Author Archives: The A-Train

The XFL Network

@TheATrainSTL

THIS…IS…THE XFL NETWORK!

Alright Vince isn’t going to say that. It doesn’t have the same feel like it did back in 2001. But one thing he can say like he did then is…”THANK YOU!”

And so can we, the fans of the XFL.

One of the biggest questions has finally been answered for the inaugural 2020 season.

“Where will the XFL broadcast?”

Now I had predicted that the league would only do ONE major network.

They messed around and got SIX.

That’s right, six. So in 2020, you will see nationally-televised XFL games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1, AND FS2. Vince, Oliver & Company clearly know what they are doing and when to do it. No one outside of them and the networks knew about this. This may have been the league’s best-kept secret. Sort of. The story about potential broadcasting rights was out at the beginning of the year stating that the XFL were in negotiations with those networks. But nothing was official, and that was the secret. After talking with a league official, they informed me that they the talks with networks “that everyone knows” and “it has three letters.” It wasn’t a lot of help, but it started winding down some of the choices of my prediction. I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be NBC because the league didn’t want the same stank like they did back in 2001 when the lost over a third of their investment.

This time, the XFL will not get any rights fees from Disney or Fox, and I don’t think at this point the league cares. Vince is close to the $500 million investment that he said he was putting in for the league. Plus the “Weekend of Vince” is going to be in high gear on Fox as his WWE promotion will kick off the weekend on Friday his weekly show, “Smackdown LIVE” and then XFL Saturday/Sunday. Vince is clearly…THE MAN!

The cool thing about this is the league putting on mostly afternoon games similar to NFL’s Sunday action. One game in the early afternoon, the other in the late afternoon. Mostly what you will see is one day for network games, the other one for games on cable. Smart move. Especially for what they will be up against. It’s similar to what the Alliance was up against doing their abrupt season.

Check out the timeslots and networks below…

Out of the 43 games, 24 of them will be on broadcast TV (“network TV” or “regular TV” whichever makes you comfortable) which is unbelievable compared to what the Alliance had at the beginning of their season which was…3.  At this rate, they should be called “The XFL Network.” But one thing I was surprised about from this schedule is the championship being on ESPN. The biggest game of your league…is on cable? I think it’s just a trial basis. Just go back to 2001, because Vince hasn’t forgotten about that “Million Dollar Game” having such an abysmal rating on network primetime TV (a 2.1 rating to be exact) and this time he may not need to have those kinds of ratings like its XFL 1 did.

As they have stated before:

This is not the future, this is not the past, this is the future…and THIS future is moving quite fast.

I’m ready. I can’t wait to watch. Are you ready? 2020 can’t get here soon enough.

(courtesy of XFL YouTube)

St. Louis Is Vital To XFL

I can’t lie to you.

I miss professional football in St. Louis.

It was an integral part of the city and I literally grew up with it. I was aware of the NFL’s football Cardinals, but never got a chance to see them because they were gone by the time I really started watching football. When the Rams were here in ’95, I got excited. Even more excited to see them win a Super Bowl in 2000. Then they were bad, like really bad. But you know the story, they left after the 2015 season and made The Dome quiet. No more screaming fans, no more tailgating, no more coverage. Seeing the Rams in another city (in this case, go back to the city where they had the longest tenure)…hurt. It did. But you learn that it’s all business.

But last year, I saw Vince McMahon’s press conference announcing that the XFL was returning. By then, I was hoping for a St. Louis team. I actually wanted 2 of them: the XFL and the Alliance. Maybe that would remove the pain of losing the Rams. That wasn’t going to work. One venue with two different teams from two different leagues. Too much conflict. When the Alliance made their announcements of the cities, I was disappointed that St. Louis wasn’t the initial eight, but still had hope for the XFL for 2020. My wish had been granted when it was announced that St. Louis was one of the eight. But now that the Alliance is a sunken ship with tons of baggage floating in the ocean, I’m giving my full attention to the XFL.

Out of the eight XFL cities, St. Louis is the only one that doesn’t have an NFL franchise. That makes this even MORE special for the league. The Dome will get to rock again, and THIS time it can be affordable to go experience a professional football game in the city of St. Louis. I was amazed to hear that fans just outside of St. Louis would make a trip to see the Rams, whether through tailgate or watching a game in The Dome. They will get to do it again this time with the new XFL.

Hear me when I say this because I truly believe (and I have said it once before if you have not heard the show):

St. Louis is vital to the XFL’s success. VITAL.

In my eyes, that means bringing back former St. Louis (Football) Cardinals and Rams players to the Dome, to celebrate St. Louis’ professional football history. It would be awesome to see greats like Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Orlando Pace, Dan Dierdorf and Jim Hart. St. Louis has seen nearly 50 years professional football in the NFL, and yes it saw a lot of bad luck along the way but the fans continued to root for them during those times. It was our therapy, the one time per week where we got to sit back and enjoy three hours of entertainment in our hometown.

Speaking of Bruce, he actually had expressed his feelings in wanting to coach. Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that if St. Louis was an Alliance city, Bruce was in negotiations with the league to possibly be the team’s head coach, but conflicts at The Dome kept that from happening. Rumor has it that (former Rams coach) Jim Haslett will get the honor, but as of this posting, nothing has been set in stone from the league office. Even if Bruce doesn’t get the head coaching gig, he should definitely look in to being St. Louis’ team president or as an assistant on staff continuing to work with younger players. Bruce’s presence should be high on this team’s radar. He was a big part of the community work in St. Louis during his playing days and continues to do that while retired.

McMahon and XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck both saw St. Louis as an XFL city. They know that the city’s fans are craving professional football again. They are even willing to pay a lot of money for usage of the Dome. It would just make so much sense for the league to play its very first game in St. Louis. I can’t see it any other way.

I meant every word that I said. And I don’t care that it was repeated. Comments are welcome (Be civil). It’s time to once again celebrate pro football in St. Louis.

The A-Train

The Alliance 2 XFL Rolls On

@TheATrainShow

Well…the Alliance has created quite a buzz these past few weeks and it hasn’t been positive. Some of the news we hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it did.

On this day, April 2nd, the Alliance of American Football announced that they were suspending their operations.

There has been wide speculation on why the league is being suspended in the first place, there was this from Alliance majority owner Tom Dundon:

NOTE: The Alliance and NFLPA were actually in the negotiation process. Something wasn’t right with what Dundon was actually doing. The threat continues to roll through the rest of last week into THIS week…which became this from Ben Kercheval of CBS Sports:

Wide speculation at this point is that no one wanted to work with Dundon, although negotiations were still being done between the two parties. So instead of getting it done HIS way, he took his ball and went home and said, in the illustrious words of WWE superstar Seth Rollins, “Burn it down!” So the question is, “Why?”

And THIS came from Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning QB:

So…from the looks of things…Dundon came into the league, not even for the league itself, wanted a gambling app (along with the data), created a ruse to gain attention to media AND the league, got what he wanted on the app and then said to suspend the operations. Boy, this will make a great episode of the Showtime hit, “Billions.” However, this is not a surprise but is definitely bizarre. As of now, over 400 players won’t get the opportunity to play the game they love, coaches out of a gig and the staffs are now out…with 2 games left in the season.

Hopefully, someone (that the league can trust) can get this ball rolling again within the next couple of days because this league has been a breath of fresh air, it’s exciting to watch even with all the ups and downs, the highs and lows, there is still a good product here. It shouldn’t end like this. Trust and believe, the legalities of this situation are already going against Dundon. This bad apple shouldn’t be the reason that this league sinks.

If not, The Spring League, Pacific Pro Football, Freedom Football League and of course…the XFL are all viable options for hungry players that still want a shot at the big time.

However, this site will continue with a new “alliance” of sorts. We’ll bring you as much XFL coverage as we can give you. As one league goes (not official yet), one is still being birthed and we’ll make the switch.

As broadcaster Van Earl Wright once put it (and re-phrasing for this site of course)…

“The ‘Alliance 2 XFL’ ROLLS ON!”

@TheATrainShow

FROM VEGAS TO DALLAS TO MANZIEL TO MARSHALL

by @TheATrainShow

What was once the “Road to Vegas,” has now become the “Road to Dallas.” Over the past few days, the Alliance announced that their championship game would be played in Dallas, Texas (actually Frisco) at the Ford Center at the Star aka the Dallas Cowboys practice facility. Those that have been covering and following the league found the move…interesting, maybe a little peculiar. It leans more to the theory that the NFL is working more with the Alliance. In addition to the pictures floating around the internet that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wore an Alliance hat to the NFL Combine. So he’s clearly showing support for the league. That’s a plus. This move, IMO, is the best move considering the attendance figures for the league have been relatively low, yet continue to see some progress, especially in San Antonio, who saw a league record for attendance back in Week 7.

As of now, the Eastern Conference looks pretty set as the Orlando Apollos locked up the first playoff berth after a 36-6 win against the Atlanta Legends. For the Apollos, it was a true bounce-back win after being defeated by the Arizona Hotshots at home in Week 6. The Birmingham Iron currently hold the #2 spot in the East even after a 31-25 loss to the Memphis Express. Both the Legends and Express have identical records at 2-5 which means they are still in it, but a longshot for that #2 spot. Both teams continue to have issues at the QB position, especially the Express.

Johnny Manziel, Memphis Express QB

They find themselves with a QB they cannot trust in Christian Hackenberg, a QB currently injured in Zach Mettenberger, and a QB that’s just trying to get some clock in, which compelled them to acquire the rights to Johnny Manziel, who formerly was released (and banned) from the CFL. For Silvers, he led his team to the emotional win against the Iron, while Manziel got an opportunity to get in some work. Manziel should continue to see limited action for the rest of the season while Silvers remains the starter.

Over in the Western Conference, the San Antonio Commanders lead the pack at 5-2 after narrowly defeating the Salt Lake Stallions, 19-15, after the Stallions piled up 6 sacks. The Hotshots defeated the San Diego Fleet 32-15, and have the #2 spot after having won 2 straight, while prior had dropped 3 straight. The Fleet and Stallions are still in the hunt as well for at least the #2 spot at 3-4 and 2-5 respectively.

For three teams in the East and all four teams in the West, there are still great chances for any one of the teams to make the inaugural playoffs. Great action still happening in the Alliance, and if you’re not watching, you’re truly missing out.

The league has gained some major buzz through the Manziel signing and even rapper Eminem showing his support:

Which prompted this response from Alliance co-founder Charlie Ebersol: