Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 years ago

Doug Whaley

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

    Doug Whaley is the current Senior Vice President Of Football Operations for the XFL. Before that, he was the General Manager of the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL) from 2013-2017. Before joining The Bills, Whaley spent 11 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the team’s Pro Scouting Coordinator, where he won two Super Bowls. Whaley worked directly under Kevin Colbert, who is the Director Of Football Operations. In his time with the Steelers, Whaley helped scout and draft defensive players such as Lamarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu & Lawrence Timmons. Doug was born In Columbus Ohio and then moved to Pittsburgh as a teenager and attended Upper St. Claire High School. He went onto play college football at the University of Pittsburgh.  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Welcome everyone to huddle up with gusts, where we talked to our guests about how sports shape their life. I'm your host, Gusts Farrat, fifteen year NFL quarterback, and I'm joined by my all time friend and Co host, Dave Hagar. You can now find us under the big top on sports circus with south a ring master, on amp TV, AA, MP tvcom and you can also find us on RADIOCOM or wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. Hello everyone, this is gust rat with huddle up with Gust fifteen, your NFL quarterback. I'm here with my cohost, Dave, I guess, and you know, we are brought to you by the western Bonda Venture Hotel Out in beautiful Los Angeles, if you get a chance to go there and stay. And you can also find us under the big top at the sports circus on amp TV and saw the ring master is really kind enough, Dave, to host us. So we're excited that you can see us now on am TV, on the sports circus and also find us on RADIOCOM. Today, Dave, we have another great guest. As usual. He's going to fill us in on what the xfl is about. And what they're doing and how they're going to progress. So joining us in the huddle right now, Doug Wailey. Doug, great to have you and thanks for joining us. Gus and David's my pleasure. I appreciate you having some time for me today now. We appreciate it. So where we always start and what we want to ask you first is, can you think back to when you were a kid and that fost moment where you fell in love with sports? Right, it could have been baseball, football, whatever it was, but give us said kind of inner, inner spirit of where you were and how you fall in love with sports. Live older brother, he's five years older than me, and he was heavily involved in sports at a young age, football and wrestling and baseball, and my father was his coach in Midget League football. So he would I would go to practice with them and that was my introduction to sports and my love of Sports, and I actually ended up fipping on my age because I was young and told the organization I was six when I was actually five, just to start playing early. So I was in love with especially football, at a very young age. Well, you were probably like David I. We watch the steelers growing up. So were you a steelers fan growing up? Actually, a lot of people I claimed Pittsburgh from home as my hometown, but I was actually born in Columbus, Ohio and moved around a lot as a kid. I didn't move to Pittsburgh until I was in ninth grade. So I become a became a Pittsburgh steeler fan. When I grew up we were in Columbus, it was the Cincinnati Bengals. I also, once I moved around to West Virginia, I started looking. I was actually a chargers Fan, but obviously once I came to stealer country it was all over. I'm a steeler fan. I've been a steeler fan growing up. So Great. So when you would go out when you were a kid and you'd go out and play youth football, who is that player? You wanted to be? Chuck Muncy, Chuck Months, and then when I was on defense, it was Ronnie Lott. Did you wear the Chuck Muncy glasses? I didn't, but I had not enduring the games, but around the school I would every once in a while and if it was Ronny Lot, you have all your fingers still. You all good? Oh Yeah, actually, when I go off now I still take my fingers like Ronnie Lot now, you know, and you know that's kind of where we all kind of fall into play. We all had people that we emulated and wanted to be like. For me it was Terry Bradshaw growing up here in Pittsburgh, and then every pirate I love. I wanted to be a pirate because my dad would listen to him on his transistor Radio Swell on the back porch all the time and and you know, he didn't have a lot to complain about the pirate it's not like we do today, Dave. No, we can have fifty consecutive podcasts on the problems of the pirates. I think, yeah, I tell you this much, and I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm still I still go to games and, unfortunately, I support them. What it has done, though, I think it's in a bad way. It's soured me on the pirates, but is also has made me appreciate the game a little more. So I'm going to pirate games, looking at other players and just being out there and enjoying the sport, which is a sad sate to be and as a pirate fan. What was your expectation of where you were going to be, what you wanted to do, moving on into college, moving on into your after college life. Yeah, after college I was really studied to be a stockbroker, so studying for my series seven and sixty one just to sell stock. So while I was doing that I was volunteering with my high school coach at Upper St Clair, Jim Render, and so during the fall I'd study during the day, at night go help them and are the defensive coordinator for him. At the time. Was Jimmying got...

...and Jim actually coached with the steelers director of football operations at that time, Tom donahoe. So, long and short of it, he was asking me what I was doing. I told him I was going to go to New York to be a stock proper and he asked if I ever thought about coaching. I was like, I'm not really didn't want to do a coaching he said what about personnel, and I said hadn't thought about that. So he told me to write a letter of the interest to Tom Donahoe and I wrote a letter and then I got a letter back from Tom Saying Hey, know, appreciate you a new knew everything about you from following you at St Clair and Pitt but we don't have anything at the time. So I've stocked out away. Didn't think anything of it. Was in New York for a whole year and then my mom called me and said, hey, that guy named Tom Donno called you. You want to call him back? Called him back and there was an internship that they had in the personnel department for the steelers. It was a year with an option. I talked to my boss, is in New York selling stock and they said, well, you have actually a year of inactivity on your license that you don't wouldn't have to retake the test. Why don't you try it and after the year we can reassess? And the rest is history, because that year we went to sit the super bowl with the against the cowboys and Phoenix, and then that spring I actually got on as the northeast scout for the Seattle seahawks. What is it like to be a scout? I mean I've known a lot of scout in my time in the NFL, but what is it like to be a scout as far as do you just have a certain territory or you going to every galege game? Were you were you a scout for players already in the NFL or college scount? I don't. I'm not sure how that works. So I started as a college scout. So the northeast. So I took the northeast region. So I had from Maine all the way to Virginia, all the way west to Michigan and Indiana. So that was my region and what I would do is I would go to every school in that region that had a senior prospect that we thought was worthy of being evaluated. So I would be on the road. I go to camp at with Seattle for a probably two weeks in August just get acquainted with the team that we have, the players we had on the team, and then start making my schedule and then and I'd be on the road from Sept into August all the way till November. After November there's a little down time and then in December and January you start look going to Allstar Games and then after January you get ready for the combine combines in February. After the February combine, then you'd do the pro days in March and then you fly back early April and you have draft meetings from April all the way till the draft. Then after draft you you get look at the supplemental draft guys and then you really have some downtime in June and July. So do you have you when you were a college scout, do you claim to say I'm the guy who found him? Right, we have any guys like that? Like well, I mean there's always a diamond in the rough. I know that Doug whalley went out and found somebody. Well, the way you look at especially when you're when you're a college scout, there's going to be at least two or three other people that evaluate those players, but you're the the point person, as my dad was. He was in Vietnam and and then military. He was the Recon so college scouts are the reconnaissance people that really go out canvas their area and point out the guys that Upreschel on. People like the directors, the college directors, the player personnel directors in the GM's and the coaches need to watch. So when you when you're really making a pick, it's a collective thing where everybody's going to add their two cents. Again, the first person is a college scout in a plate, then a player, Personnel Director College, then maybe a GM and then a coach will all sit there and give their two or three cents about what they think about this player and then then you come up with a team grade. And so yeah, you can say, Oh, I found this guy, but there's a lot of other people that go into make it a pick. So, Doug when you're like so you're in the Northeast as a college scout and you are obviously looking at the physical capabilities and how they are as a player. Are you able at that point to talk to them at all? Do you have any personal interaction? No, not, not during the fall. Most of the personal interactions come during the allstar games, during the combine in the spring. When it's the fall, you want those guys to be focused on their their job at hand, and that's being the best football player and helping their team when we don't want to be in there distracting them, having them thinking about their next step and and the NFL's in the pros. We want to make sure they're concentrating on being the best that they can be. So you have the seriou. I think you were there...

...for ten years. Is that right? Yes, what was where did you end up with the steelers. Like what was your last job? My last job was pro personnel coordinator. So when I when I'm with that job, that was more veteran free agency. So I was looking at all guys that were I did a little college just to stay in that, but my main focus was advanced scouting for our coaches. So I'd always be a week ahead. We opened up with Baltimore, I would make sure I'd watch Baltimore's last two preseason games and go to those games. If our second opponent was Kansas City, I'd go to Kansas City's first game. So advance report to make sure we can whatever we can't get off film if we can get some stuff at at the Games, like Oh, this guy was injured. Well, did he come back out or did they take them into the the to the locker room, and how long was in your rocking room? Or Oh, I saw him. He was out for the rest of the game, but I saw him running on the sidelines. So little things like that that you could pick up that you can't pick up on film I would do. But for the scouting purposes. Was All unrestricted free agency. Restricted free agency, any injury placements during the year or anything that we need to do add or subtract practice squadwise. So how does that work? You literally just think have a list of tackles, you have a list of the safeties, and that's yes, really, yeah, it's it's yeah, it's all the emergency list. It's emergency list and it's always it's always changing and it's one of those things where you can never get a total handle on it because there's always going to be some guys getting cut, getting waves, some guys getting on injured reserves and there's always new guys coming in every year. So it's a fluid situation, but you really have to just a kind of get compassite as best you can. Have a lot of people. We got actually have our college scouts help during the preseason. They would go out and look at preseason games to help us build our board of for emergency replacements. Do you think the current system for during the season, when a player gets hurt and you have to bring a replacement in, and you know, say it's a left tackle, your left tackle gets hurt, you're going to put somebody else in, but then you got to bring another guy in, and do you think that system is efficient. How the NFL does that now, or do you think there's a better way to do that, because I know you got to fly in ten guys and then you're going to pick the best out of ten guys who've all been at the gym only and not really working under skills so well that that a you just saw served me up a softball and it's one of the things that we have done at the xfl is because of that situation because, like you said, when you're especially the later you get in the season, you don't know how well these guys have stayed in shape and and anybody that's been a competitor knows there's a difference in being in shape running around in shorts and Tshirt and then being in actual physical shape to play a sport. So what we decided to do at the xfl because of that. We have a forty man what we call team nine, and it's forty guys from all different positions in Dallas actually working and practicing every day. So when we have injury replacement we know these guys have are in shape and are ready to play, and in shape not just in shorts, but they put on helmets and shoulder pads and have been practicing for four or five days for multiple weeks in rows. So there is some in efficiencies in the NFL side of it, but also that that they're in a different level than us. But we thought this would be a very unique way to help that's that process further and be more efficient. So they're going through practice, or so you have a you know, they're going through all the game plans there. You know they have to go to different types of systems, right. Well, so what we did is, what will we do? A lot of most of the guys that are in team nine were in camp with a team, one of our teams, and what we'll do there is it's a lot of more fundamental things. So they'll do some one on ones, wide receivers, dbsoline, D line, nine on seven and seven on seven and just general concepts, because guys can't get picked up from from maybe not a team that they went to the camp with but another team. So but we just want to make sure they have no general concepts, which most of them do, but be able to show them in competitive situations to the team so that all the every practice gets pushed out to every team so they can constantly evaluate those guys on team nine to see, one if there's an injury, where they which guy they want to go or if those guys can upgrade over somebody that isn't playing as well on the active roster. Form just like having a ready bullpattern right. Well, what you need that. And then you know Jim's orange going to...

...call plays differently than then you know another coach from other team, who's the coach that came from Oklahoma, bop steps, Bob Soup, so he's going to call it different kind of offense than Jim Zorns and which your quarterbacks just basically need to understand how to throw a comeback and you know just that timing, because if you're late on any of that because you haven't been thrown to the proper people, there's no way you can go to a game and be accurate, correct, correct and and one of the things that when we talk about concepts is, yeah, it's someone I say call it a comeback, some my might call it a stop or whatever, but if you know the general concept, you just have to adjust your brain to what they're labeling it. Well, Doug, as you know, I played with seven teams and had adjust my brain every year and I don't know if that was a good thing or bad thing, but it is very hard to do because that language, it's like learn a foreign language when you go from digitsus Somem the West Coast to these in betweens and trying to figure it out west coast is very the verbiage is real long and drawn out. But you know, it's interesting that you guys are doing that. I'm really glad you are, because that's going to help your your game as it goes to keep the best athletes playing. At the time. It was interesting to hear about after your first week. A lot of the players were saying, but we went through camp and everything, but until you get in the game and go through games situations, you don't know what kind of shape you're in exactly. Yeah, no doubt, and that was another reason we thought about this team nine and a thing that is going to help us as well because of our play clock being twenty five seconds and it's starting to mimic what a lot of these players are used to coming out of college, and I know the West Coast it's a lot of verbiage, but because we have such such short amount of time, in between plays. Our offenses are starting to be real condense and concise with how they play called play. So it's more two, three word play calls instead of those fifteen, sixteen word play calls that you're used to, because you just don't have the time to do that. So that's more reasons why we start thinking. Let's talk about concepts, because concepts. Now they may just call inside zone Detroit or so. Once you know that and you say, okay, it's inside zone, no matter what they call it, you know the concept. Always. I always said that, like what do we have to tell everybody what to do? We're all freaking adults here. We can all get her playbook and learn. And I got to stand in a huddle say seventeen word plays just so I could tell a fullback to run a flat. Like, exactly, what does it have to happen? But you know, the other interesting thing is that you guys do well is you put a head set in in every offensive players helmet except the lineman. Correct, correct, correct, and that's if you look at it, and that takes a good four to five seconds off of every play because you don't have to huddle up. And then another thing that we didn't even think about unintend the consequences. That's a positive thing is your receivers aren't running as much because they're not running into the huddle and then running back out to where they need to be when they're split out. So they can just stay where they are. Sometimes they may have to cross the formation if they have to line up on the other side, but you're decreasing the amount of running they're doing by maybe at least a mile of a game or maybe even more, right and you're still doing all the RFY detags on them to track them as well. Not this year. We're going to start next year, though. Yes, it'll really tell you. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Um. Do tell us about the transition then from being pro personal director of the steelers to then becoming general manager of the bills. How did that happen? Well, it was right around two thousand and ten when Buddy Knicks became the gem of the bills. He interviewed me and I first went up there as assistant GM under Buddy Knicks and that was where I got exposure to already been with the personnel under college, Doing College and then pro. So now I got exposed to negotiating contracts at a higher level. I'll did it as a smaller level with the steelers, but really immersed into contract negotiations and then dealing and knowing the basics of the cat and how to manage that. So that was a nice step for me and gradual step in my maturation to get to the ultimate goals being at GM. And then was the assistant GM under buddy for three years and then two thousand and fourteen he decided to step away and I turned into the GM. Was Blessed enough to have that opportunity and from there it's it opens up your eyes because, as they say, the further you get up, get promoted in your field, the less actual of work that you do to get you to that feel that you get. Have to be aware of because what you do is you start doing that general managing instead of actual working and personnel. And so that that was the biggest difference for me is instead of just always worried about s scouting and getting the best players, now it's scouting players,...

...cap coaching, strengthen conditioning, trainers. So now you got to start overseeing all of that Stuf, equipment doing. Yeah, you're doing with the owner more right like you had it. Absolutely agents travel, so it it's an encompassing job. That it was very enlightening. So, like, how many people is a general manager of an NFL team see you as their boss or reporting to you? I mean it's five thousand and sixty or like. Well, if you look at players, well, EST Claire's. Yeah, let's say in the spring you have ninety players, let's say conservatively, coaching staffs around twenty five. So your one hundred and fifteen. Then you got a personnel to partner in a number twenty. So you're talking about the trainer, strength and conditioning, close to between one hundred and fifty and one hundred and eighty people. Wow, yeah, that's a lot. That's a lot. And then there's always somebody that leaves or and you got to or that you'll have to, you know, fire or you know you're going in a new direction. Those conversations can't be easy. You know that, especially when people that have endor for years and you just the ownerships. We got to move in a new direction. Duging what you take care of it. You're like, Oh, okay, I gotta yeah, it's good, it's not easy. Yeah, that, but everybody knows what type of business we've signed up for and you try to keep it professional when everybody knows it's not. But it's not personal, it's professional, it's just business. So again, not easy conversations. I've been on both sides of them. Fun But it's it's just the business. Ward of that war in was Anthony Lynda coach when you were there. He was an interim coach. He was there here. Yeah, yeah, he was. He up was started the running back coach and then went to the OC and then the interim coach. So I was with him for two years. Excellent coach. We played together in Denver. That's how old, almost old belt. Wow, yeah, how about that? I got a great ant of the in story, but we can't talk about it on the air because I don't know if it's it's good for as most weird. It's an Anti Lynn Marshal aire story. So something I'll tell you guys. It's it's pretty funny. It's my favorite go to when we're hanging out when I when I come back last yeah, yeah, I'll tell you that. A Land Story. Yeah. So then now you're at the bills. You were there. You talked about how you know it doesn't work out. So how was that? You know, the ownership came to you and said we're moving in different direction after yeah, it was two thousand and seventeen. Ever after the draft. Walked in said we're going in a different direction. I thank them. I mean, obviously they could have moved on for me when they bought the team because when I got promoted to the to the GM position, I Ralph Wilson was the owner and then when Ralph Wilson passed the the pagoulas bought the team. They actually came in and they kept me. So they gave me a shot to stay on his GM when they first got it. They didn't have to appreciate it that and that that year it was two thousand and seventeen, I took the whole year off. That that next year didn't didn't get into football at all. Did some other things outside of football, some other interest that I started to investigate. And then that next year in two thousand and eighteen, I ended up the NFLPA approached me about handling their NFLPA Collegian Allstar game, which is an Allstar game that they put in every year Passadena, California for guys that have exhausted their college ill was ability and it's and it's all star game. Give them another shot to get in front of Scouts, to show them, the scouts, how well they can play. And obviously that's when they start having interview. The interview process so the scouts can and any other team personnel can get to know the players personally. Valet stay and play in your next getaway to Los Angeles, the Western Bonaventure Hotel suites offers effortless access to all the city of angels has to offer, whether you're hoping to catch a concert or sporting event. Our hotels just moments from all the action and accessible to Hollywood, beaches, museums and theme parks. The package includes a guest room and valet parking. For reservations, use Promo Code PSF and the code box when making your online reservation, or call one two, one hundred and three, six, two four one thou and ask for Promo Code PSF. Well, it's funny. I coach in that game and two thousand and nineteen, so I don't think you were there that you're night. Coached under Mike tys, okay, that offensive coordinator, and that year I really enjoyed it. I mean I put a lot of work and a lot of effort in trying to make it plays as easy as possible in five days to give these guys an understanding of, you know, what we're calling and what routes are going to be running all of that. But it was a great experience, that only for me,...

...but for the kids and and I thought the NFL PA to, you know, a good job. And you know, they're not bringing in the high level guys, are not bringing in the top guys from Alabama, Ohio State and all that. They're giving a lot of guys that would normally to get a shot a shot to go and show that what they can do in an all star game. And that was the thing that was the most exciting and intriguing for me because it went back, it got me back to my pure just scouting days, as saying, hey, everybody sees that first and second and third round Guy, but this guy there's something about him I really liking. If he gets more exposure then it will help his draft stocks. So it got back to that part of the genesis of me and this business, and that's just that pure let's identify some talent and make them get their talent exposed to other people to help better their draft positioning. Right. So we had a kid day that your eye coach running back from slipper rock. Okay, yeah, then when it came out and played, I think he was made it to the league and I don't know if he's feeling a team or not, but you know, he was pretty good. He had a great understanding of the game. He made some plays while he was out there, did really good on special teams. Those are all the things that we try to, you know, preach to those kids were in there, when they're in the meetings, you know that it's not just what your position is offensively or defensively, but most of you guys can make a team by being good on special teams as well. Absolutely position flexibility and ability to play teams, and that's a lot of things that these young guys when they go into all star Games, they finally start seeing the importance of it, because a lot of these guys are all stars and they're coming from their college program where they just usually played offense or defense. They didn't have to make their mark on the special teams to get noticed. So these are things and then add to the fact that they're getting coach, especially at the NFLPA and and all these and even the senior bowl. You can coach coach by pro teachers and pro coaches and pro players, expro players, so they understand what is going to be expected of them once they step into an NFL building. Dug, you've interviewed a ton of players as a general managers, scout setter at combines and everything. Um, have there been many players that have, I guess, talk themselves out of injury? Your interests, like you had to your real high and a guy, and then you talk to him and you're like Whoa? Yes, yes, there is. And then I look at it this way. Football players are across section of just people in general. So you're going to have some really intelligent people, you're going to have some people that struggling, they're gonna have some really gargay's, brilliant out their personalities that people are really drawn to, and then there's some people that are really kind of introverted. So you have that whole spectrum and and there are some guys that can definitely talk themselves out of you're like who, I like them, but wow, stuff. That said, there's some mysteries that that he's dealing with or we would have to deal with if we decided to have him on our team. Right. So, Hey, real quick, I want to go back to the bills, because one thing always wanted is as a GM you have a lot icons have played for the bills. Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Emmett, am it and not in it, but Theurman, Thomas, theremon, yes, a lot of other guys like juice. Yeah, juice, but you know, how did you deal with those guys coming back and trying to be a part of the bills and always wanting to be around? Is that's something the goals really wanted to make make part. You know, because I will. I know some other no doubt about it. Don't know. Yeah, know that that we as a button the buffalo and it's such a tight nick community. I don't know if this is still the stat but at one point the bills and buffalo had the highest amount of Lumni players still in the area. So yeah, so that we opened up our arms and had nothing but respect and anytime those guys could come back and and be a part of whatever we were doing, it was it was benefit us and it's pays homage to the history and the reason why buffalo is still considered has fans are everywhere and considered organization that had a nice run that probably won't be seeing or duplicated again and how I would say in my lifetime. But to go to four straight super bowls just because of the way the system is set up now, that that would be very, very hard to comment. Parity is too much. Know, and I did hear Jim Kelley throws amazing parties when when he was back in his day. Back in his day, not now so much. There's a different, different Jim Kelley now. But you know, back in the day Jim grew up and he's Brady, which was like twenty minutes from where I grew up. Yes, been PA here. So actually my wife's Dad, Harry, he coached all JIM's brothers in high school.

So okay's like there's some crazy connection. My cousin Mitch played for the bills a long time ago, you know, so there's some bills connection to go way back for me. But that's it. Really interesting that you say that. How teams need to bring those people in because there's nothing better than somebody who's been to the top so many times and come back in and talking to your team or talking to somebody who's having problems and saying, you know, hey, this doesn't last forever, but if you do it right and you do it the right way and work hard, then it could be great. Yes, yes, you, and it's all about history. Know your history and if you know your history, or better chance to realize what, like you said, what it takes to get to that, that point where work. That was everybody's goal is to get to the Super Bowl. Right. So how did you get now from working with the NFLPA that that bowl, to xfl? I mean that's an interesting jomp. Yeah, I was with the NFLPA and then a it was I'm trying to think, probably mid made at Fall Octoberish, and I got a call from recruiter asking if I'd be interested in talking to Oliver Luck about the xfl. And, as someone taught me a long time ago, it cost you nothing to listen. So I had interview with Oliver Luck, came here to Stanford Connecticut. We talked what they were trying to do and what the XFL is all about really interest me and it was about reimagining or, I always say, just evolving the game. This game is the NFL and football is at the highest level it can be. It's a great game, but there are just like anything, there are little things that we can always make better and we can always evolve, and the things that they wanted to do to evolve the game, I thought, fit very well with how people are consuming their sports and entertainment these days and I think it was it was going to be a natural fit and a natural flow that these little minor twigs that a lot of people and you're going to have the purest, and absolutely there's always purest that want to stick with the pure purity and sanctity of what they're watching now. But if you look at the younger generations, they're they're they're evolving and they're saying, well, yeah, that's great, but wouldn't the game be a little better if we did this, this and this? So that was the mindset that I've had and the XFL had and it was a natural fit. I'm imagining like at the beginning of the XFL, there's just a big grease board and everybody come up and rite you're crazy ideas down and we're just going to go through and we want to see what all week we come up with and where we can change the rules. And, you know, I think some of the rule change you guys have made, like shortening the clock, getting more plays out there, making the kickoff more competitive without trying to mass injuries, you know, because everybody running down to somebody who's standing still forty yards is is kind of insane, like exactly. And some of the things we did, like you said, are we're common sense thing and there were some of the things that we had that were out there that we didn't put in there. So we've had, we've gone through a lot of iterations of rules and we shortened them and got them concise to the point where the main thing is we didn't want to to come across gimmicky. And from this we just ended week three and every review we've I've seen or that's been out there, people have been this is interesting, but no one said, oh, it's a gimmick. So that was one of the main things we didn't want to do. We wanted to make sure when people tune in, they knew it was football, but it was a football that they thought, hey, I like that. Oh that's interesting. Oh, that makes sense and that makes the game safer, more and competitive and just something that as evolved just like, like I said, just like people's how they consume their sports entertainment as welld and we hope bar our game has involved to help keep up with that. Well, I think you guys are doing and the gimmicky things in other ways, not for the players health and safety, but, you know, letting us listen into what the coaches are all saying, you know, putting headsets and everybody's helmet, hearing what the quarterbacks you know, brock hereds, going out and interviewing guys right on the field after a touchdown. It's like crazy. How you know you're loosening up the restrictions that the NFL put on everything, you know, and now you even have what's the celter? You guys are drinking after the game, but like Seltzer, but I seltzer and the one dude, the I think it was a linebacker, Dave. He just took the CAN, ripped it off, drunk through it, like it was like hey, hey, that's what everybody wants to do. So exactly's making a gimmicky and entertainment in other ways that are that people really enjoy and it's not gimmicky. Gimmicky's doing an injustice, you know, seeing saying even though we're getting gimmicky, was there the old xfl? The way they do? They'd run to the center to grab right, right, right. That's it's it's...

...still a game. We know. Yeah, yes, that's what we want to do. When you turn on the TV or are going to the stadium, you say, Oh, this is football, but the access and the other things that you're not used to from the NFL or from college, that's where we start drawing in our fans, saying hey, listen, we're going to give you more access, because that's what a lot of people want. Hey, what are they saying in the in the huddle? What are they say? How is a quarterback and at a court, at a head coach communicate during the game? What's going on in at halftime, in the locker room, stuff like that. Hey, someone just scored. Let's hear what his raw emotions after he scored or raw emotions after he made an interception or a big play. So those are the type of things that are going to draw some fans and and fans want and that's how they've evolved to consume their entertainment. I think what they should do, Dave, is not take the players but have two fans who can run out and try to get the ball from the goalies and get the ball. It could be I could take a long time. Yeah, yeah, no, but you slam and Bud light felter go get the ball. But then you got guys pulling hamstrings. You don't know now, but that's a that's a you guys got to you gotta Create Your Fan Base, you know. Yeah, I think you're doing it in the right way and you're getting that out there and it just got to build it and I think if you keep that purity of the game but take some of those things that are so restrictive in the NFL off, I think you guys are doing it the right way and it's it's actually a lot of fun to watch and that's what we're looking for. We want fun, Fan Fan and family friendly football that people can go out on an affordable way and enjoy. So that that's our goal. So what is your actual like? What are your duties for you day in and day out being in the XFL? Well, as a best way to describe it as I'm the Troy Benson of the xfl. So anything that touches the football field, be a players, coaches, trainers, facilities, anything that's going to affect the game that is being played as under my jurisdiction. And so anything for football ops. And then I'll make sure that any major decisions that have to be made I've bet them and then pass them along to the commissioner. So that that's my day to day. So during the week right now I'll watch all four games to make sure the play if there's anything going on that is opposite of what we're trying to do achieve rules. Wise, I'll talk to all the coaches to see if there's anything that came up this week that they need help rectifying or if there's any issues that we need to look at broadly and maybe expand something from a leaguewide system and just make sure everybody on our eight teams feel they have everything they need to compete for a championship get their teams ready to compete for any championship right. So, if I think back to some of my days in the NFL, the NFL changed a lot from the fifteen years I was in there. Right when I first got in there, we could have a hat deal with a certain company and where that had after the game and during the game and you get to pay a little extra money, especially if you're back up. That's like great, because I wasn't making the money. The third was, are you letting the players do things like that, or are you guys saying we're a Nike, Nike League or under Armor League? How are you guys approaching that kind of aspect to help the players maybe try to make more money? Well, right now we're just because we're in the infancy of our league. It's going to be we're going to do league deals, so it's going to be when we're going to try to build it as an xfl brand and then once we get really established and then have a chance for guys to break off and maybe do stuff that something will consider down the road. But right now we want to establish, like I said, the brand of the xfl and then after that maybe have the chance for for the players to be able to break off and do something on their own, because you don't even know who your xfl stars are going to be a exactly exactly. So it's hard for to put the cart before the horse or right now. So we want to make sure as a league we set some some some roots and some ground positioning so we can spring board forward for not only the League but the players. How did you guys do the contracts are all the same or is it putting on position or you know, we have a core standard contract where probably ninety percent of our league is has and has signed now we did. Our quarterbacks are in different contracts and there's some specific players that we targeted that we needed to go above core to get them in our league. But I like I said, ninety percent our players as core contract. One of the things that in our research talking to fans, they wanted. They wanted a little more compensation tied to the competitiveness of the game,...

...as in a winning bonus. So everybody's going to get a winning bonus. And then another part of our contract that's a little unique, but it's not as distant as an NFL contract, because a lot of guys do have that Game Day activation bonus. Right, if you're active, you're going to get bonus. So everybody that's active gets a bonus for our guys. So there's we have fifty two guys on the roster. Forty six game day active. So those forty six guys will get an act game day active bonus on top of their base salary. And then any every winning team we have a basically a hundred hundred thousand plus dollars that gets split up from the as bonuses for the winning team. That's good. That's kind of like making the pro bowl. You want to win because it's a difference between twenty Fivezero and Tenzero. Right. Yes, definitely. Now tell us about so the seasons. So we've just completed week three. Where is the championship game? What's it called? WHAT'S THE SCENARIO THERE? It's going to be in Houston, Texas, at tdcu stadium, which is on the University of Houston, and the April Twenty six, and right now it's called the xfl champion chip. We're still designing the trophy and looking at what the winners will get. There's been some things talked about, but once we decide, will make sure everybody knows what we're going to do. There, Start Your Day sunny side up at the Weston Bonaventure Hotel and sweets and enjoy breakfast for two on us. No matter how you plan to spend your trip to Los Angeles, start every day with a hearty meal to kickstart your morning. Enjoy breakfast for two on us for each day you stay for reservations. Be sure the Promo Code S Ford B appears in the Promo codebox when making your online reservations at Marriottcom. BACKSLASH LA xbw or call one eight hundred two to eight ninety, two hundred and ninety and ask for Promotional Code S for B. I think if you're an xfl champion, you shouldn't get a ring, you should get a belt. All right, that day, like I said once, we to side. Everybody know you ret my there. Something's being talked about, but nothing has been decided yet. All right, hey, we're going to go into our no huddle real quick. This is where we fire some questions at you and then, you know, fire the question the answers back. But I'm going to do a little intro here real fast. So okay, hey everyone, thanks for joining us again. On HOWDO UP WITH GUSS? I'm here with Dave and you know we want you to watch us on RADIOCOM and we really appreciate you tune and in to hear this episode with Doug Walley and you can also see us under the big top at the sports circus with ring master sal and also on amp TV. So, Doug, we're now into the no huddle. Dave always fires first of Dave, let him does. who were two or three players right now? I know you have to remain neutral, but that you're excited about who the league's excited about. who kind of emerged is hey, these guys might be maybe the next face of the XFL. Well, PJ Walker, the quarterback in Houston. He's played really well. I think right now he is a league leader for the MVP. Yesterday, Josh Johnson. He had missed the first game because injury, and week two you could see some promising things and he was just a little off here and there. He had a big game this past weekend. And then the wide receiver out of for Houston, Mr Phillips. He's got to think, a total of seven or eight total touchdowns. So He's Cam Phillips. He's shown a lot and those three guys right now are pretty much the face of the offensive explosion in the XFL. It's awesome. What is the one? What is the biggest surprise that you and Olliver of had and you didn't really see it coming. I think the biggest surprise for us is that the rules that we did institute that are a little different than the NFL or that all over college, all over football in the football universe, are now that the conton what we were trying to achieve with those rules have that they're really achieving those goals and there's no unintended consequences where we're like, oh, we didn't think of that and that's going against what we were trying to achieve by instituting that rule. So the rule changes have come to fruition the way we thought and there hasn't been any backlash or anything that we didn't think of that's come up to make our debt was detrimental to our game. Now, as a personal evaluator, what is your biggest pet peeve? Biggest pet peeve, I would say,...

...is everybody focusing in on one part of the process. What I will we always used to say, is the process takes a full year and it starts from fall camp and it goes all the way till draft day. So you want to make sure you have every bit information before you put that final draft grade on it and it's easy for media to say, well, guess what, after this guy should be a second rounder. But they don't do they don't know about the medical they don't know about the conversations you have in the mental and all the other aspects that go into putting a final draft grade on a player and stacking them on the board. So if the media says this guy should be a first rounder and he goes in the third round, then it's hey, the whole NFL missed because we say he's a first rounder. But they're some other parts of the the process that go into making that grade and that's probably, for me, my biggest pet pete. So what do you think the XFL like? What do you guys talk about? Is as we want to be a league that competes with the NFL. We want to be a league that can can drive players to the xfl. What is that the what does that goal for you guys? Our goal is to be a standalone professional football league that helps with the ecosystem of football at people love football, people should love more football, people should love opportunities for players, coaches, strength coaches, video guys. Were trying to just have a standalone league where people, and instead of them going in the doldrums after the Super Bowl, say, oh guess what, I have another ten to twelve more weeks of football that we're not trying to compete with the NFL. We're not trying. As I say, there's McDonald's, but guess what, there's plenty other fast food restaurants out there like Burger King, Wendy's, and we just want to give the fans that are wholeheartedly all into football another outlet to cure what, to give them what they want, and that's more football. All right, Doug, is there something you can tell us about Vince McMahon that maybe the general public doesn't know? I would say he is one of the things he stresses most to people, I know, to all his employee's, as to treat everybody with respect. He is one of those guys that that is utmost in his vocabulary is respect, and especially for people that you're working with and working for. It's all about professionalism and respect. It's good. It's good one. What do you are you guys surveying the players, because one of the things that when I played, you know, we had Grapes of players but it was this like they always fell on deaf ears. So you guys like surveying, talking to the players constantly? How do you guys think we can improve? What are you guys feeling that we don't need to do, that we should do better? What we're going to set not definitely have a nice survey of the players right after the season and say, okay, you've gone through this whole season, what went well with the offseason, what went well with the during the season? What do you think we should do for next year? Because that's that old saying. Every day you got it to get better or worse. You don't stay the same. So we wanted to but we want to make sure we get all the information, give them the whole year so they can say, Hey, in the first part of the year this was great or an end of the year this was bad, blah, blah blah. So we want to make sure that they have all the information and then we'll survey them after two more days. Okay, Doug, what's your biggest pleasant surprise that you've had so far with the season? Asn't surprises the how we came out in the first three weeks and played pretty eat solid football. We wanted arm. One of our main goal is to have a long runway so we could step out of the shadows of xfl one, two xfl to and make sure when people flip it on xfl they're like anything that football's pretty good. So the thing that we were worried about is coming out of the gate, usually the offenses are behind the defenses and you have a lot of penalties and at the football's not as crisp. So my our biggest surprise and most pleasant surprises the crispness of football that has been displayed these first three weeks. Right, all right. So last question. What are the expansion goals or plans for the xfl going into the future? Right now we're worried about this year and going in the next year and now, obviously, if things keep going, that's something that will have to discuss and look into. I'm not sure that we're satisfied with eight teams, but...

...don't know where it can go and how many more teams. But if we get this solid base and footing set, the sky's the limit. Yeah, I would say that if you'RE gonna go to Ohio, you go to Columbus because that's your home, your home Mut and not Cleveland or Cincinnati. Guy, definitely not Cleveland. Yeah, I'm that leaveland. But Hey, we appreciate you joining us and coming in and tell us a lot about your life and how sports influence your life and joining us in the huddle. It was great to have you on and thanks for taking the time. Thanks, bells, I appreciate it. And then next time I'm back in the Bard You well, I'll come over and I got to hear that after he lends. All right, all right, but like sulzers, but like als around. Yeah, all right, fellas, see buddy forth care. Hey, we want to thank you for joining us today on huddle up with guests, where we talked to a wide range of guests about how sports shaped to life. As always, I'm joined by my great friend and Co host, Date Hagar, and we want you to be able to follow us on all of our social media at huddle up with gusts and we really appreciate you and thank you for your time and listening to.

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