American Football has been known to be dominated by the NFL. You either make it in the NFL or you look for another career path. The USFL and the XFL and other gridiron competitions might have offered a different trajectory but not of great worth – does this merger change the game at all? To measure success it’s going to come down to more than just the actual product on the field. Will the fans turn up, can some sponsors and the best offshore sportsbooks get involved to drive some extra revenue and interest towards the game?
Can You Smell…What the XFL is Cookin’?
The XFL has a deep history from the roots of professional wrestling. After all, it was formed by Vince McMahon in 2001 as a product to rival the NFL for complete domination of America’s Sunday night viewing. However, the product was shelved after just one season as it was described as a complete failure by Vince himself. Fast-forward to today and the XFL is now owned by the Rock and his consortium. As a former American Football try-out himself, he was on the rosters for both the Miami Hurricanes and the Calgary Stampeders.
Now with his in-ring career slowing down and his efforts focused on Hollywood movies and other business ventures, he’s trying his hand at football again, this time from a management point – reprising a similar type of role he played in the TV show, Ballers.
Should the New League Embrace Gambling?
It’s a sensitive topic in the world of NFL, especially when some bad refereeing or bizarre coaching decisions can create a different outcome, but gambling is here to stay and it does bring an added interest to the sport. With new teams it’s hard to build a hardcore fanbase, so you need to give viewers a genuine reason to show interest.
If they can find a way to get the best offshore sportsbooks for football to show an interest and really push the games, then viewers who stand to win or lose money will have a reason to keep watching until the very end, and that could help increase interest levels.
Merger Helps Depth of Teams
Both the USFL and XFL have struggled to attract teams to form and stick around in their respective competitions for various reasons. For one, there’s been no great number of other teams in either promotion to start so it’s not like leaving puts you on the outside of a must-participate league.
The merger of both organizations would mean that there would be a grand total of 16 teams in the new format, with eight joining from each side. This would facilitate greater competition as the teams could play 15 games without playing the same opposition twice, the lack of fixture variation has previously made non-NFL football somewhat stale with repetitive contests between the same squads.
It also allows the XFL to broaden its geographic wings. While the operation has eight teams, it only has four stadiums…meaning the Philadelphia Stars play at Ford Field, in Detroit, Michigan, the same home ground for the Michigan Panthers. There are another three instances of this too…making it just feel weird and inauthentic. The USFL’s existing infrastructure could help each team have its own unique identity, firstly helping the Houston Gamblers move out of Memphis and into Houston – while also creating new rivalries.
What Does this mean for the Players?
Put yourself in the shoes of a young rookie trying to make his way into the NFL. There are more pitfalls than opportunities. You could get cut from the team, you might not be drafted, you might not get on the college team, or you might have a serious injury that prevents the NFL doctors from playing you. All situations can give you drastically less playing time and impress the NFL scouts who are watching.
The fact that the USFL and XFL are working together should be seen as a new platform for players to achieve their goals. Whether that’s simply playing football at a decent level (rather than at the park by themselves) or a stage for them to excel and earn their sport in the NFL. The scout who attended was at the senior bowl could have been at the bar when a young promising rookie made a stellar play, meaning they will never get that dream move to the New England Patriots. Yet if you lift the Championship with the Arlington Renegades, Bill Belichick might just extend an olive brand to an open tryout. Without leagues like this, the untapped abilities simply go by the wayside and the footballing talent goes to waste.
Making it Big
It used to be that the USFL and XFL were for old-timers who hadn’t quite earned enough money for an additional sports car, so labored on playing just for a bit more cash. Lots of players when the NFL teams wouldn’t touch them joined these teams, with the franchises thinking a former NFL pro would enhance their attendance and viewership numbers.
While there still might be a few old conkers on the rosters, the reverse is more accurate now with young players who previously didn’t make the cut now aiming for the NFL – rather than the opposite trajectory. Levi Bell, Lorenzo Burns, and Alex McGough are three top players who were part of the USFL last season but are now training with different NFL teams. There are 11 more players in the same situation. The XFL also has its fair share of NFL graduates with Alize Mack joining the Tennessee Titans from the San Antonio Brahams, Charleston Rambo has linked up with the Philadelphia Eagles from the Orlando Guardians among countless others.