>Vince McMahon is resuscitating the XFL.OK Arizona Cardinals Jerseys Womens , let’s get the bad jokes out of the way: Are some teams going to be wearing masks and representing parts unknown? Will the hook-and-ladder play involve smashing someone with a real ladder?The XFL was a “colossal failure” the first time McMahon tried it 鈥?his words 鈥?and there’s every reason to believe XFL2 will meet a similar fate.But a spring football league, done the right way, could work.And, no, we’re not kidding around.The United States Football League came up with the most feasible concept back in the 1980s, only to crumble after just three seasons because of out-of-control spending and a suicidal push by owners such as Donald Trump to compete directly against the NFL .But the USFL might still be around today if it had stuck to its original concept, which was to serve as more of a complement to the NFL than a direct competitor.The timing is ripe for another attempt.While the economy is booming and football remains the nation’s most popular sport, the NFL is contending with shrinking TV ratings, empty seats and a lingering debate over players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice. For the first time in decades, there are actually some cracks in the league’s armor.Clearly, those issues figured into McMahon’s planned re-launch of the XFL in 2020 .“As far as this league is concerned, it will have nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with social issues,” he said. “That’s what the fans want. When they tune in to a game, they don’t want to deal with political issues. They want to watch good football.”Good football will likely be the fatal flaw in McMahon’s new venture, just as it was for the original XFL. While the risque cheerleaders and close ties to wrestling brought plenty of much-deserved ridicule, it was the amateurish quality of play that ultimately caused its downfall. As Bob Costas memorably observed, it was “mediocre high school football” combined “with a tawdry strip club.”Since McMahon’s new XFL will follow the same single-entity plan 鈥?he’ll be the sole owner of the eight-team league 鈥?there’s unlikely to be nearly enough money to lure any recognizable names, unless Tim Tebow (yes, he came up during the announcement Thursday) decides to make a football comeback.But an updated version of the USFL concept would have a real chance at succeeding during the spring and summer Adidas Clayton Keller Jersey , football’s traditional offseason.Here’s a few ideas:鈥?Start with 10 or 12 teams, split between major NFL cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles; those that have lost teams (San Diego, St. Louis and soon-to-be Oakland); and untapped markets with big league stadiums (San Antonio comes to mind).鈥?Restrict ownership to those who not only have deep pockets, but are totally committed to the concept (i.e., not simply trying to turn their investment into a merger with the NFL). Point out the relative bargain of owning a team in the new league compared to, say, the Carolina Panthers, whose selling price will surely exceed $2 billion. Maybe Mark Cuban would be interested in a Dallas franchise. Reach out to Oprah Winfrey about a Chicago team.鈥?Don’t get into a bidding war with the NFL over players. Focus heavily on scouting and development, which means pursuing lower-level pros who might thrive in a bigger role and college stars projected to go in the later rounds of the NFL draft. Always be on the lookout for someone like 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, the subject of wildly varying draft projections, who might have a better chance at playing time in a new league. And let’s not forget: Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed.鈥?Line up a traditional TV deal to provide financial stability, perhaps some combination of a major network and a newer, sports-themed cable outlet such as NBCSN or Fox Sports 1. But also be on the cutting edge of subscription services, mobile streaming and other innovative conduits that appeal to a younger audience.In essence, follow the model laid out by the late David Dixon, the New Orleans businessman whose longtime push for an out-of-season league finally came to fruition with the launch of the USFL in 1983.Looking back, that first season was a rousing success in many ways. The Denver Gold averaged more than 41,000 fans. Overall attendance was roughly in line with the hoped-for 25,000 per game. TV ratings on ABC and then-fledgling ESPN actually exceeded projections. The quality of play was solid.But the seeds of the USFL’s downfall were already in motion. When the New Jersey Generals skirted the salary cap to lure Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker away from Georgia Adidas Brad Marchand Jersey , it only led more teams to dole out big bucks in pursuit of stars. That, in turn, led to huge financial losses. Dixon wisely walked away after that inaugural season.In the end, the USFL’s most enduring legacy was the $3 judgment it “won” in an antitrust suit against the NFL, a ruling that finished off the league in 1986 before it carried out a Trump-backed move from spring to fall.No one since has made a serious attempt at a spring football league.A revived XFL certainly doesn’t qualify.But someone out there should heed McMahon’s words.“Football is America’s favorite sport,” he said. “We’ve got seven months of no football on the gridiron and 70 million fans. Why not now? Now is the perfect opportunity.”Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at pnewberryap.org or at The goals were to let the backups play and learn, and to be inspired.
The Ravens and Bears honored their great linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher with some defense to make them proud in the Hall of Fame game that opened the NFL's preseason Thursday night. Baltimore held on 17-16.
"Ray is the greatest linebacker of our time," said 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, who quarterbacked the second half for the Ravens. "That was a big thrill and exciting stuff."
Oh, there was a little spark of offense, some provided by Baltimore's first-round draft pick. Jackson's 7-yard touchdown pass to fellow first-rounder Hayden Hurst came after the Ravens' defense recovered a fumble.
Chicago put together its best drive in the final minutes and journeyman Tyler Bray connected with Tanner Gentry for a 10-yard score to cap a 92-yard march. But the 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
Otherwise, D was the letter of the day: there were six turnovers in all, and 12 sacks, eight by the Bears.
"To represent Ray in this game to our guys meant even more," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
"It was a special moment for our organization," noted new Bears coach Matt Nagy.
The teams exchanged tipped interceptions on the first two possessions of the preseason.
Chicago moved swiftly downfield only to have Chase Daniel's pass to Josh Bellamy deflected to safety Chuck Clark at the Baltimore 6. He returned it 15 yards, then the Ravens replicated the turnover.
Robert Griffin III, attempting a comeback after sitting out 2017, had his pinpoint throw go off the hands of receiver Breshad Perriman, then off rookie cornerback Michael Joseph. DeAndre Houston-Carson dived to make the pick at the Ravens 34.
The Bears soon converted when Michael Burton caught a 4-yard scoring pass from Daniel.
Baltimore tied it http://www.49ersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mike-mcglinchey-jersey , sparked by two big gainers by undrafted rookie running back Gus Edwards. Griffin found Maxx Williams for a 4-yard score.
"It felt great," Griffin said. "I can't tell you how grateful I am to play the game again."
Then Lewis' old unit gave him a thrill. On the next play from scrimmage, linebacker Kamalei Correa sped 19 yards with an interception to the Chicago 9. But Urlacher's former defense made him smile, sacking Griffin on third down to hold Baltimore to a 31-yard field goal by Kaare Vedvik.
Generally, it was a sloppy affair among backups marred by a slew of dropped passes, poor protection for the quarterbacks, and misthrows by those QBs.
But something Lewis and Urlacher would approve, the defenses hit hard and tackled well.
NEW COACH, OFFENSE
Nagy, of late the offensive coordinator in Kansas City, made his head coaching debut with the Bears. He has said his new offense is in the early steps of development, and it looked that way all night.
Of course, with backups playing it's nearly impossible to gauge progress. But he was optimistic.
"The arrow is pointing up for us," he said. "We definitely took steps in the right direction."
Each of the seven inductees to the hall who were on hand 鈥?Terrell Owens is a well-publicized no-show 鈥?received a rousing ovation when they were introduced before the game. Lewis replicated his patented warmup dance for a few seconds, and Urlacher slapped hand with every Bears player lined up on the 45-yard line.
"Ray was on the field getting all fired up, doing his thing," Harbaugh said. "With both teams at the 45, I thought that was awesome, and then to see Ray come out, that was spectacular."
Urlacher gave a pregame pep talk to the Bears in the locker room.
"It's so funny to see Jim Kelly Jersey ," veteran defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. "Growing up, you've watched these guys, and you're one of the guys now who people come up and ask for pictures and autographs. Then you see Urlacher come into the locker room and you get to see all these NFL football players turn into kids ...
"It's a phenomenal feeling."
Also walking along midfield between the lines of Ravens and Bears were Randy Moss, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile and Bobby Beathard.
Owens did make it onto the cover of the Hall of Fame enshrinement magazine, however.
At halftime, Hall of Famers Ozzie Newsome, the general manager of the Ravens, and Dan Fouts received their "Rings of Excellence" from David Baker, the hall's president.
The first application of the NFL's enhanced enforcement of penalties for players lowering their helmet to make a tackle occurred early. Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor was flagged for his hit on Benny Cunningham, earning a 15-yard penalty that helped set up Chicago's first touchdown.
Correa got nailed for the same violation in the third quarter, but he also had a sack that forced a fumble in that period, and three sacks overall.
"It was great to see him break out," Harbaugh said of Correa's overall performance. "His work ethic and attention to detail, to see it pay off like that, a coach loves to see it."
Bears: At Cincinnati next Thursday night.
Ravens: Host Los Angeles Rams next Thursday night.