The XFL debuted on Saturday, Feb. 8, and as with any other sports league, criticism came rushing in. While some people love the XFL’s vision for a less strict and more relaxed league, others see it as a pointless endeavor considering the popularity of the National Football League. Similar to any place with football fans, Oklahoma Christian is no stranger to new XFL fans and naysayers.
Zachary Hawes, a junior accounting and finance major, said based on first impressions the XFL could be good for football.
“It could bring back the energy that has seemed to start to fade from the NFL,” Hawes said. “You see a lot of controversy in the NFL around what is allowed and what people deem as good or bad. I think getting down to the sport itself in the XFL will build more love for the game of football.”
Beyond his first impression, Hawes believes the XFL could have longevity if they make the right business moves.
“I think it could last if they are able to keep marketing a bunch and are able to maintain the amount of funds it takes to run a football league,” Hawes said. “It’s just really small right now and needs to continue to grow.”
Fellow accounting and finance major Andrew Assaleh said he believes the XFL had a good debut, but the league will not be successful in the long run.
“As a Sooners fan, it was nice seeing Bob Stoops back on the sideline,” Assaleh said. If every week was like week one, then I’d try to watch one or two games each weekend, but I don’t see it being successful. The NFL is too strong, and people will get football fatigue.”
Although Assaleh and Hawes share different opinions on the league, both think there are chances for the XFL to force their way into the industry with the rules being implemented.
Some of these rules such as only having two timeouts per half or the new 25-second game clock are all focused to make the whole game shorter than three hours.
“Their overtime rules are a lot more exciting and fan-friendly,” Hawes said. “They have better kick off rules, which has been a struggle for the NFL for the past several years. On top of that, they also eliminated extra points and gave teams different ways to score again after the touchdown, which is more energetic than just kicking an extra point.”
“There is just a different attitude,” Assaleh said. “It feels like it is more fun because players can actually celebrate, and the rules are unique.”
It is important for the XFL to hit the ground running, and the only way to do this is to get people to become fans. Assaleh said that while some might become fans, he does not see himself becoming one.
“It is nice to have another football league, but I like to start focusing on basketball after the Super Bowl,” Assaleh said. “If I were to support a team right now, it’d probably be the Dallas Renegades since they have Bob Stoops and Landry Jones.”
However, Hawes does see himself becoming a fan and even went as far as choosing a team to support.
“The league has the potential to be more exciting and add different elements to the game with new rules and regulations,” Hawes said. “That is enough to keep me interested for at least a while. Plus, I have a hometown team to support, the Houston Roughnecks.”