The XFL Lives Up to the Hype


Ajay Suresh

XFl quarterback Landry Jones passed for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns in last Saturday’s game.

The newly revived X Football League (XFL), a fast paced, high scoring football league, has returned to save football fans from the eight month wait between the Super Bowl and the beginning of the next National Football League (NFL) season.
First founded in 2001, the XFL initially folded after its inaugural season due to numerous concerns; however, their anticipated reboot occurred earlier this month.
The league is composed of eight teams from across the country. Filled with former NFL coaches and players, a large pool of former college players, and other professional talent, the XFL made a splash in its opening weeks. Big names across the league include Landry Jones, Cardale Jones, and Antonio Callaway, who were all former NFL contributors and college stars.
On opening day, February 8, the league’s four games drew 8.4 million viewers, comparable to that of the American Alliance of Football (AAF), which was founded last year with similar hopes.
The XFL established TV deals with ABC, CBS, and ESPN, and founder Vince McMahon has splurged over $500 million on the league, giving it significant financial backing.
The main difference between the XFL and NFL lies in the many rule modifications. While the NFL has traditional rules about kickoffs, extrapoints, and punts, the XFL provides fans with variety.
For example, after a touchdown is scored, XFL teams have the option of a one-point attempt from the two-yard line, a two-point attempt from the five-yard line, or a three-point attempt from the ten-yard line. The kickoff rules undertook major changes as well. In the NFL, kickoffs are often the most dangerous and least-scoring plays, so the XFL implemented revised rules to boost safety and point scoring.
During an XFL kickoff, only the kicker and receiver can move until the ball is caught and the two teams must line up within five yards of each other. The close proximity between the teams helps decrease high-speed collisions and the delayed actions give the receiving team an advantage to gain better field position. Other important differences between the two leagues include changes in the forward passing rules, punting, running clocks, and most notably, overtime rules.
The NFL’s overtime rules have often been criticized for being an unfair advantage to the winner of the coin toss, which determines the team that starts off with the ball. The rules state that if you are the first team to record a touchdown, you automatically win, while the opposing team’s offense never gets to see the field.
In the XFL however, overtime is executed similar to a penalty shootout in soccer. Both teams will alternate single-play possessions from their opponent’s five yard line for five (or more) rounds until a winner is determined. Many people feel that the XFl’s overtime format will give each team a fair and equal chance at winning.
All of the rule changes the XFL has implemented have stemmed from two main goals: excitement and action. Most rule changes benefit offensive productivity, which draws in fans who enjoy high-scoring, high-intensity games.
Other rules, like the overtime rules and kickoff rules, have also striven to eliminate the parts of football that elongate games. Additionally, the league’s lack of rigidity on guidelines have aimed to create more exciting, action-packed games.
The XFL league has also focused on expanding its presence on social media. With the XFL Instagram account garnering over 500 thousand followers, and its Twitter having over 350 thousand followers, the league has been well-publicised.
Highlights and mix-tapes from games have amassed hundreds of thousands of views and taken the internet by storm. For example, a few weeks ago, a video of the DC Defenders’ Wide Receiver, Eli Rogers, skipping his mother’s funeral to play in a game went viral. During the game, Rogers recorded multiple plays.
For over a century, football fans have enjoyed watching their favorite teams in the NFL during the fall and winter. However, the newly established XFL gives viewers something to look forward to during the springtime when the NFL takes a break. Fast-paced and action-packed, the XFL is here to stay.