Football is back: The resurgence of the XFL

Adam Perez

One week after the conclusion of the NFL season, many football fans anxiously wait for eight painful months for football to start back up again. However, this year is different thanks to the newest startup league: the XFL. The XFL is football’s most recent independent league hoping to act as a complimentary league to the NFL by playing in the off-season instead of just doing a minor league system like other sports. 

The XFL was founded by entrepreneur Vince McManhon with financial backing from WWE and NBC, who both hold a 50% stake in the company. This isn’t the first time the XFL has attempted to compete as an NFL alternate. The XFL was originally launched in 2001 but only lasted for one season due to low viewership, questionable rule changes, injuries and financial struggles. However, McMahon is confident that this iteration will find more success due to a new TV deal that XFL signed with ABC and Fox Sports. 

There will be eight teams in the second inaugural season of the XFL: The New York Guardians, St. Louis Battlehawks, Houston Roughnecks, DC Defenders, Dallas Renegades, Seattle Dragons, Los Angeles Wildcats and Tampa Bay Vipers. McMahon hasn’t expressed any plans of a possible expansion beyond the eight teams yet. Most teams will be using current NFL and NCAA facilities with the. More specifically, the New York Guardians will play their games at Metlife Stadium. 

The XFL will feature many former NFL players and others vying for a spot on an NFL roster for the 2020-21 season. Some notable players include Landry Jones, who is a former backup quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers and currently on the Dallas Renegades, Cardale Jones, who was a standout player at Ohio State and quarterback of the DC Defenders and Marquette King, who is a former 2nd team all pro and pro bowl punter from the Oakland Raiders who is on the St. Louis Battlehawks. 

The most intriguing aspect of the XFL are the new rule changes aimed at fixing common complaints of the NFL, such as pace of play, ties, overtime, kickoffs, extra points, and punting. One of the most polarizing changes to the XFL is its overtime rules. Instead of the overtime mirroring what is seen in the NFL, the XFL decided to take the approach of making it more exciting by giving each team five one play possessions to score a touchdown from their five yard line. Each team will get two points for each successful attempt and the team with the most scores after five tries will win. In the event of a tie after the five attempts, repeated rounds will occur with each team alternating possessions until one team scores and another team doesn’t. The purpose of this system is to ensure that a game will never end in a tie. 

Another major rule change is in the point after a touchdown. The XFL has eliminated the field goal option, seen in the NFL. Instead, they have implemented three scoring options. A team can go for 1 point by scoring from the 2 yard line, 2 points by scoring from the 5 yard line and 3 points from the 10 yard line. The defense can score in the event of a turnover, and the offense has only one attempt at scoring.  

The XFL will be an interesting league with the promise of being an exciting supplemental league to the NFL in the spring. Senior Justin Cheripka who is attending the New York Guardians’ Inaugural game is very excited for the new league. “The rules will really make the XFL stand out from anything we have seen before. I believe McManhon has learned from his former mistakes in 2001 and hopefully it will last for awhile and find success,” Cheripka said.

However, the longevity of the league is still unknown. It’s possible that the XFL could have the same fate as the AAF, which wasn’t able to complete its inaugural season due to financial struggles. Senior Shayan Burns believes the XFL will meet the same fate as the AAF. “The league seems exciting, but the lack of notable talent leads me to believe that this league will fold after two seasons,” Burns said. In addition, the quality of play on the field is suspect, with most rosters being composed of players who couldn’t reach the NFL. 

The inaugural game will be the Seattle Dragons vs the DC Defenders and it will air on ABC at 2:00 on Feb. 8.