The XFL was a league developed in early 2000-2001 to make up for the lack of football in the spring. Vince McMahon was co-director with the help of NBC, with a 50/50 split of ownership for the early XFL. The XFL in 2001 was marketed as a tougher league than the NFL. During 2001, the NFL had taken away a couple of rules in order to make up for player safety, such as moving the line of scrimmage further away from the receiving teams endzone during a kickoff. As a result, there could be more touchbacks and less high speed tackles. The XFL on the other hand, had taken away the fair catch rule and this resulted in more high speed tackles. McMahon saw this as entertainment and failed to see the player safety problems it would cause in the future. The coin toss in the beginning of the game was also not a coin toss. It was a scramble of two players from both teams for the ball. While the first iteration of the XFL was for the most part, a failure, positives were taken out of it. The skycam that regularly scans NFL fields during broadcasts was first developed by the XFL. Players with microphones put on them was a development of the XFL that was later brought into the NFL for entertainment. The new 2020 XFL will focus on speeding up the game of football and make it more enjoyable for non-football fans to watch.
The XFL says it will be different than the NFL by implementing rule changes that are more progressive. According to the XFL’s website, they will put into place 5 gameplay innovations, 5 timing changes and 5 common sense rule changes. Out of all of the 15 changes to the core game of football designated by the NFL, only a couple of the rules will be noticeably different than the NFL. When we look at the play clock, it won’t be 40 seconds anymore, it will be 25 seconds. With a noticeable time difference we will begin to see less huddle time and more meaningful playtime, according to the XFL. Timeouts will be limited to 2 one-minute timeouts per half. Kickoffs will consist of the kicker from the kicking team kicking from their 30 yard line, the rest of the team will be on the opponents 35 yard line. The receiving team will be situated on their 30 yard line and one returner on the front of their endzone. If the kick does not make it past the 20 yard line on the other side, or goes out of bounds, then the receiving team will get the ball at the kicking team’s 45 yard line. A receiver only needs to have one foot in-bounds in order to make a catch. All of these rule changes are in place in order to create more meaningful plays for the viewer to see.
The XFL will have a different way of paying players by means of a tier format. The format will compose of four different tiers. The first tier will have one player slot, this is assumed to be for a franchise player slot, such as a quarterback. The second tier will have 3 player slots. These slots are used for the other high value players that the franchise would like to keep. The third tier will have 23 player slots, the most player slots available. These slots will be used for most of the starting defensive and offensive teams. The fourth and final tier will consist of 18 players and will most likely be reserved for special teams players and backups. The tiers consist of monetary payment of about 200k to 50k. With such a wide range of payment, we will most likely see a shift in this format, but only time will tell.
Kickoff day for the XFL was an exciting one. The first game of the day was the D.C Defenders against the Seattle Dragons. The Dragons were expected to beat the Defenders in this match. The score from Saturday ended up being 31-19, with the Defenders winning the matchup. The Houston Roughnecks faced the Los Angeles Wildcast as well on Saturday. The Roughnecks ended up winning 37-17. Sunday saw the Tampa Bay Vipers play the New York Guardians. The Guardians blew out the Vipers 23-3. The last game of the weekend was the Saint Louis Battlehawks versus the Dallas Renegades. It was a close game with the Battlehawks edging the Renegades 15-9. We also saw the first ejection of the XFL 2020 season. Ricky Walker, a Defensive Tackle for the Vipers, threw his fist at Guardians Center Ian Silberman in the first half of the game. The XFL is a league that is dying to be a staple of spring football and it deserves it.