Tag Archives: Alliance 2 XFL

XFL and The Familiar Face

By Alistair Fannell

NFL Training Camp 2019 has opened and ALREADY there some surprising names that were either cut, waved, not drafted or have not signed with any team, and could be playing in the XFL when the league starts up February 2020.

Mason Foster, who started 16 games with the Washington Redskins during the 2018 season and played nine seasons in the NFL, was cut just before training camp. Foster is not the only big name linebacker in the NFL that’s out of a job, players like Nick Perry, Sam Acho, Connor Barwin, and Manti Te’o are names that are not on NFL rosters currently.

Te’o is perhaps the most intriguing because he’s finished second in the Heisman Trophy race behind Johnny Manziel in 2013, along with a promising start to his career when he was drafted in the second round by the then San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers, yet injuries plagued his time in San Diego. He then played 2 seasons with the New Orleans Saints and has yet to be signed by any NFL team. Te’o could look to the XFL to restart his football career. Robert Nkemdiche, once a promising defensive lineman out of the University of Mississippi, was just released by the Arizona Cardinals at the start of training camp.

In the secondary, names like Sam Shields, Eric Berry, Mike Mitchell, Shareece Wright and Morris Claiborne come to mind. Berry, a 5-time Pro Bowl defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs, is coming off back-to-back injury-plagued seasons, not to mention him suffering Hodgkin’s lymphoma that also sidelined him back in 2014. If an NFL team is not willing to sign him, don’t be surprised or shocked if the XFL gives him a shot. Morris Claiborne, who was a Top-10 draft choice by the Dallas Cowboys, and then started 15 games with the Jets last season could also see himself playing the XFL.

On the offensive side of the ball, there are some valuable players that could make an impact in the XFL in its first season. At quarterback, names like Brock Osweiler, Matt Cassel, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett come to mind. Jones (currently a Los Angeles Charger) and Barrett, who both lead the Ohio State Buckeyes to the national title in 2015, but haven’t seen their opportunity to start or play in the regular season in the NFL. Running backs like Jay Ajayi, Jeremy Hill, L.J. Scott and Chris Ivory are players that are available. Ajayi and Ivory were both former 1,000-yard backs, while Ajayi played a key role in helping the Philadelphia Eagles win their first Super Bowl during the 2017 season. Wide outs like Michael Crabtree, Kelvin Benjamin, Mike Wallace, Pierre Garcon, Dez Bryant could take advantage of the league’s potential offensive schemes, along with tight ends like Jermaine Gresham and Neal Sterling. The coaches and GMs of the XFL will definitely keep a close eye on all of the moves from the NFL preseason. When it’s all said and done at the end of the first week of September; you can best believe the cut list will have some high profile players that could see action in the XFL come February 2020.

Stay tuned!!!

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)

It Was A Good Ride….An Ode To The Alliance

@jberardi1996

I could see the writing on the wall when the main money man Tom Dundon starting making comments suddenly last week about failed negotiations with the NFLPA (even though the league & the NFLPA said all talks were ongoing and positive) that he may be pulling the plug that last week’s games could be the league’s last. It’s disappointing on so many levels. In my opinion, they could have finished up the season and the playoff and regrouped. At worse, cancel the last two regular season games and play the playoffs…..

I think the league had many things going for them; TV contracts (that includes the NFL Network), fan interest, solid football staffing, respectable coaching, and yes, some good football being played.

With that, I give you my ode to the AAF!

Best Games:

Week 2 – Orlando 37 San Antonio 29: In what could have been a preview of the AAF Championship, the Apollos storm back with 17 fourth-quarter points to overtake the Commanders in front of a raucous crowd.

Week 5 – San Antonio 29 Arizona 25: The Commanders grind out a hard-fought road victory in a game between two of leagues best teams as they hold off a furious Hotshots 4th quarter rally.

Week 5 – San Diego 27 Salt Lake 25: San Diego wins at the gun on a Donny Hageman field goal after the Stallions took a late lead behind the 380 yards passing by Josh Woodrum.

Week 6 – Arizona 22 Orlando 17: In another potential Championship preview, the Hotshots roll into Orlando and hand the Apollos their first loss. The Apollos had a chance at the end, but a runoff penalty at the end sealed the win for Arizona.

Week 6 – Birmingham 32 San Diego 29: One week after winning on a last second FG, the Fleet lose at the buzzer to Nick Novak and the Iron. Both Luis Perez and Mike Bercovici went over 300 yards passing in this shootout.

Week 7 – Memphis 31 Birmingham 25: The league’s first OT game went to the Express who rallied in dramatic fashion to win in front of the home crowd led by Brandon Silvers and Reece Horn. This game also saw the debut of Johnny Manziel.

 

(Highlights courtesy of Highlight Heaven)

Best Players:

QBs:

Garrett Gilbert, Orlando

John Wolford, Arizona

RBs:

Trent Richardson, Birmingham

Jhurell Pressley, Arizona

D’Ernest Johnson, Orlando

Kenneth Farrow II, San Antonio

Joel Bouagnon, Salt Lake

WRs:

Charles Johnson, Orlando

Rashad Ross, Arizona

Reece Horn, Memphis

Nelson Spruce, San Diego

Quinton Patton, Birmingham

De’Mornay Pierson-El, Salt Lake

Mekele McKay, San Antonio

Dontez Ford, San Diego

TEs:

Wes Saxton Jr., Birmingham

Nick Truesdell, Salt Lake

DL:

Karter Schult, Salt Lake

Damontre Moore, San Diego

Earl Okine, Orlando

LBs:

DeMarquis Gates, Orlando

Terence Garvin, Orlando

Beniquez Brown, Birmingham

Jayrone Elliott, San Antonio

Drew Jackson, Memphis

Steven Johnson, Arizona

Reggie Northup II, Orlando

Nyles Morgan, Arizona

DBs:

De’Vante Bausby, San Antonio

Jamar Summers, Birmingham

Keith Reaser, Orlando

Kameron Kelly, San Diego

Derron Smith, San Antonio

Will Davis, Salt Lake

Erick Dargan, Arizona

Tyson Graham Jr, Atlanta

Will Hill III, Orlando

Ed Reynolds Jr, Atlanta

Arnold Tarpley III, Memphis

 

Continue to check us out as we wait for XFL 2020!

Goodbye to the AAF, I’ll remember you fondly like I did with the old USFL!

 

 

AAF 2 XFL: AAF LEAGUE LEADERS (AFTER WEEK 8)

Jayrone Elliott, San Antonio Commanders LB (courtesy of 210 Football)

There are new leaders in sacks and tackles for the Alliance. Check out the AAF league leaders after Week 8:

Passing Yards:

Garrett Gilbert, Orlando: 2,152 yards

John Wolford, Arizona: 1,616 yards

Luis Perez, Birmingham: 1,460 yards

Passing TDs:

John Wolford, Arizona: 14

Garrett Gilbert, Orlando: 13

Rushing Yards:

Jhurell Pressley, Arizona: 471 yards

D’Ernest Johnson, Orlando: 372 yards

Kenneth Farrow II, San Antonio: 372 yards

Rushing TDs:

Trent Richardson, Birmingham: 11

De’Veon Smith, Orlando: 6

Joel Bouagnon, Salt Lake: 6

Receiving Yards:

Charles Johnson, Orlando: 687 yards

Rashad Ross, Arizona: 583 yards

Receiving TDs:

Rashad Ross, Arizona: 7

Charles Johnson, Orlando: 5

Receptions:

Charles Johnson, Orlando: 45 receptions

Nelson Spruce, San Diego: 38 receptions

Rashad Ross, Arizona: 36 receptions

De’Mornay Pierson-El, Salt Lake: 36 receptions

Tackles:

De’Marquis Gates, Memphis: 52

Beniquez Brown, Birmingham: 46

Erick Dargan, Arizona: 44

Sacks:

Jayrone Elliott, San Antonio: 7.5

Karter Schult, Salt Lake: 7

Damontre Moore, San Diego: 7

Interceptions:

De’Vante Bausby, San Antonio: 4

Kameron Kelly, San Diego: 4

Ryan Moeller, San Diego: 4

 

Follow me on Twitter @jberardi1996

 

 

ALLIANCE 2 XFL: AAF WEEK 8 POWER RANKINGS

The Apollos once again sit atop the Power Rankings after a come from behind win against the Express. The Hotshots climbed up the rankings with an impressive win on the road against the Commanders.

AAF Week 8 Power Rankings:

  1. Orlando Apollos 7-1
  2. Arizona Hotshots 5-3
  3. San Antonio Commanders 5-3
  4. Birmingham Iron 5-3
  5. Salt Lake Stallions 3-5
  6. San Diego Fleet 3-5
  7. Memphis Express 2-6
  8. Atlanta Legends 2-6

Follow me on Twitter @jberardi1996

 

 

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:

ALLIANCE 2 XFL: WEEK 6 ODDS

I took it on the chin last week going a dismal 1-3 to drop my overall record under the 500 mark at 11-13. Let’s bounce back this week!

Orlando @ Atlanta +8.5: Orlando will look to bounce back after suffering their first loss last week, while the Legends will look to bounce back after getting pasted by the Commanders at home. I think the Apollos will be hitting on all cylinders this week as they take care of a divisional opponent that they handle easily in Week 1.

Salt Lake @ San Antonio – 5: The Commanders return home hot after a four-week road trip to face the Stallions who looked sharp in their Week 6 victory over Memphis. Despite the Stallions looking better with a solid defense, I like the Commanders to cover in their first game in front of the home crowd in over a month.

San Diego @ Arizona -3.5: Arizona returns home after handing Orlando their first defeat of the season. San Diego has yet to win on the road and I think this trend continues as the Hotshots cover behind a well balanced offensive attack.

Birmingham @ Memphis +2.5: This line appears to be light with the revived Iron offense and tough D. Brandon Silvers will get the start, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Johnny Football make an appearance. My gut says the Iron, but I see something strange happening in this one as the Express cover.

PLACE YOUR BETS!!

Follow me on Twitter @jberardi1996

 

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