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XFL Strikes Research and Development Deal with NFL

Not quite the minor league type system we’re hoping for, but a step in the right direction

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XFL: Houston Roughnecks at Tampa Bay Vipers Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Remember the Tampa Bay Vipers and the XFL? That was fun while it lasted, and the league plans on returning, so the fun may be over.

This time, however, the league is trying to learn from its past mistakes, and come into the fray with some major backing. Announcing on Monday an agreement between the XFL and the NFL.

“We are bringing forward an XFL that is progressive and forward-thinking when it comes to innovation,” said Dany Garcia, Co-Owner and Chairwoman of the XFL. ”Leveraging the newest technology to enhance gameday experience. We have an open field for innovative rules to enhance in-game access. Sharing insights and practices between the XFL and NFL will do a tremendous amount of good for the game of football and support the player ecosystem overall.”

XFL: Houston Roughnecks at Tampa Bay Vipers Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

The plan for the two leagues is to work together to expand the game through the creation of increased opportunities and on and off-field development, according to the XFL’s press release.

A focus on learning and innovation and physical and mental fitness programs, and studies conducted on playing surfaces and equipment are also discussed in the release.

The two leagues will also share game trends and data with each other in order to facilitate some of the gameplay, safety, and development ventures intended by this collaboration.

But the two leagues aren’t stopping at players currently in the league, and they certainly aren’t avoiding the elephant in the room. The officiating.

International players and scouting are also mentioned in the agreement, as is the use of technology to improve and enhance officiating.

“The XFL has shown us that innovation is one of its core principles,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent. “We are hopeful that this relationship will support further development and improvements in the game of football at all levels.”

While this doesn’t point a sign at the Tampa Bay Vipers becoming what the Syracuse Crunch is to the Lightning, for the Buccaneers, it is a step in the right direction.

The NFL wouldn’t likely get into such an agreement without some confidence the league wasn’t going to fold as quickly as it did last time out, and strong delivery on promises here will open the door to other avenues for the two leagues to work together.

Making football a true year-round sport.

XFL: Houston Roughnecks at Tampa Bay Vipers Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Last July the XFL attempted to strike an agreement with the CFL before both sides walked away.

Apparently, the XFL took those lessons, got better, and now have a partnership with the most powerful sports entity on the planet.

Strong start for a league looking to relaunch, in 2023.

For more on this story and all things Tampa Bay Buccaneers, follow us here at Bucs Nation and listen to James Yarcho and David Harrison on the Locked On Bucs Podcast!