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For pro football, are more leagues the right answer?




Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams throws a pass during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Los Angeles Coliseum on January 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams throws a pass during the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Los Angeles Coliseum on January 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

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At a time when NFL ratings are down, with a lot of conversation about the dangers of concussions and the future of pro football, there's now ... more football.

Plans are underway for not just one, but two new pro football leagues.

The Alliance of American Football announced Tuesday it plans to launch its league in February 2019, and has a deal to air games on CBS Sports. 

Competition will come in 2020 from the revived XFL, which hopes to do better than its short run of one season in 2001. Vince McMahon, chairman and CEO of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), started the XFL league and is bringing it back.

We talked with sports guru brothers Andy and Brian Kamenetzky about the news. The old XFL was known for lots of spectacle, much like the WWE -- but the football playing back then was not great, Andy said. This time McMahon is focusing on the guts of football, rather than the glitz.

McMahon made a point of driving home that players will not kneel during the anthem in the new XFL. Players will not be allowed in the league if they have a criminal record of any kind. So he's got an eye toward some of the recent PR issues the NFL is dealing with.

The giant lineman in the room, though, is whether or not television viewers have the appetite for more football. Brian said the NFL has been struggling to maintain its ratings, and that's something pro football organizers need to consider.

Are the problems with pro football specific to the NFL or are they related to pro football? We're worried more about concussions. We've seen too much of the product, we really like fantasy football more than we like actual football, and so we'll see a little bit of that based on how successful these ancillary leagues are.

As for L.A.'s own NFL teams, they both seem to have become desirable destinations for high-profile free agent players. The Rams are pursuing standout pass rusher Ndamukong Suh, and the Chargers landed free agent center Mike Pouncey.