Keion Cage | Staff Writer
Photo Credit: Unsplash User Dave Adamson
The Xtreme Football League (XFL) on Oct. 22 released its inaugural season schedule. This will be Vince McMahon’s second attempt at establishing a professional football league.
The D.C. Defenders take on the Seattle Dragons on Feb. 8 in Washington, D.C., to open the XFL inaugural season.
“Our ultimate goal is to make this all work having high quality football by 2020, and that remains paramount,” XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck said in an interview with ESPN. “Everything is going to be different [than 2001].”
In 2001, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO McMahon established his first edition of the XFL, but it ended in disappointment after only one season.
The first game of the 2001 season had a TV rating of 9.5, but week two’s TV rating dropped to 4.6. As the season progressed, the rating continued to decline. After the inaugural season was finished, the average rating per game was 3.0, well below the average of 4.5 that was promised to advertisers.
“I am probably not going even watch it, because I don’t even know the players that are even going to be playing in it,” said Khris Downing, a Hampton Univeristy electrical engineer major who is an Atlanta Falcons fan. “It’s going to be about who is playing out there on the field. If there aren’t players like Odell Beckham Jr. playing, then no one is watching a game.”
McMahon’s intent is for the league to increase the speed of the game and cut things he thinks football fans don’t like about the game. These things include long commercial breaks and halftime.
This league is trying to change the way football is played and viewed. And if the XFL proves to be successful, it could present more opportunities for those who aspire to play pro football.
“I would play in the league,” Hampton Pirates running back Will Robinson said. “I would still be playing the game I love and getting paid to play. I would be playing professionally, making my dream come true.”
The NFL is celebrating its 100th season this year and has turned the game of football into the United States’ most popular sport. There have been multiple attempts at establishing another football league outside of the NFL such as the Alliance of American Football and the United States Football League, but both ended unsuccessfully.
“If there was someone I knew personally playing, I would watch it all the time,” Robinson said. “If I’m flipping through the channels and see it, I might check it out. I’m just not going purposefully look to watch the XFL.”
McMahon is the sole funding source for the league and is expected to invest an estimated $100 million.
“I am going to learn from their mistakes as anyone would if they were tasked with reimagining a new football league,” McMahon said in an interview with ESPN.