The NFL and the XFL have come together to begin collaborating on a handful of innovative measures and player development. Their mission is to “further expand the game of football and create increased opportunities for player development both on and off the field.”
Thanks to a new legion of ownership, they are already setting plans in motion to get the XFL, a league that has flopped several times and reinvented itself, to where it needs to be.
Exciting time in football as our @XFL2023 will join forces with the @NFL to collaborate on innovation opportunities to expand & grow the game of football.
As an XFL owner, my #1 priority will always be the players.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 21, 2022
When speaking with Peyton and Eli Manning a few weeks ago during wild card week, Johnson said, “We wanna create a league of culture, a league of opportunity, a league of passion.”
To start off in the right direction, Johnson envisions a collaboration with the NFL concerning new health and safety initiatives. More specifically, “forward-thinking physical and mental fitness programs for players, the study of playing surfaces and equipment and the sharing of game trends and data.”
Taking a health and safety approach to these measures is a great step, as we are aware of the different life-threatening and life-altering injuries that can take place in this league and the devastating long-term effects of CTE.
Moving forward, the XFL has definitely been inspired by the innovative techniques and strategies displayed by the NFL and in this collaboration the XFL, which in the past has tried to build its brand by being different than the NFL, is all in on incorporating things that have been successful for the NFL.
In 2020, Vince McMahon had high expectations for the return of the league. It actually had some decent ratings over the first few weeks and seemed to be picking up some steam as far as players establishing themselves as fan favorites and viewers taking to the aspects of the league that differed from the NFL, such as live, on-the-spot interviews immediately after pivotal plays.
Then COVID-19 hit the scene and the sports world was paralyzed in mid-flight, causing financial hardship for the American working class on up to the lucrative pro leagues.
The league currently has no plans to return in 2021. pic.twitter.com/NxZbHAKRsM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 10, 2020
In a statement, XFL co-owner Dany Garcia said:
“We are bringing forward an XFL that is progressive and forward-thinking when it comes to innovation, leveraging the newest technology to enhance gameday experience. We have an open field for innovative rules to enhance in-game access. Sharing insights and practices between the XFL and NFL will do a tremendous amount of good for the game of football and support the player ecosystem overall.”
A few more ways the two leagues plan to collaborate and innovate the game is to undergo international scouting and development, which would be another way to expand the game to other regions of the world, as the NFL is currently trying to spread the reach of their game to foreign countries.
XFL was lit bro 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/kozhRbvAnJ
— Footballism™ (@FootbaIIism) February 18, 2022
The XFL and NFL are also planning to improve the quality of officiating by implementing new forms of technology and testing out new rules as well to see how those rules can affect player safety.
This deal is strictly a constructive deal to help enhance the quality and safety of both leagues and improve the overall landscape of these leagues in the long run.
ESPN NFL writer Kevin Seifert wrote:
“The deal is nonexclusive and does not prevent either league from working with others moving forward.”
This deal makes the XFL a testing ground of sorts for the NFL to try out a bunch of their potential strategies and unimplemented rules. The leagues won’t be sharing players but will be sharing culture.
We're collaborating with @XFL2023 on innovation programs to advance the game of football and create more opportunities for player development 👏
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) February 21, 2022
Seifert also as part of a tweet said, “XFL chairwoman/owner Dany Garcia made clear this deal is not a precursor to becoming an NFL developmental league.”
And it is assumed the XFL would like to remain their own league for the foreseeable future. A future that is expected to begin in January 2023, when the XFL will begin opening up training camps for prospects and future players.
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