The fledgling XFL, scheduled to begin play in February 2020, announced its eight teams Wednesday, including a franchise in the nation’s capital called the “DC Defenders.”
The seven other franchises: St. Louis BattleHawks, Tampa Bay Vipers, New York Guardians, Seattle Dragons, Los Angeles Wildcats, Houston Roughnecks and Dallas Renegades.
St. Louis is the only XFL city that doesn’t currently have an NFL team.
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The XFL is the second football league to try to establish itself in the NFL’s offseason. The Alliance of American Football league (AAF) launched in 2019 and folded before its first season was completed. The AAF did have decent television ratings, but it was shut down after majority owner Tom Dundon couldn’t reach an agreement to use NFL prospects.
“We are very committed to building a sustainable stand-alone league with our own profiles and our coaching staffs,” said former NFL player Oliver Luck who is the XFL’s commissioner.
This won’t be a league made up of young NFL prospects, although Luck expects players who play well in the XFL in the spring to sign with the NFL in the fall.
But he insists the XFL will have its own identity.
“We do not believe we are a developmental league,” Luck said.
On Aug. 15, the XFL signed its first player – former Oklahoma and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones.
The XFL’s draft will be held in October.
“We are sending close to 1,000 players what we are calling Commissioner’s invitations,” Luck said. “That Commissioner’s allows that player to be our in draft pool. “
About two-thirds of invitations have gone out, and most of the remainder of the invites will go out after the NFL makes its cuts on Labor Day.
The XFL will have some form of a salary cap, but the financial terms haven’t yet been announced. The XFL plans to have players that fans will already know.
In addition, the XFL is considering a dozen rules changes that will make the game different from the NFL, including a 25-second play clock. The XFL is also considering instituting a rule change that will allow for more kickoff returns without increasing the injury risk factor.
Another possible XFL wrinkle is eliminating the extra point kick in favor of a way for a team to go for a one-, two- or three-point play.