It’s back! Gone but never forgotten, the Vince McMahon-inspired Xtreme Football League is getting another lease on life, nearly 17 years after it was first closed for business. Overall, this edition of the XFL looks and appears to be different.
For one thing, the league will be hiring football people to run the operation. Gone are the days of a TV executive and a wrestling company running the place. Brining people in that know the sport and know how to grow the game are a solid step forward for this edition of the XFL.
However, while ole Vinny Mac answered quite a few questions during the unveiling press conference, there are still some grey areas that will need to be worked out going forward. Getting specific, here are three important questions that the league will need to answer before it’s potential success can be determined.
1. Cities: Where, Qualifications, Etc.
With the league set to debut in 2020, Vince McMahon has given himself more than enough time to establish both a backroom of a football people to lead the league as well as on the field and team-specific personnel to target going forward.
That said, the league also needs to begin to identify where it wants to place it’s first eight teams. While Vince did say during the presser that he would be targeting all 30 cities that currently host NFL teams, questions will have to be raised about whether or not the league can survive by going after these already targeted cities.
Another question that needs to be answered is where and how will these games be played. If a team ends up going to a non-NFL city, what are the stadium qualifications needed for the team. Can a city like New York be targeted with Yankee Stadium being used to host games? Many questions need to be answered about where these teams can and will play and they need to be answered as soon as possible.
2. Will it Target College Underclassmen?
In today’s day and age, more and more college underclassmen are leaving school too early. Seeing school as a waste of time as well as trying to provide for their families, these players end up as low picks or undrafted free agents and eventually miss their opportunity due to their rush to reach the NFL.
With these players needing a league to both develop and earn themselves pay, will the XFL be that home for many collegiate players that feel the college experience isn’t for them?
While the XFL has said that it will not be an NFL developmental league, could the league use these players to their own benefit. Giving these young players a chance, the XFL could grab and hang onto many players that weren’t ready for the NFL. Developing them into capable players, the XFL may then be able to establish a culture that both develops and re-signs these young kids, draining the NFL of potential talent.
3. Fantasy Football, Fan Engagement, Sports Betting
One thing that was clearing advertised during the XFL’s reveal was fantasy football and sports betting. Shown during the league’s intro video, both subjects went unaddressed during the press conference, begging the question of what the league has in store for both topics.
Another area that the league needs to clarify is just how far it will go regarding fan engagement. While the league stated that it will look to it’s fans to craft this new version of football, how will it choose what to address and, quite simply, will the league actually use the fans to determine rule changes or just parade around like the NFL, pretending it is doing what it is doing for the fans.
Be sure to check out the latest episode of the Loaded Box Podcast as we were joined by the guys from the Beer Fueled Fantasy Podcast to debate the championship window of opportunity for the Minnesota Vikings following their loss to Philadelphia.