It’s been confirmed by Dwayne Johnson and Danny Garcia, the XFL will return for another season in 2024.
It was obvious considering early on into this process of new ownership that Redbird capital had promised undisclosed backing for the league along with a 5-year exclusive rights deal to Disney and it’s subsidiaries who would display the games.
But it’s big news nonetheless as we have reiteration of confirmation that the XFL is here to stay for the long haul.
The XFL has certainly done it’s job to make the game attractive and they’ve scored very well in regards to certain things they’ve done with the league and scored disastrously on others.
This is the XFL…
The XFL has four veteran head coaches in Reggie Barlow who coaches the DC Defenders, Jim Haslet who coaches the Seattle Sea Dragons, Bob Stoops who coaches the Arlington renegades, and Wade Phillips who coaches the Houston Roughnecks.
These 4 head coaches combine for a whopping 109+ years of coaching experience.
On the flip side, The XFL seemed like it was aiming towards hiring a group of men who were younger and hungrier.
Unlike some of the veteran head coaches, I believe the rookie coaches have an advantage on a different level because they actually played the game more recently, but that means nothing if it doesn’t transfer over though.
The first time head coaches are Hines Ward who coaches a San Antonio Brahmas, Anthony Becht who coaches for the St. Louis BattleHawks, Las Vegas Vipers who is headed by rod Woodson and last but not least Terrell Buckley who is coaching the Orlando Guardians.
I think the coaches have done pretty well with the exception of some, as quite a few of their draft choices haven’t seemed to be a good fit for their team. It wasn’t just with rookie coaches it’s been with the veteran head coaches as well.
This makes me wonder if the draft is really that difficult, and if it is it’s much more important than I’ve ever believed. Are these just growing pains for these young coaches specifically Terrell Buckley, Rod Woodson and Hines Ward? Will they be better next year at it? Will they even return next year?
Grade : 7.8
Rules and Officiating
No I’m not going to break down every single thing the league has implemented into the game to try to improve it as it may take me forever to break that down but simply point out the things I like or dislike that they’ve done.
Whether you’re the casual viewer who happens to tune in or the football loyalist who watches every single game of this league there’s no doubt the officiating and the XFL rules are above and beyond what the NFL has in my opinion.
I’ve heard some people complaining and say that the XFL is too gimmicky but forget that they’re still watching grown men play a kid’s sport in college, NFL or anywhere else, it’s a game and it’s going to be gimmicky in and of itself. But one thing I can happily say is that the XFL specifically has not been over the top in what they’ve done.
Like him or not Dean Blandino has been refreshing and consistent throughout this whole XFL season, the transparency he and the League have shown has been extremely important and informative to how referees and officiating crews make their conclusions that can alter a game.
Game Play Adjustment
The kickoffs I love because it protects the players as most injuries in the NFL happen on kickoffs alone.
The extra point system in the league may be my favorite thing of all. I’ve never been a fan of kickers having your team’s fate in their leg but since the league requires your offense to go out there to go get a one, two, or three point conversion after a touchdown, it eradicates the kickers presence and I’m all here for it.
The 4th and 15 rule may be the biggest game changer of all as even the NFL is looking in to adding this to the game as an alternative in the fourth quarter to a on-site kick if a team is losing, the Philadelphia Eagles are the team who has requested the NFL take a look at this rule.
The last thing I’ll point out is that I truly enjoy is the time management of the league’s games.
What makes the game interesting, it’s the last 2 minutes of each half It just seems to draw you in because it gives so many more opportunities to both teams that it’s must watch football.
The 2 minutes is used the way it should be used, they are almost games separated from the game itself.
Instead of sitting around for 3 or 3.5 hours the games can be over in most cases in under 3 hours and that’s refreshing and it leaves you wanting more especially if it’s not a snoozer. One of the biggest factors for that is incomplete passes do not stop the clock.
Grade : 9.4
Ticketing & Fan Experience
The prices for most tickets to the XFL games have been extremely reasonable for an individual ticket or even If you have a family or group you want to take with you.
People have rightfully criticized and overly criticized some of the venues the XFL has chosen to host its games, but the fan experience seems to be extremely positive no matter which location it happens to be at, that’s a huge plus for a casual visitor to a city who wants to attend a game or the dedicated fan of his team. The public is leaving the game satisfied.
Each team has a unique location and there’s no debating that whether it’s Cashman Field that gets overly criticized in Las Vegas which I honestly have no problem with, Audi filled in Washington DC that generates a wonderful environment in a very nice soccer stadium along with St Louis who hosts the BattleHawks in the Dome at America’s Center that just oozes old but the huge crowds breathe fresh air into it.
Moreover, Choctaw stadium may be my favorite stadium above all of them as the look and presentation of it seems historical.
One of the most positive things I’ve heard is that fans have enjoyed the access with the players a lot more than with other leagues in the past and they’ve appreciated the gratitude the players have displayed for them being invested in the league.
Another component to the live fan experience is merchandise, I’ve heard mix reviews, A positive is that the XFL sells many things that aren’t even on the XFL website making the games more unique but a negative is they don’t have enough merchandise booths keeping fans away from watching the game as lines are too long.
Grade : 9.1
I’m not sure what has happened to the social media people who are running this XFL 3.0 accounts, but they are not the social media expert set the XFL 2.0 were.
They are barely even existent!
The Rock and his partners have completely failed the social media aspect of this league, we live in a day and age where being seen is everything and you don’t see them anywhere, it’s a shame.
Dwayne Johnson alone has 374 million followers on Instagram and 17 million followers on Twitter that’s not counting how many he has on Facebook, you would think the biggest movie star In the world would step up and even share XFL content, but he hasn’t.
As of recently, The Rock and the XFL have FINALLY started sharing content from game highlights to XFL news, they have not been involved whatsoever with the social media aspect of this league and it’s appalling that their investment seems to only be monetary, as important and key as that is, it’s not enough.
What happened to the locker room specials that we used to get post games? Why did the constant social media presence from XFL 2.0 disappear? What happened to the XFL’s social media?
Grade : 2.0
I have been very happy with the way the game has improved week after week as we finish with week 8.
Heading into the season you knew it was going to be a little rough as some of these players hadn’t touched a football in several years, the players needed to build chemistry to get better.
Quarterbacks and receivers needed to develop a chemistry of dependency and urgency to make their game more efficient.
Defense was always going to be strong early on as it’s a lot easier to adjust on that side of the ball than it is on the offensive.
Quarterback play with the exception of probably the Arlington renegades and the San Antonio Brahmas has improved week by week at a very high level with quarterbacks like AJ McCarron, Jordan Ta’Amu and Ben Dinucci playing lights out every single game.
For the first time ever we finally got to see what an overtime game looked like in the XFL, and we didn’t just get one but we got two special overtimes this week with two thrilling finishes, the league deserves a ton of credit for the implementation of this rule.
The meshing between these quarterbacks and their receivers, offensive lines and their running backs, players and their coaches have improved dramatically barring injuries, but overall I believe the teams have accomplished that synergy.
We are less than two weeks away from the end of the regular season of this league with one playoff game in each division and a championship game at the end.
If week 8 has told us anything, It’s chemistry Is everything which can only mean we may have the greatest championship game in football history coming up right? You never know!
Game Play : 8.7
The marketing for XFL 3.0 has been abysmal and is an absolute failure.
I’m not sure if the new ownership believed simply because The Rock was the face of the league that was enough that would be enough for the league to do well, but it’s turned out it wasn’t.
Whatever Dwayne Johnson and Danny Garcia and Redbird thought about marketing this league the way they’ve done it or the lack thereof is an absolute travesty to the game of football.
I have previously stated the XFL needs Vince McMahon presence in this league because there is no doubt he is the greatest promoter I’ve ever seen in my life, it’s his true genius.
The XFL leadership failed to negotiate enough games to be on broadcast television the way they did the first time (2.0) with Vince McMahon, which has truly hurt the XFL in growing their audience.
Solely staying with ESPN has hurt the league as it isolates itself from a potential larger audience on other networks like NBC.
The Rock isn’t even present in anything the league does besides making a cameo. It’s clear to me that Vince McMahon’s name alone carries more weight with the public from a marketing and sports events hosting perspective, he’s clearly on a higher level.
Dwayne Johnson cannot market anything but himself and that’s a detriment to this league and why Vince McMahon needs to come back in the fold somehow and push this league in the correct direction.
Could you imagine what the attendance would be like if they actually marketed correctly in those markets? Many of the fans I’ve spoken with had no idea the teams were returning for another shot in the same market from XFL 2.0 where there was an already established fan-base. It’s insane!
Dwayne Johnson IS not Jerry Jones, he’s not Mark Cuban, he’s not Magic Johnson or Jeanie Buss who actively promote and push their organization.
Even with all that said, there’s still a strong market out here for spring football regardless of the abysmal marketing, poor ratings, and total pack of awareness the league is actually in play.
The XFL is still drawing better than some legacy sports like MLS, college basketball and NBA and that’s when it’s pushed by ESPN who barely even promotes it. Fyi, word of mouth by the die-hard viewer can only do so much.
The XFL should have taken the lead with their return to spring football considering their competition, the USFL, which starts this week and is being heavily pushed by Fox.
There’s a war going on between the two Fox and Disney, ESPN and the XFL leadership failed to make a statement as the number 1 spring football league this year!
Grade : 0.0
Another component of the game I have been pleasantly happy with from the XFL Today on ESPN YouTube or the ESPN broadcasters themselves, ESPN has done a fantastic job of finding the right people to delve into the game and inform the viewer of what’s actually going on.
It’s something you don’t see in any other sport, you will never find access like this anywhere else but the XFL.
The camaraderie and the chemistry that the sideline reporters have with the broadcasters in the booth is amazing.
They laugh, they joke, they get upset, they ask questions that the regular viewer wants to know from a sport that’s supposed to be so intimidating to even the diehard viewer with all its lingo. It’s extremely refreshing and I have learned so much just listening to them.
Kudos to the sideline reporters who are brave enough and athletic enough to get into the weeds with the players/coaches after a good or bad play and pick that psyche of the individual.
I think ownership in the NFL probably appreciates that more so than anything else because it tells you where the mind is at when these teams get in the trenches in the most crucial times of the game.
The reporters have tremendous confidence within themselves with huge determination to do their job.
Grade : 9.5
I won’t be evaluating ESPN or FX broadcasts. I touched on it above somewhat but will not be getting into the weeds of it all as I believe that’s something that needs to develop better or change completely.
Here’s hoping week 9 all the way until the last second of the XFL championship game can deliver at a higher level just as much as a league has over the previous 8 weeks of the season.
The USFL will be competing directly with the XFL beginning this week which should be interesting and how ESPN represents the games against Fox.
There has been no word on if more of the games will be flexed this week to ABC besides the one already scheduled that will directly compete with the USFL Saturday night.
The league may be awaiting the ratings of week 8 to make that decision, those numbers should be available today or tomorrow.
I’m not sure if you agree with what I’ve said, but if you have or if you haven’t please leave your feedback and let me know what you think in the comments below, thanks.