NFL football is the most popular sport in America to watch and bet on – by far. But once the Super Bowl is over, the long wait for NFL games that matter begins again.
Unfortunately, that long wait may return yet again.
The XFL made its return in 2020 with long-awaited dreams of a sustainable spring football league. You might remember the first incarnation of the XFL in 2001. That league only lasted a year before closing up shop. Last year the Alliance of American Football (AAF) didn’t even make it through its first full season of spring football before ceasing operations.
But now, it appears the XFL has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic. The league’s parent company, Alpha Entertainment has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy putting a 2021 return in jeopardy. Assets and liabilities range from $10 million to $50 million with seven of the leagues eight coaches among the top creditors.
While the demise of the AAF does not bode well for the long-term viability of a new football league, the XFL pledged to be different this time around. Innovative rule changes, a faster-paced game, and major broadcast deals were among the exciting developments. As a bonus, the full schedule of XFL games and playoffs were available for betting in certain states.
The league stopped playing games due to the pandemic halfway through its first season.
The XFL is a professional football league that will resume play in 2020 after debuting- and ceasing operations- in 2001. The XFL aims to fill a lull on the sports calendar from late winter through early spring and appeal to fans of NFL and college football.
The XFL promises some exciting innovations for viewers, including rule changes and a faster-paced game that stays true to the roots of traditional football. There are:
The inaugural XFL Draft has already been held. Several big-name coaches are at the helm of the league’s teams. Major broadcast partners are lined up, and the league has great backing and solid leadership.
All that said, spring football has been attempted before. Just last year, the AAF kicked off for the first time and the league wound up shuttering operations midway through the year. This year is the XFL’s second incarnation; the initial launch was deemed a failure after one season.
Optimism is high that it’ll be different this time around, but we’ll naturally have to wait and see. If the league can put forth teams that are worth watching, competitive games and compelling storylines, then there’s a good chance they’ll attract attention.
The XFL will begin to play with eight teams sprinkled geographically across the US. Here are the eight franchises and where they will be playing home games this season:
Fans of the NY Guardians are fortunate that New Jersey is a sports betting-friendly state. Several top NJ sportsbooks operate in NJ including those who made our list of recommendations. As for those located in the other XFL states, road trips to neighboring states with legalized sports betting is entirely acceptable.
You can sign up and manage your account from any state; however, you need to travel to a legalized state to place your bets. You can then return home and even collect your winnings, but you’ll have to head back when it’s time to place more bets.
Here are the current XFL futures as posted on DraftKings after the weekend of Mar. 6, 2020:
Always check your preferred sportsbook for the current odds.
Here’s a snapshot of the Week 6 XFL odds on DraftKings as of March 10:
These are bets you can place after the action has already gotten underway. Markets and odds move quickly, but live betting continues to grow in popularity.
Live XFL betting markets are still likely to be different from app to app, but you’ll be able to see them in the lobby once the game begins. You can likely expect to bet on quarters/halves and outcomes with changing odds as the game progresses.
In-game props, such as the number of yards gained, next touchdown scored and more, will likely be available.
Another intriguing aspect of the XFL is its willingness to incorporate real-time betting into its broadcasts. The XFL announced that the “score bug” on ABC/ESPN broadcasts will not just feature the score and game clock, but also current point spread and over/under lines.
The lines will be provided by Caesars sportsbook but will likely be comparable to what you see on other operators including DraftKings and FanDuel. Announcers will also be given free rein to discuss the betting odds on the broadcast.
Just before the 2020 season kickoff the league announced it had signed a partnership deal with both DraftKings and FanDuel to be official Daily Fantasy Sports partners for the XFL.
What does that mean for you? You’ll be able to draft daily fantasy lineups and play XFL specific contests on DraftKings and FanDuel all season, starting on Feb. 8.
Over the 10-game (plus playoffs) season you can expect to wide a variety of XFL DFS contests from 50/50s and head-to-heads to weekly Guaranteed Prize Pools.
As both DFS powerhouses do with the NFL, you can likely expect big-guarantee GPPs to wrap the season up on Championship weekend. Claim your free bonuses and play XFL DFS all season long via the links below:
The XFL season gets underway on Saturday, Feb. 8. There will be four games on opening weekend: Two on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Saturday, Feb. 8
Sunday, Feb. 9
Saturday, Feb. 15
Sunday, Feb. 16
Saturday, Feb. 22
Sunday, Feb. 23
Saturday, Feb. 29
Sunday, March 1
Saturday, March 7
Sunday, March 8
Over the remaining weeks of the regular season the XFL schedule follows the same pattern: Two games on Saturday and two on Sunday with all games in separate broadcast windows.
For Weeks 9 and 10, there will be a Thursday night primetime game that will be broadcast by Fox. For those two weeks, there will be just a single game on Saturday and a pair on Sunday.
Playoffs get underway on Saturday, April 18, with a matchup set to broadcast on Fox. The following day, a playoff game will be on ESPN. The winners of those two contests will meet in the XFL Championship game at 3 p.m. EST, Sunday, April 26, on ESPN.
The XFL promises a game that stays true to the foundations of football. However, the league is also looking to be an innovator while attempting to create a fan-friendly product.
Here are some of the differences you can expect to see in the XFL in comparison to the NFL:
As opposed to just lining up for a kick after touchdowns, teams can go for additional points depending on the length of play.
If the defense recovers the ball and returns it for a score, they get the same amount of points as was being attempted.
Teams can attempt two forward passes on the same play as long as the initial pass doesn’t go past the line of scrimmage.
When overtime is needed, teams will go through five rounds of 2-point conversions. If no winner is decided, they’ll then move on to additional rounds.
To speed up play, offenses and defenses from both sides will be on the field in the appropriate end zone. Defenses can’t score in the shootout, as a turnover just results in a dead play.
Outside of the two-minute warning, the game clock will run throughout the game. The clock only stops during the change of possession, except in the last two minutes of the half or game, when it will stop after each play. There will also be a 25-second game clock and only two timeouts per half per team. For an instant replay, a ruling must be handed down within 60 seconds.
Officials will be mainly on the lookout for fouls that jeopardize player safety. Procedural violations can still be called, but the emphasis is on not slowing the game down due to minor infractions.
So, this is a sampling of the changes the XFL intends to implement. It’s all geared toward keeping the action on the field moving while limiting downtime.
In line with keeping the game moving, halftime will only be a 10-minute break.
Alpha Entertainment owns the XFL, a company owned by Vince McMahon. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because McMahon owns the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), the most successful brand in professional wrestling.
McMahon was the owner of the original XFL as well. It debuted with plenty of fanfare alongside its broadcast partner NBC. After the initial hype and curiosity factor wore off, that league fizzled and ceased operations.
There have been plenty of rumblings through the years that McMahon wanted to take another crack at professional football. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the second incarnation of the XFL is here.
However, this is far from a vanity project. McMahon is going all-in here, and he has the track record to back it up. Many moons ago, he dreamed of taking his regional wrestling promotion national.
Today, WWE is a global powerhouse and a publicly traded entity.
Jeffery Pollack, the former commissioner of the World Series of Poker, has been brought on board as president and chief operating officer of the XFL.
Oliver Luck, former NFL quarterback and athletic director at West Virginia University, serves as the league’s commissioner.
XFL player contracts are also unique in that players will receive a portion of their salary guaranteed, and the winning side for each week’s games will receive a victory bonus. The average XFL player salary will be about $55,000 for a 10-game season but some of the more high-profile players could earn up to $500k.
While the original XFL didn’t last long, playing in the league proved to be a good thing for several players. Here are some of those who would go on to play in the NFL:
For the current crop of XFL players, there are a number of players with NFL-caliber talent who could open up some eyes with a strong showing in the spring. Here are some of the top names to watch:
That’s just a handful of players in the new league. As with the original edition of the XFL, we could see some new stars made overnight.
The XFL Draft was held Oct. 15-16, 2019. The draft was conducted via conference call with picks released by the league on social media. The league tried out an interesting concept for its inaugural draft in a bid to even out the player pool.
The XFL Draft was conducted in five phases, with the first four devoted to specific position groupings:
Also, there was a Tier 1 allocation of quarterbacks. Here’s how that shook out:
For each of the other phases, the initial order was selected by lottery. Then the order rotated after each round in snake-like fashion. Here’s who was the top pick for each of the other four phases:
The Phase 5 selections were released in bulk by the XFL. There was also a supplemental draft held by the league on Nov. 22, 2019. All told, each franchise drafted 71 players. By the time the regular season begins, rosters will be trimmed to 52 players for each team.
The XFL aims to hit the ground running, and it will need some experienced football minds to do just that. The league has attracted several top names who will be patrolling the sidelines for the 2020 XFL season:
Long-time football fans will recall many of the above names. Once again, this is no fly-by-night operation that has been thrown together on a whim by McMahon. The launch of the XFL was quite calculated, as has been the selection of all associated with the league.
The goal of the XFL is to crack the nut that is spring football finally, and there’s simply no way they can do that without a compelling product. Based on the talent level in the league offices, on the sideline and the playing field, it looks like they have an excellent shot at making some noise.
The XFL has deals in place to broadcast its games on major outlets every Saturday and Sunday, as well as a pair of Thursdays throughout the regular season. XFL fans can find the games on one of four outlets:
Besides, fans looking to stream the games should be able to do so on the ESPN+ and Fox Sports apps. Those who have cut the cord can find the above broadcasters on several top streaming packages, including Hulu, Sling and YouTube TV.
It’s simply the X Football League with the “X” not having any specific designation.
The initial version of the XFL attracted some curiosity in the early going, but it couldn’t maintain the momentum. The product on the field left a lot to be desired, and the league called it quits after one season.
The initial XFL was the brainchild of WWE honcho McMahon. He has long sought to take another shot at spring football, and he is now doing so with a clear-cut vision on how the league can be successful this time around.
XFL players will make a guaranteed base salary ranging from $55,000 up for a 10-game season. Winning teams will also receive a victory bonus. The overall salary cap per team is expected to be about $4 million.
The XFL will debut on Saturday, Feb. 9, with a pair of games.
For Weeks 1 through 8, games will be played on Saturdays and Sundays. In Week 9 and 10, a Thursday night game will be added to the mix.
The playoff round will be held on the weekend of April 18-19, while the XFL Championship game will be on Sunday, April 26.
We can’t say for sure that the XFL will be successful this time around; however, there’s an impressive array of talent associated with the league. Also, several broadcasting heavyweights are slated to carry the games.
Alpha Entertainment, the parent company of the XFL that McMahon owns, has a long-term vision for sustained success.
In 2019, the XFL held a Summer Showcase series in each of the league’s eight cities.
These were open tryouts that created quite a bit of buzz in online circles. While we can’t say for sure that the league will do the same this offseason, it seems likely that there will be news on XFL 2020 tryouts before too long.
As part of its 30 for 30 series, ESPN put together a well-received documentary entitled This Was the XFL.
You can find it on its broadcast properties occasionally, as well as on its subscription-based ESPN+.
There were eight teams in the original XFL, and eight squads in the new version. That’s where the similarities end. All of the teams are entirely new, but the XFL is returning to two of its original markets: NY/NJ and Los Angeles.
An array of XFL merchandise is available on the league’s website: shop.xfl.com.
Rod Smart went on to play in the NFL.
Smart was the biggest star from the first version of the XFL. He earned the nickname “He Hate Me,” based on how he adorned his jersey, which was a customary practice in the original XFL.
Smart has reportedly been a business owner, personal trainer and a school guidance counselor.
The XFL is entirely separate from the Alliance of American Football. It has different ownership, a unique take on several standard football rules and deals in place with major broadcast outlets.
The AAF debuted in 2019 with high hopes of being the answer for spring football. Funding issues led to the league ceasing operations before its first season was complete.
Oliver Luck serves as the commissioner of the XFL.
He’s a former NFL quarterback who has had an extensive post-playing career at the coaching and executive level. Luck is a former athletic director at West Virginia University and the father of retired NFL QB Andrew Luck.