While we might focus on what happens on the field or court, professional sports are a big business. That’s especially true of professional football; the NFL alone, for example, shells out multiple billions of dollars a year. The XFL, however, is operating on a much smaller scale with a limited stable of players and coaches.
While the XFL might not have the bankroll of the NFL, the league’s players and coaches are still professionals. But how much are the guys on the sideline making during the inaugural season?
How do XFL player salaries compare to the NFL?
On the field, XFL football is similar to the NFL game, albeit with some notable differences. Player salaries, however, exist in a much different stratosphere.
In the NFL, players receive a game check for each week of the regular season; playoff pay comes in on a different scale, depending on how far each team goes in the postseason. Deals can also include plenty of bonuses and incentives, which can sweeten the player’s take-home pay.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, XFL players are paid in two brackets: those who are quarterbacks, and everyone else. While the men under center receives almost $500,000 over the course of the season, position players earn $2,080 every two weeks. Players also can earn an activation bonus of $1,685 per week and a victory bonus of $2,222 per win; that means that an active, non-quarterback player on the winning team can earn a maximum of $4,947 in a given week.
How much money do XFL coaches make?
In the NFL, the biggest name head coaches can make upwards of $10 million per season. As you might assume, XFL salaries are a bit different.
Similar to the XFL players, all of the head coaches will receive the same salary. According to commissioner Oliver Luck, that works out to roughly $500,000 per season. Giving head coaches and quarterbacks higher compensation will theoretically help get the league off the ground; if you want to provide fans with quality football, you need to attract candidates of a certain stature for those key roles.
While that’s not a bad paycheck by any means, it still represents a pay cut for some of the bigger names. Bob Stoops, for example, was taking home over $5 million per season at Oklahoma.
There’s more to being a head coach than a salary, thogh
While $500,000 might not seem like a great deal in the context of professional football, the XFL’s coaches don’t seem too concerned. The league is giving them an opportunity to do something new within the sport they love.
“I hadn’t been a head coach since the Chargers back in the late nineties,” New York Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride explained. “So here comes this chance to be a head coach and general manager, and have a very strong imprint on the development of the franchise that I was going to be associated with.”
“It was exciting to be able to have that kind of influence on the personnel procurement—putting together the staff, the personnel departments, the strength team, the video staff, the training room, etc.,” he continued. “And, on a much broader level. it was exciting to also have some impact on, on the development of the league.”
Bob Stoops expressed a similar sentiment. While retirement seemed like a great idea at first, he eventually missed spending time on the gridiron; the XFL allows him to scratch that itch without the massive commitment of an NFL or NCAA job.
Eventually, the XFL will need a different wage structure to attract anyone beyond NFL veterans looking to stay close to the game. As of now, though, guys like Bob Stoops and Kevin Gilbride should be reputable enough to get the ball rolling.