Vince McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE), has brought back the XFL to the world of football. This brand-new football league is taking the classic American sport and giving it a new fan-first vision, emphasized by their motto, “For the love of football.”
McMahon initially attempted to start up the new league in 2001 as a high energy, hard-hitting league that closely resembled the WWE. But, after just a single season, the league did not get the traffic they were hoping for, and NBC withdrew from broadcasting the games. McMahon admitted the league was a colossal failure and the XFL was no more.
Then on Jan. 25, 2018, McMahon announced that the XFL was coming back with a new vision on how the game is to be played. The XFL is reimagining football, making the game safer, making it more fast-paced and creating bigger plays.
Oliver Luck, commissioner of the XFL, stated in an interview, “We are witnessing peak football, the game is incredibly entertaining, professional football is a juggernaut and I think if we can stay focused and play an up-tempo, fast-paced game, I think we’re going to do great. We have a chance to build our brand and build a strong foundation.”
The XFL has committed to this new up-tempo game through several new rule changes. The first being a unique style of kickoff. In traditional football, the kickoff is the most violent and dangerous play. The XFL has changed the kickoff rules, now having the kicking team line up on the opposing side’s 35-yard line and the return team on the 30-yard line. With this five-yard gap, the players will not get a running start at each other, which will help provide a safety cushion for the players. It will also result in bigger plays by the return team.
Another new rule is the point after touchdown. Typically, the kicking team runs out and kicks an extra point. In the XFL, there will be no kicking extra points; instead, the scoring team is given three options to try their best play. The unit can choose to go for one starting from the traditional extra point line, they can decide to go for two from the five-yard line, or they can go for three from the 10-yard line. Potentially, if a team is down by 18 points, it is still only a two-score game, so no team is out of the fight.
More rules include a new overtime where each team will play in a “shoot-out” from the five-yard line and the first team who cannot match the point of the other team loses. Punting will also have a fresh look, as the coverage team cannot cover the punt downfield until the ball has left the punter’s foot. The ball cannot go out of bounds either, creating more big plays for the return team.
The last new adjustment is that the team on offense is allowed to throw a double forward pass as long as the first pass is behind the line of scrimmage. The rationale here is that it gives offenses more creativity in moving the ball downfield.
Creating a strong fan base will be the most important part of success for the XFL. The new league has worked hard to have each game broadcast on major networks to bring the games right to the fans including, Fox, ABC and ESPN. Tickets to games are also much more affordable than any NFL game. With tickets starting at just $24 and $100 for season tickets, fans will be able to enjoy the game-day festivities in live-action.
The XFL has created a new vision of the game of football and how it is played. They are committed to making the league for the fans and lovers of football. If you like fast-paced offenses and high scoring games, then the XFL will be the league for you.