American football is my favorite sport. I have been watching it since I was six years old and watching NFL Redzone during Sunday afternoons in the fall has become a part of my identity. I also enjoy watching all the thrilling action college football has to offer on Saturdays and as a member of student-media, I have covered high school football Friday nights.
This is the “Holy Trinity” of sports and is all I need as a football fan. This is the case in a normal world and especially in a pandemic-stricken world.
When other football leagues such as the AAF and the new XFL launch a week after the Super Bowl, I immediately become disinterested after the first week. These leagues do not belong in the vast yearly sports calendar and especially in the rundown of football action. I couldn’t help but realize a few things about the XFL: it was boring, unnecessary and fragile.
The XFL tried to change up the NFL’s formula with sideline interviews with players during the action, two and three-point conversations, clock not stopping after incomplete passes except for the final two minutes, etc. This is a good idea but when combined with players that are NFL backups at best, the quality of the game is mediocre at best. I found myself bored watching these games, making me crave NFL football more than I ever have during the many offseason grinds.
Because of this and the fact the games take place in the spring, it feels unnecessary. Football takes place from late August to early February, treating fans to at least five months of action a year. When football is not on, there are other sports in the spring for people to enjoy. There is March Madness, UEFA Champions League, NHL, NBA and more! Football is not needed during the springtime.
Lastly, the folding of the AAF and the COVID-19 pandemic shows that a smaller league would not hold up and it’s too risky for employees and players to work for the league. After the coronavirus spread across the US, the XFL suspended its operations, laying off their employees. Even with Dwayne Johnson buying the XFL for $15 million this week, there is no guarantee the league will even run again and sustain itself during these crazy times.
The last two years have seen players not good enough for the NFL play in two separate leagues that folded mid-season. It doesn’t provide enough job security for its employees, especially in a pandemic-stricken economy. Players not good enough for the NFL should focus on finding jobs in other occupations.
A couple of counterarguments I have heard are the league provides a chance for players to elevate their game and make it to the NFL and it freshens up the game.
First, players already have a chance to elevate their game, work hard and make it to the NFL. It called college football, the unofficial minor league of the NFL. Also, you can try any gimmick you want to make something better but the product with the better quality will prevail almost every time. At its core, the NFL will always be far superior as they are the top football competition in the world. Many leagues have tried to compete with the NFL, and they have all failed.
The XFL is boring, unnecessary and fragile. I do not think it should exist and I hope any attempts to resurrect it fail so balance in the football world can be restored.