Lights… Camera… Action. Real Live Action!

(26 September 2000) — I was at an airport last year waiting for a connecting flight, and waiting out the time by spending it in the airport bar, and having a very expensive, but cold and refreshing beer. On the bar television was wrestling. No, not Olympic wrestling, but WWF wrestling.

A middle aged woman, sitting in the next table was watching the television with a dumbfounded look on her face. She turned to me and asked, “Is that real.” She had a thick British accent, and when I inquired sure enough she was not from North America. I took the opportunity to explain to her what she was watching.

Sure enough, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The “faked” wrestling matches, the behind the scenes bickering, the scantly clad women and the ridiculous storyline were all too much for her.

Flash forward one year. The same people who brought us WWF Wrestling will now be bringing us the XFL. Here we go again! Faked football games, ridiculous storylines and behind the scenes bickering. We’ll see all of this, won’t we?

This is a very confusing subject right now. If you believe the mainstream media the XFL will consist of the same type of action as in the WWF. Wrestlers will be quarterbacking the teams and the women of the WWF will be providing the cheerleading. Of course, this is yet another steaming load of manure served up by the media to the hungry masses. But where does the media get it’s ideas?

Partially from the league itself. For example, Vince McMahon has gone on record to state that the players would be encouraged to date the cheerleaders. The XFL has also promised us the same sort of scantly clad women that the WWF shows. This all sounds like great fun and games for the XFL’s target demographic: 18-25 year old men. But, it does not mean that there will not be honest to goodness football taking place on the field.

The XFL is very busy hiring real football players. There will be no need for a wrestler to play quarterback when the teams will have real players with professional and college experience. The league has also hired real coaches who have previous experience coaching real football clubs. Let’s get real. Men like Jim Criner (Las Vegas) and Gerry Dinardo (Birmingham) are not going to perform from a script. They will operate from a playbook.

Still, I fully expect some sort of WWF style hi-jinks to take place on the XFL telecasts. Why? Because this league will be totally different from what we have come to expect. There is no doubt that an average XFL broadcast will top anything the NFL has done. The players will be less talented than the NFL, but the fan’s experience will be greater.

The NFL is very busy right now miking their players and providing “extreme” camera angles for the home viewers. Shoot! They even hired Dennis Miller to do color commentary on Monday nights. Does anybody else think that lately the NFL sounds desperate?

To top it all off, even though the NFL is not sure of the exact nature of what the XFL will unveil on February 3rd, 2001, they are quickly retooling their broadcasts.

In case anybody from the NFL is reading this, here is a tip. Go to your boardroom and see if you can match this: The XFL will be about football. Real live football. The rest of the programming will be brought to you by the same guys who brought you the Undertaker and the Rock.

Should be easy to copy, right? The NFL already has real live football. But what about the entertainment value?

Of course, the NFL has Dennis Miller! He should be able to come up with something new and fresh.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

Sixty-Seven Days in San Jose

The XFL has announced it will move the “Demons” franchise to Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco.

(18 September 2000) — The day was Monday the 10th of July, 2000. The headline on XFLBoard.com had read: Do you know the way to San Jose? We’d like to think that this 1968 Burt Bacharach song title had something to say about the XFL decision to start-up a franchise in this progressive bay area city.

Almost ten weeks later the franchise was moved to San Jose’s “big brother” — San Francisco. To coin another song title, this time from Dean Martin, “Ain’t that a kick in the head”.

The reasons for the move are plentiful, according to the XFL. For starters, they never did come to a deal to play in Spartan Stadium. Secondly, the new stadium in San Francisco, Pacific Bell Park, is much better for the Demons franchise mostly because it will hold many more fans.

But hold on a minute! The XFL did not have a deal with Spartan Stadium? Didn’t the 10 Jul 2000 press release say that the San Jose Franchise would play in Spartan Stadium. We checked our records. The title of the press release is “XFL Confirms Team for San Jose: Spartan Stadium to Host Home Games.”

So the XFL made a mistake. Mistakes are allowed, right?

From our experience with XFL fans here on XFLBoard.com, there are a few cities which have rallied around their new XFL franchise: Birmingham, Memphis, Chicago and San Jose. San Jose fans have been a fixture on this site since the announcment on 10 July 2000. Since the new announcement last week we’ve barely heard a “peep” from anyone from San Francisco. What we are trying to say is this: San Francisco does not care about the Demons, but San Jose did. They definitely did.

In a news article printed in the Business Journal of San Jose on 11 Sep 2000, just two days before the San Jose move, Mike Preacher, the GM and President of the Demons franchise was quoted as saying that the Demons are installing video screens, cameras and sound equipment to bring the fans both at home and in San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium closer to the game. He also stated that the team’s office had received nearly 5,000 requests for season passes. We still wonder what he was doing, going on record like this only days before the franchise was pulled out of San Jose. Perhaps it was just a simple a matter of bad timing on the part of the media?

Does anybody else think that the majority of these season passes were sold to fans from San Jose?

The XFL’s spin on the move is that everybody will be better off with the team playing in Pac Bell Park. Fans should be happy about this. Also, playing in Pac Bell Park will give the XFL more of a big league image. This is obviously very important to the league bosses.

The only thing that Pac Bell Park has going for it is that it is a fantastic new facility and it is large. On the other hand, Spartan Stadium is a football stadium, built for fans of the greatest sport on earth. You know the type of stadium, two banks of seats parallel to the sidelines, and two end zone seating areas to enclose the playing field. Pac Bell Park is beautifully shaped like a ball diamond. Can it be made to be condusive to football? We’ll leave that to the XFL to figure out.

Accepting change is something that the XFL would like to have us do easily. After all it did not take long for the league to accept these new changes. On the league’s official web site at xfl.com, the name San Jose was replaced by San Francisco in all areas. Also, the name Spartan Stadium was just as easily replaced by Pacific Bell Park. Essentially the San Jose Demons never existed – wiped from the face of football with one click of a mouse.

In the XFL press release, Mike Preacher went on record to say “We always have considered ourselves a team for the entire Bay Area. San Jose is an important market for the Demons as it should be for all Bay Area teams. We will promote our product to the residents of the South Bay with no less fervor than we would have had we been playing at Spartan Stadium. The people and city of San Jose have been first-class all the way. We know they will continue to support the Demons.”

This is all nice sugar coating for the XFL fans of San Jose. But, make no mistake about it, the name of this team is now the San Francisco Demons. The words San Jose Demons, the name that many fans came to love, shall never be uttered again.

On the counterpoint, the XFL is all about progress. One of the major tenets of this league is to move into the new century with some new-style football fun. We should be trusting their plan to move into a baseball park. Like we have said before: “In Vince We Trust”. This remains true. Most fans of this league are dedicated to trusting the league’s founder simply based on his track record.

It’s just that to San Jose, the XFL is acting like a long lost cousin who came to visit for 67 days. They didn’t even say goodbye before they left.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

It’s All Math

(11 September 2000) — When the XFL was first announced, one of the comments was “Who will play in such a league?” It seems that the real question should have been “What will the XFL do with all the potential players they turn away?”

The XFL is getting a lot of attention lately from players of all sorts. More players than expected are asking the question, “How do I sign up to play in the XFL?” But, for most of these potential smashmouth footballers there will never be a job, just a math lesson.

In the CFL, many players are using the “XFL trump card” as a contract bargaining chip. In the Arena League, 410 players were reportedly sent contracts (letters of intent?) by the XFL. It is also reported that the XFL is currently negotiating with players such as Jim Druckenmiller, Dave Krieg, Rashaan Salaam, Jeff Hostetler and Bobby Hebert.

The XFL also had 10,000 players sign up at their official web site. How many of these will end up on an XFL roster? The answer is very few. Of the 10,000 that signed up some were known players with quantative experience. Most of these players were sent letters of intent. Of the remainder, only 1,000 were assigned to go to a combine.

In the first combine, held on 9 Sep 00 in Dallas, it is about 250 players showed up, but most were never given two looks. In the end, as it was reported by a player who was there, only nineteen players were singled out to receive letters of intent from the league. (The press reports that 50 were given contracts.) These guys were the cream of the crop.

Once all the combines are complete, only 10-15% of the attendees will be issued letters of intent. The others are all turned away at the door, and they will be out $110.00, the player’s cost to attend the combine, plus travelling expenses.

This should not come as a surprise to anybody. The XFL has a lot of players knocking on the door, and only a limited time to put together eight teams. The combines are designed to see what talent is available, and that nobody is overlooked.

When all is said and done, the XFL will most likely have issued a letter of intent for 600-700 players. These players will go into a pool for the XFL draft. Once drafted, approximately 350 players will gain a position on XFL rosters.

It’s anybody’s guess, but anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 potentially excellent football players will be turned away from the entire selection process. The good news for them is that there is going to be approximately 350 more professional football player jobs in the world come this February. Players who go to the XFL from the CFL, Arena League and NFL Europe will leave openings for the unsigned football playing masses.

Salaries: Another Math Lesson

Why is there so much interest in this league? Mostly because the XFL salary scale is unique, and may prove to be beneficial to many players, especially the ones who play on winning teams.

The league has hinted that they will be paying a base salary of $45,000 for each player per season. Quarterbacks will receive a little more, $55,000, and kickers will get $35,000. There is also an incentive plan, with players on teams that win getting more cash.

Of course it is the incentives that make this league worthwhile. After each winning game, winning team will split $100,000. The team that wins the championship will split an additional bonus of $1,000,000. On a 38 man roster, these incentives can add up in a hurry.

For example, a regular player who plays on a winning team, with an 7-3 record for example, and that goes on to win the championship will actually make $92,638. The potential is there for a player to more than double his base salary.

On the other hand, a player on a losing team, with a 3-7 record for example, and that misses the playoffs, would make only $52,895.

Not too bad for three months work.

Reported
Base Salaries
Player
$45,000
Quarterback
$55,000
Kicker
$35,000
Regular
Season Performance Bonus
Winning teams will split a $100,000 bonus for each game won. Reportedly this bonus pool would be split evenly across 38 players on the roster.
Team
Record
Approx.
Yearly Bonus per player
10-0
$26,320
9-1
$23,684
8-2
$21,053
7-3
$18,421
6-4
$15,789
5-5
$13,158
4-6
$10,526
3-7
$7895
2-8
$5263
1-9
$2632
0-10
$0
 
Playoff
Performance Bonus
Playoff wins will net more bonuses for players. The Championship team will split a whopping $1,000,000. Playoff calculations are based on 4 teams making it into the post-season.
Playoff
Record
Total
Approx. Playoff Bonus Per Player
Semi-Final
Win Only
$2632
Championship
Team
$28,947

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor

Forget About the CFL

(7 September 2000) –– What a bunch of confusing talk lately! All this talk of sharing players and mergers with the CFL. Where is all this coming from?

Answer: The media.

Media sources have been rife lately with stories about the CFL merging with the XFL, the CFL sharing players with the XFL and the XFL creating franchises in Canada.

None of this seems to have any truth. The scary thing is that most of these stories have been created by the Canadian media itself.

The story first broke that the XFL would share players with the CFL. The truth is that the CFL President and COO, Jeff Giles, who recently handed in his resignation, commented that the two leagues may decide to share players in the future. The problem is that the media took this one step further. When the story made it to print, it was reported that the CFL had proposed to share players with the XFL. You got all that out of one comment, right?

One good story twist deserves another! The next thing you know the story is all about a merger between the two leagues. Then one eager reporter creates his own scoop by saying that the recently cancelled Ottawa franchise would be replaced by one purchased from the XFL. This is also far from the truth, the main reason being that the XFL does not sell franchises.

The truth is that the CFL is concerned about the XFL. They should be. The XFL is probably going to walk away with some of the Canadian league’s finer players. But in the long run the CFL will survive. It has survived the rise of the USFL, the Arena League and NFL Europe (World League), and it will survive this also. The future of three-down football is as long and wide as the CFL field itself.

So forget about the CFL – it will survive. Let’s focus on something new and different – the XFL.

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor