On Saturday at 2PM ET, the revamped XFL season will debut with the Seattle Dragons facing off with the DC Defenders. With this new league appearing to receive considerable attention on social media, we are starting a podcast that will debut Friday about the XFL, and I am going to comment on a few things. If you’d like to hear more of my thoughts on the XFL, please take a look at the podcast on Friday!
Why it will last longer than before:
When Vince McMahon tried to start the original XFL in 2001, he tried to make it the WWE of football, there was the Rock announcing from the sideline with undressed cheerleaders at his side, there was terrible football, and there were broken promises. With his 20 year old mistakes still at the forefront of our minds, McMahon has done his best to alleviate those issues in the new and imrpvoed XFL. There are no more cheerleaders, and no more drmatic perfromances that interrupt from the game of football. He has hired Oliver Luck to be the comissioner of the XFL, and he has instituted rule changes(that I will get to in a moment) that are designed to give the game an exctiing flare that will keep fans tuned in. McMahon has the finances to keep the XFL alive at the start, which is important for an 8 team league that is publicly assumed to lose money. But simply, there are a large number of people displeased with the NFL. I recently joined a few XFL fan groups on Facebook, and it is amazing how many people are there simply because they are bored with and annoyed with the NFL. If the XFL can truly tap into that demographic and keep their ratings up, I can see them morhping into a psuedo minor league for the NFL.
What this means for the NFL:
Roger Godell was recently asked about the XFL to which he responded,”I look at it as a positive because people are investing in football,” said Goodell on Fox News. I think the hope for Godell is that players become stars in the XFL, and the fans of those players will then follow them into the NFL which could raise popularity for the NFL even further. Will that happen? Who knows. I doubt the NFL and XFL will truly ever partner together, but weirder things in sports have happened. I think it would be an amazing thing for the league, expanding the idea of a practice squad into the G league of the NBA type idea where teams can be flexible on 2 way players and such. At this point in time the XFL does not threaten the NFL at all, and I think ultimately the NFL and Roger Godell know that.
What does this mean for fans:
MORE FOOTBALL! No matter how successful the league is, football did not end on February 2nd when Patrick Mahomes took the final snap of the NFL season. While i wait for the NBA finals and for baseball to start and while I wait for March Madness, I will enjoy covering the XFL and learning more about the game. So sit back, enjoy some football on ESPN or ABC, and support the XFL. It can only be uphill from here!
MJ Hurley is an all-sports writer for the Philadelphia Chronicle.
Follow MJ on Twitter and Instagram at @mjhurley47.