XFL Is Back!

Debut weekend.

Jim Rome
February 10, 2020 - 10:25 am

USA Today


If the moment the Super Bowl was over, you started counting down until the start of the 2020 football season, I want to tell you, if that’s the greatest source of joy in your life; where your ultimate meaning: in your favorite team and in your favorite league; then you need to take a good, long look in the mirror. Because as great as the shield is, there is more to life than that. I want to tell you that, but I know in the case of a lot of you, I’d just be wasting my time. So I won’t. Good news, bad news: good news, there really is no offseason in the NFL. Bad news is, there’s no actual football during the NFL offseason.  Or is there? I mean, no real football. No NFL football. But to say there’s no football at all, really isn’t true.  Because there is. XFL BABY! IT’S BACK. 

And no, it’s not the same as the original XFL. They have some wacky rules for the kickoff, but it’s not the old school scramble. And they’re getting really loose when it comes to extra points, by running a play from the two-yard line for one point, the five yard line for two points, or the ten yard line for three points. 

And I know the popular thing right now is to either ironically or sincerely declare yourself to be a fan of the Dallas Renegades. Or talk about how you’re a New York Guardian fan for life. 

But I’m not going there just yet. And that’s not because Jeff Brohm isn’t going to be playing in this league and so we aren’t going to get sideline interviews like this.

And it’s not because the team names are still pretty horrible... It is really hard to get fired up about a league that has played out re-heated team names like the Vipers, Dragons, and Battlehawks. Especially when they’re running around in uniforms that look like they’re worn by the opponents in a Hollywood movie where they couldn’t get the rights to actual teams. 

But don’t get it twisted. I’m not here to hate. I did see some things I liked. Like Jerry Glanville coaching. And like Jerry Glanville wearing not one, but two headsets during a game. 

But as much as I’m already Jonesing for football. Something to watch and something to get down on, errrr, something for the flight deck to get down on. I’m not going all in on this. Not yet. And probably not ever. I mean, we’ve been down this road before. Hell, we were down that road one year ago. And it didn’t end well.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Alliance of American Football was kicking ass and then it vanished. So if you want to come at me and tell me it’s awesome that Jerry Glanville is back on the sidelines, I would agree. 

And I would remind you that it was awesome when my man, Rick Neuheisel was partying with the Arizona Hotshots in a locker room last year.

So excuse me if I’m going to take a once bitten, twice shy approach to the XFL. When you’ve seen Rick Neuheisel partying like that and then you get that ripped from you, you’re a little reluctant to just jump right in and start celebrating another league one year later.

Yes, I like the XFL’s in-game interviews. And of course it was going to lead to something like this from Seattle’s Dillon Day.

Like that wasn’t going to happen. It wasn’t shocking that someone dropped an f-bomb in an XFL interview. It would’ve been shocking if they didn’t. 

But those of us loyal Alliance supporters are just sitting back and saying, been there, done that. You’ve got Dillon Day dropping f-bombs during interviews, the Alliance had Christian Hackenberg dropping f-bombs during games.

The XFL is letting viewers in on the conversations surrounding a replay review? The Alliance did that too. Although shoutout to the XFL for having the replay official controlling everything with an X-box controller. That was pretty awesome. 

What’s next? Hooking up the replay officials with a Nintendo Power Glove? Making the refs using the Nintendo Power Pad for penalties? Or really get old school with it and make them use Atari joysticks. 

And if you like some old school violence with your football, you got that too, thanks to Tampa Bay defensive tackle Ricky Walker who because the first player in league history to be ejected for punching an opponent in the head. 

That’s how you know this XFL is different from the original, because in the original, they would have crowned him league MVP for punching a guy in the head. Now, he gets ejected. How times have changed!

So yes, I’m going to hold my fire on the XFL. Time will tell with this league. Just like time will tell about whether this postgame celebration from the St. Louis Battlehawks is the coolest or saddest thing ever. Because if the question was – how do you celebrate an XFL win? Nick Fitzgerald and Taylor Heinicke have the answer: going Stone Cold on some hard seltzers.

You tell me. How is that going to age? Partying like rockstars or partying like soccer moms? Are we going to look back on two backup XFL quarterbacks slamming hard seltzers in a corporate tie-in and think that was the coolest thing ever? Or are we going to say that was the most 2019 thing in 2020 ever and just move on?  

I think I know the answer, but I’m going to need at least another week of the Battlehawks and Roughnecks before I give you my final answer.