The confetti has fallen. Teams have raised their trophies and celebrated the parades. While most football players will head to warmer climates for their off-season. For a select number of young, undrafted and cast off athletes, their journey and grind has just begun. This is because the XFL kicks off the season on February 18.
XFL, once owned by Vince McMahon, is now under new management. Former wrestler and current entertainer Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and his ex-wife, Dany Garcia, take charge. The two have picked up the pieces once thrown away by Vince by buying the rights to the XFL. Through consulting with former and current NFL administrative members, they have re-energized and restructured the once promising football league.
Dany and Dwayne have taken the latest installment of the league and rebranded it as a cross between opportunity and dreams. Their goal is to push the current product of football while also helping to expand their players’ careers in the future. The XFL offered a showcase for players to come and tryout for team scouts ahead of their 8 team draft. They hit six cities and collected a group of former NFL vets and hungry undrafted talent. Some unknown names and names you may know like Vic Beasley, Josh Gordon, or AJ McCarron, to name a few. The teams have even included some University of Michigan players in the final roster spots as well.
Some Rule Upgrades
The same rules apply as in the NFL. However, they have made some adjustments to the rules. For instance, there will be three tiers for extra points after touchdowns. You can score either 1pt from the two-yard line, 2 pts from the five-yard line or 3 pts from the ten-yard line. Basically, you might see a team have 27 pts after three scoring touchdowns.
Along with the extra point rule, the rules will allow double forward passing. If a team completes a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage, they will complete a second forward pass. Only if the ball has not crossed the line of scrimmage. Last, overtime will consist of both teams making alternating attempts to score. Each team doing so from the others 5-yard line or until a winner is decided.
Those are only some changes made, but it’s all in favor of the fans. As the XFL tries to deliver a more action packed and fast-paced state of play for a better viewing experience.
With months before any NFL or college football action, the XFL will give fans an alternative style of football to watch. There may not be big time names to look out for but if you remember the first time the XFL premiered, some players managed to turn heads and make a name for themselves. I know we all remember He Hate Me’s Rod Smart.
All of these players have heart and a deeper story to tell as it will even be documented in a nine-part docuseries titled Play 54: Chasing the XFL Dream. The number 54 has a deeper meaning to Dwayne. As you know, there are only 53 members on any football roster, and he uses the number 54 as the player who didn’t make it and that’s where the XFL steps in.
Wherever their paths may lead, it will be up to them. The XFL owners haven’t promised these guys anything but a second chance at their dreams, and I’m all for it. I have nothing but trust and faith in Dany and Dwayne this go around. ABC will host the first game between the Vegas Vipers and the Arlington Renegades. While ESPN will have the Orlando Guardians facing the Houston Roughnecks. If you tune in, I promise you won’t be disappointed in the experience.