Is the XFL the Next Big Spring Gridiron Football Thing?
There have been many attempts to try and start a spring gridiron football league that would fill the void left after the end of the National Football League season in February. However, these efforts have failed for the most part. The World Football League, the United States Football League, Alliance of American Football, and the Canadian Football League’s attempt to expand to the United States all failed after a few years. The Alliance of American Football fared worse, as it didn’t even complete a full season in 2019.
However, one new gridiron football league is gaining traction. The most noteworthy part of the league is that it is a second attempt at a league that failed nearly twenty years earlier.
The XFL is a new gridiron football league that is currently making waves in the United States. The XFL has become very popular among football fans, and it could potentially last longer than many of the other failed spring leagues of the past.
The XFL is an organization run by Alpha Entertainment LLC, a group owned by World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon. The XFL operates as a spring football league for players looking to enter the NFL in the future.
The league features eight teams from around the United States. These include teams in New York, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Houston, and Seattle.
Growing In Popularity
The XFL has experienced good ratings. The league games are averaging about 1.5 million viewers per weekend.
Attendance at XFL games has been relatively high. Teams are bringing in totals from 12,000 to 25,000 fans per game. The St. Louis Battlehawks have been getting nearly 30,000 fans at their games, although much of this may be due to St. Louis not having any other gridiron football teams.
The league also uses smaller venues. The DC Defenders play at the 20,000-seat Audi Field, while the Seattle Dragons don’t open all the seats at CenturyLink Field, the home of the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders.
The XFL operates with the same standard rules as gridiron football. But there are a few noticeable differences:
- Kickoffs entail the kicker and receiver being the only people who can move before the receiver catches the ball or three seconds after the ball hits the ground.
- All players on a punting team have to stay behind the line of scrimmage before the ball is punted.
- Instead of kicking a ball for an extra point after a touchdown, a team will complete a conversion attempt. A team can score one point for a successful two-yard conversion, two points at five years, or three points at ten yards.
- A shootout-style overtime period will involve five two-point conversion attempts for each team.
- The clock runs continuously and only stops when there’s a change in possession.
- The halftime period lasts ten minutes.
- All on-field play reviews will be transparent to the audience.
Different From the Original XFL
The new XFL is radically different from the original XFL that failed in 2001. The “Xtreme Football League” was a league that focused on “attitude” and “extreme” playing. Part of this included an emphasis on violent hits, intense action, and scantily-clad cheerleaders. The poor quality of play and the awkward nature of the gimmick caused the league to fail. The new XFL focuses on football and does not entail any unusual or “extreme” tricks. The league doesn’t even have any cheerleaders.