Football is the most popular sport in the United States and the NFL has been the sport’s premier league for a century. During that time, several other football leagues have tried in vain to compete with the NFL – maybe the XFL is up to the challenge? Here’s all in the information for those who want to bet on XFL.
Most recently, the AAF came in like a lion and went out like a lamb to slaughter after just 8 weeks. Before that, the Fall Experimental Football League shut down operations after two unremarkable seasons.
The USFL, WFL, and the Continental Football League all met the same fate. In 2001, Vince McMahon tried to bring his brand of football to the American public with the XFL. It was supposed to be the toughest brand of football we’d ever seen. Despite getting off to a promising start, the league was forced to pack it in after just one season. But, nearly 20 years later, the XFL is back with a new look and renewed hope for the future.
What is the XFL?
The XFL, or the current version of it, is another in a long line of upstart professional football leagues. The brainchild of Vince McMahon, the new X-Treme Football League features eight teams that are located in major American football markets. Unlike many doomed leagues in the past, the new XFL isn’t really trying to compete head-to-head with the NFL. Instead, the league’s 10-week regular season schedule commences shortly after the Super Bowl. The XFL is intended to be a sweet dessert that comes on the heels of a delicious main course.
The reincarnated XFL differs greatly from the original iteration. The new XFL focuses more on player safety and innovation. There aren’t even any cheerleaders. The rules surrounding kickoffs, the point after, punts, and overtime are markedly different from those of the NFL and other traditional football leagues. A 25-second game clock, the running game clock, and limiting teams to two-time outs per half are designed to speed up the flow of the game. There is also a myriad of other rules that are unique to the new XFL. This product certainly appears to be very fan-friendly.
Read here for a full synopsis of the XFL vs. NFL rules.
A lot of planning has gone into bringing back the XFL. McMahon seems intent on not letting his new league succumb to bankruptcy as the dearly departed AAF did a year ago. He is ready to commit up to $500 million to keep his league afloat. That’s five times the amount he invested in the original XFL. From the outside looking in, the XFL looks like it may have struck gold, but only time will tell.
What was the original XFL?
Vince McMahon is a marketing genius. He knows what people want and he gives it to them. More specifically, he sells it to them.
He took his wrestling philosophy for WWE and applied it to football. Maybe the scripting and soap opera atmosphere wasn’t a major part of it. However, brutality and sexualization were huge components of the original XFL.
The original XFL’s first and only season commenced on February 3, 2001. Each of the eight teams ended up playing a 10-game regular-season schedule. Like this new XFL, the original XFL had a plethora of unique rules. Instead of a conventional kickoff, two opposing players sprinted to midfield where they wrestled for possession of the football.
Teams only played on natural turf and the point after kick was eliminated in favor of a traditional two-point conversion play that resulted in a single point. Defensive backs could make contact with wide receivers before the ball was even thrown, and team jerseys identified players by their nicknames. Anyone who watched the original version might not remember much about it, but they probably remember the nickname “He Hate Me”.
Being another creation of Vince McMahon, there was a lot of hype around the XFL going into the season. Sports bettors lined up to bet on XFL games and millions of interested fans tuned in to watch the action on opening day. By most accounts, the upstart league looked like it had a chance to succeed. It sure seemed like the fans were on board. An average of 35,000 fans filled each stadium on opening day and NBC drew an additional 14 million viewers. Ratings were through the roof.
But all was not as it seemed. The poor quality of play on the field was openly mocked by broadcasting legend Bob Costas and others. Week 2 saw ratings drop significantly, and it only got worse from there.
There were other issues too. 60% of players who participated in the opening battle for the football were injured. Some seriously. Ratings continued to plummet as more fans regarding the new league as a blend of WWE and amateur football. Nevertheless, the league completed the regular season and four teams moved on to the playoffs.
But now, with extensive planning and insights from the first go around, the new XFL is sure to stick around.
Learn the best ways to stream the 2021 XFL season here.
Bet on XFL: Team Names
Here are the XFL’s 8 teams and a little bit about them:
Sporting red, blue, and black uniforms, the Dallas Renegades will play their home games in Globe Life Park in Arlington. The stadium used to be the home of the Texas Rangers until they moved into their new stadium, Globe Life Field. Former head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, Bob Stoops, became the league’s first head coach to be hired when Dallas signed him on February 7, 2019. The Renegades then hired Chris Woods as the team’s defensive coordinator in April. Less than a month later, Hal Mumme was brought in to run the offense.
Behind head coach June Jones, the Houston Roughnecks are the only undefeated team heading into Week 3. If you want to bet on XFL teams, this squad appears to be a good wager. Especially if you want to bet on XFL totals going over. The team’s home field is TDECU Stadium in Houston. Defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell brings loads of experience from his days as an NFL player and coach. Offensive coordinator Chris Miller seems to be doing a good job early on as his offense is scoring at a torrid pace.
Los Angeles Wildcats
Former Green Bay Packers assistant coach Winston Moss has his work cut out for him if he wants to complete in the XFL West division. Former head coach at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Norm Chow, has been able to get a lot of production out of his offense early on. Conversely, Pepper Johnson’s defense needs to make improvements. It’s going to be a challenge considering the Los Angeles Wildcats’ lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball. The Wildcats, who wear black, red, and orange, play their home games at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The Seattle Dragons’ coaching staff boasts a lot of experience. Head coach Jim Zorn already made his mark in Seattle back in the late 70s and early 80s when he served as the Seattle Seahawk’s quarterback. However, he never found success as an NFL head coach as he spent just one year in Baltimore. Mike Riley is charged with running the offense while Clayton Lopez coordinates the defense. Seattle wears navy blue, green, and orange when they play their home games at Century Link Field in the Emerald City.
New York Guardians
Based out of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, the New York Guardians are off to an uninspiring 1-2 record to start the season. Fans of the black, grey, and red hope that head coach and NFL veteran Kevin Gilbride can right the ship. While the offense has sputtered early on, New York’s defense has been relatively solid under defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann.
St. Louis BattleHawks
Football’s back in St. Louis and the BattleHawks are hoping to provide a lot of entertainment both on the road and at home at The Dome at America’s Center. Entering Week 4, St. Louis has looked pretty good under head coach Jonathan Hayes. The two-toned blue and grey’s offense has been productive under offensive coordinator Chuck Long. Defensive coordinator Jay Hayes also has things working well on the defensive side.
Tampa Bay Vipers
Tampa Bay is off to a rough start having lost its first three straight XFL games. Offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo needs to get a lot more out of an offense that is so far tied for the least number of touchdowns among XFL teams. NFL veteran coach and Vipers defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville needs to get his defense playing better XFL football. The Vipers, who play out of Raymond James Stadium, have given up a lot of points throughout their three XFL games.
Head coach Pep Hamilton needs his team to defend better if they are to avoid missing the XFL league playoffs. While the offense is producing under Tanner Engstrand, Louie Cioffi’s defense has shown many vulnerabilities in the early stage of the season. Still, the team is 2-1 to start the season and are 2-0 at Audi Field in Washington. The DC Defenders might be the beneficiaries of what seems to be a weak XFL East.
Bet on XFL League Playoffs
Like XFL football itself, the XFL league playoff format is unique. Four of the eight teams make the XFL league playoffs. Those XFL teams will be the top two teams in each division. The winner of each division squares off against the second-place finisher in the other division. While the location of the 2020 XFL Championship Game hasn’t been announced, the game will be played on April 26th.
Many XFL league fans hope that the XFL football season continues to be a success. That would translate into an exciting playoff season. That would also be a boon for sportsbooks who would love to see an increase in the number of people who bet on XFL games. Aside from betting on individual XFL games throughout the season, sportsbooks are offering odds on who wins the XFL championship. Fanduel has the following odds on the XFL teams: