XFL Just Tried To Differentiate Itself from the AAF in a Big Way


We are just about one week away from the start of the Alliance of American Football’s debut season, which also means we are one year and one week away from the start of the XFL.

The XFL will be relaunched in 2020, but league officials are making it clear that they don’t see the XFL as similar to the AAF, which has positioned itself as a developmental league for the NFL.

XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck talked with “PFT Live” on Radio Row at the Super Bowl and discussed the intentions of XFL founder Vince McMahon.

“Vince wants to develop a sustainable, standalone league,” Luck said. “He doesn’t want to be a developmental league.”

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“I ran a developmental league for 10 years,” said Luck, who held executive positions in the World League of American Football and NFL Europe.

“But I think Vince’s mindset is to build something that can last and sustain itself on its own without any support from the NFL or anyone else,” he said.

But he joined the XFL for something different, and while the XFL doesn’t see itself as competition for the NFL, it hopes to serve as an alternative to the most popular sports league in America.

One way the XFL is doing that is by utilizing different rules than both the NFL and the AAF.

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The AAF says it will follow the NFL’s rule regarding college players being unable to declare for the draft until they are three years removed from their high school graduating class.

Luck said he could foresee the XFL signing guys just a year out of high school.

“We certainly believe we have the ability to sign a guy who’s been out of high school for a year or two years. … We think there is the possibility of taking some of those guys,” he said.

“I want to get our eight head coaches on board before we make any policy decisions in that regard,” Luck said. “But I can almost guarantee that we’ll take a deep look at a lot of players who might be two years or one year out of high school.”

While on Radio Row, Luck also conducted an interview on WFAN’s “Boomer and Gio” show in which he talked about another upstart football league, the Freedom Football League.

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The FFL is co-founded by Ricky Williams and Terrell Owens and has a policy where players will be allowed to smoke marijuana.

Host Gregg Giannotti directly asked Luck whether the XFL will also allow players to smoke marijuana.

“We will have drug testing for PEDs. I’m not directly answering your question, Gio,” he said, laughing.

The second version of the XFL is tentatively scheduled to begin play in February 2020 during the weekend after Super Bowl LIV.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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