Last Saturday, we witnessed the beginning of the remake of the XFL. The XFL in its original state was a flashy, WWE-like and highly disregarded league. Now, the XFL appears to have already surpassed the NFL in certain aspects, and is off to a much better start than the failed AAF.
Here is why the XFL will not turn out like the AAF:
The AAF was purely new, with the goal of becoming a minor-league for the NFL, where young players not fit for the NFL’s 53 man rosters could see action. Trying to work with the NFL was the catalyst of this league’s downfall. The idea that the NFL would be unwilling to work together never crossed AAF executives and investors. That is why they had to acknowledge that their league would never work out with such little understanding of league management.
However, Vince McMahon has done this before. In the first XFL go-around, he had to accept that his league back in the early 2000’s was purely entertainment, extremely dangerous, and simply a bad environment. Now, McMahon seems to have started the XFL on the right foot, implementing strict safety rules and new concepts that change the entire dynamic of the game. McMahon has been able to not only recruit NFL free agents, but has almost stole former top college players, including West Virginia’s Kenny Robinson, a projected second round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. The NCAA has a major flaw: they do not pay their student-athletes. Many of these athletes have complicated backgrounds, which lead to the scandals that involve bribing players to commit certain places. The XFL has an easy pitch: “Play in our league, you get paid early.” This offer will become more tempting as the XFL grows and gains more popularity, thus paving the way for exponential growth.
The XFL has some cool new rules, which also include better advanced safety measures than the NFL. These are the main two new principles:
On the kickoffs at the beginning of a half or following a score, the return blockers and kickoff specialists cannot move until the returner gains possession of the ball. They will start five yards within each other. By creating this delay of forces, the XFL takes a step ahead of the NFL in safety precautions against concussions, which primarily occur in special team plays. Plus, since the kickoff team has less momentum, the returner has a higher chance to make a big play and break out a touchdown return, which all fans appreciate.
The point after try consists of a one, two, and three point conversions, all not involving a kick conversion. While this is not a drastic safety precaution, it allows games to be more competitive: no lead will ever be safe without good play from both sides of the ball.
There is one way I believe the XFL can be defeated:
The XFL has a major hole in their case for relevance and success. The fight for the defeat of the XFL will need to be an effort surrounding not just the NFL, but the NCAA and lawmakers as well. The NCAA must pay their collegiate athletes for their participation in college sports. The athletes make the schools millions of dollars, and on a moral standpoint, college athletes are unpaid workers. If college players can get paid, then the major pitch of the XFL diminishes, and no high school player would ever be more compelled to go to the XFL rather than college, even if the XFL could pay slightly more than college.
All in all, the XFL was a great idea. It is 2020. Media is everything, and the XFL looks to be the next great league.