In January of this year, WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon announced that he would be relaunching the XFL in 2020. With high hopes for this less flashy reboot, McMahon is likely less than pleased to learn there’s already a competitor out there, and we’re not talking about the NFL.
Charlie Ebersol announced on March 13 that he was creating the Alliance of American Football (AAF) in partnership with CBS Sports Network. The AAF will be debuting eight teams in February 2019, a week after Super Bowl LIII and a full year before the XFL launches, providing a leg-up on the competition.
AAF co-founder, former NFL team executive Bill Polian, suggested that with players not being locked into long-term contracts and seasons ending in April (before the start of NFL training camps), the AAF could act as a complimentary feeder system for the NFL.
However, don’t think of the AAF as simply another football league practically identical to the NFL. A very significant difference is that there will be no kicking in the AAF. For instance, there will be no kickoffs, no onside kicks, no field goals and no extra point kicks. The game will start on the 25-yard line, also the location where each play will start after a score and at the start of each half.
Furthermore, as USA Today reports that “the team that scored a touchdown gets the ball on its 35 in a 4thand10 situation.“ The team continues to keep the ball if they execute a score. Finally, without the ability to kick for an extra point, teams will necessarily go for a 2-point conversion after a touchdown.
With Ebersol’s league debuting a year before the XFL, this likely means the XFL will be left with third-string players. Adding insult to injury, Charlie Ebersol is the son of NBC executive Dick Ebersol, McMahon’s partner in the original XFL. It remains to be seen if AFF’s appearance on the scene will affect McMahon’s plans..