In 2001, Vince McMahon’s first XFL attempt didn’t last long. Though billing the league as a faster and less controversial version of the NFL with more entertainment value, the league floundered and then flopped.
In 2018, McMahon announced his revitalization of the XFL with his Alpha Entertainment group. Fans of the original buckled up, while pro wrestling and football fans alike saw their interest piqued by intriguing ads for the league that highlighted its offerings.
Slowly but surely, the XFL managed to contract talented players who were released by NFL and CFL teams or who were free agents. At the moment, sites that offer NFL picks have yet to take an analytical dive into the XFL.
However, that may be due to the lack of stats available rather than disinterest. The league’s second kickoff in February 2020 came to a screeching halt only weeks later in March, then eventually folded for bankruptcy by mid-April.
This means the XFL is lean on player stats and other information that helps drive predictions by sportsbooks. However, since the latest start-then-stop of the XFL, the league has changed ownership with a new relaunch date set for 2022.
RedBird Capital bought out the XFL with ex-couple Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia leading the charge. Since the XFL has shifted hands, fans will have to wait another two years before sinking their teeth into the next Spring League. However, RedBird Capital seems on track to deliver on the main selling points better than McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment could.
Let’s take a look at what fans hope to see the most in the renewed XFL.
Faster Games With Simpler Rules
Despite the NFL’s popularity, the league has been criticized at home and all but written off abroad for its extensive rules. Even long-time fans can get tripped up on the lengthy rule book that can directly alter the outcome of a game.
For one, the XFL doesn’t have extra-point field goals. Rather than opting for a field goal point, teams can instead run a play from the 2-yard line for one point, from the 5-yard line for two, or the 10-yard for three.
In the XFL, teams only get 25 seconds between plays versus the NFL’s 40-second rule. Additionally, XFL teams only have two timeouts per half versus the NFL’s three. Though both changes are minimal, they each do their part to streamline the game’s action.
With the NFL set to kick-off a minority inclusion program in the coming season, the XFL has shifted its focus to bridging gender gaps in football. Rather than incentivize individual franchises to hire women (or minorities), the XFL instead went straight to their own offices.
The league will employ one female official who will be present on the field during each game. Besides, the XFL under McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment was dedicated to raising player standards of ethics. Players were ineligible for placement in the XFL if they’ve faced certain criminal charges. This rule is designed to encourage ethical behavior from players.
The XFL already has huge crossover appeal for existing fan bases. Another selling point for fans is a shortened season with fewer teams. Though the XFL could expand if popular, the league had only eight teams during its 2020 run.
Less preseason and a tighter postseason are simply more exciting. Also, the fact that communication from on-field officials in the XFL are broadcast mean that fans can understand what’s happening in a play by hearing officials discuss and cite penalties.
This makes the game friendlier for newcomers, and could even foster a fanbase that’s always been interested in football but turned off by the extensive rules and pauses.