XFL Kicks Off


It had been 19 years since there was a play in the XFL (eXtreme Football League) due to the league folding after its first season in 2001. The league was founded by Vince McMahon, who is known by many for owning World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the big shot character he plays in the WWE Universe. The original XFL was meant to be very different from the NFL, as there were fewer restrictions with player expression (nicknames on jerseys, wild cleats and hairstyles, etc.) and way bigger hits. Some found entertainment in the league but the overall poor play turned most football fanatics away. It was announced in 2018 that the XFL would be returning but with a more professional look to it and all teams would be under the ownership of league founder, Vince McMahon. February 8th and 9th were the first games of the relaunched XFL and many fans were interested to see what the league would look like.

After the first week of games were played, there was definitely a lot of positive feedback from fans. Over 3.3 million people tuned in to watch the first game and they were not disappointed. It was definitely evident that the XFL was a lot more professional in comparison to its first go around but the unique entertainment aspect was still there. There are many things that make the XFL different from the NFL. The most entertaining difference is that there are interviews held on the sidelines with players and coaches right after big plays, and some of the responses are both hilarious and interesting. Another difference fans seemed to like is the referees wear mics so that fans can hear their thought process on certain penalties and play reviews. There are also rule changes when it comes to extra points, kickoffs, and punts, which all seemed to be happily accepted by fans.

Houston Roughnecks Quarterback P.J. Walker looks downfield for a receiver.

The play on the field is not up to the level of the NFL (as expected) but the play was still decent and was not hard to watch at all. The play definitely did not stop fans from buying tickets to go see games, as ticket sales for week one alone passed the total season ticket sales for the AFL (the other semi-professional league that folded in 2019). According to Fox Sports, over 17,000 people bought tickets to go watch the New York Guardians and another 17,000 bought tickets in Dallas to watch the Dallas Renegades play. For the D.C. Defenders, tickets have gone for sale up to $130, which is quite impressive for a team that has only played one game. The atmospheres at the games seem to be quite electric and it was obvious the players were enjoying it and feeding off the fans’ energy.

There are still some things that the league will need to tweak, the interviewing process for example, in order to gain more respect from the football community. A key part of its success will be listening to the players and fans, which they seem to be doing already through social media and listening to its players. The league has a lot of potential to it and can be something for football fans to enjoy during the offseason of the NFL.