The 2020 XFL season kicks off next month. That’s right, we won’t have any time to miss football after the Super Bowl because Vince McMahon’s second stab at a spring league will get underway the following weekend.
With McMahon’s money, eight teams from all around the country and a pretty sweet television deal, the league seems to have a pretty good foundation. But will it last this time? Can spring football legitimately work? We’ve seen the XFL fail once. We witnessed the launch and very sudden crash of the AAF just last year. Will this time be any different?
As with any other attempt at making spring football happen, the main concern is quality of play. That obviously comes down to the talent and how well it’s distributed. There are a few notable names across the league, but there’s no real star power, is there?
The appeal is the chance to watch some former college stars that never really got the chance to shine in the NFL. There are guys who college fans may recognize from Saturdays of the past, such as Cardale Jones (DC Defenders), Aaron Murray (Tampa Bay Vipers), Quinton Flowers (Tampa Bay Vipers), Eric Dungey (Dallas Renegades), Connor Cook (Houston Roughnecks) and Jordan Ta’amu (St. Louis BattleHawks). It should be fun to watch some of those guys again, but will any of them really move the needle and make this league a viable long-term success?
Of course, the biggest selling point of any spring league is that, hey, it’s football. People say even bad football is still football, which is true to an extent. That could be enough, in theory, but it hasn’t been before. The novelty of it all should be enough to pull people in at the start, which is great. But can it really last? Maybe the average football fan will check out the Seattle Dragons and DC Defenders kicking things off for the league on Feb. 8, but how many will stick around and tune in for a March 21 game between the Los Angeles Wildcats and St. Louis BattleHawks?
Look, I want to be excited. I really do. I’m just... hesitant. I feel like I just went through all of this with the AAF in 2019. I went all in on the Orlando Apollos, who played across the street from where I lived at the time, only to see the league go under before the end of its first season. Laugh at me if you want, but I was actually crushed when the league ceased operations. What started as a tongue-in-cheek obsession with the Apollos turned into me legitimately caring about that team. The AAF had me along for the ride, only for that ride to tail off and leave me in the middle of the road with nothing but a couple of t-shirts, a hat and a rally towel.
McMahon has the money to keep this thing going, whereas the AAF supposedly didn’t. That (and a lack of patience) was ultimately what led to its downfall. But for McMahon, will the returns for the XFL warrant continued investment? If interest is low and the league is losing money, why wouldn’t it go the same way as all of the other spring leagues before it?
I understand the circumstances with the XFL may be different, but I still think my apprehension is warranted. Nonetheless, I’ll cautiously give the league a chance. The Tampa Bay Vipers will play their home games just down the road at Raymond James Stadium, so why not?
Seattle and DC will square off in the inaugural game of the new XFL on Feb. 8, with kickoff set for 2:00 p.m. on ABC. Tampa Bay kicks off its season the following day with a 2:00 p.m. road matchup against the New York Guardians. That game will air on FOX.
What are your thoughts on the launch of the new XFL?
This poll is closed
I’ll give it a shot.
I could not care even a little bit less.
What’s the XFL?