Is The Alliance Of American Football (AAF) And XFL One In The Same?

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On January 25th, 2018 Vince McMahon announced he was going to reboot his winter-spring football league the XFL in 2020. During this announcement, he did not reveal much about the league in any specifics. He did mention consulting with experts and bringing in football people to make most decisions and how he would not take a lead roll in the league.  Then, except for a brief act of trolling the NFL during the superbowl, did little else since…. Ok he has done or said nothing else since regarding the XFL in any way.

Less than 2 months later, on March 20, 2018, Charlie Ebersol announced the AAF kicking off in February of 2019.  Ebersol had a very similar announcement with an eerily sounding vision to what the XFL was promising, quicker game play, and more fan friendly experiences. Unlike McMahon’s announcement, he had a panel of football people behind him, many were also investors in the league and all were going to be involved in executive rolls.  They laid out plans with specific rule differences to the NFL along with specifics of how they will improve the fan and player experiences.

Dick Ebersol, Charlie’s father, is on the board of directors and a formed partner of McMahon’s and a known friend. Charlie and Dick were both very much involved in the ESPN broadcast “This was the XFL”, which appeared in 2017 in which some hints of a post NFL season pro league could easily be spotted in the broadcast,   Too many, the 2 league announcements seem to be competitive announcements in which the leagues will eventually oppose each other at the same time of year with the AAF having a one year jump on the XFL. However, this would be too much of a coincidence and I do not buy for a moment that these two friends would try to upstage the other.   I believe that the initial public reaction of how Ebersol slapped McMahon is way off base. In fact, I believe the AAF and XFL are one in the same.

McMahon stated that his $100M would not be enough to fully finance the XFL and that he was going to need other investors in order to actually launch the league. I believe that during this process, the Ebersols were already working with and for McMahon as partners in some way. During the time the searched for investors and broadcast availability it probably became clear that investors and major networks would not want to be involved with a league that had such a low public reputation and balked at going in on it out of fear of not getting past that and no real investor wants to back what people may see as a joke.

Investors and networks likely insisted on changes before backing it, these changes probably included rebranding to eliminate the old XFL stigma, more forward faced former NFL players involved in lead rolls to build football credibility and likely a quicker launch to get quicker returns on their investments. It is likely Vince McMahon did not want to go along with these changes as a lead or at all as it would have been a cause of embarrassment to him to announce changes in name and start date as it would cause a public relations nightmare and call his leadership into question. He likely stepped aside quietly to avoid having to deal with that.  

So, it was likely that that AAF than had its own launch announcement to appear as a different league and not have to live with the stigma of the former XFL down to the difference in CEO. I believe people thinking they are competing against the XFL is way off base and really would make no sense given the lead people involved.  My thought is that we will not see or hear from the XFL as such again and we will eventually find out that the AAF is actually the same league with a different color scheme. There is no controversy. This is why there has been no response from Vince on the issue…because there is no issue, what was the X going to strand for this time? It stands for the Alliance.   

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