Jonathon Page, Sports Editor

I recently had the opportunity to watch an XFL game and needless to say I have many thoughts about how the game of football is played in this league. I watched the Houston Roughnecks versus the Dallas Renegades. The Roughnecks won that game putting them at 4-0 with the Renegades going to 2-2 while still maintaining their 2nd place in West. This game, while meaningless this early in the season, was a perfect example of not only the positives of the XFL, but the negatives as well.

The most important part of any football game is the actual product on the field. The product on the field for the XFL is less NFL and more High School JV. During this game the Renegades ran the same play three times in a row and each time the Roughnecks got a first down. Right before this the Roughnecks had been doing pretty good on defense, holding them to 11 points. After these three blown plays in a row, the Renegades were able to jump up to 20 points by converting a 3-point extra point conversion. Another issue is the QB play. With the QB being a highly sought after position for teams, the best QBs that are free agents are going to be scooped up by the NFL. This leaves the XFL with aging NFL washouts and un-drafted or failed NFL players. Even though there’s a QB problem with the XFL, the game I watched had probably the best QB in the league. PJ Walker, who was recently on Colts for the beginning of training camp, was playing for the Roughnecks and was playing great. On one of the plays of the game Walker was forced to scramble out of the pocket and rush up the field where he then trucked a Renegade defender. His passing game is pretty good too, several times throughout the game Walker was forced to put the ball in some tight places that some of the other QB’s in the XFL probably couldn’t do. Walker probably could be a backup QB in the NFL on a team, but for now he’s the only bright spot on the Roughnecks.

Despite the play on the field there are some cool things that the XFL is doing, that could be incorporated for the NFL and even college football. Near the end of the third quarter a Renegade defender leaped through the air and snatched the ball out of the air for an interception. Right after the interception a reporter went up to the defender and did a quick interview with him. This was great as it allows for the fans to not only get closer to the action, but learn more about the players themselves through these quick interviews. Another way fans get to feel that they’re on the sidelines is mic-ing up the coaches and playing what the coaches have said on live TV. This can lead to hilarious bits of anger induced screaming after a bad play. Another aspect that I find interesting is the way extra points are done. No longer do you have to worry about your kicker trying to hit a 50 yard field goal for just one measly point. Now all extra points are done like NFL two point conversions. You can choose to do the regular two point conversion, however you can also do the aforementioned three point conversion or a one point conversion. Depending on how many points you go for will determine how far away you line up from the end-zone. One point is two yards away, two points is five yards away, and three points is ten yards away. This extra point style is interesting and allows teams to make insane comebacks, therefore making the game more fun.

All of these new things added to the game allow the XFL to be different compared to the NFL which should captivate people for at least this season. While I would love for the XFL to succeed so that we have more football throughout the year, it just doesn’t seem possible. The NBA is in full swing and near to the playoffs and Spring Training starts for Major League Baseball, two sports and leagues that people are already invested in. Maybe if the XFL moved their season till at least after the NBA playoffs it may improve TV ratings and attendance. Personally however, even with all of the new additions to the game and any future attempts to fix this league, the XFL seems doomed to fail a second time.