The New XFL Looks Like it Could Outlast its Preternatural Predecessor

With several rules changes that have been received well by fans, the latest version of the XFL could stick around longer than the previous conception of the league.

By Tommy Harlan

Updated: Feb. 18, 2020 • 12:45 PM ET

MetLife Stadium is home to the XFL's New York Guardians.

When I heard the XFL was coming back, I was a doubtful it would be successful. I could only picture the disaster that imploded back in 2001 after only one season.

During that season, the XFL struggled with failing partnerships. The league was more worried about wild nicknames like “He Hate Me” and put an emphasis on violence to draw larger audiences. The league was less about the game of football and more about failed experimentation. However, two weeks into the relaunch of the XFL, it’s evident that the reboot is more finely executed both on and off the field.

The new XFL has taken away the flashy nicknames and updated its rules to reduce the need for violence (see the kickoff rules), all while adding twists to bring the focus back to producing entertaining football.

The XFL is intended to be a product that makes fans miss the National Football League just a little less during the offseason. The reboot of the league, though, seems to already be drawing a following, all on its own.

The changes are small, but entertaining. Some of the changes are intended to bring more entertainment and high-scoring action, like the fact that teams have the option to go for a 1-, 2- or 3-point conversion after a touchdown. And in many of the games so far, teams have been willing to go for the 2- or even the 3-point conversion. Additionally, the introduction of a double pass has allowed teams to be more creative with their play calling, which adds another level of entertainment for fans.

Finally, one of the biggest changes that we’ve seen is the access that viewers have to players, coaches and officials. We’ve heard audio of coaches calling plays, sound bites from the huddle and even watched and listened to replay reviews in the booth. Viewers get a behind-the-scenes look into the game from the comfort of their couches, even hearing and seeing the replay official as they explain to the head official why and how they make a decision about a reviewable call.

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This version of the XFL is enjoyable to watch and less focused on the brutality of the sport. It has disregarded emphasis on player nicknames and become more about producing a product that will attract people to the games and have them craving more.

This version of the XFL may only be a week old, but it looks to be well on its way to becoming the perfect way to watch good and entertaining football in the NFL’s offseason. Hopefully, it will outlast its short run back in the early 2000s.

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