Football is America’s favorite sport; people can’t get enough of it. Well, actually, a more accurate statement is people can’t get enough of good football. Even though there have been some bad trades and terrible players, people still love the NFL. Rival football leagues like the USFL, UFL, FXFL, and XFL don’t get the same love and attention.
Yes, the XFL. The league formed by rich WWE owner Vince McMahon that failed spectacularly the first time around. Remember the XFL? Well, it sounds like it’s coming back. Will your city host one of the first new professional football teams? Read on to find out.
Here’s what we know so far.
A lot of the finer points of the revived XFL are still being worked out, but there are a few things we do know:
- The XFL will relaunch in 2020.
- It will be an 8-team league.
- Teams will play 10-game seasons, starting in January.
- Rosters will have 40 players.
- Players will have to stand for the national anthem and will need to have clean criminal records in order to play.
- Vince McMahon cashed out $100 million of WWE stock to start the new XFL under the Alpha Entertainment banner.
The goal for the league, as McMahon said in a video announcement, is to “reimagine the game of football.” We don’t know which cities will definitely have XFL teams, but we have a few guesses. Our list isn’t presented in any particular order, but we’ll save the most outlandish two for the end.
Next: Fun in the sun seems like a sure bet.
1. San Diego
This one isn’t too hard to imagine. San Diego was spurned by the NFL when the Chargers bolted for Los Angeles. Yet the stadium the Chargers played in is still standing, and it doesn’t have a tenant. If the stadium is still there in 2020, and there’s no guarantee it will be, one of the new XFL teams could call it home.
Next: A city that knows what San Diego is going through.
2. Oakland, Calif.
Okay, so Oakland isn’t quite in the same place as San Diego. It still has an NFL team, but come 2019 that won’t be the case.
The Raiders will play in Oakland through the 2018 season and then leave for Las Vegas, so by the time the new XFL starts play, the East Bay will be looking for a team. With a giant stadium sitting there unused for months, it seems like the perfect fit.
Next: Hear us out on this one.
3. Las Vegas
Yes, we just told you about how the Raiders leaving for Las Vegas makes Oakland a great spot for the XFL. Las Vegas is a good fit for the XFL, too.
First, since the XFL won’t be playing at the same time as the NFL, there won’t be any competition for fans. Second, the XFL team could play at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium instead of the Raiders’ stadium. Yeah, it’s an outdoor stadium, but in January and February, the heat won’t be too unbearable. Finally, the steady stream of tourists could provide a steady revenue stream, which the XFL would surely love.
Next: A city with some similarities for Las Vegas.
No, the record didn’t skip, but this is something of a reprise. Orlando has plenty in common with Las Vegas, the city we just visited. The throngs of tourists. The pleasant weather. And a choice of stadiums: Camping World Stadium, the University of Central Florida’s Spectrum Stadium, and Orlando City Stadium. Plus, there’s no direct competition from an NFL team. Given all the pros, the XFL would be silly not to try and set up shop in Orlando.
Next: Fans would love to stick it to the NFL.
5. St. Louis
This is one city Vince McMahon needs to consider for one of the new XFL teams. St. Louis housed NFL teams for years — first the Cardinals and then the Rams — before hated owner Stan Kroenke moved the Rams to Los Angeles.
Clearly, the city can support a football team. Now St. Louis has an NFL-caliber stadium but doesn’t have a team to play there. What it does have is a desire to stick it to the NFL for allowing the Rams to leave.
Next: Ready to visit a football thirsty region?
6. Birmingham, Ala.
Judging by all the money the SEC, the most valuable college conference in the country brings in, people in SEC country are crazy about sports, especially football. Since people in SEC country are crazy for football, it seems like a prime place for one of the new XFL teams. Especially since the closest NFL cities — Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans — are hundreds of miles away.
Legion Field in downtown Birmingham could house the team. The team could even go on the road and play at the University of Alabama, which is about an hour away.
Next: Another NFL city that could fit the bill.
7. New Orleans
Setting up shop in an NFL city might be tough for the XFL, but New Orleans could work. Like we’ve mentioned, the new XFL won’t play its games at the same time of the year, so there’s no direct competition. Plus, Tulane University has a nice, new outdoor stadium that could be used for games. Also, that stadium is easily accessible from downtown New Orleans via streetcar. Put it all together and it sounds like a winning scenario.
Next: The city with everything — except a football team.
8. San Antonio
This Texas metropolis has it all. Just look at the checklist. A huge population — nearly 1.5 million and counting? Check. A facility in place — the Alamodome — that is used to hosting football games? Check. A football-crazy culture that absolutely loves the sport? Definitely a check — Texans are mad for high school football.
All those checks and no pro team close by? Yet another check. Houston is the closest NFL market, and it’s 200 miles away. With all those check marks, Vince McMahon would be crazy not to check in on San Antonio for one of the new XFL teams.
Next: Bear with us as we stretch a bit as we look at two longshots.
9. Canton, Ohio
We know, we know. You’re thinking, Canton, Ohio? We told you these last two would be longshots. Yes, Canton is basically the NFL’s backyard since the Hall of Fame is there. Plus, there’s not much in the way of facilities. Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is really the only spot in town. In addition to the stadium being an NFL property, Canton’s McKinley High also uses the field, so scheduling could be an issue.
All that said, this corner of the U.S. is crazy about football; a high school rivalry is one of the fiercest and longest-running in the country. If there’s a way to make it work, the XFL would be crazy to pass on putting a team in Canton.
Next: Let us make one more stretch for the final city on the list.
Sure, the weather in northern Ohio isn’t great in January and February. That’s strike one. Planting a flag in Cleveland, which, despite having a team that might never win a Super Bowl, still has plenty of loyal NFL fans is strike two.
But those fans are desperate to watch a team that actually has a prayer of winning (which the Cleveland Browns didn’t do in 2017), and that’s a positive for the XFL. An XFL team that calls Cleveland home might have to play in a suburban stadium, but it could be rewarded for finally giving Cleveland a winner.
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