Soon, Austin will have another option to sustain its gridiron cravings. The Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL) announced that Austin will be the home of a franchise when the league kicks off this fall. The owners of the new Austin team will be former professional football players Tommie Harris and Eric Bassey.
Harris, a native of Killeen, Texas, played college football at the University of Oklahoma and played eight seasons in the NFL, becoming a three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears. Bassey is a Garland, Texas native who also played at Oklahoma and spent four years in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams.
The FXFL, headquartered in New York City, plans to play six games in October and November of this year in a six cities: sights are set on teams in the New York City and Boston areas, as well as Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and a yet-to-be-named Florida city.
Austin is no stranger to semi-pro football leagues, such as the Xclusive Football League, but the FXFL is looking to set itself apart from other minor football leagues by establishing itself as a developmental league. According to a press release, the league says it will only be open to players less than two years removed from college, acting as a stepping stone to the NFL for players, coaches and even referees.
“With the increasing number of underclassmen declaring for the NFL draft each year and signs of change looming within the NCAA landscape, the case for a developmental league is overwhelming,” FXFL Founder Brian Woods said in the release. “I think the current sentiment among professional football executives and college administrators is that a developmental football league is absolutely needed; the FXFL can fill this void.”
The “experimental” also refers to the league acting as a testing ground for new rule changes, such as excluding punts or the point after touchdown attempt.
Other than its owners, no other coaching staff has been named for the Austin team. No local venue is yet confirmed, but games will take place on Wednesday nights so as not to conflict with collegiate and NFL games. The league’s draft will take place in September after the end of the NFL’s training camps.