The XFL…for those of us who were around to remember the early 2000’s, was supposed to be the off-season answer to a football lover’s prayers. It was the football we loved with the concept of extreme physicality. Personally, I expected to see someone get dropkicked or choke slammed every play. My 11-year-old brain had not been this excited about spin off major sport since Slam Ball, but that’s a topic for another day.
The XFL has a phenomenal opportunity to pivot themselves in away for success, similar to what they did in the early 2000s, by allowing players to put nicknames on the back of their jerseys. It truly allowed their players an opportunity to showcase personality in order to stand out amongst other players. Take in to account this is before social media, and these players had to basically create a household name for themselves. We all know “He Hate Me”. To this day, I can’t remember ANYONE else, but I can remember “He Hate Me”. I was 11, but I still remember this man’s nickname 20 years later. A name that held up and was backed by spectacular play on the field.
So now, a new 2020 version of the XFL is on its way, and the players have to not only set themselves apart with their talent, but it is now their responsibility to AGAIN gain fans and create buzz for the league. The incentive as a player in the XFL is to create as much buzz as possible for yourself and team which in turn will turn into profit for the league if more people support the XFL brand. How do you do this? What is the easiest way to gain attention? Simple. Do the opposite of everything the NFL does.
We already see the rules being changed. Yes. This was done to speed up the game in a way where we as the viewers always get an action-packed football game with more meaningful aspects of the game of being watched. Should work, BUT, and this is a big BUT, the real way to make this XFL brand flourish is to let the players make themselves a running billboard of flashy-ness. Like the NBAs template of allowing players an option to wear their branded shoe in different colorways; XFL players should be able to do the same.
Imagine, you’re watching an XFL game for the first time, and you see the away team in all white, but the receiver has on some rose gold cleats. Or a linebacker with a multicolored prism reflector visor. That same player is making plays and looks super dope doing it. Now, this may not be appealing for the typical old school, old head football watcher, but to the younger generation who may not enjoy the bland football product we get between August and February, this flashy XFL brand will sell.
Now don’t get me wrong, I myself don’t care about the style in the game of football. I still thoroughly enjoy the NFL product I see in the Fall, Winter, and early Spring. I watch the NFL product because I love the strategy behind the concept of NFL football, but 11-year-old me, would love the flashy-ness of the game, which the NFL just does not have. The XFL has an opportunity to do some great things here and gaining the younger generation should be the first goal. You win over younger viewers, you got yourself a successful product. Ask any successful millionaire YouTuber.
As we get closer to the XFL season, I will share some more of my views on XFL and some possible ideas.
Be sure you share your thoughts and Ideas with me guys! Thanks for being part of the U.S. Football Forum Family, Where Football Is King.