If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em| This Time Around XFL Collaborates With NFL On Mission To “Expand The Game Of Football”

(Photo by Shawn Hubbard/XFL via Getty Images)

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.

For starters, Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson along with a few others took over ownership of the XFL in 2020, and they are scheduled to be returning to play a year from now in 2023.

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.

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.

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. 

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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