XFL 2.0


Ben Tucker, Secretary

Football is easily the most popular sport in the United States, and the NFL is easily the most popular football league. I don’t think anyone can argue with those two statements when looking at how the most popular sporting event every year in America is the Super Bowl. The NFL has all the best players and coaches; everything associated with the league is top-notch. If a group of people said they wanted to start their own football league to compete with the NFL, most would not take them seriously. But what if that group was Dick Ebersol, the head of NBC Sports, and Vince McMahon, the head of the WWF? Now all of a sudden, people are curious as to what these two have in mind. With Ebersol and McMahon, it seemed like their project of a new football league would offer something different for football fans, and in 2001, that’s exactly what their football league, the XFL, planned to do. 


In order to compete with the NFL, the XFL wanted to be different from them and offer something to the fans that they couldn’t get from the other league. One thing that they did differently was to eliminate the fair catch rule. The fair catch rule is the rule that ensures that when the ball is kicked, the receiving team is able to catch it without being tackled by the other team. In the XFL, the guy who catches the punted or kicked ball gets tackled immediately. Another difference is that the NFL starts each game with the flip of a coin to decide who gets the ball first. The XFL starts with a player from each team sprinting towards a football and then diving at it to determine first possession, something they called “The Scramble.” The XFL wanted to emphasize the players’ personalities, just like the WWF and the WWE.


Being marketed as a hardcore and extreme version of the NFL, the XFL got a lot of attention during the lead up to its first game, and the opening game for the XFL in 2001 was a big success. However, as the season went on, the viewers kept dropping, and after the final championship game, the XFL shut down. The XFL was so focused on entertainment that they skipped on substance. The players in the league were nowhere near as good as NFL players, so very few people decided to watch after realizing that they were just going to see second rate football players play against each other. 


17 years after the shutdown of the XFL, in 2018, Vince McMahon said that he was bringing the XFL back in 2020. McMahon says he realizes the mistakes he made back in 2001. He says that he wants to focus much more on football rather than the flashy surroundings. 2 weeks ago we got to see if the XFL 2.0 lived up to what was promised. Overall, week one’s games were fairly good because there was a focus on a shorter, fast-paced, and easier to understand football. TV stations say that the viewership averaged around 3.3 million each game. Although it doesn’t seem that the XFL is being taken as seriously as its competitor, it’s still exciting to see how the reimagined XFL will compete with the NFL.