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L.A. to Get a Football Team After All

Spring football is coming and once again, the Express will be in town.

A spring football league has chosen Los Angeles for one of its first six founding cities. Patch file photo.
A spring football league has chosen Los Angeles for one of its first six founding cities. Patch file photo.

Los Angeles was among six cities awarded teams today in the proposed A11 Football League, which plans to begin play in March 2015.

The team will be nicknamed the Express because of its “enormously popular fan following” from being the nickname of Los Angeles' team in the United States Football League, A11 Football League Commissioner and CEO Scott McKibben told City News Service.

“When we bought the names of the USFL teams the ones we kept had a very, very strong fan following and were also very well-liked by the sponsors,” said McKibben, a former executive director of the Tournament of Roses and Rose Bowl Game and executive vice president and chief revenue officer for the Los Angeles Times Media Group.

Two other teams announced today will also have nicknames from the USFL --
the New Jersey Generals and Tampa Bay Bandits.

The USFL played a spring-summer schedule from 1983-85, planned to switch
to fall play beginning in 1986, but suspended operations after being awarded just $3 in an antitrust suit against the NFL.

The A11 Football League will be “looking at various stadium options in Los Angeles,” including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, McKibben said.

The 2015 season will begin on March 27 and continue through the July Fourth weekend, ending three weeks before the NFL preseason.

ESPN2 will show a “game of the week” during the 2015 season, McKibben said.

The other teams announced today are the San Francisco Bay Area Sea Lions, Dallas Wranglers and Chicago Staggs. Two additional teams will be announced soon, McKibben said.

The league will play what it is billing as “showcase games” May 17 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. and June 5 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Both games will be shown by ESPN2.

The league's name is based on the A11 offense which it will use exclusively. The league will allow all 11 offensive players to wear numbers eligible to catch passes, creating a game where every player can be interchangeable within any formation. League officials believe the offense will result in a safer, more athletic game.

McKibben said he is optimistic about the league's chances of success because “at no time ever has football been more popular to fans and the media companies.”

The first two coaches hired will coach in the showcase games. The remainder of the coaches will be hired in late summer or early fall. The league will hold its draft in December or January 2015, with training camps opening in February, McKibben said.

 --City News Servcice

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