XFL Appoint Operations Director

The XFL today announced that Doug Whaley, former General Manager of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, has been named the league’s Senior Vice President, Football Operations, reporting directly to Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck.

“Based on his passion for all aspects of football, his intellect and vast experience as an NFL General Manager, we believe that Doug is the perfect choice to lead the XFL’s Football Operations,” said Luck. “The quality of the on-field product is paramount to the XFL’s success, and Doug, who is tech-savvy and a firm believer in analytics, brings football credibility and a strong work ethic to the team. I’m excited to begin working with him as we reimagine the game.”

“I would like to thank Oliver for giving me the opportunity to help bring their vision for the XFL to life,” said Whaley.

“I’m excited to get started knowing we have a lot of work ahead of us. Nothing is more important than developing a fun, fast-paced game that football fans will embrace, and I look forward to making this challenge a reality.”

With more than 20 years of professional football experience, Whaley spent the majority of his career with the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. He was with the Bills from 2010 to 2017, first as Assistant General Manager and Director of Pro Personnel, then Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel before his elevation to General Manager, a position he held from 2013 to 2017. Whaley is currently serving as the Director of College Recruiting for the NFL Players Association’s Collegiate Bowl through the end of the year.

Before joining the Bills, Whaley spent 11 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the team’s Pro Scouting Coordinator where he won two Super Bowl championships. Prior to that, he was the east coast regional scout for the Seattle Seahawks from 1996-1998.

A Pittsburgh native, Whaley earned a B.S. in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993 where he played safety and linebacker on the football team.

The XFL kicks off in early 2020 and will deliver a fan-centric, innovative experience, including fast-paced games and a family-friendly environment, complemented by cross-platform viewing options and real-time fan engagement. Plans at launch include eight teams, 45-man active rosters, and a 10-week regular season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game.

About The XFL

The new XFL will reimagine football for the 21st century when it kicks off in early 2020.

Football is America’s favourite sport boasting over 85 million fans but the XFL feel it’ traditional season is just too short. Seeing an opportunity to fill the void, Vince McMahon, XFL Founder and Chairman announced on 25 January, the launch of a new league, which he is personally funding. McMahon is building the XFL with the same commitment and resolve that he has demonstrated building WWE into a global media and sports entertainment powerhouse.

Delivering authentic, high energy football for the whole family at an affordable price, the XFL will offer fast-paced games with fewer play stoppages and simpler rules. The league will launch with eight teams, 45-man active rosters, and a 10-week regular season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game. The XFL will also establish a health, wellness and safety program that meets the needs of today’s athletes.

The XFL will embrace the latest on and off-field technology, providing live game coverage, content and real-time engagement across multiple platforms, giving fans greater access than ever before. We will build strong grassroots relationships with local organizations in our Host Cities through social responsibility partnerships, and the XFL will enjoy the support of WWE’s many extraordinary resources and promotional capabilities.

For those with a long memory, you may remember a previously failed attempt to launch a spring league with the same name.  It played for one season in 2001, with the Los Angeles Xtreme as the XFL’s first and only champions.

The league was launched as a partnership between the WWE (then the WWF) and TV partner NBC.  The broadcaster pulled out of their two-year partnership after the first season citing rating problems.  Whilst McMahon vowed to carry on, the league didn’t last and he later conceded that the league was a “colossal failure”.

The previous XFL featured teams from NFL cities around New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  The remaining four teams were placed in markets that had previously hosted rival major leagues: Birmingham, Memphis, Las Vegas and Orlando.  Cities for the 2020 launch have yet to be chosen, however, their intent is for a mix of major and mid-major markets in all regions of the US.

It looks like McMahon may have learnt valuable lessons from the previous venture and this looks to be a more serious spring league to rival the NFL, rather than a WWE/football hybrid.  It’s a good job as the previous league was mocked by the media.  The sportscaster Bob Costas speaking on a late night chat show said:

“It has to be at least a decade since I first mused out loud, ‘Why doesn’t somebody combine mediocre high school football with a tawdry strip club?'”

“The new XFL is an exciting opportunity to reimagine America’s favourite sport,”

Said McMahon. “As we move towards kickoff, we look forward to listening and implementing innovative ideas from players, coaches, medical experts, technology executives, the media and most importantly football fans.”

McMahon, a visionary and an accomplished business executive, is personally funding this venture through Alpha Entertainment, a new private entity.  McMahon will continue as WWE Chairman & CEO.

Unlike the NFL, teams will be owned by the XFL and not run as franchises.

Vince McMahon’s wife is Linda who currently serves in Donald Trump’s administration having failed to secure a Senate seat.  There is talk that McMahon is trying to appeal to NFL fans who feel alienated.