The saying goes, “the third time is the charm”. The XFL is about to determine if that holds for them. The first incarnation was in 2001 and took the football world by storm. Over time, though, fans grew tired of the over-used gimmicks, and by the end of the inaugural season, it closed shop.
It wasn’t until almost twenty years later that Vince McMahon decided the world was ready for another dose of the XFL. The second coming was plagued too. It wasn’t viewership — or lack thereof — that caused the downfall the second time. No, it was a worldwide pandemic that caused the league to shut down, causing it to fail financially. This time feels different. This time feels like the XFL will be here to stay.
Why The XFL 3.0 Will be a Success
Let’s start with ownership. The previous incarnations of the XFL were products of Vince McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment. If the world has learned anything about McMahon and his history of sports entertainment, he appreciates gimmicky devices to get the viewership of his companies, and fans of football wanted football.
After the suspension and eventual shutdown because of the global pandemic in 2020, the league looked to be gone for good. However, that is the opposite of what happened. Enter Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In early August 2020, Johnson and his associates Dany Garcia, and Gerry Cardinale entered the chat. As the league was set to be sent to auction, Johnson and the team swooped in, purchasing the league for the price of $15 Million.
Since that time, Johnson has spent countless hours using his popularity and charisma to promote the league. This league has needed hype, and finally, it has what could be considered the greatest hype man of all time. The “Most Electrifying Man” in sports entertainment was on hand in the opening weekend to get the crowds and players pumped. Now, will he do this every week for every game? Probably not, but his commitment to everything he does only helps one believe that the XFL is here to stay.
2. Key Partnerships
The next reason that the XFL is here to stay is a partnership with the National Football League. On their website, the NFL announced on February 21, 2022, they had formed a partnership with the XFL. In a quote about the partnership the XFL said the collaboration would, “further expand the game of football and create increased opportunities for player development both on and off the field”.
This was a huge win for the XFL as they built momentum toward their first season. Some experiments are already being noticed with the opening slate of games this weekend. The biggest difference is kickoffs and the formations of both the kicking and receiving teams. While it has received mixed reactions, the safety precautions with the formations are evident in protecting players and putting their safety first.
One other thing the NFL might be looking at is how the XFL will let coaches challenge anything from a play to a call made by officials. Not that they would adopt the rule, however, they have been rumored to consider the idea. The relationship is good for not just business, but keeping innovation and player safety at the forefront of the game.
The last reason that the XFL is here to stay is the quality of play they put out this opening weekend. Through the first three games, there has been a blowout, a game coming down to the wire, a comeback, and a Dragon slayed. Fans can expect much of the same for the rest of the season.
There are also a lot of familiar names in the league that will make fans feel nostalgic. Names like Hines Ward, Rod Woodson, and Bob Stoops are just a few of the coaches who have the potential to bring staying power to the XFL. All three coaches have storied careers on the professional and collegiate levels along with fan bases that come with them. The coaching staff and rosters are built to play football and focus on football. There have been too many gimmicks in the past and fans burn out on gimmicks.
The XFL is getting it done right this time. The Rock and his associates have brought football back to represent the F in XFL. It will be exciting to watch this league grow. It will be exciting to see players get second chances at their dreams. Lastly, it is the leadership shown in the quote below from the Rock that shows the XFL has finally figured it out:
“I know because I’ve got that same chip and we’re here because the X of the XFL represents the intersection of dreams and opportunities. You bring the dreams; we brought the opportunity. Now let’s get to the game that we all love and why we’re here today.”
-Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Main Image: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY