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It’s time to give professional football back to the fans. At least, that’s what I took from Vince McMahon’s January 25th announcement that he’s bringing back the XFL. I totally agree, as Roger Goodell recently had his contract extended regardless of his absolutely awful, almost disdainful leadership of the league has opened up an opportunity for a competitor to take some market share.
After Deflategate, the Ray Rice debacle, and numerous other PR blunders by the NFL over the past several years, along with a notable decline in quality of play (except for a handful of teams and players), if I was the NFL, I would be worried.
But don’t look at the XFL as a direct competitor to the NFL. Look at it as a way to merge the best of college football and the best of professional football. Think about all of the college superstars who didn’t make it or won’t make it in the NFL. Guys we loved watching make explosive plays in college who are now announcing in the booth, had to play in the CFL, or are stuck on practice squads. I have two words for you: Tebow Time.
That’s right. Vince McMahon said he wants it to be family friendly with upstanding players who will not kneel for the National Anthem. He basically described Tim Tebow. And that’s coming from a Georgia alumnus. We like you, Tim. We just really, really hate Florida. And the fact of the matter is that the NFL has its own style of play that is tailored to NFL rules and NFL talent. It is tailored to “sport.” The XFL has a chance to tailor itself to pure entertainment.
But I think Vince needs a little leeway on character issues. This could be a comeback league for former college superstars. Could you imagine a Johnny Football versus Baker Mayfield matchup? Michael Sam sacking Tim Tebow? Trent Richardson, Montee Ball, and Beanie Wells all on the same depth chart? I’d watch the shit out of that, probably more so than I would the NFL.
You can bring back college schemes instead of dealing with the NFL’s boring dump-off, pro-style-only ball. You can bring back the Big 12-style air raid, SEC-style power run, or numerous spread concepts with creative option plays. It’s time for a change to pro football, and this is it. And because there are so few teams, it will be tough for there to be perennial dumpster fires like the Browns or the Colts. The competition should be relatively balanced, meaning more compelling games.
The biggest complaint I have about the XFL is what took it so long? Think about how many players college football programs pump out year in and year out, and how many of those guys who are not on NFL rosters who would love to get back in the game, especially with incentive-laden contracts. And, frankly, there’s such a big letdown when football season is over I think the XFL would be the perfect bridge between the end of the college season and the college spring games.
I trust Vince McMahon, who has shown that he understands entertainment and what the audience wants. He turned WWE into a $2.5 billion enterprise, and everyone knows it’s fake. As NFL ratings go down, the opportunity has presented itself for a competitor to step in and give the fans what they want. And with a crappy NFL ratings season being capped off by a Brady vs. Foles Super Bowl, I think it’s time for a change in professional football.
If you can find yourself some good officiating, even better, because that’s been a big problem. Maybe even use more technology? Food for thought. So come on, XFL, I’m ready to be entertained..
Image via YouTube/ ESPN