The Greatest of all Time has transformed into a Renegade. Kentucky football’s all-time leading scorer will make his XFL debut this Sunday in Dallas as the Renegades host the St. Louis Battlehawks at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Best known for his work on the KSR Football Podcast, in-between recording sessions Austin MacGinnis previously dominated the Alliance of American Football. A special teams star for the Memphis Express, the spring football league folded before the conclusion of the regular season. MacGinnis is confident history will not repeat itself in the XFL.
“I was in the AAF and it was good football, but they didn’t have the money side figured out,” he told KSR earlier this week.
“We’ve got the funds. They’re not paying crazy the first year or anything crazy. They’re actually trying to build a league that’s sustainable which I think is so important because there’s so many guys that just miss the cut, and if you sit out too long in football, you get rusty, you get passed up. Everyone likes the guys that are coming out of college. It gives those guys, myself included, the ability to put new film out there, keep getting experience playing in live games. We finally got a developmental league for the NFL and I think we’ll see a lot of guys get signed after this season from the XFL to the NFL.”
The X-factor in the XFL is Vince McMahon. He’s prepared to spend a half-billion dollars to keep the league afloat until he can cash in on a lucrative TV rights deal.
“The football (in the AAF) was still pretty good because you had big-name coaches. You had Spurrier coaching for the Orlando team. It’s more of the face that the guy who started the league is the guy with the money, and that wasn’t the case in the AAF. They were selling hopes and dreams and honestly they were blatantly lying to people that they had investors and they didn’t,” said MacGinnis.
“This, Vince McMahon has the money. He knows what to expect. It’s his second go at it and I think they’ve done a good job advertising it. And the fact that it’s on mainstream television — my friends can all go find the game very easily, might even stumble across it not even knowing it’s on. That’s a good sign.”
What’s not a good sign for MacGinnis? A couple of the rule changes.
Kickers have been taken out of the equation on PATs. Instead of trotting a kicker out there to take a swing at it, teams will have three choices. They can go for one point at the two yard-line, two points at the five yard-line or three points from the ten yard-line. They’ve also altered kickoff and punting formations to create more opportunities for returns.
“I’m going to have to tighten the shoulder pads on a couple of kickoffs… It should be interesting.”
At least we already know MacGinnis can lower his shoulder and deliver a blow.
MacGinnis is confident that the XFL is here to stay and that his Dallas Renegades are winning the title.
“It’s in the bag.”
That Championship guarantee was actually not included in our phone conversation. It came in the form of a text message after I let the most important question completely slip my mind. You can listen to all 12 minutes of our talk where he shared his celebration plans and what it’s like to play for a second Stoops.