Former Notre Dame defensive lineman Justin Tuck has been relatively quiet since retiring from the NFL in 2016, but his name popped up in one of the more interesting football stories of the young year on Tuesday.
After Vince McMahon announced the return of the XFL earlier this year, Charlie Ebersol, the son of NBC executive and McMahon’s former partner in the XFL Dick Ebersol, has announced a league of his own, the Alliance of American Football, that will beat the XFL to market by the year.
The younger Ebersol recently directed a 30 for 30 documentary on ESPN on the short-lived history of the original XFL. And he came up with a clever business plan for an auxiliary product to the NFL that could put pressure on McMahon’s second attempt at the XFL before it even starts.
And Tuck is listed as an adviser on the project along with several other former heavy hitters in the NFL.
Ebersol plans on creating eight teams to play a 10-game schedule and will attempt to tap into regional interest by allowing each team to have a local draft to keep players from around their marketplace close to home.
He’s already got a TV deal lined up with CBS, who will broadcast their inaugural game and the championship on network television with an additional game each week to be played on CBS Sports Network.
Tuck is joined by former Pittsburgh Steelers standouts Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu as fellow former Pro Bowl selections attached to the project in an executive or advisory capacity. And former Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears star Jared Allen is among the league’s numerous financial backers, according to a report from ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
The key to Ebersol’s business model is subdued expectations, as his deep-pocketed investors have been told that it’s a 7- to 10-year business model. With a media deal already in place (the XFL doesn’t have one) and the inaugural game already scheduled for a week after the Super Bowl in 2019, they could carve out a niche for themselves in the doldrums of spring and summer.
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