I’m really starting to love the XFL.
The Extreme Football League is in the inaugural season of its second iteration, having been tried once before a few years back… with disastrous results. But this time, rather than focusing on big hits and skimpily-clad cheerleaders, the XFL is going with solid gameplay and unique rules, that make the game fun to watch.
… and it is fun to watch.
Being in the Pacific Northwest, with no particular ties to other areas of the country, I decided to adopt the Seattle Dragons as my team in the XFL, thus far with mixed results. But we won last weekend, and looked pretty damn good in doing so, which has me optimistic for the team’s future. I’m also optimistic for the league’s future, being they have a good amount of financial support, a solid football guy (Oliver Luck) running everything, and thus far fairly decent gameplay for a fledgling league.
But what has me really excited is that the XFL isn’t trying to compete with the NFL. They are instead positioning themselves as both a Feeder League for the NFL, and an alternative to college football, for young players who would rather go straight into pro ball out of high school. It could very well be a winning combination for the XFL, and the NFL, as well. Too many players go into college, when they really shouldn’t, and get themselves in trouble academically… losing development time on the field due to NCAA rules. But if those players can instead go into the XFL, they can play there for three years, developing under a pro system while making money all the while, before transitioning perhaps into the NFL, if the are ready. If not, they still have a job in the XFL.
Now I know some people will argue that the XFL robs these youngsters out of a valuable college degree, which is patently ridiculous! Those players who are prepared for college will still go, because that will still be seen as the preferred route into the NFL. Those that aren’t would have done what they always have, had they instead gone to college – leave school before getting their degrees. Why hide these players in the college system, when they can be getting pro experience and solid development time?
In the end, this is better for the college game, the NFL system, and the XFL, as well.
Meanwhile, the XFL provides a place for older NFL players to go, if they aren’t ready to retire, but don’t have a team that wants them in the NFL. Rather than become backups, or sit out waiting for a potential call from some team in need of someone at their position, they can be showing off their skills to scouts and proving they still have what it takes. Or, at the very least, they can be making some extra money at the end of their careers.
All in all, I see the XFL as a great opportunity for Football in general. The one thing Football has really needed is a Spring League, something that allows us fans to enjoy the game after the NFL season ends, but before the summer workouts and preseason ball begins for the NFL and college football. The XFL may well fit this niche, and I’m loving it!
Plus, my Dragons are 1-1, and looking pretty damn good. So there’s that.