Reasons to watch the XFL this season

XFL football in the spring this time around has a lot to offer football fans across the U.S.

By Joseph Nichols, Staff Writer

I do not want to see Patrick Mahomes escaping three sacks before slinging the ball 50 yards downfield to find a wide-open Travis Kelce in the end zone every week. Sometimes, I just want to watch mediocre football.

Diehard football fans live for the fall months and the beginning of winter. College football is in full swing and as it begins to transfer to Bowl games, the race to make the playoffs in the NFL is heating up. However, football fans alike have the same dilemma every year–– the offseason post Super Bowl.

Although there can be some juicy storylines surrounding players such as Aaron Rodgers contemplating retirement or a potential trade in the NFL or college players transferring or choosing to decommit to programs, it is simply not enough for diehard football fans to satiate their football need.

For casual and serious fans of football, they have a new remedy for their off-season woes- the XFL. The XFL is one of the many spring football leagues that have bounced up numerous times throughout the last 50 years, most notably during 2020.

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Though the XFL is not likely to compete with the popularity or talent of the NFL, the league has a lot to offer giving players another chance to find success in the sport.

They saw moderate success during this season but were cut short due to COVID-19. This sudden end to their season never allowed investors to regain their funds and after declaring bankruptcy, they were quickly bought out by American actor and former professional athlete, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Johnson sought to give players a second chance that were never able to make the next step in the NFL. In his speech on the opening kickoff this past weekend, Johnson stated, “They told you that dream was over, but here’s the truth: Your dream is just beginning.” He continued, “You’re going to come out onto this field, and you’re going to line up, and you’re going to show the world what it’s like to be truly hungry with that chip on your shoulder.”

A member of the 1991 University of Miami championship team, Johnson played defensive tackle as second fiddle to future seven-time pro bowler Warren Sapp. The Rock never found his footing in the NFL and after going undrafted and unable to land a roster spot, he bounced around the Canadian Football League before becoming a professional wrestler.

The XFL kicked off its season this past weekend, flashing some notable faces and experimental rules. Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward coached the San Antonio Brahmas against the Saint Louis Battlehawks, being quarterbacked by two-time national champion A.J. McCarron.

For the fans that want to sit back on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and watch football in February and March, the XFL might be for you. The lack of offensive talent is somewhat apparent, but you are also able to see NFL draft busts, college players that did not pan out or players that simply did not make a roster duke it out on television.

The games were interesting enough, and although they are often low-scoring, it is expected. There was a thriller in which the Battlehawks came back to win after being down 15-3 with under two minutes to go, but I am also not expecting the second coming of Christ when watching a spring startup league.

The experimental rules offer an interesting alternative to the NFL, which all too often becomes trapped in their own stinginess. Some of these innovations even take effect with a few rules and equipment from previous spring startup football leagues have even found their way into the NFL such as sky cams and microphones on players.

I found the XFL to be a refreshing break from the NFL after a disappointing Super Bowl conclusion. The games, although mundane at times, were enough to scratch my football itch and perfect noise to have on in the background as I worked on a class project.

I am not watching the XFL because I think the next Tom Brady will rise from it and switch over to the NFL. I am watching it because it’s football in the spring and football is football. Let them play!