It’s All Math

(11 September 2000) — When the XFL was first announced, one of the comments was “Who will play in such a league?” It seems that the real question should have been “What will the XFL do with all the potential players they turn away?”

The XFL is getting a lot of attention lately from players of all sorts. More players than expected are asking the question, “How do I sign up to play in the XFL?” But, for most of these potential smashmouth footballers there will never be a job, just a math lesson.

In the CFL, many players are using the “XFL trump card” as a contract bargaining chip. In the Arena League, 410 players were reportedly sent contracts (letters of intent?) by the XFL. It is also reported that the XFL is currently negotiating with players such as Jim Druckenmiller, Dave Krieg, Rashaan Salaam, Jeff Hostetler and Bobby Hebert.

The XFL also had 10,000 players sign up at their official web site. How many of these will end up on an XFL roster? The answer is very few. Of the 10,000 that signed up some were known players with quantative experience. Most of these players were sent letters of intent. Of the remainder, only 1,000 were assigned to go to a combine.

In the first combine, held on 9 Sep 00 in Dallas, it is about 250 players showed up, but most were never given two looks. In the end, as it was reported by a player who was there, only nineteen players were singled out to receive letters of intent from the league. (The press reports that 50 were given contracts.) These guys were the cream of the crop.

Once all the combines are complete, only 10-15% of the attendees will be issued letters of intent. The others are all turned away at the door, and they will be out $110.00, the player’s cost to attend the combine, plus travelling expenses.

This should not come as a surprise to anybody. The XFL has a lot of players knocking on the door, and only a limited time to put together eight teams. The combines are designed to see what talent is available, and that nobody is overlooked.

When all is said and done, the XFL will most likely have issued a letter of intent for 600-700 players. These players will go into a pool for the XFL draft. Once drafted, approximately 350 players will gain a position on XFL rosters.

It’s anybody’s guess, but anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 potentially excellent football players will be turned away from the entire selection process. The good news for them is that there is going to be approximately 350 more professional football player jobs in the world come this February. Players who go to the XFL from the CFL, Arena League and NFL Europe will leave openings for the unsigned football playing masses.

Salaries: Another Math Lesson

Why is there so much interest in this league? Mostly because the XFL salary scale is unique, and may prove to be beneficial to many players, especially the ones who play on winning teams.

The league has hinted that they will be paying a base salary of $45,000 for each player per season. Quarterbacks will receive a little more, $55,000, and kickers will get $35,000. There is also an incentive plan, with players on teams that win getting more cash.

Of course it is the incentives that make this league worthwhile. After each winning game, winning team will split $100,000. The team that wins the championship will split an additional bonus of $1,000,000. On a 38 man roster, these incentives can add up in a hurry.

For example, a regular player who plays on a winning team, with an 7-3 record for example, and that goes on to win the championship will actually make $92,638. The potential is there for a player to more than double his base salary.

On the other hand, a player on a losing team, with a 3-7 record for example, and that misses the playoffs, would make only $52,895.

Not too bad for three months work.

Base Salaries
Season Performance Bonus
Winning teams will split a $100,000 bonus for each game won. Reportedly this bonus pool would be split evenly across 38 players on the roster.
Yearly Bonus per player
Performance Bonus
Playoff wins will net more bonuses for players. The Championship team will split a whopping $1,000,000. Playoff calculations are based on 4 teams making it into the post-season.
Approx. Playoff Bonus Per Player
Win Only

Mark Nelson – XFLBoard Editor