Vince McMahon is resuscitating the XFL.
OK Authentic Odell Beckham Jr Jersey
, let’s get the bad jokes out of the way: Are some teams going to be wearing masks and representing parts unknown? Will the hook-and-ladder play involve smashing someone with a real ladder?
The XFL was a ”colossal failure” the first time McMahon tried it – his words – and there’s every reason to believe XFL2 will meet a similar fate.
But a spring football league, done the right way, could work.
And, no, we’re not kidding around.
The United States Football League came up with the most feasible concept back in the 1980s, only to crumble after just three seasons because of out-of-control spending and a suicidal push by owners such as Donald Trump to compete directly against the NFL .
But the USFL might still be around today if it had stuck to its original concept, which was to serve as more of a complement to the NFL than a direct competitor.
The timing is ripe for another attempt.
While the economy is booming and football remains the nation’s most popular sport, the NFL is contending with shrinking TV ratings, empty seats and a lingering debate over players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice. For the first time in decades, there are actually some cracks in the league’s armor.
Clearly, those issues figured into McMahon’s planned re-launch of the XFL in 2020 .
”As far as this league is concerned, it will have nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with social issues,” he said. ”That’s what the fans want. When they tune in to a game, they don’t want to deal with political issues. They want to watch good football.”
Good football will likely be the fatal flaw in McMahon’s new venture, just as it was for the original XFL. While the risque cheerleaders and close ties to wrestling brought plenty of much-deserved ridicule Authentic Melvin Gordon Jersey
, it was the amateurish quality of play that ultimately caused its downfall. As Bob Costas memorably observed, it was ”mediocre high school football” combined ”with a tawdry strip club.”
Since McMahon’s new XFL will follow the same single-entity plan – he’ll be the sole owner of the eight-team league – there’s unlikely to be nearly enough money to lure any recognizable names, unless Tim Tebow (yes, he came up during the announcement Thursday) decides to make a football comeback.
But an updated version of the USFL concept would have a real chance at succeeding during the spring and summer, football’s traditional offseason.
Here’s a few ideas:
– Start with 10 or 12 teams, split between major NFL cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles; those that have lost teams (San Diego, St. Louis and soon-to-be Oakland); and untapped markets with big league stadiums (San Antonio comes to mind).
– Restrict ownership to those who not only have deep pockets, but are totally committed to the concept (i.e., not simply trying to turn their investment into a merger with the NFL). Point out the relative bargain of owning a team in the new league compared to, say, the Carolina Panthers, whose selling price will surely exceed $2 billion. Maybe Mark Cuban would be interested in a Dallas franchise. Reach out to Oprah Winfrey about a Chicago team.
– Don’t get into a bidding war with the NFL over players. Focus heavily on scouting and development, which means pursuing lower-level pros who might thrive in a bigger role and college stars projected to go in the later rounds of the NFL draft. Always be on the lookout for someone like 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, the subject of wildly varying draft projections, who might have a better chance at playing time in a new league. And let’s not forget: Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed.
– Line up a traditional TV deal to provide financial stability Youth Greg Olsen Jersey
, perhaps some combination of a major network and a newer, sports-themed cable outlet such as NBCSN or Fox Sports 1. But also be on the cutting edge of subscription services, mobile streaming and other innovative conduits that appeal to a younger audience.
In essence, follow the model laid out by the late David Dixon, the New Orleans businessman whose longtime push for an out-of-season league finally came to fruition with the launch of the USFL in 1983.
Looking back, that first season was a rousing success in many ways. The Denver Gold averaged more than 41,000 fans. Overall attendance was roughly in line with the hoped-for 25,000 per game. TV ratings on ABC and then-fledgling ESPN actually exceeded projections. The quality of play was solid.
But the seeds of the USFL’s downfall were already in motion. When the New Jersey Generals skirted the salary cap to lure Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker away from Georgia, it only led more teams to dole out big bucks in pursuit of stars. That, in turn, led to huge financial losses. Dixon wisely walked away after that inaugural season.
In the end, the USFL’s most enduring legacy was the $3 judgment it ”won” in an antitrust suit against the NFL, a ruling that finished off the league in 1986 before it carried out a Trump-backed move from spring to fall.
No one since has made a serious attempt at a spring football league.
A revived XFL certainly doesn’t qualify.
But someone out there should heed McMahon’s words.
”Football is America’s favorite sport,” he said. ”We’ve got seven months of no football on the gridiron and 70 million fans. Why not now? Now is the perfect opportunity.”
Paul Newb Sammy Watkins made quite the impression on the first day of Kansas City Chiefs training camp on Thursday.
The veteran wide receiver is one of the newest options for first-year starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
"The guy's an unbelievable talent, he really is," tight end Travis Kelce said of Watkins.
"He's a high-character guy Womens Christian McCaffrey Jersey
, you can't say anything wrong about him. It's been exciting just to see him come out here and work because he's such a great athlete and he makes you want to get better every single day."
Mahomes and Watkins teamed up to elicit the biggest cheer of the day from fans attending the opening of camp.
The quarterback dropped a 60-yard pass on a breezy post route to Watkins, who hauled in the over-the-shoulder catch on the run for an easy score. Mahomes said he's quickly developing a rapport on the field with the newcomer.
"He's a guy that will stay after and get extra work, a guy that wants to put the work in to be great," Mahomes said.
"When you have guys like that all around our team, it's easy to build chemistry and build that kind of deep ball or if it's a short pass or whatever it is."
Coach Andy Reid also praised the willingness of Watkins to push himself during practice, whether it's running out routes where he's a decoy or putting in extra reps.
"I love Sammy's attitude and his work ethic," Reid said. "He's all business, he's a quiet guy. He's all business. I love the way he goes about, a true pro."
For the first time in his career, Watkins comes into the season healthy and with a full offseason of work. That's helping him acclimate to Reid's West Coast offense playbook.
"I've gotten the plays down but of course we've got so much to build on with chemistry and working with the guys," Watkins said.
"The offense is so bright you can't sleep on it so everyday we've got to go over it and go over the installs."
The offseason addition of Watkins figures to make the Chiefs offense a puzzle for defenses this season. The team returns three 1,000-yard performers from last season, including the league's leading rusher in Kareem Hunt. Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill topped the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards.
Kelce, who is used to frequently facing double teams and bracket coverage, sees the addition of Watkins creating opportunities for everyone across the offense.
"I think we're going to open everything up for each other Jalen Ramsey Jersey Black
," Kelce said. "Pat's got quite an arsenal to throw to."
It also means a lot of players to give the ball, but Reid says the group possesses a desire to win that keeps egos in check.
"That's what's nice about having the guys we have, they all understand there's one ball," Reid said. "They all get it. Sammy went out ran a couple of beautiful routes where he didn't get the ball, but ran like he was going to get it. He didn't pull off at all. That's a great thing to have that kind of talent."
The Chiefs open camp with just one injury issue impacting a projected starter. Inside linebacker Reggie Ragland started camp on the non-football injury list. He experienced a swollen knee following his flight to training camp. Reid does not believe the issue is a significant concern.
"He's in great shape, we're just going to let it calm down, precautionary measure, let it calm down and he'll get back out," Reid said. "I don't think it's anything to go crazy about."
The Chiefs are relying on Ragland as a leader in the retooled starting defense that also includes cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and David Amerson, linebacker Anthony Hitchens and defensive tackle Xavier Williams.
Those changes on defense along with the addition of Watkins and the promotion of Mahomes, puts a smile on Reid's face.
"We've got a lot of new faces in new places," Reid said. "That part's exciting. The ability to teach, that's what we do. We got quite a little bit of teaching to do as we go here." Authentic Womens Quenton Nelson Jersey