Will college football players pick the XFL over the NFL in the future?
The early success of the XFL 2020 reboot has raised an interesting question in regards to college football. Is the league an alternative for college football players who miss out on a chance to go to the NFL? For years, the options for undrafted college players have been limited with either NFL practice squads or the Canadian Football League being potential destinations. But the early signs are promising that the new league will continue next season offering a spring football alternative. Football fans are raving over the XFL product and the games each weekend. Fans can use the 10Cric mobile app to get football bet bonuses and tips to wager on this weekend’s XFL games.
XFL ratings have dipped since impressing in Week 1, but that was always bound to happen. What has been more impressive has been the fans showing up for games in St. Louis, Seattle, and Washington DC. The new league may need some heavy tweaking with its team locations but college players may have found a new option as professionals.
Is the XFL viable?
Although signs have been positive that the XFL will be around next season, the fact that the original XFL lasted just one year is damning. One of the biggest improvements on the latest version of the XFL is that the product on the field is far better than the previous one. The player talent and the time the league took to assemble has benefited the games. Of course, the XFL isn’t up to NFL quality. That would take years and possibly players moving leagues for the quality of the leagues to even out.
One of the worrying signs is the declining ratings. Week 1 started strongly with the XFL’s four games all outdrawing television viewers for the same weekend’s NBA games except one. XFL Week 3 saw a second straight decline in ratings. The good news for the league is that 6.43 million viewers tuned into the league’s four games combined in Week 3. Two of those games were on cable television (ESPN and FS1) and we now live in a cord-cutting age. Those ratings numbers don’t look as bad as 20 years ago.
The XFL is holding steady with ratings which means sponsors will continue to buy ad time. Television networks are thirsty for sports content which makes the XFL more likely to keep a deal in 2020 than at the turn of the century when it faded into pop culture obscurity for nearly two decades.
One of the biggest advantages the XFL has over the NFL in the recruitment of players is its laws that govern signing players. The NFL has a set of eligibility requirements that the XFL does not live by. According to XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck, the league can sign any player along as it adheres to local labor laws. Therefore, an XFL team could sign a player straight out of high school, which could be a novel way for it to get publicity.
Signing players straight out of high school would bring down the quality of the XFL, however. College is a much-needed gap between high school and the NFL. The XFL could be the gap-filler players need before making the jump from the collegiate game to the pros.
The NFL has long kicked around the idea of a farm system. The Alliance of American Football had been seen as a possible league to be just that over time. It is likely the NFL would have been happy to work with the AAF. Yet, it is doubtful the NFL and its owners would want to work with the league’s owner Vince McMahon, a brash, Donald Trump-like figure who made his fortune as the owner of the WWE.
College players have one major worry with the XFL: What if it folds? The league has closed down once previously and the AAF’s midseason shut down last year put players out of work after just a few weeks of fulfilling their dreams. While it is a scary thought, for some college players, not playing professional football is an even scarier one.