By Devin Jones
The XFL is a spring football league that is trying to capitalize on the notable absence of football that football fans have dreaded for a long time. With eight teams all filled with players and coaches looking to make their mark on scouts from the NFL, as well as some slight adjustments to the rules of the game to make it slightly more fan-friendly, the XFL is looking to profit by having their season start right after the end of the college football and NFL seasons. Their first official games were played last weekend on Feb. 8 and Feb. 9.
Having a football league play in the spring is something fans have supported in the past. Prior attempts like the Alliance of American Football (AAF) sold a fair amount of tickets and had a competitive league to show for it. Unfortunately, the league ran into funding problems, eventually shutting down after only half a season.
The XFL aims to capitalize on that fan interest this spring by putting together a spring football league of their own, with the funding being primarily handled by professional wrestling mogul and billionaire Vince McMahon.
The XFL is a league featuring eight teams located in Seattle, Washington D.C, Los Angeles, Houston, Tampa Bay, New York, St. Louis, and Dallas.
One of the main purposes of the league is to help football players with hopes to be signed by a National Football League (NFL) team, increase their draft stock, and help former players of the NFL continue their dream of playing professionally. The same can largely be said about the coaches of the XFL teams, with many coming from lower-ranking NFL positions into higher-profile positions to show that they are capable of handling the position.
The XFL is also aiming to change the way football is approached – altering some rules such as the way punts and kickoffs work to improve the safety of the game and speeding up the game as a whole. They are also embracing gambling by posting the over/under line next to the score of the game on the scoreboard at the bottom of the screen.
Feb. 8 and Feb. 9 saw the debut of the XFL on national television. The games were met with a positive reaction from fans, pulling in upwards of three million views in some cases (according to thespun.com). The XFL, thanks largely in part to its relation to WWE because of their mutual owner, was able to obtain a TV deal that will land their games on both FOX and ESPN live.
It remains to be seen whether or not the XFL’s model is sustainable, but given they started with good TV ratings and solid attendance as well as a more secure financial situation than past attempts at spring leagues, the situation is definitely good.
The regular season is set to end on Apr 9, with playoffs set to start the next week on Apr 18. Four teams will be playing, two from the eastern conference and two from the western conference. Their championship game will feature one team from the west and one team from the east. The championship is currently set to happen on Sunday, Apr. 26.