Vince McMahon is announcing the launch of XFL 2.0 at 3 PM today. There is just no way this project will succeed long term right?
A legitimate competitor for the NFL would be a good thing and something that is much needed but there is almost no chance that this is that competitor. Vince McMahon’s ego and politics just won’t allow it to be that. What football needs for its long term future is something that forces the NFL to embrace player safety and better benefits for its players instead it is getting the XFL again. Between 2012 and 2017 High School Football saw participation decline in 41 states and in 14 of those state the decline was greater than ten percent. I’m not saying football is dying overnight but that time is coming a lot sooner than football people think. Parents are keeping their kids out of football for safety reasons. The best athletes will be playing other sports and sooner or later that will impact the NFL.
Being a Vince McMahon project this league will probably worry about all the wrong things. This will be a league that will make a show of the national anthem while taking shots at Colin Kaepernick and the NFL. If it is anything like the first edition it’ll look down upon player safety. I really don’t think there is as big a market for “old time football” as some might think. I made two predictions on Twitter earlier. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Trump family involved with this in some capacity. This will be a league that reaches out to Donald Trump’s cult. Even the supposed logo is red, white and blue. Deadspin noted that some of the potential trademarks for this league were filed just days before Trump spoke out against the NFL. This will launch in 2020. I’d wager that Donald Trump or someone in the GOP is going to embrace this in their 2020 campaign.
Reviving a dead football league from seventeen years ago to prove people wrong seems like a bad reason to go into business Same with starting a league two years from now because there are racist people in 2018 who currently don’t like the NFL. Although Vince McMahon being stubborn shouldn’t surprise anyone who has followed the WWE even a little bit. Just go google Daniel Bryan, Zach Ryder, Damien Sandra, Cesaro, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, the original XFL did do some good things. The sky cam is part of every football broadcast now. I personally liked how their overtime used a modified college football model. Each team got same amount of possessions but it had a “can you top this” element. If Team A scored in three plays than Team B had to do it in two in order to win. A catch only requiring only one foot to be inbounds was also great. It just wasn’t enough to make up for the bad football and everything else.
Where would these games air? There have been some recent reports that WWE could potentially move its programming to Fox in the near future. There are even some talks of Fox buying WWE. Where are they getting a TV deal? I can’t see NFL letting ESPN, Fox, NBC Sports or CBS Sports do it. Will it just be on the WWE Network? Some other streaming service?
Will this league be a long term success? I don’t think so. They will manage to get new subscribers to the WWE Network though which is probably the end goal here anyways but the bad football and everything else that will likely be around it just won’t let this become a big thing.