By Luke Mich
As is the case every year, many football fans usually undergo the harsh reality that, after the conclusion of the Super Bowl, there won’t be football played until August. However, this year, an alternate football league known as the XFL returned after a 19-year hiatus. Despite viewership slowly dropping week-by-week, there is much potential and praise for the league.
“I think [the XFL] is a great thing for football, just the idea of another football league is a great thing,” said junior Jeremy “Woody” Wodarek, who plays safety for the SVC football team.
The Bearcats’ football Head Coach Aaron Smetanka agreed.
“I think it’s a great transition from the NFL to the XFL, and I hope the league continues,” he said.
Originating back in 2001, the league soon went under after its conclusion of its inaugural season due to declining ratings and millions of dollars lost. This time however, there are reasons to believe that the league can survive and thrive.
“They’re not competing against the NFL; rather, it’s working hand-in-hand [with them],” explained Smetanka.
Smetanka also thinks the XFL are better backed this time and have more financial support and better donors than the AAF, a defunct professional football league from last year.
“I like seeing the changes [they’ve made] to the XFL. It adds a little more excitement for the players and fans, and it makes each possession that much more important and significant.” - Aaron Smetanka
Something that makes the XFL stand out from the NFL and traditional football altogether are the various changes they have made. A few of these adjustments include throwing two forward passes instead of the standard one pass, and the possibility of going for a three-point conversion after scoring a touchdown.
“I like seeing the changes [they’ve made] to the XFL,” said Smetanka. “It adds a little more excitement for the players and fans, and it makes each possession that much more important and significant.”
There are some factors concerning the league that some believe need to be looked into, besides lowered viewership.
Wodarek believes the players and staff are underpaid and that there should be more than the eight current teams.
Smetanka stated another aspect that could use some work.
“For me, the quarterback play for most of the teams is underperforming,” he stated.
Despite this, the overall reception for the league has been more positive than negative. A main reason for that is the opportunity for college football athletes to continue playing after graduation.
Smetanka said it is a huge benefit to college athletes who want to continue playing.
“This developmental league […] is a big opportunity [for them] to get into the NFL, and a [good chance] to take another step forward,” Smetanka explained.
“For [the] players, it’s an opportunity to continue to play football, a chance to accomplish their dreams,” stated Wodarek. “If I had the chance to play, I wouldn’t think twice. I would play just for the love of the game.”
Originally, the XFL had games each weekend, being televised on the ESPN and Fox Sports networks. However, their season is now suspended indefinitely due to the Coronavirus.