Way back in 2001 Vince McMahon, Chairman and CEO of WWE, and Dick Erbsol, an NBC executive, announced that the two companies would be partnering to establish the XFL. The first time around the XFL was supposed to be a combination of professional wrestling and professional football. The league was only around for one season before ended due to a lack of interest from fans. Even though some of the practices the XFL introduced are now widely used in other sports like having players wear microphones during play, and conducting on-field interviews during the game.
After 19 years McMahon is bringing the XFL back, but with a new set of rules and a new focus. The official XFL website states, “The XFL is a brand new, fan-first league that’s reimagining the game of football and offering fans an opportunity to experience more action, access, and fun.”
The New Rules
Staying true to that statement the XFL has implemented new rules that are similar to those that are already in place by the NFL and NCAA but focus on keeping the game moving and keeping fans excited about what they are watching. These new rules include changes to points after touchdowns, kickoffs, and double forward passing. There are also five changes being made to the pace of play. Time outs have been reduced from three to two and the play clock is only 25-seconds long just to name a few. Even half time has been changed to only being 10 minutes long. In test games that were conducted in 2019 football fans responded well to these changes and the league made them official in January 2020.
Teams and Players
The XFL will consist of eight teams separated into two divisions of east and west. Teams consist of a 52 man roster of players who have previously played in college but have not been drafted by the NFL. Unlike the NFL players are not under individual contracts that only last the duration of the season, but are all guaranteed to earn $1,040 but can earn up to $2,725. Players can also earn victory bonuses. The system’s goal is to allow players to move into other football leagues should they chose to after the end of their season. However, there are loyalty bonuses for those who stay within the XFL.
The XFL season is much shorter than the NFL season. The NFL plays a total of 17 weeks following the Labor Day weekend. The XFL is a 10 week season starting the weekend after the Super Bowl and ending in April. The first game played on February 8, 2020, was received well by fans and critics alike, unlike the original league from the early 2000s. This time around the XFL may have the legs to carry on for years to come.
XFL games can be seen on ABC, ESPN, Fox, and Fox Sports 1.