After lasting only one season in 2001, the XFL, a professional football league designed to display the talents of unsigned players, has been resurrected for a new season. This revival started Feb. 8 and plans to run until the conclusion of its championship game on Apr. 26. It remains to be seen how the league will fare in the coming months, considering how the Alliance of American Football flopped midway through its first season last year.
The XFL is not the same as it was the last time, and hopes to help fill the long football drought between the Super Bowl and when football starts back in the fall. The league is owned by Alpha Entertainment LLC, the same company that spearheaded the original 2001 league under Vince McMahon. So what is different this time?
The XFL’s motto is “For the Love of Football,” and has listed its three core principles based on the motto. The principles of the league are: “Fan First,” “Ultra Accessible” and “True to the Game,” according to the XFL website. With these principles and 5 times the $100 million funding of the original XFL, McMahon hopes that the XFL will not only survive this time, but thrive. Former NFL quarterback and businessman Oliver Luck is the current commissioner of the XFL, and his presence brings experience to the top level of XFL leadership.
For the league itself, there are eight teams to cheer for: the New York Guardians, Tampa Bay Vipers, DC Defenders, and St. Louis Battlehawks are in the eastern division. The western division is made up of the Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, LA Wildcats, and Seattle Dragons. The list of ex-NFL players and unsigned college players may contain some familiar faces for fans. Landry Jones, former backup quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is the starter for the Renegades. Cardale Jones, who won the College Football National Championship in 2014 as the quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes, currently plays for the DC Defenders.
As it currently stands after week 4, the Houston Roughnecks stand atop the league with the only perfect 4-0 record. The Battlehawks follow at 3-1, with the Defenders, Renegades, and Guardians coming in at 2-2. The Dragons, Vipers, and Wildcats round out the group at 1-3. There have been plenty of ups and downs thus far, and with over half the season still to go, the XFL has more than enough action left to go.
As an interesting tidbit, according to Garrett Stepien of 247Sports, XFL viewership actually rose from week one to week two. This is an excellent sign for the fans of the teams in this fledgeling league. Whether or not this success will last is still up in the air, but it appears that XFL 2.0 may be on track to succeed where it’s predecessor failed. Only time will tell, and for those who don’t want the magic of the football season to be over just yet, the new and improved XFL may just be a viable option.