Senior Vice President of Football Operations, Doug Whaley, joined the Spring Forward Podcast hosted by Alex Goldstick. Before Whaley joined the interview Goldstick mentioned that this is the first year that The Spring League has an official partner. All of the current XFL scouts and coaches will be on hand for the Spring League in Austin, TX. He also mentioned that some of the coaches will even join the Spring League staff to get an up-close look at evaluating talent and testing game-play and rule changes.
Whaley started the interview by talking about his time in professional football, diving into his history as a player, scout, coach and general manager. On why he joined the XFL, Whaley said there was two main reasons. First was that Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck we’re heading up the league. Second was that he never thought he would ever have a chance to help build a new sports league, and looks forward to putting his stamp on the XFL and help bring it to market.
The conversation switched focus to how the partnership between the XFL and the Spring League began. Whaley said that when the XFL first started doing their background on how the XFL game was going to look to the public, they knew they needed to have more then just words. Now, due to their partnership with TSL they now have a chance to test them in real-time. He also stated that it also gives the XFL an extra opportunity to scout potential talent for the upcoming season.
In regards to rule testing, Whaley mentioned they are looking to reduce the play clock to between 30-35 seconds, create at a 5 yard halo rule on punt returns for player safety, testing different overtime formats as well as kick-off options.
Whaley was asked if they is a specific type of player the XFL is looking for. They are looking for the best players available, they don’t want to limit themselves. He said fans go to games to watch good players, which in turn will create a better game.
They discussed the Head Coach/GM model, Whaley stated that since they have a single-owner model this made the most sense. He also compared it to collegiate football, giving the coach more power to mold their teams.
Goldstick then switched gears to the AAF, asking how he envisions the landscape of pro football now with the NFL, AAF and XFL. Whaley said the main thing is opportunity for players to live their dream, and for fans to enjoy more football. He also stated that the XFL is looking at themselves as a completely separate pro entity, not a farm league.
Off the field, the XFL is focusing on bringing interactive features that would work between them and their broadcast partners. Whaley also brought up that the XFL will soon be creating their own content, no specifics on what exactly, but he did specifically state it will be on par or better than what the WWE is currently putting out. They know that content is king and they want the new product to be engaging for the fans.