Updated: Feb 9
On the eve of week 1 of XFL part II I can't help but wonder how successful it will be. Though I was young in 2001 I remember being in love with the product Vince McMahon was putting out on football fields across the country. It was everything the NFL was not. From encouraging big hits to fast pace of play. I had a blast watching games on Saturdays. Its really cool to see a league that encourages individuality which is shunned harshly by the No Fun League. Though the teams are different the rules and ultimate goal are still pretty much the same this time around.
That being said I do have some concerns. All but one team (St. Louis Battlehawks) are located in cities where the NFL has planted their flag in the turf. Though the XFL plays during the NFL offseason, I still worry that people in those cities might not care enough to come out to games because lets face it, If someone has been following the same team for their whole life its tough to pledge allegeance to something new. Lets take a look at the teams and break it down a bit.
The favorite of
could see some succeess this season if fans are yearning for more football considering how late in the NFL playoffs the Seahawks got bounced. Another thing the Dragons have going for them is the fact that there are so few professional sports teams in the Pacific Northwest. The Supersonics were ripped away from the people of Seattle which I imagine has left a pretty sour taste in the mouths of the Seattle faithful. The new hockey team coming to the city may be detrimental to the Dragons success given that the seasons will overlap and Seattle has been starved of hockey since 1975.
Los Angeles Wildcats
Do we really need another team in LA? The Raiders were so successful they are moving to Vegas... With the monster lineups the Lakers and Clippers are putting out right now, I find it hard to believe there will be any time to pay attention to a third football team in the City of Angels. If you're asking me (which if you're reading this you are), I think it was a colossal mistake to have a team in Los Angeles.
We all know football reigns supreme in the stat of Texas so I don't see it being any different with the Renegades. Temperatures won't be a factor in fans going to games like it would be in the northern states. Despite sharing the city with the almighty Cowgirls, there shouldn't be any lack of interest in another pro football team in Dallas.
St. Louis Battlehawks
The only team to not share a city with the NFL, the Battlehawks are poised to be pretty successful. Not only is there no NFL team in St. Louis but there aren't even any other XFL teams close. There is no team in Chicago (R.I.P. Enforcers) or any surrounding states. Considering the Rams up and left St. Louis for greener pastures, the city will show up for the Battlehawks as they are their only hope for football glory.
Tampa Bay Vipers
The verdict is still out on how I feel about the Vipers. There is no other XFL team in Florida so they have that going for them. My prediction is that they will have mediocre attendance much like the Buccaneers. I actually have little to say about this franchise as there is not much that jumps out at me about them in either direction so we shall see. If they can establish themselves as one of the leagues top teams it could sway more fans to go out and support them.
Well this one is a bit of a head scratcher for me. They chose to go with a color scheme almost identical to that of the Texans. This doesn't do much to establish a brand separate from their big brother. On top of that the logo is almost identical to the one the Houston Oilers used to wear. This one is a huge miss in my opinion. From a marketing standpoint it makes no sense. It will be hard enough to gain fan revenue in one of the country's poorest cities but to shoot themselves in the foot like this before we even know what kind of product will be on the field gets my nomination for the first XFL franchise to move (that is if the XFL sticks around long enough for that to happen).
New York Guardians
Much like Dallas I don't think there will be any shortage of interest in New York. I know there are two NFL teams in the city but for the most part the people there have nothing but money to spend so why not check out a football game? Considering how many businessmen and corporations are in New York it just makes sense for some of them to use the team as a way of treating loyal clients or lubing up potential clients. I think the Guardians will do just fine in this league.
This is another team I'm not quite sure what to think of. I think the fact that the closest team to them is New York helps. The Defenders could gain the support of a large portion of that region. Right now I'm leaning more to them being a success with the fans but if they put a shit product on the field like the Redskins have of late support could wane and fast.
Though not actually a team, I felt the need to at least mention this island of misfit toys. Its actually a pretty cool concept. Essentially it is a temp agency for the whole league. The Team 9 players will go to practice every day and be ready to play at a moments notice. If anything should happen to a player on any roster, that team can call upon a player from Team 9 to replace them for however long they need to. I like this idea because instead of free agents sitting at home, they're constantly staying in football shape so if they're called up there is no question they're ready to go.
Writing this blog I purposely didn't involve any players in my team evaluations. I wanted to try to look at this from more of a business standpoint. I know that the talent will have a huge impact on the success or failure of the league but I like to think I addressed some of the things that get overlooked often. People tend to forget that sports are games but they're a business as well.
I do have a twitter poll addressing some of these questions. I would like to hear everyone's opinions. I can be found on twitter @nicknack3030 so let me know what you think.