BengalErnst

What If....the XFL was a success??

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An Alternate History of the original XFL!

The XFL is a professional American football league that played its first season in 2001.  As originally conceived, the XFL operated as a joint venture between Alpha Entertainment and NBC.  The XFL is as an outdoor football league that would take place during the NFL off-season, and promoted as having fewer rules and encouraging rougher play than other major leagues. The league started with eight teams in two divisions, including major markets and those not directly served by the NFL, such as Birmingham, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Orlando. The XFL operated as a single entity (unlike most other professional sports leagues, which operate under the franchise model), with all teams centrally owned by the league.  Co-owner NBC served as the main broadcaster of XFL games, along with UPN and FOX.

1.       The XFL featured extensive television coverage, with three games televised each week on NBC, UPN, and TNN. To accommodate this, it placed four of its teams in the four largest U.S. media markets: New York City, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Greater Los Angeles. The remaining four teams were placed in markets that had previously hosted teams in second-tier and/or rival major leagues: Birmingham, Memphis, Las Vegas, and Orlando. All of the XFL's markets except Las Vegas had hosted teams in the United States Football League in the 1980s; Las Vegas, along with Birmingham and Memphis, had hosted short-lived CFL teams in the 1990s.

2.       The XFL chose unusual names for its teams to go against the politically correct movement happening in the country.

3.       Despite boasts of a "rules-light" game and universally negative reviews from the mainstream sports media early on, the XFL played a brand of 11-man outdoor football that was recognizable, aside from the opening game sprint to determine possession and some other changes, which included no punting, no PAT kicks, college overtime rules, increased bum and run coverage, allowed pre-snap forward motion for one receiver on offense, and a 30 second playclock.

4.       Despite Vince McMahon being the owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, the XFL had nothing in common with it.  There would be connection between the two.

5.       The XFL limited each team to an unusually low 38 players, as opposed to 53 on NFL teams.  This was similar to the CFL, which had a comparable 40-man roster limit in 2001. This resulted, most commonly, in each team only carrying two quarterbacks and one kicker.

6.       The XFL paid standardized player salaries. Quarterbacks earned US$5,000 per week, kickers earned $3,500, and all other uniformed players earned $4,500 per week.  Players on a winning team received a bonus of $2,500 for the week, $7,500 for winning a playoff game. The team that won the championship game split $1,000,000 (roughly $25,000 per player). Players did receive fringe benefits, including health insurance.

 

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The team's colors were scarlet, yellow, navy blue and white with jersey numbers in a unique jagged font. They played their home games at Orlando's Florida's Citrus Bowl which was configured so that the upper deck was closed off and all fans were seated in the lower bowl to give a better appearance for television (a move that was effective, as the Rage had one of the stronger fan bases in the league, with average attendance at over two-thirds of the lower bowl's capacity; the team sold out all 36,000 lower bowl seats for its home opener).  The team's General Manager was Tom Veit a former Major League Soccer Vice President and were coached by former Florida Gators head coach Galen Hall. They were in the XFL's Eastern Division with the New York Hitmen, Chicago Enforcers and Birmingham Bolts.

 

 

 

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The New York Hitmen were an American football team based in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Hitmen are members of the Eastern Division of the XFL. The team plays their home games in Giants Stadium of the Meadowlands Sports Complex.  The Hitmen's General Manager is former Dallas Cowboys WR Drew Pearson and the team is coached by former NFL assistant Rusty Tillman

 

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The Thunderbolts play their home games at Birmingham's legendary Legion Field. They are coached by Brooklyn-native Gerry DiNardo, a former star player at the University of Notre Dame, and previously head coach at Vanderbilt University and Louisiana State University.

The team's colors are purple, yellow, and white. Their logo was a stylized 'B' with six lightning bolts extending from it. The team are frequently referred to by fans and the media as simply the Bolts. Team merchandise almost always uses the shortened Bolts moniker.

Allegedly, the league had originally planned to name the team the Blast; the XFL had named all of its teams with references to insanity and criminal activity, and the name "Birmingham Blast" likewise invoked images of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church and of Eric Rudolph's 1998 bombing of a local abortion clinic, two tragic events in Birmingham history. As the league soon realized that such a name would have been in extremely poor taste, at the last minute the league changed it to "Thunderbolts," or "Bolts" for short. The team's logo is said to be the same one originally designed for the Blast. The Thunderbolts were unusual in that their nickname was benign.

 

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The team name references mob enforcers, alluding to Chicago's history of mafia influence and continuing a theme of naming teams with themes of evil, insanity, or criminal activity ("Enforcers" falling into the last of these categories). The Enforcers will be playing their home games at legendary Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Originally, rumors swirled that former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Buddy Ryan would be hired as the team's coach.  Ultimately, Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus was hired for the position. However, just before the season started, he resigned to take a position in the XFL office. He was replaced by Ron Meyer, a former NFL head coach from the 1980s who had not coached professional football since 1994 with the Las Vegas Posse.

Among their players aer former NFL running back LeShon Johnson, who had played for the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and the New York Giants. He was starting tailback for the Cardinals for most of 1996. They also have former NFL running back John Avery who played for the Miami Dolphins. Their wide receiver/kick returner Roell Preston (who previously played for the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, and Tennessee Titans) held the distinction of being the only former Pro Bowler (1998 as a Packer) to play in the XFL.

 

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These are all really good designs. The only thing I'm not really a fan of is the front striping on the Rage, especially on the red jerseys. It just doesn't work for me. On the white, it's fine, but the way the yellow clashes with the red makes it look not great. Other than that, well done so far!

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The team's name and logo were designed to lead the team's fans into calling the team "The Ax", a shortened form of the word "maniacs".

The Maniax Director of Player Personnel is Steve Ortmayer who had become respected in the pro football world for helping to build the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Raiders. Steve Ehrhart, who had managed both the Memphis Showboats and Memphis Mad Dogs, returned as general manager for the Maniax. The head coach is Kippy Brown.

The team would play their home games at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee.  The Maniax has offensive firepower in QB Jim Druckenmiller, WR Charles Jordan and RB Rashaan Salaam.

 

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The Las Vegas Outlaws will be playing their games at Sam Boyd stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Their Head Coach is Jim Criner and Defensive Coordinator is Mark Criner.

 

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The team played in Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco; despite having the smallest stadium in the league, they also had the highest average attendance (34,954).[2] The fans had a cheering section nicknamed "The Hellhole".

The team was coached by Jim Skipper, former running backs coach for the NY Giants.

The most notable Demons players are QBs Mike Pawlawski and Pat Barnes. Pawlawski and Barnes both played for the California Golden Bears. Pawlawski was signed by the Demons after playing Arena Football for the Albany Firebirds.  Barnes had been invited to training camp by the Oakland Raiders.

 

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The team played its home games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the spring of 2001. They were in the XFL's Western Division with the San Francisco Demons, the Memphis Maniax, and the Las Vegas Outlaws. The Xtreme will be coached by Al Luginbill.  Former Denver Bronco Tommy Maddox should have great success passing to WR Jermaine Copeland.

 

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So, these were all the teams in the XFL. Now the second season would be the 2002 Season.

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Just now, Gman13 said:

So, these were all the teams in the XFL. Now the second season would be the 2002 Season.

I will first post the results of the 2001 season which will be the same as what actually happened before moving to the 2002 season and so on. The only difference in this universe during the 2001 season will be an increase in attendance, tv ratings, profits and respect.

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1 minute ago, BengalErnst said:

I will first post the results of the 2001 season which will be the same as what actually happened before moving to the 2002 season and so on. The only difference in this universe during the 2001 season will be an increase in attendance, tv ratings, profits and respect.

Oh, so then the league would compete against the NFL, and become the new NFL. Oh, and by the way, did you know that there’s a planned revival for 2020 for the XFL?

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5 minutes ago, Gman13 said:

Oh, so then the league would compete against the NFL, and become the new NFL. Oh, and by the way, did you know that there’s a planned revival for 2020 for the XFL?

I doubt this XFL would ever get to the level where they can truly compete with the NFL but we will see. And I’m aware of the revival and I’m incredibly excited, I was a big fan of the original league obviously.

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3 minutes ago, BengalErnst said:

I doubt this XFL would ever get to the level where they can truly compete with the NFL but we will see. And I’m aware of the revival and I’m incredibly excited, I was a big fan of the original league obviously.

I understand, BengalErnst. And besides, did you also know that the XFL is a joint venture between the WWE and NBC?

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2001: On the Field

The XFL's opening game took place on February 3, 2001, one year after the league was announced, less than one week following the NFL's Super Bowl. The first game was between the New York/New Jersey Hitmen and the Las Vegas Outlaws at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The league's regular season structure was set up so that each team played teams in its own division twice in the season, home and away (the same as the National Football League) and played against teams in the other division once. The season ran ten weeks, with no bye weeks.

The league's western division was far more competitive than the east, with the four teams' records ranging from 7–3 (for eventual champion Los Angeles) to 4–6 (Las Vegas, who finished last after losing its last three games to end up one game out of a playoff spot). In the East, New York and Chicago both were hampered by slow starts and ineffective starters before making personnel changes that improved their play, while Orlando, under quarterback Jeff Brohm, soared to first place, winning its first six games before Brohm suffered a career-ending injury and the team regressed (the team went 2–2 in his absence). Birmingham started the season 2–1 before a rash of injuries (and tougher competition, as its two wins were against New York and Chicago) led to the team losing the last seven games. Injuries were a major problem across the league: only three of the league's eight Opening Day starting quarterbacks —Los Angeles's Tommy Maddox, San Francisco's Mike Pawlawski and Memphis's Jim Druckenmiller—were still starters by the end of the season. Birmingham and Las Vegas were both on their third-string quarterbacks by the end of the ten-week season.

The top two teams in each division qualified for the playoffs. To avoid teams having to play each other three times in a season, the league set up the semifinal round of the playoffs so that the games would feature teams from opposite divisions: the east division champion (Orlando) hosted the west division runner-up (San Francisco), and likewise for the west champion and east runner-up (Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively). Los Angeles and San Francisco each won their playoff games to advance to the XFL championship.

The Xtreme, led by regular-season Most Valuable Player Tommy Maddox won the Million Dollar Game 38–6. The game's MVP was Xtreme kicker Jose Cortez.

2001 standings

Regular season
Eastern Division
Team Won Lost
y-Orlando Rage 8 2
x-Chicago Enforcers 5 5
New York/New Jersey Hitmen 4 6
Birmingham Thunderbolts 2 8
Western Division
Team Won Lost
y-Los Angeles Xtreme 7 3
x-San Francisco Demons 5 5
Memphis Maniax 5 5
Las Vegas Outlaws 4 6
Playoffs
  Semifinals   Million Dollar Game
                 
  April 15 – Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles  
   W1  Los Angeles 33  
   E2  Chicago 16     April 21 – Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
     
       W1  Los Angeles 38
  April 14 – Citrus Bowl, Orlando    W2  San Francisco 6
     
   E1  Orlando 25
   W2  San Francisco 26  

Awards

 

Passing Leaders:

1. Tommy Maddox(LA): 2186 yards, 18 TDs, 2. Mike Pawlawski(SF): 1659 yards, 12 TDs, 3. Jim Druckenmiller(MEM): 1499 yards, 13 TDs, 4. Casey Weldon(BIRM): 1228 yards, 7 TDs, 5. Kevin McDougal(CHI): 1168 yards, 5 TDs

Rushing Leaders:

1. John Avery(CHI): 800 yards, 5 TDs, 2. Rod Smart(LV): 555 yards, 3 TDs, 3. James Bostic(BIRM): 536 yards, 2 TDs, 4. Rashaan Salaam(MEM): 528 yards, 5 TDs, 5. Derrick Clark(ORL): 395 yards, 7 TDs.

Receiving Leaders:

1. Stepfret Williams(BIRM): 828 yards, 2 TDs, 2. Charles Jordan(MEM): 823 yards, 4 TDs, 3. Jermaine Copeland(LA): 755 yards, 5 TDs, 4. Dialleo Burks(ORL): 659 yards, 7 TDs, 5. Aaron Bailey(CHI): 546 yards, 3 TDs.

 

2001-2002: Off the Field

The opening game ended with a 19–0 victory for the Outlaws, and was watched on NBC by an estimated 14 million viewers. During the telecast, NBC switched over to the game between the Orlando Rage and the Chicago Enforcers, which was a closer contest than the blowout taking place in Las Vegas. The opening night drew a 9.5 Nielsen rating.

The opening-week games actually delivered ratings double those of what NBC had promised advertisers (and more viewers than the 2001 Pro Bowl).

Alpha Entertainment and NBC each broke even on their initial $100 million investment which no one expected in their first year in business.  Paid attendance at games remained very respectable throughout the season, if not impressive (overall attendance was 30% above what the league's goal had been at the start of the season).  Despite initially agreeing to broadcast XFL games for two years and owning half of the league, NBC announced it would be investing another $100 Million towards the league for another two years of television rights.  Alpha Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon announced that the XFL would be looking for expansion teams, and cities such as Atlanta, San Antonio, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Portland, Detroit, Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Columbus were all being considered.

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The expansions seem good to debate about. Here are some projected names for those cities’ teams:

Atlanta Heartbreakers

San Antonio Buccaneers

Toronto Eskimos

Pittsburgh Speed

Portland Brigade

Detroit Beast

Miami Sea Lions

Boston Liberty

Philadelphia Colonials

New Orleans Storm

Columbus Stingers

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2001-2002: Off the Field Part 2

The league had identified 23 cities that they deemed possessed strong economic bases, passionate football tradition, and a high number of average TV viewing households as potential team locations. Target markets in the US included: Austin, Birmingham, Columbus, Hartford, Cleveland, Miami, Louisville, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Portland, Boston, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and San Jose; as well as international markets in London, Mexico City, Toronto, Berlin and Amsterdam.

On June 15, 2001, Mexico City was granted the first expansion team, called the Mexico City Aztecs.  Despite Vince McMahon initially announcing that the XFL would be a single-entity sports league, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced on November 14, 2001 that he was granted an XFL expansion team.  From this point forward, the XFL would be considered a hybrid league where some teams would be internally owned and ran to protect the league against collapse, and some teams would be owned by outside owners.  Also in November of 2001, Bernard Glieberman, former owner of the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL, was granted a team to be stationed in Ottawa. 

In December 2001, Atlanta businessman, Virgil Williams, purchased the Arena Football's Nashville Kats and immediately moved the team to Atlanta and joined the XFL.

After losing the league’s top three QBs, league MVP Tommy Maddox(Pittsburgh Steelers), Mike Pawlawski(retirement) and Jeff Brohm(injury), and due to such an influx of money, McMahon announced an alteration to the league's pay scale.  The new pay structure plan included a player salary cap range of $12–20 million per team with a staff salary cap of $3 million per team. The league hoped to be paying at least 5 players on each roster in excess of $1 million each per season.  This move would allow the XFL to sign away the CFL's and Arena Football League's best players while grabbing mid to lower-tier NFL free agents due to the contracts allowed to be up to three times the NFL's league minimum.  The league decided to focus on offensive players as these players would provide name value and legitimacy for the league and would fast track the development of local fan bases and a national TV audience.

The Mexico City Aztecs signed QB Michael Bishop, WRs Qadry and Raghib Ismail, while also talking RB Napoleon Kaufman out of retirement.  The Ottawa Renegades signed QB Henry Burris from the CFL, along with TE Marco Battaglia and RB Tim Biakabutuka.  The Orlando Rage signed All-Arena 1st Team QB Sherdrick Bonner along with WR R. Jay Soward and Yatil Green.  The Las Vegas Outlaws signed QB Cade McNown and WR Marcus Nash.  The Birmingham Bolts signed QB Ryan Leaf and RB Lawrence Phillips.  The Chicago Enforcers signed QB Charlie Batch and RB Joe Montgomery.  The Atlanta Havoc signed QB Jeff George, RB Byron Hanspard and WR Derrick Alexander.  The Memphis Maniax added WR Michael Westbrook while the New York Hitmen added QB Tee Martin and RB Ki-Jana Carter.  The Los Angeles Xtreme signed QBs Giovanni Carmazzi and Joe Germaine while the San Francisco Demons added QB Jonathan Quinn and RB Robert Edwards.

In a move that would greatly upset NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Dallas owner Jerry Jones decided to forgo sending developmental players to NFL Europe and instead sent his younger players to his XFL team.  QB Clint Stoerner, RB Michael Wiley and WR Ken-Yon Rambo along with 35 other Dallas Cowboys were sent to their XFL counterpart.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Mexico City Aztecs will play their home games in Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico.  Former Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Gunther Cunningham would also be named the team's first Head Coach.  The Aztecs also would not play in white jerseys, the team would instead use different helmets to signify home and away games.

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The franchise began play in 2002 as an expansion team.  The team was owned by Jerry Jones, who also owns the Dallas Cowboys. Jones' son-in-law Shy Anderson was the COO of the team, and oversaw the day-to-day operations of the franchise.

 

During a halftime interview at a Cowboys preseason game on August 12, 2001, Jerry Jones revealed to Babe Laufenberg that the XFL had granted him an expansion franchise to begin play in 2002.  On November 14, 2001, Dallas officially joined the XFL.  The team was originally going to be named the "Dallas Texans", following in the footsteps of Dallas’ former AFL franchise which existed from 1990–1993. However, that same year he sold the rights to the name "Texans" for a reported $10 million to the new NFL Houston franchise. After a contest in which fans voted via the team’s official website, the new Dallas team was eventually named the Desperados. Jones appointed Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano as head coach.

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