Are we going to see a failed experiment succeed the third time? Only time will tell. In 2001, it was the vision of Vince McMahon, the former chairman of WWE, to invent a new football league to compete with the NFL. The first edition failed and lasted for one season only. At that time, XFL was more about the presentation, a combination of wrestling and football. The idea was to add more physicality to the sports. However, the public did not accept the blend and rejected the league.
Fast forward to 2020, another try was made to inaugurate the league, but could not. The league declared bankruptcy and sold to the current owners, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) and Dany Garcia. The first season will take place in March 2023. This season will have eight teams and a total of 43 games. Each team will play two games, probably on a home and away basis.
As per reports, XFL will keep some locations and teams from the 2020 edition, including St. Louis, Seattle, and Washington. Besides, it is also reported that games will be played in a combination of NFL, MLS, and college stadiums. The idea of one home is also on the cards. There is a plan in the making to have all eight teams at one venue for their practices and travel to different parts of the country.
Teams and coaches
The interest in XFL is rising because this time, it is more about football and athletes. The eight teams are:
- Seattle Dragons
- New York Guardians
- Tampa Bay Vipers
- Los Angeles Wildcats
- Houston Roughnecks
- St. Louis BattleHawks
- Dallas Renegades
There are a variety of head coaches who have experience competing at the highest level in football and coaching it. The coaches will serve as mentors for the players and ambassadors for the XFL.
Moreover, after building the hype and foundation of the league by the co-owners, the league has its executive team. To run operations and compete with one of the biggest sporting leagues, the NFL, you need a powerhouse. XFL was smart enough to get the NFL veterans and people with extensive knowledge of football and operations. Marc Ross, Doug Whaley, and Dean Blandino, to name a few.
XFL plans for 10 regular-season matches per team and three postseason games. For broadcasting, XFL has gone one step ahead and onboarded Disney for live streaming services. Apart from streaming, the league will be broadcasted by ABC and ESPN.
Another wise decision by XFL is to host matches once the NFL is over. They will try to close the window with a 10-week season. It will also be interesting to see how it performs in the sportsbook. We all know how well the Super Bowl odds work. Just to be considered a competition, XFL needs to hit the NFL with a storm.
Collaborations of XFL
Many were expecting XFL to join hands with the CFL after two failures for wider reach. Perhaps it is not happening, and XFL will build a brand on its own.
A surprising partnership deal was announced in February 2022 between NFL and XFL. Under this proposed collaboration, both leagues will work together for the health of the players, work on new rules and equipment, and work on the development of coaches and officials.
The clash between USFL and XFL
USFL had its first season this year, a direct competitor to NFL and XFL. Although XFL denies clashing with USFL, XFL plans to offer higher salaries and benefits than USFL. It forced the USFL to sign their players to a two-year contract.
When the XFL draft will be announced, probably in November. There will be a bloodbath to sign players. Indeed, the first target will be the players who were laid from the NFL training camps.
Difference in rules
There are modifications to the regulations in the XFL, as the league has been proactive in promoting this.
- In XFL, a reception is accepted with one foot on the ground as opposed to NFL.
- A three-level point system. An offensive run from the two-yard line will result in one point. A run play from the five-yard line will result in two points. A run play from the ten-yard line is worth three points.
- In case the defense returns the turnover of any of the mentioned attempts, they get the points instead of the offense.
- If a game is tied, in the NFL there is sudden death overtime. While the XFL will have five rounds of overtime, the team with the maximum points will win.
- Unlike the NFL play clock timing, XFL will have 25 seconds to pace up the game.
- In addition to two timeouts only.
- The XFL will allow a double forward pass.
- As long as the defense does not possess the ball, XFL kickoff players cannot advance downfield until the opposition’s returner picks it up.
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