DON’T WASTE MY TIME
By DINO COSTA
December 7, 2018
Like, I really don’t get it.
This week I watched (Online) as the XFL (what the X stands for nobody knows) introduced their 8-member cities as well as the stadiums they’ll be playing in beginning with their inaugural 2020 season.
This 2020 XFL season will commence one-year after another spring football league gets underway just 3-months from now, something called the Alliance Of America Football, which shouldn’t be confused with yet another spring league that was announced this week, the Freedom Football League. Does anyone want to join me in getting a 4th spring league off the ground?
I really don’t care what spring football league they want to tell me about, this is all a gigantic waste of time and the results won’t be pretty once all is said and done. In other words, it’s my feeling that each and every one of these leagues are going to be doomed to failure and one doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to arrive at such an objective conclusion.
Here’s the long and short of it: Nobody wants to watch spring football, and more than that, with America’s increasing dissatisfaction with football, including the complete and total oversaturation of the product, starting these leagues right now is beyond my grasp of comprehension.
Fewer people are going to NFL games these days as each week there are reports of thousands of empty seats at NFL stadiums across the country, and now, just as the NFL season comes to a close (not to mention the college football season), these new leagues are expecting a healthy amount of people to re-gear themselves up for some more football, and minor-league football at that?
I fail to understand the point of all of this.
I’m especially puzzled by Vince McMahon’s venture (The XFL) because Vince McMahon is a big-swing guy, a brazen promoter and marketeer who has built one of the greatest sports/entertainment dynasties in existence with his World Wrestling organization. I never saw McMahon as a small potatoes kind of a guy, and that’s what this entire spring-fling is, it’s minor-league, and beyond some initial opening sizzle, I feel it will quickly become irrelevant and find itself out of business in a very short time.
The only way I can see any of these leagues succeeding is if the NFL decides to throw their dollars behind it to keep it afloat much like the NBA has spent lavishly to keep the WNBA from going out of business all these years, and even then, very few people will even notice or care.
As I have noted on many a previous show, America’s continuing dissatisfaction with the NFL, for an innumerable number of reasons, has opened a door for a rival league to emerge, which when you consider the stranglehold the NFL has had over the years in becoming the dominant sports league in the country, is almost unfathomable.
Yet, there is an appetite among millions of football fans to see the game returning to its once glorious roots without seeing the game becoming infected and dragged down by a host of issues and items currently plaguing the NFL, everything from ridiculous rule changes that have twisted play into an unrecognizable and frustrating hodge-podge of who knows what, in addition to seeing the NFL willingly embrace one political or societal cause after another — and in the process turning off many who are still left to wonder what has happened to a league and a sport that they used to love unconditionally?
The NFL, as I have talked about many times, in my opinion, is at a stage where I feel the league is ripe to be taken by a rival league intent on playing the game as it has always been intended to be played — with a league that will eschew the political divides which have stained the NFL’s shield so badly, in short; a league that plays the game the way it oughta be played and embraced by football fans who yearn and thirst to see the game played as they always remembered it.
I find myself seeking an answer to this question when it comes to these various spring leagues: What is the end game? Also, in all objectivity, what is the ceiling when it comes to these leagues and what can those who have invested their dollars in these league’s really expected in return on the financial commitments they’ve made to these leagues?
I can’t speak for you, but I feel many of you are thinking right along with me when I say that once the Super Bowl has ended I’m ready to move on to other things such as baseball, the final few weeks of the NBA and NHL season’s, the playoffs in those respective league’s, and I’m also eagerly anticipating the preeminent golf tournament in the country in Augusta with ‘The Masters’ in April. If I’m looking forward to anything in the spring resembling football it may be found in getting myself ready with a lot of anticipation for the NFL Draft in May. But minor-league football? No thank you.
As I watched the XFL announce the cities and stadiums they’ll be playing in I also found myself asking why they’ve decided to play in so many of the cities they announced?
Los Angeles? Really? Let me see if I have this right. The city of Los Angeles is still ramping up enthusiasm for a very good Rams team currently in their midst, and they also have another NFL team in the Chargers who are practically invisible in that city, yet, they now expect the people of Los Angeles to take an interest in minor-league football in a locale where the Dodgers and Angels will be just starting their seasons and where the sports landscape is also dominated with teams like the NBA’s Lakers (and to a lesser extent the Clippers), along with the NHL’s Kings? At least the minor-league model of the XFL, with mostly minor-league players, will feel right at home playing in a minor-league facility, as this LA-XFL team will call the Stub Hub Center their home.
St. Louis? Well, look it, if this was an XFL going head-to-head against the NFL then I’d like the selection of St. Louis a lot more than dumping a team into America’s heartland and playing their games at a dilapidated facility (The Dome At America’s Center) and playing at a time when the entire St. Louis region is paying attention to one thing and one thing only, their beloved Cardinals. If this new St. Louis XFL franchise averages more than 15,000 people a game for their first season, I’ll be beyond surprised.
Seattle? Say, what? In this gorgeous pacific northwest city that is Seahawks-mad all the time, the XFL is going to place a team in a place where they’ll be attempting to turn Hawks fans into XFL fans while also going up against Mariners baseball, while also contending with the brand new Seattle NHL franchise that was announced just this week, while also going up against the MLS franchise, the Sounders, who draw very well in what is a soccer-crazed community? Sure, this will be a rip-roaring winner.
Pittsburgh? PITTSBURGH??? Do I even need to write anything about how this will fail before it even gets off the ground? If anything I hope they bring back the nickname of the cities previous USFL franchise and coin them the Pittsburgh Maulers.
Ditto forXFL franchise in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, etc.
I believe the people of Omaha, Memphis, San Diego, San Antonio, and Tulsa, to name a few places, are wondering if the success of minor-league football would have a better chance of succeeding in their communities more than just about all of the places the XFL has chosen with their 8 charter franchises.
I could go through the other cities they rolled out and continue to cite chapter and verse why nobody is going to give two shits about their brand new XFL team, but I won’t waste your time…even though that’s exactly what the XFL is doing to us all by creating a league that nobody wants and during a time where nobody will care, and in cities that will forget there’s even an XFL team in town after the first 2-weeks of play.
This is actually insane when you think about it, the introduction of not one, not two, but THREE spring league’s, all who expect the American sporting public to pay attention, be enthusiastic, spending their disposable dollars on a minor league product played at a time where most people are exhaling after the Super Bowl who had their fill of football, and are looking forward to other things on the sporting calendar.
When the XFL wants to get serious, when any of these ridiculous spring league’s wishes to have me pay attention, someone wake me up when the announcement is made that one of these leagues has decided to go big or go home by challenging the National Football League on their own turf and in the same season.
Otherwise, I’ll pass and consider these various spring football projects to be a complete waste of my time, because that’s exactly what they will be.