XFL again; Really? Really?! REALLY!
Tuesday, February 13 2018, 16:16

Peek’s Perspective by Dewain E. Peek

With a week gone by since the Philadelphia Eagles made history by defeating The Great Tom Brady, who wants some more football?

Well, many of you may have said, “Not I” after a season marred by disrespect for the national anthem by players who make more money than most of us will ever see in our lifetimes, that and the seeming futility of teams trying to get to the Super Bowl just to once more be the underdog against the New England Patriots machine.

The best thing that could have happened to the NFL was for Tom Terrific to leave the field in defeat. At least that gives fans of other teams hope for the next season.

But for the die-hard fan who is now in football withdrawal, Vince McMahon promises to make 2020 your year. Yes, he is proposing to bring the XFL back to life.

Now, I would hope that he learned from the failed 2001 odyssey. Maybe this time the cheerleaders will have more appropriate underwear, and the injurious way of determining opening possession will have gone by the wayside.

Oh, I could hope that it would follow more closely the USFL model for spring football, even though the USFL failed, partially because a much younger Donald Trump pushed for it to go head-to-head with the NFL in the fall, a move that appeared to be more in hopes of getting a monetary payout from the NFL than belief it could co-exist with the establishment, and mostly because too many USFL teams could not make a profit.

That the United States Football League was already failing financially led a jury to award just $1 in damages when finding in favor of the the USFL in its monopoly lawsuit against the NFL.

So, my suggestion to Vince would be, since he is maintaining complete control of the league, something that worked well for generations of the France family in NASCAR, that he keep the teams to a low number as he did before. Place them in professional football starved cities. Don’t put teams in towns with pro teams such as LA, Chicago or Tuscaloosa – oh, sorry, they don’t pay for play in Alabama.

But put them in big college towns that don’t have pro teams, such as Austin, TX, Syracuse, NY, Knoxville, TN, Auburn, AL, Chapel Hill, NC, Bloomington, IN, Cleveland, OH, oops, technically they do have an NFL team in Cleveland, it just doesn’t play like one. You get the idea.

Since Vince likes to play faces (good guys) against heels (bad guys), he should start out doing things similar to what he did the first time as far as assigning players to teams.

I suggest that for the first five years – yes, I think it can survive this time, for the first five years, assign players to teams according to their personality, disposition, and personal life. Have teams set up with distinct personalities. Just as the Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers once had reputations as brutes on the field, give teams face or heel personas, and load those teams with players who can play that part because they have that mentality.

If a guy is church-going family man with three kids, he obviously goes to an angelic “hero” team. If a guy is known for bowling over guys and talking smack to him when he is down, then that guy goes to a “villain” team.

Just as the fans decide who they like and who they don’t like in pro wrestling, teams that are considered “hero” teams may still get boos, and, of course, “villain” teams are sometimes cheered.

While the league is getting its footing, I believe it needs firm control to be able to make changes as needed without having to go through a committee. Players should be able to be moved from one team to another with off-season “trades”. Keep the fans happy. They are the ones buying the tickets and the T-shirts.

During this five-year period, just as with the first incarnation of the XFL, minimum salaries would be miniscule in comparison to the NFL, with each position paying a certain amount. Again just as the 2001 version, low drafted college players and former NFL players would have a shot to show what they can do, but more for love of the game than money.

Then after five years, if the league is making money, sell the franchises outright to ownership groups that can show they have the financial commitment to keep the team afloat for another five years. Set up a draft, and let teams then start paying players individual contracts for whatever the market will stand.

Then the league could be what the USFL should have been – a league players want to play in because they love the game but that also can support their families.

Maybe they could also have a team in Hawaii. When a team would be scheduled to play in Hawaii, then they could have the week off preceding the game, and then have the next week off also. I know that would extend the season, but if the teams would foot the bill, it would be a vacation for the players and their families during the season.

Of course, the Hawaiian team would have few games on the continent each season, but I don’t think that would be a big deal. This past year, 12 NFL players were born in Hawaii, including Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans, so it only makes sense to give that state a team.

I guess I would just like to see the XFL succeed because I have tired of what the NFL has become. Professional football needs a freshening, and though an old concept, a new version of the XFL could be a start.