XFL Signs Three More Quarterbacks

Stamford, Conn., November 22, 2019 – Today the XFL announced additional quarterback assignments for three of the league’s eight teams:

• LOS ANGELES WILDCATS: Josh Johnson
• ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS: Taylor Heinicke
• SEATTLE DRAGONS: Chase Litton

“Our coaches and scouts are continuing to identify the very best talent available to the XFL and our teams, which elevates the level of competition,” said XFL Commissioner and CEO, Oliver Luck. “We are excited to welcome these three talented quarterbacks to our league and look forward to mini-camp when our teams get on the field and competition begins.”

PLAYER BIOS:

Josh Johnson, LOS ANGELES WILDCATS:
A veteran QB with 11 years of NFL experience, Johnson has played in 33 games with eight starts and compiled a 55% completion percentage with 1,632 yards and 8 TDs. The Oakland, CA native spent 2019 with the Detroit Lions and 2018 with the Washington Redskins, where he threw for 590 yards and three touchdowns in three starts. An All-American and Walter Payton Award Finalist at the University of San Diego, Johnson was drafted in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

Taylor Heinicke, ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS:
Heinicke played four years at QB for Old Dominion University (2011-2014), and finished his career ranked third all-time in FBS history in total offense, fourth in FBS with 132 touchdown passes and sixth in passing yards. In 2012, he earned the Walter Payton Award (FCS) and was First-Team All-America. Undrafted in 2015, Heinicke spent time with the Minnesota Vikings (2015-2017), New England Patriots (2017), Houston Texans (2017) and the Carolina Panthers (2018-2019).

Chase Litton, SEATTLE DRAGONS:
Litton finished his college career at Marshall University ranked fifth in school history in career passing yards (8,332), fourth in career passing touchdowns (72), and completions (727). The Florida native is the second QB at Marshall to complete 60% of passes in three consecutive seasons. After his final season (2017) where he set single-season highs in completions (266), passing yards (3,115), and passing touchdowns (25), Litton declared for the NFL Draft and was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. He spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs (practice squad) in 2018 and the Jacksonville Jaguars (practice squad) in 2019.

XFL Rounds up all Eight Teams for Training Camp in Houston

Stamford, Conn., Nov. 19, 2019 – Today, at a news conference led by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Janis Burke, CEO of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority, XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck announced that Houston will host the league’s centralized preseason training camp for all eight of its teams.

XFL teams will practice and continue to get ready for the 2020 season at locations across Harris County from January 4-22. Nearly 1,000 players, coaches, staff, game officials and production teams from FOX Sports and ESPN, will descend on the city for nearly three weeks of training and operations.

The XFL has committed to more than 10,000 room nights for players and staff who plan to consume more than 60,000 meals during their time in Houston. According to the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority, the XFL training camps are expected to generate in excess of $7,000,000 of revenue for Harris County.

“Houston is a sports town,” said Houston Mayor Turner. “We have great fans and we support our teams. The XFL made the right call when it chose the city as the home of the Roughnecks, and now, I am even more excited that all eight XFL teams and nearly 1,000 representatives will come to the Houston area for their training camps in January 2020. I’m confident this will generate a great deal of fan excitement and interest in the new football league.”

“We’ve been involved since the initial proposal to the XFL and for me and my team to see it through and get to this point is incredible,’’ Burke said. “We’re thrilled to have all eight teams starting off here in Houston and equally as thrilled that the fans will get to share in the launch of this new league. They’re bringing a new exciting brand of football to a city that loves the game, and we’re proud that we were able to play a part in it.’’

Starting January 4, XFL teams will practice at the following facilities:

“Everyone at the XFL is grateful to each of the area college and high school athletic directors who have helped make this a reality,” said Commissioner Luck. “We are excited to welcome our teams to Houston and benefit from these world-class facilities as we prepare for kick-off on February 8, 2020.”

XFL Launches Football Advisory Network

XFL Football Advisory Network

Stamford, Conn., Nov. 18, 2019 – Today the XFL officially kicks off the Football Advisory Network (F.A.N.) — a digital community that gives football fans who love the sport an interactive platform to share their feedback and have their opinions heard on all aspects of America’s #1 game and the new league.

Through participation in surveys, polls, and discussions on a variety of on-and off-the-field topics, members of the F.A.N. community will help the XFL design its fan experience and shape its game. Football fans can visit xfl.com/football-advisory-network to enroll, join the conversations and learn more.

“We love the game of football and we want what our fans want,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and COO. “The XFL is a league that listens, and the Football Advisory Network is an important platform that enables our direct connection to fans who share our love of football. This national panel will help us listen and learn from football fans in each of our eight markets and across the country.”

In addition to participating in discussions and sharing opinions, members of the F.A.N. community will have exclusive access to special content, giveaways, events and more.

Over the past four weeks, founding XFL Season Ticket Members have already started to participate in the F.A.N. and identify key areas of the game they want the league to focus on, including ticket affordability, seat value, and on-field game day experiences. In one poll question asking “If you were named commissioner of a professional football league tomorrow, would you change anything about the game or fan experience,” 90 percent of respondents said yes and, specifically, 54 percent of fans said they would make changes to the rules of the game and the in-stadium experience.

XFL Keeps Score with Champion Data

Stamford, Conn., November 15, 2019 – The XFL today named Champion Data its official statistics partner. Champion Data will develop, build, and maintain proprietary technology for the XFL to deliver a comprehensive data solution.

The partnership will provide the league with in-depth statistical collection and reporting, advanced research and analysis, and editorial services. Champion Data employees will work closely with the XFL’s headquarters in Connecticut and also train in-venue staff to capture data at every game.

“Champion Data is a proven innovator in sports stats and analytics and we are excited to be building an end-to-end, low-latency stats platform and API in partnership with the team,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and COO. “Our solution is designed to bring the most comprehensive game-day statistics to our fans and our partners, in real-time, across every platform that matters.”

“Champion Data is thrilled to partner with the XFL to help evolve the game of football and re-think how statistics are captured, analyzed and presented,” said Chris Hume, Champion Data Director. “At Champion Data we understand the power of statistics – the story behind the game – and we look forward to supporting all XFL stakeholders from the league through to the teams, broadcast partners, sponsors and, most importantly, the fans.”

Beyond the day-to-day relationship, the XFL and Champion Data will explore new business opportunities together and across sports data and technology.

Over the past 20 years, Champion Data has grown to become Australia’s leading provider of official live sports data and related services, including data visualization, advanced data analytics, coaching products, and athlete tracking. Champion Data is the official statistics provider to the Australian Football League (AFL), Australia’s leading professional football code featuring 18 professional teams. For more information, visit www.championdata.com.

To learn more and receive updates on XFL stats API, visit www.xfl.com/api.

Mark Your Calendars: XFL Reveals 2020 Schedule

Stamford, Conn., Oct. 22, 2019 – The XFL today announced its 2020 schedule, a 79-day sprint from kick-off to the championship game.

The 10-week regular season starts Saturday, February 8 at 2:00 PM ET, with the DC Defenders hosting the Seattle Dragons on ABC, followed by the Los Angeles Wildcats traveling to Houston for a game against the Roughnecks at 5:00 PM ET on FOX.

The XFL’s first weekend continues on Sunday, February 9, when the New York Guardians host the Tampa Bay Vipers at 2:00 PM ET on FOX and concludes later that day as the Dallas Renegades host the St. Louis BattleHawks at 5:00 PM ET on ESPN.

Additional regular-season highlights include home openers for Seattle on February 15, Los Angeles on February 16, Tampa Bay on February 22, and St. Louis on February 23. The country’s two biggest markets — New York and Los Angeles — meet only one time on February 29, when the Wildcats take on the Guardians at MetLife Stadium. The first of two Texas intrastate match-ups between the Roughnecks and Renegades follows on March 1 in Dallas.

XFL tickets will be available for general public purchase via Ticketmaster on October 24 at 10:00 AM local time in each XFL city. Fans can visit XFL.com/tickets to learn more about tickets for all XFL teams, see prices and benefits, and sign up for special information and content.

The eight-team league is divided into two four-team divisions, East and West. The XFL East features the DC Defenders, New York Guardians, St. Louis BattleHawks, and Tampa Bay Vipers. The Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, and Seattle Dragons comprise the XFL West.

Each XFL team will host five home games and will play a schedule that features a home-and-home series against division rivals and one game against each team in the other division.

Every XFL game will air live on national television, including 25 games broadcast on ABC and FOX. In the regular season, four games are scheduled each week, typically with two back-to-back games on both Saturdays and Sundays. The XFL schedule also features two primetime Thursday night games in the final weeks of the regular season.

Following the regular season, the top two teams in each division will square off for the right to play for the league championship on Sunday, April 26 at 3:00 PM ET on ESPN. The East Final is scheduled for Saturday, April 18 (FOX, 3:00 PM ET), and the West Final will be held Sunday, April 19 (ESPN, 3:00 PM ET). The first-place team in each division will host its respective division final.

XFL Announces Initial Quarterback Assignments

Initial quarterback assignments for each of the XFL’s eight teams were announced Tuesday morning:

● DALLAS RENEGADES: Landry Jones 

● DC DEFENDERS: Cardale Jones 

● HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS: Philip Walker 

● LOS ANGELES WILDCATS: Luis Perez 

● NEW YORK GUARDIANS: Matt McGloin 

● ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS: Jordan Ta’amu 

● SEATTLE DRAGONS: Brandon Silvers 

● TAMPA BAY VIPERS: Aaron Murray 

“Our head coaches are excited about this first wave of quarterback assignments and the talent level in our draft pool,” said Oliver Luck, XFL Commissioner and CEO. “We will continue to identify and sign the best players available, and we are confident this is a strong start to the next two days.”

PLAYER BIOS

Landry Jones, Dallas Renegades
Jones spent six seasons in the National Football League with the Pittsburgh Steelers and stints with the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Artesia, NM native attended the University of Oklahoma (2009-12), where he set Big 12 Conference records in passing yards (16,646), completions (1,388) and touchdown passes (123). As a senior, Jones earned All-Big 12 second-team honors. In 2010, he won the Sammy Baugh Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate passer.

Cardale Jones, DC Defenders
In 2014, after winning the Big Ten Championship Game MVP award, Jones led Ohio State to a national championship, despite starting that season as the third-string quarterback. The Cleveland native tallied 2,313 career passing yards with 19 total touchdowns in 23 games (11 starts). Drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2016, Jones spent three years with Los Angeles Chargers’ practice squad. In 2019, he was signed to the Seahawks practice squad.

Phillip Walker, Houston Roughnecks
A four-year letter winner at Temple University (2013-2016), Walker is the Owls’ all-time leader in pass attempts (1,410), completions (803), passing yards (10,273), TD passes (72), and total offense (11,100). In 2015 and 2016, the New Jersey native led TU to two of their three 10-win seasons and their first ever back-to-back bowl appearances in school history, along with their first conference title in 49 years (2016). Walker spent three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2017-19 practice squad).

Luis Perez, LA Wildcats
In 28 career games (25-3) at Texas A&M – Commerce, Perez finished as the all-time leader in completions (665), passing yards (8,325) and passing TDs (78). In 2017, the Chula Vista, CA native led the Lions to the NCAA Division II Championship, while winning the Harlon Hill Division II Player of the Year award. That year, Perez set the single-season program records for pass attempts (596), pass completions (421), pass yards (4,999), passing touchdowns (46) and completion percentage (70.6). His professional career includes time with the Los Angeles Rams (2018 practice squad) San Antonio Commanders and Birmingham Iron of the AAF (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019 practice squad) and Detroit Lions (2019 practice squad).

Matt McGloin, New York Guardians
After an All-State high school career at West Scranton HS, in 2012 McGloin became the first walk-on QB to start at Penn State since 1949. He broke numerous records during his senior season including career touchdown passes (46), single-season passing yards (3,276) and single-season completions (270). He also earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors and won the Burlsworth Trophy. His NFL experience includes stints with the Oakland Raiders (2013-2016), Philadelphia Eagles (2017 practice squad), Houston Texans (2017) and Kansas City Chiefs (2018 practice squad).

Jordan Ta’amu, St. Louis BattleHawks
Jordan Ta’amu played two seasons at the University of Mississippi (2017-2018). As a junior in 2017, he played in eight games (started final 5 games) and tallied 1,682 passing yards with 11 touchdowns. In his senior campaign, the Hawaii native broke the Ole Miss single-season record for 400-yard passing games (4) and led the SEC in both passing yards per game and total offense. He finished 6th all-time in school history with 5,600 career passing yards and 9th in passing touchdowns. A former 2019 NFL Combine invitee, Ta’amu was signed and released by the Houston Texans in August 2019.

Brandon Silvers, Seattle Dragons
During his four years as a starter at Troy University, Silvers passed for 10,677 yards (second in school history) with a 64.4% completion rating and compiled 71 touchdowns with a passer rating of 135.8. As an All-Conference QB during his senior year, he led the Trojans to their best record in school history (11-2, 7-1 Sun Belt). After spending time with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, he started three games for the AAF’s Memphis Express last year (777 yards, 4 TDs) and signed with the New York Jets prior to training camp in 2019.

Aaron Murray, Tampa Bay Vipers
A high school All-American from Tampa, FL, Murray is the SEC’s all-time leader in completions (921), passing yards (13,166) and passing touchdowns (121). A four-year starter at the Univ. of Georgia, Murray also holds the top two passing touchdown records (36 in 2012, 35 in 2011) in school history, and won the MVP of the Florida Citrus/Capital One Bowl in 2013. Murray spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs (2014-2016), Arizona Cardinals (2016 practice squad), Philadelphia Eagles (2016 practice squad) and Los Angeles Rams (2017 practice squad). In 2019, Murray signed with the Atlanta Legends (AAF).

XFL wires up David Michael as Chief Technology Officer

David Michael, Chief Technology Officer, XFL

Stamford, Conn., Oct. 7, 2019 – The XFL today announced that David Michael has been named the league’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Most recently he was Chief Information Officer (CIO) for The Madison Square Garden Company and, before that, CIO for GroupM North America.

Michael will be responsible for developing and overseeing all enterprise, digital product and football technology strategies and initiatives for the league and its eight teams.

“The role of Chief Technology Officer at the XFL is mission-critical and David is a proven leader and innovator,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and COO. “We’re moving quickly to our kick-off in February 2020 and his arrival is perfectly timed.”

“I’m excited to join the XFL and looking forward to bringing new digital technology innovations to the game and fan experience,” added Michael, who will report to Pollack. “Vince McMahon, Jeffrey Pollack and Oliver Luck are building a world-class organization and it’s a privilege to be part of the team.”

As The Madison Square Garden Company’s CIO, Michael spearheaded a major customer-facing digital transformation program, in addition to overseeing enterprise-wide technology infrastructure, support and business applications. Prior to MSG, Michael successfully delivered major technology initiatives as CIO at GroupM North America, UBM Tech and PR Newswire.

Michael earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in computer science from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Press Release: XFL GETS SOCIAL WITH PLAYER DRAFT

Stamford, Conn., October 7, 2019 – The XFL player draft will take place Tuesday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 16. Player selections will be announced on XFL.com, @xfl2020 on Twitter, @xfl on Instagram, and through the social media channels of the eight XFL teams.

Over the two-day draft, each XFL team will populate a 71-man roster by selecting players from a set of positional groupings. One quarterback will be assigned to each team prior to a five-phased draft, phased as follows:

  1. Skill Players (QB, RB, WR, TE)
  2. Offensive Line (OT, OG, OC)
  3. Defensive Front Seven (DL, LB)
  4. Defensive Backfield (CB, NB, SS, FS)
  5. Open Draft (all remaining players after positional drafts, in addition to P/K/LS)

The draft pool will include approximately 1,000 professional football players, all of whom accepted a Commissioner’s Invitation and passed a standard background check. In Phases 1-4, each team will choose ten players for a total of 40 players. In Phase 5, each team will choose from the pool of remaining players to complete its initial roster.

Using a “snake” format, the selection order within each phase reverses after every round: the team selecting first in the first round will pick eighth in the second round, first in the third round, eighth in the fourth round and so on. The order of selection was determined by lottery under the supervision of Commissioner Oliver Luck.

The grid below summarizes the pick order for each of the five draft phases:

Pick Order Skill Phase OL Phase D7 Phase DB Phase Open Phase
1 DC LA TB DAL STL
2 HOU SEA STL NY NY
3 NY STL SEA HOU SEA
4 DAL TB LA DC LA
5 TB DAL DC LA TB
6 STL NYC HOU SEA HOU
7 SEA HOU NY STL DC
8 LA DC DAL TB DAL

The coaches and scouts for each XFL team will gather in their local markets to draft their initial rosters. Teams will be given 90 seconds to make a selection and declare their picks through a video conference with the XFL home office in Stamford, Connecticut.

Today, the XFL will begin to reveal, through XFL.com and the league’s social channels, the players entering the draft, with additional groups to be announced regularly leading up to the draft. The entire draft pool will be revealed by October 11.

XFL team Twitter and Instagram handles are the same for both platforms and as follows:

Dallas Renegades @xflrenegades

DC Defenders @xfldefenders

Houston Roughnecks @xflroughnecks

Los Angeles @xflwildcats

New York Guardians @xflguardians

Seattle Dragons @xfldragons

St. Louis BattleHawks @xflbattlehawks

Tampa Bay Vipers @xflvipers

XFL names Mali Friedman Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs

Mali Friedman
Mali Friedman

Stamford, Conn., Sept. 9, 2019 – The XFL today announced that Mali Friedman has been named the league’s Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs.  Most recently she was Assistant General Counsel of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and, before that, Senior Counsel at the National Hockey League.

“Mali is a star and we’re thrilled she’s on our team,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and Chief Operating Officer. “Her judgment, savvy and experience inside two world-class sports organizations make her the perfect leader for our legal department.”

“This is an exciting opportunity and I’m grateful to Vince McMahon and Jeffrey Pollack,” said Friedman, who will report to Pollack. “Like most people throughout the sports industry, I’ve been watching the XFL’s development and have been impressed by the vision and early execution. Our February launch is coming fast and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves, getting to work, and helping build the league and its teams.”

As Warriors Assistant General Counsel since 2017, Friedman managed a wide range of legal matters and business affairs — helping the organization transform from a basketball team to a diversified sports and entertainment company; negotiating multi-million-dollar corporate sponsorship agreements; supervising the leasing process for retail spaces at the new Chase Center; and providing day-to-day counsel to the team’s marketing, digital, technology, and game operations business units, and the Warriors Community Foundation

Friedman was Senior Counsel at the NHL from 2014 to 2017, where she focused on media partnerships, international business, and technology initiatives.

Friedman was an associate at Covington & Burling LLP. She earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2006, and an A.B. from Princeton University in 2002, graduating summa cum laude with a concentration in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and played on the tennis team.  Friedman serves on the U.S. Board of Directors for Right to Play, an international organization dedicated to protecting, educating, and empowering children to rise above adversity using the power of sport and play.

Commissioner’s Invitations Start XFL Player Recruitment Process

Stamford, Conn., August 7, 2019 – XFL Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck this week will start to invite an exclusive list of top free-agent players to be part of the league’s first draft pool.

“Extending invitations to our draft process marks the next step on an extraordinary football journey,” said Luck. “Many of the outstanding athletes who receive a Commissioner’s Invitation will be among the first to take the field in our new league, proudly representing their fans and their communities. I am delighted to offer them this exciting opportunity.”

The XFL will conduct its first player draft in October and include current and former professional football players. Each of the league’s eight teams will draft 70 players.

Players who accept a Commissioner’s Invitation must complete and sign a HIPAA release form and consent to and clear a background check. Only those players meeting these two basic requirements will be considered fully draft-eligible. If drafted, a player must then successfully pass a medical examination and drug test, and subsequently execute an XFL standard player contract.