Even though only a handful of players still kneel during the National Anthem, the NFL is still struggling with television ratings and stadium attendance.
Former fans of the league have a “too little, too late” approach after they allowed athletes to disrespect the American Flag with zero consequences even though only a handful of players still kneel during the National Anthem.
But the NFL might be in even bigger trouble after these new ratings were released.
Following Super Bowl LIV where the Kansas City Chiefs pulled off an eye-popping win against the San Francisco 49ers, Vince McMahon launched a rival professional American football league called the XFL.
The XFL ran for only one season in 2001 with eight teams, centrally owned and operated by the league as opposed to a franchise model, but the new league is back after a nearly 20-year hiatus.
And it’s actually a quality product that easily rivals the NFL.
The television ratings for the XFL’s opening weekend were stellar in its first weekend too.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “The four games — two on Fox, one on ABC and one on ESPN — averaged 3.12 million viewers and a 1.0 rating among adults 18-49. Those ratings are in line with the inaugural primetime game for the Alliance of American Football on CBS last year (3.25 million viewers, 0.9 in adults 18-49). Fox’s Sunday-afternoon game had the biggest audience with 3.39 million viewers, while ESPN’s Sunday telecast was the smallest of the four with just under 2.5 million viewers.”
When you factor in football fatigue that Americans might be going through by the time the Super Bowl ends – when both the NFL and college football end – these are shockingly high ratings.
These ratings were overwhelmingly higher than the now-folded Alliance of American Football (AAF). That league was scheduled to have a 10-week regular season following last weeks’ Super Bowl Liii, but they ended up closing their doors after the league filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, leaving the season incomplete.
But the XFL’s games are exponentially more exciting than the AAF and although the league doesn’t have huge stars yet, the XFL is already proving to be a strong competitor, or possibly just another option, for NFL and college football fans.
Some of it has to do with rising stars like Cardale Jones, Eli Rogers, Rashad Ross, Antonio Callaway and Landry Jones, but it’s also the different rule changes that really separate it from the NFL.
When deciding rule changes, XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck said, “What we did is listen to fans. And what they told us is that they love this game, but they would like it at a little more of a faster pace and with a little more excitement. They thought there is too much idle time. We tried to listen to what they didn’t want, also. They didn’t want gimmicks or things that were inauthentic. They also didn’t want to be complicit when it comes to player safety. So what we wanted to do is take a great game and make it a little better.”
Some of the rule changes include:
-After a touchdown, the team has the option of running a play from the 2, 5, or 10-yard line, worth 1, 2, or 3 points respectively. The team must run an offensive play and no kicking plays are allowed.
– If a team completes a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage, that team may throw a second forward pass, as long as the ball has at no time crossed the line of scrimmage.
– Overtime shall consist of 5 “Rounds”, staged in alternating single-play possessions as is customary in NHL shootouts or MLS penalty kicks. A “Round” will consist of one offensive play per team. Each possession starts at the opponent’s 5-yard line and the offensive team has one play to score. The team with more points after 5 rounds is the winner.
– The Coach-to-Player system would allow a member of the coaching staff in the bench area or the coaches’ booth to communicate to a player through a speaker in his helmet. And fans sitting at home or in the stadium, will be able to hear the play calls.
-Also, there is no protesting the National Anthem.
These new rules have allowed for more of a fan-friendly entertainment experience.
Another positive sign for the XFL league is that three of the four games beat out every NBA and college basketball game from the previous week.
But will it have staying power? It looks like all signs are pointing that way. On Twitter, fans were raving about the new XFL and we didn’t have to see players protesting our beloved American flag.
In a few years, the NFL might be in serious trouble.