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Vince McMahon Confirms The Return of the XFL

Jason Barrett

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Vince McMahon is rolling the dice a second time on the XFL. The WWE CEO and Chairman confirmed speculation earlier today during a press session with members of the media.

According to McMahon, the league will begin play in 2020 and consist of eight teams, with forty players on each roster. The plan is to introduce a ten game regular season, starting in late January or early February, and feature two semifinal playoff games, and one championship contest. The cities where each franchise will be play and the broadcast outlets where the games will air have not yet been decided.

Given his involvement with the WWE, many assumed McMahon would use the wrestling company’s talent and mainstream appeal to create buzz for his new football league. However, he said the league will look and operate different from the one that launched in 2001. Part of that includes not involving WWE stars in the XFL’s programming and promotional plans. Broadcast talent from the wrestling company will also not be utilized. McMahon says he’s looking to create separation between the two brands, and made the point on numerous occasions that the new XFL will be more family friendly than reliant on aggressive language, stunts, sex,and violence.

One of the decisions which is likely to garner heavy media attention was McMahon’s announcement that players with arrest records would not be hired by the league, and all who participate will stand for the national anthem.

“We want to entertain — that’s what we do,” McMahon told The Daily. “There are not going to be any politics involved with this thing. We’re not going to have any social issues involved. People want to be entertained. It’s the entertainment value that sometimes is lost.”

To make the XFL a reality, McMahon is funding the league through Alpha Entertainment, a private equity company he recently created to fund sports and entertainment opportunities. The company will start with $100 million in funding, but McMahon believes it will require going beyond that number to deliver a successful product.

“This is an opportunity to re-imagine football — not reinvent it,” added McMahon. “Sitting in front of a television for three-and-a-half hours for a game is a lot of time to devote. We want a faster game. We want a more exciting game. We want rules that are simplified. In the end, we want it to be more fan friendly with more engagement.”

Among the ideas being discussed for the new league are eliminating halftime, simplifying the rule book, and producing a game from start to finish in two-hours and with less commercials breaks. To get a stronger understanding of what fans want, McMahon says he will be involved in upcoming listening tours asking fans, football experts and media figures to come up with the best way to stage football games. The WWE promoter plans this time to remain in the background rather than appear as the face of the league, even if he is the sole owner and founder of it.

To see the new logo for the league, click here.

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Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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