football fans even at grassroots levels, another football team, completing the trifecta of the most populous cities in the state.
Outside of the Spurs, SA doesn’t have anything to compete with the XFL. While the Alamodome may be underwhelming, the heart in SA fans makes it worth it. Also, there is little concern that the league would be disallowed from coming to town, as the city has been wanting a pro football team for years.
2) Berkeley(Oakland/SF market), California Memorial Stadium
The UC Berkeley campus is an added bonus of potential customers available to the XFL in the attractive bay area.
While UC Berkeley denied the XFL in 2018, I think, with success, they could win them over. More importantly, the bay area is going to be HUNGRY for some more football, as previously mentioned with the Raiders population.
California Memorial Stadium is beautiful, recently renovated, and completely vacant for the XFL in the spring. Soon, it will be time to recapture the fanbase the XFL originally had in the bay area, and hopefully, the UC Berkeley admin will oblige.
Anything to avoid playing in the Oakland Coliseum which is both unpleasant and unlikely to accept the league, as the city is worried about schedule conflicts with the Athletics.
3) Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium
The NFL combine being held here makes placing an XFL Team an Indy a unique opportunity for interaction with the shield.
Indianapolis is where the NFL comes to play. The combine occurs here every year over the course of 7 days. Perfectly set up for the XFL to showcase their talent on the Sunday/Saturday before Combine day 1 on Tuesday, and potentially on day 5 ith a night game at say 830 PM local time, if the XFL could negotiate with the NFL.
Indy only has the Pacers to compete with, and Lucas Oil Stadium is a quality facility for the XFL to hold games in.
XFL Schedule Realignment as a Result of Expansion
By having 10 teams in the XFL, schedules would have to adjust. Either more games will need to be added, or divisions will need to change. In my opinion, keeping the season to 10 games prevents the season from getting too long and it increases the importance of individual games.
To maintain this, divisions would be ended, and instead, each team would play each other once, plus a protected rivalry game that is played twice a year. For example, Dallas vs Houston would definitely be in consideration for a key rivalry game. This keeps the league at the perfect 10 games. Playoff seeding would now be determined by the best 4 records, as there would no longer be any divisions.
Dallas vs Houston
I-45 rivalry, enough said.
Los Angeles vs St Louis
How could I forget the battle over Stan Kroenke? Undoubtedly this is a deep-seated rivalry for the XFL to promote, especially if LA fans show up for their team.
Seattle vs Berkeley
For years, the Seahawks and 49ers had gritty battles in the NFL, but, more importantly, both city areas have an underlying fight as leaders in technological innovation. In addition, both areas are well known for their passionate fan bases, which can provide extra excitement to the matchup.
New York vs DC
A classic rivalry from the NFC East, the Guardians and Defenders could reincarnate that tradition in the XFL.
San Antonio vs Tampa Bay
This revives the rivalry that could have been in the AAF with the Commanders and the Apollos, at least somewhat.
Indianapolis vs Houston
A relatively new divisional rivalry from the NFL, there’s also a backdrop of rivalry among Oliver Luck and his son, with Andrew having played for the Colts and Oliver having played for the Oilers, managed the dynamo, and run the Houston Sports Authority
Dallas vs DC
Why not bring back another classic NFL rivalry into the XFL?
Seattle vs St Louis
This revives an old NFL divisional rivalry, which is a necessary compromise to avoid one team getting a better share of LA.
LA vs San Antonio
While being a rivalry completely built by basketball, there’s no doubt there’s a unique history between the two cities that could be pitted against each other on the XFL gridiron, not to mention the glaring cultural rivalry between the states of California and Texas.
Tampa Bay vs New York
While based primarily in baseball, the Jets do also have a divisional rivalry with the Dolphins, but also rivaling each other for being the worst NFL teams, as the Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, while the Dolphins have only made the playoffs a mere 4 times in the 20th century, so perhaps that could translate to Tampa, hopefully without the perennial losing.
What do you think? Which cities would you prefer for expansion? What do you think of my schedule realignment? Do you agree with these rivalries, or do you think you could come up with some better ones? Let me know on twitter @Maxscouts or in the comments below.
Writer’s note: An earlier version of the article incorrectly noted the owner of the Rams(Stan Kroenke) and wrongly noted the highway between Dallas and Houston(I-45).
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