With the whole world battling the consequences of COVID-19, yet another hero has fallen. One of the most exciting leagues in American football, the XFL, laid off all of its employees on April 10th. With no staff members to resume the operations after the quarantine, the XFL is just waiting for the inevitable end.
All the Good Things
Praised by many for its refreshing rules and engaging experiences, the XFL is a brave endeavor of Vince McMahon’s company called Alpha Entertainment. Vince’s goal was to create the kind of environment that nourishes a faster and simpler playstyle than the one found in the NFL. The league was founded in 2018 and launched in 2020.
The rule changes included kickoffs, punts, clock changes, overtime, double-forward pass, and points after touchdown. Each consists of several substantial changes. For example, one of the most notable alterations was the difference in kickoffs. In the XFL, players are not allowed to move until a player on the opposing team catches the ball.
The league has eight teams, spreading them between the two divisions: East and West. Unlike the franchise-based NFL, each team in the XFL is actually owned by the league.
Unlike the teams in the NFL, the XFL didn’t own any stadiums – it rented them instead to save money. The league itself didn’t have billion-dollar broadcasting contracts with TV networks either, which means no sponsors and no money.
On top of that, during the quarantine, some of the most valued players decided to transition to the NFL. Notably, P.J. Walker is going to be a backup player for the Panthers in the upcoming NFL season.
As the priorities shifted from business objectives to people’s lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the XFL had no choice other than to stop. Unfortunately, that decision was fatal. There was no money coming in, and there were no funds to keep the league afloat.
Still, the XFL was a rejuvenating pursuit of something different in an established sport, and it was definitely a worthy one. The new approach introduced fans to a different way that American football can be played, which might inspire a new generation of smaller, more experimental leagues in the future.
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