Kevin Gilbride is in the midst of preparations for his first year with the XFL's New York Guardians.
It's the first season of the revived league, which ceased operations in May 2001, established under WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. The former Giants offensive coordinator was tasked to lead the Guardians with former NFL veteran Matt McGloin dubbed as the team's starting quarterback.
With the regular season set to begin on Feb. 9, Gilbride joined WFAN's Maggie Gray and Bart Scott on Thursday to discuss his lone and "interesting" meeting with McMahon.
"We went in for a meeting to spend time with our broadcast partners — ABC, FOX and ESPN," Gilbride said. "They're explaining to the coaches what they're looking for, what they want from us and obviously what they want is as they all said the same thing is we want to be able to pull back the curtain a little bit to let the fans see behind the scenes what's going on.
McMahon was a prominant figure in the XFL at its launch, appearing at the inaugural game as he welcomed fans to "our brand of football". Since he announced the XFL's return in May 2018, McMahon has since stood on the sidelines with XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck assigned to handle league events such as the draft.
Gilbride reiterated McMahon's desire to "win with quality football", referencing a well-organized and disciplined style of play, as he works behind the scenes. The 74-year-old businessman extended his support and offered his cell phone number to each head coach.
"Vince then came in and basically cautioned us that it was not something we're all going to used to necessarily," Gilbride said. "But we've got to work with our partners, which we will. The biggest thing I got from that was his commitment, his enthusiasm about the game. The fact that he threw it in our laps, he says, 'hey, I'm going to help you but I'm behind the scenes. You guys are going to make this thing go.
This is football. I want to win with quality football. Football that people are used to seeing ... He says,'It's on you guys, but I'm here 24/7. If there's a problem you need something, you call me 24/7. I'm there for you, but it's your responsibility to make this thing go. It's my responsibility to market and promote it and do what I can.'"
Which drastic changes can fans expect from the XFL as February approaches?
"The points of emphasis will be to speed the game up," Gilbride said. "Less stall, more ball is the montra. It'll be a 25-second play clock instead of a 40-second play clock. The excitement in the special teams will be an emphasis on returns, trying to get them because the penalties are so severe. If you kick the ball out of bounds, the ball comes to the 35-yard line. If you kick the opening kickoff out of bounds, it actually goes to the opponent's 45(yard line). They want returns."