During Vince McMahon’s press conference announcing that he would be bringing back the XFL, he discussed several ways that the XFL would change the game of football. McMahon discussed the pace of the game, shortening up the games and possibly getting rid of halftime and cutting down on commercials. He also talked about taking politics out of football, prohibiting kneeling during the national anthem, something the NFL had to deal with this past season. Other things discussed included giving the game back to the fans, making sure to let everyone who watched the announcement know that the fans voice will be heard, something that the NFL has seemed to get away from in recent years.
But McMahon shouldn’t just stop there. The new possibilities on the way he presents professional football seem endless. McMahon’s XFL is a blank canvas and he will have the opportunity to paint a new vision for how the game is played and consumed by fans. The possibilities for the XFL are endless when it comes to changing pro football.
The Possibilities for the XFL Are Endless When It Comes to Changing Pro Football
The points that McMahon made at his press conference struck a chord with football fans who are tired of the way the NFL has done business in recent years. For a certain percentage of football fans, the slow pace of the game, not having their voices heard by billionaire owners, and the politics that has entered into the game have caused these fans to grow frustrated with the NFL and their product. This isn’t to mean that the XFL will overthrow the NFL as the king of professional football, but it does mean there is an opportunity for the XFL to create their own niche and develop a following. Yes, the possibilities are endless on how the XFL can change professional football and if the league does it right, it can help them build a fan base and do something other professional football leagues failed at: longevity.
How We Watch the Game
In 2016, NFL games started to have their games streamed. First, on Twitter, and then last season, on Amazon. The XFL and McMahon have a chance to capitalize on that. McMahon could ink a deal with possibly Netflix, Hulu, or even major networks that have started to get into the streaming game. Although it wouldn’t be a new venture, since the NFL has done it, McMahon could expand what we see on those streaming outlets, making the fan more a part of the game.
The NFL television ratings have dropped in recent years, but don’t let those ratings fool you. People are still watching football on television. If you need proof, look at how much the Fox network paid to have the rights to cover Thursday Night Football. The XFL will have the opportunity to have their games covered by the many sports-only networks available, like CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and Fox Sports Net.
But not only will McMahon have options on where games will be televised. He will also have the opportunity to change on how we view the games. In the first time around for the XFL, they utilized and introduced us to the “Skycam,” a camera view that the NFL and NCAA adapted from the XFL and still utilize today. The XFL can expand on that, open up the fans to even more of the game itself. A camera on a quarterback, wide receiver, or offensive lineman, those are all possibilities. But what about putting cameras on all the players, maybe even the referees. For some NFL players, they believe the fans have seen too much, but the XFL can take the approach of “nothing is off limits.” In a world driven by social media, the ability to see or discuss things that are off limits to the common person might excite the fans. If McMahon wants the fans to be a part of the game, showing what goes on in a huddle while the game is being played might bring excitement to the fans.
Opportunities for Minorities
There are 32 teams in the NFL. Out of those 32 teams, only the Kansas City Chiefs have a minority offensive coordinator, Eric Bieniemy. Things are a tad better on the defensive side of the ball with the NFL having ten minorities as defensive coordinators, but they could be better, especially on the offensive side. Head coaches that are minorities are low as well, with there being only eight. The XFL could change that and give more opportunities to minorities.
The XFL could open the doors in this respect, for coordinators as well as head coaches. That would include women as well.
Katie Sowers became the second woman to be hired as a full-time assistant. She was hired by the San Francisco 49ers prior to last season. The XFL might be able to expand opportunities for women, more than the NFL. More and more women are working in football and are looking for an opportunity. The NFL has been slow to open these doors. With that in mind, the XFL could make headlines by opening their doors to women assistant coaches, or possibly even head coaches.
Expanding Globally for Players
The NFL has expanded their footprint overseas hoping to build their brand globally. They have done this by playing regular-season games in London the past few seasons, hoping to build a fan base. This has led to speculation that they could soon place an NFL franchise there. The XFL doesn’t need to place a franchise overseas, something we doubt they would do, but what they could do is have international players become a part of the XFL.
The NFL has brought in international players to take part in certain NFL teams’ training camps. But rarely have those players stuck on a regular season roster. The XFL could get a leg up on the NFL by not only bringing in an international pla r, but actually have one or more stick on each XFL team. By having a player from another country become a contributor, it will help the XFL build a following in that player’s home country. This could possibly lead to an international franchise down the road with them already having a house hold name or names for that country.
AmericanFootballInternational.com follows American football that is played in different countries and shows not only that there is a great number of international players playing American football, but there are some diamonds in the rough that could help build the XFL brand.
Placing Franchises in Cities That Don’t Have Professional Football
McMahon discussed at his press conference how the XFL wouldn’t shy away from placing franchises in cities that already have an NFL team. But it seems like McMahon would be better off staying away from this idea.
Television ratings might be down for the NFL, but the NFL is still king in the sports landscape in the United States. There are cities who have either never had an NFL team or had it taken away from them which would love to host an XFL franchise. St. Louis and San Diego have lost the Rams and the Chargers to Los Angeles recently and most likely would be prime locations for an XFL franchise. Oakland will be losing the Raiders to Las Vegas in a few years and they too could be a possible target.
But an obvious opportunity for McMahon and the XFL would be cities that don’t have an NFL franchise but do have a Major League Soccer franchise and have a stadium dedicated to the team. Most of these stadiums usually top out with a 20,000 seat capacity, which would be a perfect number for an XFL team. The XFL isn’t going to compete with the NFL when it comes to attendance and there is nothing worse than seeing a game played in a stadium that is, at best, half-full. MLS cities that don’t have an NFL team are Portland, Columbus, Salt Lake City, Orlando, and San Jose, all of which should be targeted by McMahon and the XFL. With these stadiums looking to fill dates when soccer isn’t being played there, the XFL could fit right in.
The XFL has a lot going for it, even if some of the so-called professional football experts don’t believe so. Not only are they able to learn from their mistakes they first made when the league played in 2001, but they are also learning from the NFL and their errors. If McMahon listens to the fans and truly has learned from his errors and the NFL’s errors, the XFL could have a spot in today’s sports world.