Sports Commentary: Looking into the XFL

Michael Angee, Life Editor

What is the XFL? I ask this in the sense of “what are people looking for in this league?” and “why are people watching this instead of the NFL?”

Starting in 2001 as a spring league, the XFL found a resurgence in 2020 before its interruption due to COVID-19. 

The XFL, an American football minor league owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia, has many similarities yet differences with the National Football League. For starters, the league maintains different rules in order to operate at a faster pace and more enjoyable level for viewers. 

Due to the opportunities to turn a one-sided match into a more competitive battle, the XFL is fueled with the potential to become a heavy-hitting minor league. As a minor league, vets and potential NFL players can utilize the league as a way to pursue and build their careers. 

 The league may also serve as a path to the NFL, but is that what the XFL wants its reputation to be — only a gateway to the NFL? I believe it is evident that the XFL can thrive in its own style with time, as the differences between the two leagues pose an interesting dynamic in which viewers can expect entirely different gameplay from the two.

The popularity of the NFL still greatly overshadows that of the XFL and may remain that way for the foreseeable future, but the excitement of a new league to be invested in is something fans of American Football, as well as fans of fast-paced, high-action plays, can look forward to. 

The individual assets of the XFL compared to those of the NFL may lead to a great future for the league. One major difference between both leagues is the overall size of the league. Although not as illustrious as the NFL, the XFL has the potential to focus more on individual athletes and allow fans to focus on franchises at a more personalized level. 

Is the hype of the XFL real? I believe so. With the dynamic and fast-paced gameplay, I believe players have a chance to showcase different skill sets as opposed to the NFL. 

A focus on offensive creativity also presents itself in the XFL. Its double forward pass allows for a pass to occur forward before the line of scrimmage, leading to a wider availability of plays for the players. These possibilities for unique plays may serve as the stepping stone toward a new and exciting glance at the future of American football. 

In 2020, the XFL saw coverage from mainstream media such as ABC, ESPN and Fox Sports, which is a grand feat for a league in its first year and in 2022 the XFL made an agreement with ESPN, now owned by Disney, for the media rights of the league for the next five years. This entails that ESPN will cover all games of the XFL for the time allotted in the contract including all games in the 40-game season as well as two playoff games and one championship game. 

The differences and similarities between the two leagues highlighting the idiosyncrasies of the XFL will ultimately be one of the most enjoyable parts of witnessing this league unfold. Comparing the two leagues is inevitable, but the XFL may stand out in its own right from its own qualities and games, and hopefully build a history that generations may recall as an equal to the NFL.