The XFL is a League ‘For the Love of Football’


Graphic by Annie Qiao

Although the XFL was stopped halfway through its season, the league fully expects to be around for a memorable second season. The first season contained changes from the NFL that made the game more viewer friendly and exciting.

Farhad Taraporevala, Co-News Editor

The XFL, a football league that ran for one year in 2001 before going bankrupt, has been restarted this year by Vince McMahon, the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The league markets itself as a way to fill in the downtime between NFL seasons, following in the footsteps of several leagues such as the Alliance of American Football that went bankrupt last year.

Like its predecessors, the XFL started out hot, with 3.12 million people watching a game in their first week. That number has steadily decreased to 1.38 million people in the fourth week of games, according to the Washington Times.

Many former NFL athletes play in the XFL with prospects to make another NFL team with an impressive showing. These former players have contributed to a high quality of play and the league has moved past its grittier first iteration, where personal fouls did not exist.

Although the XFL resembles the NFL in its play, there are still some rule changes, mostly focused on increasing player safety or entertainment value for the fans.

For example, kickoffs in the NFL have been found to be five times more likely than other plays to produce concussions, according to the Washington Post. This is because of the speed at which players can hit each other. To stop these injuries, the XFL changed kickoffs so that 20 of the 22 players on the field are standing five yards apart and cannot start running until the returner has caught the ball.

To increase entertainment for the fans, instead of kicking PATs (points after touchdown), the league has one-, two- and three-point conversions from the two-, five- or ten-yard lines, respectively. This means that no lead is safe, since a team can get nine points in one drive, adding another level of strategy to the game.

Another big difference between the NFL and XFL is the amount of media incorporated into the game. Coaches can be interviewed through their headsets at any point in the game, and players are interviewed routinely on the sidelines. The commentators have access to the play calls of both teams, allowing them to point out a big play before it happens. This extra insight gives fans a look into the thought process of their favorite teams, adding another level of interest to the football experience.

The XFL provides an alternative for athletes after college, as the NFL is notoriously difficult to enter. This can give high school football players the opportunity to pursue a passion that would otherwise be unrealistic.

“I think [the XFL] provides great opportunities, especially when excellent high school athletes suffer an injury that holds them back from Division I offers and also the NFL,” football player and sophomore Kian Wojtowich said. “They get a second chance here in the XFL to once again showcase the skills that could bring them to the next level, or also for athletes who still feel like they have more to offer, they can show that off while playing in the XFL.”

This XFL season has unfortunately been cancelled because of COVID-19. Those hoping to watch a game will have to wait until next year, as the XFL has released a statement committing a season in 2021 and beyond.