XFL football

Could the XFL expand in 2021 with the addition of two new teams?

  • XFL
  • XFL Expansion
By Michael Moodie March 14, 2020 0 Comment
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Despite coming to an early end due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the XFL had a successful first season. Could the league expand to two more cities in 2021?

The XFL season has officially been suspended. The XFL averaged 2 Million viewers between ESPN, ABC, and Fox. Although, it did see declines in viewership after the first couple of weeks. There was also talk of specific stadiums opening upper levels of stadiums due to the high demands of tickets, so there is still hope for the XFL. Commissioner Oliver Luck has already come out and said there would be a season in 2021. How do they get back the momentum that has been lost due to suspending the rest of the regular season?

There is talk of having the playoffs and championship game still, but it all depends on what happens next with the COVID-19 outbreak.  One idea that has been discussed is expansion, with the two leading cities being Chicago and Atlanta. In this article, we will review the two cities and their history with expansion cities.

Chicago: Chicago Cardinals 1920-1959 (NFL), Chicago Enforcers 2001 (XFL), & Chicago Blitz 1982-1984 (USFL)

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Chicago Cardinals:

Technically Chicago’s first football team. The Cardinals started in the NFL in 1920 but left Chicago in 1959. Then leaving Chicago solely to the Bears. Who originally started in Decatur as the Staleys in 1919. The Cardinals had some success while in Chicago winning two league Championships. However, in the 1950s, the Cardinals were going through a terrible time and were looking to relocate. At first, the NFL was reluctant to let the team leave Chicago, but once the American Football League (AFL) was founded, the NFL realized the competition they were facing and allowed the Cardinals to move to St. Louis. The Cardinals would stay in St. Louis from 1960-1987 and then proceed to Arizona in 1988, eventually becoming the Phoenix Cardinals and then finally the Arizona Cardinals in 1993.

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Chicago Blitz:

Belonging to the United States Football League. The Blitz was one of 12 charter franchises. In the Blitz’ first season, they would tie with the Michigan Panthers for the division, but it would eventually be given to the Panthers who went on the play in the championship game. Even though the Blitz was considered a strong team that was said to be able to compete with the NFL. The Blitz struggled at the gate, only averaging 18,100 in attendance. The Blitz would make the playoffs in their first season but would blow a 21 point lead to the Philadelphia Stars. Chicago would lose 44-38 in overtime. In the 1983 off-season, Chicago Blitz owner Ted Diethrich would look to sell the team. In 1984 under new owner James Hoffman and a new head coach. The Blitz would go 5-7, and the league would fold with four games left in the second season.

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Chicago Enforcers:

The Enforcers belonged to the XFL the first time around in 2001. The original Head coach was supposed to be Dick Butkus, but he backed out before the start of the season. Ron Meyer would replace Butkus. Ron Meyer was a former NFL Head Coach from the 1980s and had not coached since 1994 for the Las Vegas Posse. Chicago would go 5-5 making the playoffs but would lose in the Semi-Final to Los Angeles Xtreme 33-16. The Enforcers had poor attendance, and to go along with renovations to Soldier Field had the league looking to move the team to Milwaukee at the time of the leagues closing. The most successful from that team post-closing would be Bennie Anderson. Anderson, who was Chicago’s starting right guard would go on to start for the Buffalo Bills & Baltimore Ravens. Last playing in 2006 for the Miami Dolphins.

Overall:

Chicago has had its fair share of other teams besides the Bears since the early 1900s. Some have had success and some not making it out of its first season. Given the way the XFL was built this time around, the overall interest, and the fact that the Bears haven’t amounted to anything over the past several years, all point to the fact that Chicago is primed for a new expansion team. Where would they play? Soldier field has been used before but with little success. One good fit would be Seat Geek Stadium that was recently left by the Chicago Fire. As we have seen with other teams using soccer stadiums, it would be beneficial for an expansion XFL team to use that stadium. If they can amount to any sort of success, especially right out of the gate, the XFL could provide Chicago with a new football team that they could cheer for during the NFL’s off-season.

Atlanta: Atlanta Legends 2019 (AAF)

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Atlanta Legends:

The Atlanta Legends were apart of the ill-fated Alliance of American Football. Brad Childress was supposed to be the original Head coach but resigned a month before the season started. Kevin Coyle, who was initially hired as the defensive coordinator, would then take over as Head Coach. Some noteworthy players on the Legends were QB Aaron Murray (XFL TB), K Younghoe Koo (NFL ATL), DE Tarvaris Barnes (XFL DC), and RB Denard Robinson. Atlanta would go 2-6 before the league would fold with two weeks left in the season. The average attendance was about 10,895, which would be last in the current XFL.

Overall:

Atlanta has not had a lot of teams come through it. Only 2 teams have called Atlanta home when it comes to football. Falcons and Legends with the Falcons being the only team that has been able to maintain some form of success there. Along with the Bears, though, the Falcons have not seen a lot of success. Even though they made the Super Bowl just three years ago, we have seen a steady decline from the Falcons since then. Like with the Chicago expansion team, a question to also consider with Atlanta as well is. Where does the team play next season? The Legends played in Georgia State Stadium, but like mentioned above, only drew 10,895 fans on average. Like it was stated before, though. If done right, an Atlanta expansion team would be huge for the XFL.

Both cities would be primed for XFL expansion teams. Both teams rank in the top 10 as far as the TV Market. There is also a perfect opportunity with Chicago and St. Louis having a team already. It almost writes itself as far as a rivalry is concerned. These teams can succeed; it’s just up to the XFL and the fans to make it happen. Much like they have with cities like St. Louis and Seattle.

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