Leadership for New York’s next incarnation of XFL football will be unveiled on Tuesday afternoon in an event in Times Square.
Less than two weeks after the New York Jets made a big unveiling in Midtown, the city’s newest football group is planning its own in Times Square.
The incoming reincarnation of XFL football has announced a Tuesday afternoon event at the AC Hotel Times Square. There, the head coach, general manager, and president of the city’s new XFL squad will be revealed.
New York is one of two cities retained from the original version of the XFL, the other being Los Angeles. Their team will be the fifth to name a new leadership group, as clubs in Dallas, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Washington, D.C. have previously done so.
While rumors around the new coach have been slim, its possible they could have a local connection based on prior hires. Dallas, for example, brought in Bob Stoops to be both head coach and general manager. The former Oklahoma head coach went 11-7 against Texas in the Red River Shootout, a famous Dallas-based college football rivalry. Meanwhile, Jim Zorn, a former Seattle Seahawks quarterback, was named to the same positions in Seattle.
In another local connection in the new league, former Jets offensive assistant Pep Hamilton (2003-05) is the head coach and general manager in Washington.
New York’s original XFL team was the New York/New Jersey Hitmen. Longtime NFL assistant Rusty Tillman served as the head coach, while New Jersey native and former Dallas Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson was the general manager. The Hitmen went 4-6 in their lone season of existence. Cornerback Damen Wheeler, defensive end James Cotten, and kicker/punter Leo Araguz each spent time in the NFL after the XFL’s dissolving.
Tillman was a noted critic of the XFL’s gimmicks. He later found himself the target of actor, former wrestler, and XFL analyst Jesse Ventura, who began a conflict when bashing Tillman for kicking a field goal deep in opponent territory in a Hitmen win. Despite Ventura’s goading, and NBC making their supposed rivalry the focal point of the ensuing game’s coverage, Tillman mostly ignored the commotion.
Despite missing the lone XFL postseason, the Hitmen ranked second in attendance. Their home games were played at Giants Stadium, averaging 28,309 per game. The new squad is not expected to retain the Hitmen nickname and will play their home slate at Giants Stadium’s replacement, MetLife Stadium.
The XFL will make a second attempt at sustainable spring football next season. Back in charge is Vince McMahon, Chairman and CEO of the World Wrestling Entertainment. McMahon is also the chairman of Alpha Entertainment, the new league’s holding company. While McMahon is not expected to be in attendance on Tuesday, XFL commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck and President and COO Jeffrey Pollack are.
The original league lasted a single year, done in by criticism of wrestling-inspired gimmicks and kayfabe. Seeking to create a lasting new product, this new incarnation is expected to be light on the stunts, but has been working with developmental and showcase organization The Spring League to test out new innovations, including a kickoff format and overtime system. Another point of emphasis has been creating a faster game, one that aims for a time closer to two hours rather than the current football standard three.
The new XFL is expected to begin on Feb. 8, 2020, one week after Super Bowl 54.